AJAX has been around for several years, but has gained widespread popularity recently and is on the rise with more sites demanding a better user experience. Standing for Asynchronous Javascript + XML, AJAX allows a site to interact with the server via Javascript without having to reload the entire page. It is a powerful technique that can make webpages faster, more user-friendly and more efficient. Examples of AJAX include auto complete forms, form validation, filtering data, and page navigation. Why would you want to use AJAX on your website?

To Improve User Experience

There may be certain portions of your page that change often and need to be displayed to the user. Without AJAX, the user would have to refresh the page to get the new information. However, the user might not necessarily know that they need to refresh the page to retrieve updated content. Refreshing the page is an extra step that the user needs to take and this interrupts their experience. AJAX allows you to display instant information without needing to refresh the page.

To Increase Performance

AJAX can reduce the amount of calls it makes to the server by minimizing the number of page transactions in a web application. Instead of relying on the slow and cumbersome request/response architecture of HTTP, developers can use AJAX to make the process quicker by retrieving smaller data sets in compact formats like JSON.
For example, on a website without AJAX, when you enter data in a form and hit the submit button, the browser sends the form data back to the server and then back to the page to indicate any validation errors. Then you have to enter your information again and submit it. If there are more errors, this cycle can continue, making many trips back and forth to the server. Using AJAX allows the form validation to take place dynamically. You would see if you had errors before submitting the form and could correct them immediately. The application would not even allow you to submit the form to the server until those errors were fixed.

To Organize and Reduce Code

When developing a new project, the norm is to build a web application—unless there is something that dictates that it must be a desktop install or run offline. Therefore, there is a need for more techniques to make development of web applications easier. AJAX makes developing easier because it breaks down the page into portions, allowing the developer to concentrate on particular functionality instead of relying on entire page refreshes to update content. Ultimately, AJAX can result in more organized code and require less code to achieve the same results as a non-AJAX application.

A Central Point of Development

If you relied on server side code to achieve all the same functionality you can use AJAX for, this means more deployment of code. AJAX is completely Javascript client-side code. There is no need to deal with server side code and updates can be made without deployment. You update code in one central server point, making it a better choice over other technologies.

Cross-Platform Development

AJAX is capable of delivering cross platform, cross browser, and desktop quality applications. With its flexibility, it is a very attractive technique to use in applications. Many applications that run on mobile devices use AJAX. Whenever an app you are using updates without you manually refreshing, that’s AJAX in action!

There are many benefits to AJAX and most web applications today should make use of it to achieve a better user experience and make development easier. AJAX offers many features and most major websites and applications utilize it somewhere on their site.

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