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Step by Step to AJAX


AJAX has been exciting many programmers as the latest and greatest thing in web development. This article takes a step-by-step look at the Microsoft way to script for AJAX.

Author Info:
By: Jayaram Krishnaswamy
Rating: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars / 114
November 30, 2005
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
  1. · Step by Step to AJAX
  2. · Ajax's Model of Interaction
  3. · XmlHttpRequest
  4. · XMLHttpRequest Object Methods
  5. · Fetching a page using AJAX

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Step by Step to AJAX
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Introduction

This tutorial is not about Ajax Telamon from the Iliad who fought Hercules, but the latest and greatest (at least in the opinion of some) thing in web development. Ever since Google charmed the web at large with those AJAX-created Google Maps apps, the number of amount of adherence to AJAX has been growing exponentially. In this tutorial, we look mainly at the Microsoft way of scripting for AJAX.  Like my previous tutorials, it's step by step all the way after a brief introduction.

Web Application Evolution

Since 1992 developers have relentlessly pursued ways to  make the web more appealing, more productive and more interactive. The plain text html at birth soon saw embedded images followed by appealing colors conferred by cascading style sheets. But it was left for JavaScript to bring user interaction, and thus began the heydays of scripting languages.

However, there were two major browsers sharing the web space, and two scripts to serve the user (the third, ECMA came later). This was not enough, and DHTML was born - not a new language, but a good mix of html, CSS, and JavaScript that made user interaction extremely satisfying.

AJAX came along to make the interaction more responsive without needing to refresh the page. AJAX is an acronym, and the credit for coining this name goes to Adaptive Path's S. S. Garret. However, Microsoft appears to be the progenitor, with its flagship ActiveX Technology making this possible. Now it is a mélange of XHTML, CSS, JavaScript, XmlHttpRequest, and XML, and its DHTML déjà vu all over.


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