AJAX: Usable Interactivity with Remote Scripting

AJAX: Usable Interactivity with Remote Scripting
By Cameron Adams
July 13th 2005

If your bookmarks contain even one Web development blog, you’ll undoubtedly know that remote scripting is being touted as the new ‘future of the Web’. Although I get the feeling that a few people are perhaps a little over-excited about it, the recent release of numerous high-profile Web applications that use remote scripting has shown that there are definite advantages to utilising these techniques in the creation of seamless Web applications, and to augment Web page functionality. This article aims to give you an introduction to the foundations of remote scripting, in particular, the emerging XMLHttpRequest protocol. We’ll then walk through an example application that demonstrates how to implement that protocol, while creating a usable interface.

The web article explains how the current flavour on the web is AJAX. AJAX is not really a new technology as such, but a mixture of Javascript and XML. In fact the XML part is optional. It’s a way of updaing a web page without the hassle for the user of the whole page having to be updated and refreshed – only parts of it. This is largely due to the flexibility of the DOM within IE, etc. Manipulating the DOM with Javascript having got a stream of data from a web server is ideal for client pull of data. The server sends the information and the client worries about where to display on the page, without having to refresh the whole web page.