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What is AJAX?

AJAXenables richer online user interfaces.

When we use desktop packages, like Word or Excel, we can drag, drop, click, sort, and so forth – all without having to wait around for your screen to reload. AJAX brings this sort of functionality to the web.

AJAX is a term used to describe a combination of four key elements:

  • Javascript – for the programming
  • CSS – for the style/layout
  • DOM – for the page elements that Javascript will change
  • XMLHttpRequest object – for retrieving data from the server behind the scenes without refreshing the page

A few years ago, DHTML was all the rage – it combined the first three of those AJAX elements. It enabled rich user interfaces, but the problem was that you still had to refresh the page each time you changed something significant.


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