AJAX Programming for creating dynamic web-pages

Informative read by Adam George

The technique for creating fast and dynamic web pages is called AJAX. It is not a language, but a collection of asynchronous JavaScript and XML tools that work to industry standards. Being able to send asynchronous requests to a server is a quantum improvement. These requests sharply cut the time that it used to take a server to deliver content or information. Before AJAX, this operation would mean a long delay, during which, the page would reload, and, often, cause the application to hang.

For AJAX programming and especially for custom AJAX programming, rich experience in the following is essential.

HTML, XHTML, CSS for the front end

DOM (Document Object Model) for dynamic display and data interaction XML and XSLT for data manipulation

XMLHttpRequestobject for asynchronous communication

JavaScript to manage these technologies
With this as a foundation, a programmer can move on to explore the use of this powerful technology which requires a deep understanding of critical aspects of application development.

Some challenges in AJAX application development:

Owing to their dynamic nature, the development of AJAX interfaces requires experienced programmers because of their dynamic nature. Static pages are simpler.

Bookmarks are difficult because of dynamic page updates. There are a few commonly used solutions which use the hash mark in the URL fragment identifier to track the state when the page is bookmarked, and allow users to return to the application at the desired state.

If browser support for JavaScript or XML Http Request is missing, the AJAX dependent page will not be properly presented and the user will be disappointed. Today, mobile phones, PDAs, and screen readers too, need to be able to provide support for the required technologies. Even though many screen readers are equipped to use Ajax, the technology, or programming capability is not yet developed to the point where they can properly read dynamically generated content. The non-JavaScript methods are probably the safest way to satisfy the user’s requirement. In this, custom AJAX programming needs to ensure that links and forms are resolved satisfactorily, and do not rely solely on AJAX.

Avion Technology Inc.
Web design and development


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