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What is AJAX? – Definition, Functions, Examples, And More
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What is AJAX? – Definition, Functions, Examples, And More

Definition AJAX

AJAX means asynchronous JavaScript and XML is a set of web development techniques that allow web applications to work asynchronously, processing any request to the server in the background.

How does AJAX work?

JavaScript is a popular programming language. Among other functions, it manages the dynamic substance and allows dynamic user interaction of a website. XML is variant of a markup language such as HTML, as its name suggests: extensible Markup Language, while HTML works to display data, XML works to contain and transport it.

JavaScript and XML both work asynchronously in AJAX. As a result, any web application that uses AJAX can send and retrieve data from the server without reloading the entire page.

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Practical examples of AJAX

Take as an example the autocomplete function of Google; This helps you complete your keywords as you type them. The keywords change in real-time; however, the page as such does not change. When the Internet was not as advanced, the same function would require Google to reload the page every time a new recommendation appeared on your screen. AJAX allows the data exchange and the presentation layer to work simultaneously without interfering with each other.

The AJAX concept has been around since the mid-1990s. However, it gained broader recognition in 2004 when Google began incorporating the concept into Google Mail and Google Maps. Now, it is widely used in various web applications to Streamline the server communication process.

Here are more useful examples of AJAX in our daily lives.

Voting and rating systems

Have you ever done online voting? Have you ever rated a product you bought online? Either way, both operations use AJAX. Once you click on the rating or voting button, the website will update the calculation, but the entire page will remain unchanged.

Chat rooms

Some websites have a chat built into their home page, through which you can talk to a customer service agent. You don’t have to worry if you want to explore the page at the same time. [AJAX] will not reload the page every time you send and receive a new message.

Twitter Trend Notification

Twitter has recently added [AJAX] for its updates. Every time new tweets get created on specific trending topics, Twitter will update the new figures without affecting the homepage.

Simply put, [AJAX] makes multitasking functions easy. If you ever see a similar situation in which two operations work simultaneously, with one running and the other inactive, it may be [AJAX] in action.

How does AJAX work?

Keep in mind that AJAX is not a single technology, nor is it a programming language. As said before, AJAX is a set of web development techniques. The system generally comprises:

CSS for the presentation and HTML / XHTML for the primary language The Document Object Model (DOM) for dynamic data and its interaction.

XML for data exchange and XSLT for manipulation. Many developers have started replacing it with JSON because it is more similar to JavaScript in its form.

XMLHttpRequest object for asynchronous communication.

JavaScript programming language joins these technologies.

Some technical knowledge is necessary to understand it fully. But the general procedure of how AJAX works is quite simple. Check out the following diagram and table for further explanation.

In summary

The definition aside, the most significant advantage of using AJAX is that it optimizes the user experience. Your visitors don’t have to wait long to access your content. However, it also depends on what you need. Google, for example, allows users to choose between AJAX and a standard version when using Google Mail. It is best to put the needs of users as a priority on your list and use AJAX accordingly.

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