AJAX model, good or bad?

AJAX model, good or bad?

AJAX has proven to be a great asset to the advancement of modern Web technology and has certainly paved the way forward in the aspiration of better and more user-friendly Web Application. However, before I drive into the advantages & disadvantages of AJAX and why I think it is good or bad, let me first clear the air, state the definition and give a little history lesson.

History

“Ajax is not a programming language or a tool, but a concept. Ajax is a client-side script that communicates to and from a server/database without the need for a postback or a complete page refresh.”, (Segue Technologies,  2013), Figure 1.0. AJAX is the acronym for Asynchronous JavaScript And XML. AJAX in essence in just a way to use existing web standards in a different more flexible format.

Using AJAX a developer is able to create web applications that are more user-friendly and are not processor intensive on the server with the share amount of request, its formatting and presentation. It was 1998 when Microsoft unveiled its XMLHttpRequest functionality to IE5  “which let browser-side JavaScript communicate with the web server in the background without requiring the browser to display a new web page.” (Swartz, 2005).

Figure 1.0 show AJAX xhttp request compared to normal HTTP request

AJAX XML

AJAX is browser-independent and is perfectly compatible alongside HTML and many server-side languages; namely PHP,  ASP, C#, Python and Go

Google was one of the first companies to use this functionality on its feature-rich websites to improve its UI – user interface and UX – user experience. Furthermore “it was Jesse J. Garrett’s February 18 essay that finally gave this technique a usable name: Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML)”, (Emiley, n.d)

Benefits of AJAX

  • Callbacks
  • Making Asynchronous Calls
  • User-Friendly
  • Increased Speed
  • Cross-Browser and Cross-Platform Compatibility

“Asynchronous” means multiple events are being fired independently of the other.

Web 2.0 applications have some key component that uses AJAX as a front-end feature namely: Google Maps – one of the most popularly used application for navigation.

In recent times, AJAX offered limitations, due to its functionality and desktop application resemblance, many thought of it to be limited to only being able to work online. However, as technology advanced so did AJAX. Software giant as such Microsoft, IBM, Google, and Oracle are now applying investments in Ajax desktops, Saas, and also AJAX frameworks. In a turn of events, if we look closely, AJAX is not trying to replace Desktop Application but rather Desktop application is now becoming more so like web applications.

Take for example Microsoft Window 8.1 or even the lastest 10; take a close look at the layout, the flow and how application now interacts with users, this is what AJAX had achieved with the web application; the smooth transition within the application is self, rather than more from window to window.

Desktop applications are now becoming or looking more and more like a web application. Microsoft uses XML for layout it’s Windows 8.1 OS or even earlier than that from Windows Vista. In a post by Carroll(2005), he stated that “this XML layout capability makes desktop development more like web development (the layout portions of which are a vast improvement over the traditional desktop model)”. This simply means that applications reliant on web services or web data sources will enviably make the move over to AJAX apps.

AdvantagesDisadvantages
Open StandardsComplexity
Usability and User ExperienceDifficult to Debug
Cross-Browser and Cross-PlatformSecuring resources and protecting your data
AdoptableDependent heavily on JavaScript
Web 2.0 Support
Server Agnostic

In conclusion, it is good or bad, look at it from this angle “AJAX is based on open standards supported by many browsers and platforms; this means there’s no fear of vendor lock-in” (Charland, 2005) therefore in my humblest option AJAX model offers excellent user interface and experiences; and is going the extra mile, writing the extra code to satisfy your greatest asset; your user worth it. Any developer knows that usability and user experience are what is necessary to win over the masses, this is what Google does every day and tries to do what every application that they release to the public. So Yes, a resounding yes AJAX is good and will certainly help with future web technology endeavors.

References:

Charland, A. (2005) Top Ten Reasons AJAX is Here to Stay, Available at: http://www.developer.com/design/article.php/3567706/Top-Ten-Reasons-AJAX-is-Here-to-Stay.htm (Accessed: July 13, 2016).

Carroll, J. (2005) AJAX vs. desktop development, Available at: http://www.zdnet.com/article/ajax-vs-desktop-development/ (Accessed: July 13, 2016).

Swartz, A. (2005) A Brief History of Ajax, Available at: http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/ajaxhistory (Accessed: July 13, 2016).

Emiley, J. (n.d) The History of AJAX, Available at: http://www.java-samples.com/showtutorial.php?tutorialid=238 (Accessed: July 13, 2016).

Segue Technologies (2013) What is Ajax and Where is it Used in Technology?, Available at: http://www.seguetech.com/what-is-ajax-and-where-is-it-used-in-technology/ (Accessed: July 13, 2016).

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