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Ajax and Rich User Experiences

Jesse James Garret over at Adaptive Path provides a name for the development framework that is becoming increasingly common among some of the companies that are pushing the envelope of building a rich user experience in the browser. He calls it "Ajax":

The name is shorthand for Asynchronous JavaScript + XML, and it represents a fundamental shift in whatís possible on the Web.

Ajax isnít a technology. Itís really several technologies, each flourishing in its own right, coming together in powerful new ways. Ajax incorporates:

  • standards-based presentation using XHTML and CSS;
  • dynamic display and interaction using the Document Object Model;
  • data interchange and manipulation using XML and XSLT;
  • asynchronous data retrieval using XMLHttpRequest;
  • and JavaScript binding everything together.

Products like Flickr, Google Maps, and Basecamp are using Ajax frameworks to build applications that don't make users wait for a page reload to perform simple tasks.

It's nuts to think that avoiding a page reload equates with a "rich user experience". When someone releases an abstracted Ajax framework--that is, a set of turn-key tools that will Ajax-enable a web app--that's when what we currently think of as a "rich user experience" will become passé.

When landscape-altering tools like that are in the hands of developers that are not working at Google or other companies that have developed similar internal frameworks, we're going to see a big shift in the way people expect to interact with their web applications.

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Comments (Post | Latest)

1. Jason Huebel said on Mar 9 2005:

You might want to look at this URL for a simple Ajax implementation that can call PHP and Perl (among others) backend code.

2. kareem said on Mar 9 2005:

Thanks for the link. I haven't played around with Sajax yet but plan to in the near future :)



Hi, I'm Kareem Mayan. I co-founded eduFire, an online video tutoring company.

I've done time at ESPN and FIM.

I advise WorldBlu, helping them build democratic companies.

I moderated a council for Creative Good.

And, I helped bring Barcamp, a technology un-conference, to LA, which is where I live. I am now living and working in cool cities around the world.

More about me.

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