What is Ajax


AJAX stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML and is not really a programming language.  It is an alternative way to use existing standards to make web pages faster and more dynamic.  While JavaScript is very useful in creating vibrant web pages, there is no way to use it to trade information between the browser and the server.  This means that if a developer wishes to send user information to a script on the server-side (i.e. PHP) or get information from a database on the server, it would be necessary to make an HTML form to POST or GET data from the server. This would require additional user interaction and an unnecessarily lengthy wait for the results to load.

AJAX improves this process by allowing JavaScript to communicate directly with the server without requiring a user to perform an action such as clicking a “Submit” button or being forced t load a new page.  In other words, AJAX allows for web pages to exchange small amounts of data with the server and to be updated asynchronously and can reload part of the page rather than requiring the whole page to be update.  AJAX is not platform or browser dependent and is based on several standards and uses a mixture of the following:


  • CSS – use for setting style attributes
  • JavaScript/DOM – used for displaying and interacting with data
  • XML – sometimes used as format for data transferring
  • XMLHttpRequest object – used for asynchronous exchange of data with the server
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