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What is AJAX?


AJAX stands for Asynchronous Javascript And XML. And, if you aren't a programmer, that probably means about as much to you as a dog barking. In fact, a barking dog might be a little easier to understand.

For those that are non-technical, AJAX simply means that the web page can be more responsive and act more like an application without always requiring us to click on links and reload the page. AJAX is one of the key underlying concepts behind Web 2.0, which strives to be both more collaborative and more dynamic.

What is an AJAX Website?

An AJAX website is a website built using the AJAX methodology that allows it to pass information back and forth seamlessly. This means the website can be more dynamic. Because it can load up just pieces of the page instead of the entire page, it can transform a large and confusing website into a simple application.

A great example of an AJAX website is Protopage. Protopage is a personalized start page that allows you to create your own modules with RSS feeds, podcasts, vidcasts, and other web widgets.

Because Protopage uses AJAX techniques, you can play a podcast from one tab on the personalized page and continue listening to it while you go to other tabs. Compare this to Last.FM, where you can listen to your own radio station, but if you try to explore the rest of the website in the same browser page, the radio stops playing.

Why Should I Care About AJAX?

Through AJAX, websites are able to become more dynamic which means they will become both more powerful and easier to use. But, unless you are a web programmer, or you are managing a group of web programmers, you probably don't need to know exactly what AJAX is or what it does.

Simply remember that AJAX puts the "dynamic" in Web 2.0, so when you see something described as an AJAX website, know that it is probably a dynamic website.

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