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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

A word about the 'richness' of AJAX

Sandeep Dasgupta
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Sandeep Dasgupta
Rich Internet Applications, or ‘RIA’ as it is more commonly known, is the new buzzword in the Web technology world. What then is ‘rich’ web application?

I am sure, those of you who are familiar with it begin to think, “Oh no, not another explanation of RIA and AJAX!” Fear not. We will not be discussing the technology and its explanation here. There is enough documentation available in the form of books, web pages, and forums to help anyone learn this technology, so that should not be a problem for someone wanting to know more about them. Rather, we will discuss about the need, the typical use, and the future of this technology.

AJAX – The evolution and need
AJAX is short for ‘Asynchronous javascript and XML’ and is essentially a mix of three main ingredients – javascript, XML, and the most important one, the asynchronous HTTP call. All you have to do is write some javascript code to communicate with the server in asynchronous mode using XML message payloads and voila, you have a powerful new way of writing web applications!

I know a lot of readers will be surprised to know that though AJAX has become popular in fairly recent times, neither the concept nor the technology are new. Readers familiar with IIS and ASP will know that this concept has been around in the Microsoft web technology for quite some time now. But it was restricted to the Microsoft world, and was only supported by Internet Explorer, thus reducing the usage and awareness about this in the web community.

It was the usage of this technology by popular websites like Google, and the quite recent support for this by all the common browsers that really propelled this technology to the forefront. You might have come across a customer who has looked at ‘Google Maps’ and wants the website you are building for him to have the same interactivity and responsiveness, thus driving the demand for such RIAs. It is purely a case of the bar having been raised, and now every self-respecting web application needs to take this technology seriously, unless it wants to be relegated to the class of old-style web applications.

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