If you hope to work in web development, you’ll probably need to understand a few things about how AJAX works. In this article we’ll answer the questions What Is AJAX and What is AJAX used for?
What Is AJAX Used For?
The ‘asynchronous’ in AJAX refers to the problem of updating components of a web page or web application at different times. A common example of this process in action is a user filling out a form, hitting ‘Submit’, and seeing the screen display a message.
On the back end, what’s really happening is the server side and various parts of the web page are exchanging data. And the state of the page is changing. Without AJAX techniques, the user would have to manually refresh the page to see any confirmation their information has been successfully transmitted.
Other examples include Google Maps or Google autocomplete. We tend to take autocomplete for granted, but it’s a powerful use case for the AJAX development protocol. With each letter that you type, Google’s front end sends the request to update its list of suggestions. The back end processes the request and returns the data to update the front end. Without AJAX you wouldn’t be able to see the updated list without reloading the page after every letter.
Can you imagine living in that world? Luckily, we don’t have to. AJAX handles asynchronous updates smoothly and effectively, without making users reload the entire page to get data from the server.
Should I Learn AJAX?
Extensible Markup Language (XML) is similar to HTML in that it’s a markup language intended to communicate information about a page’s content. Unlike HTML, it’s used to send data on a page to the browser displaying the page. This accomplishes several things, not least of which is making data readable across otherwise incompatible systems.
You could even add a web server language like PHP and a client side web application development framework like Ruby on Rails. With all of this under your belt, there won’t be much in the world of web development you won’t be prepared for.