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AJAX Workshop Karen A Coombs University of Houston Libraries Jason A Clark Montana State University Libraries What is AJAX AJAX stands for Asynchronous Javascript and XML However not all AJAX apps involve XML AJAX uses a combination of technologies including XHTML CSS DOM XML XSLT XMLHttp JavaScript and a server scripting language such as PHP or Coldfusion AJAX was created because web developers needed a method for building more responsive and interactive applications AJAX Components XHTML and CSS Ajax applies these familiar Web standards for styling the look and feel of a page and to markup those areas on a page that will be targeted for data updates DOM document object model Ajax uses the DOM to manipulate dynamic page views for data and to walkthrough documents to cherrypick data The DOM enables certain pieces of an Ajax page to be transformed and updated with data XML JSON Javascript Object Notation HTML or plain text Ajax can use any of these standards to provide structure to the data it passes to and from a page XMLHttpRequest object The heavy lifter for Ajax It s a javascript object embedded in most modern browsers that sets up data request response pipelines between client and server Javascript Lightweight programming language that Ajax uses for instructions to bind all of the components together Why Use AJAX You want to make your applications more interactive You want to incorporate data from external Web Services You don t want your users to have to download a plugin Client vs Server Scripting Client scripting o Web browser does all the work Server Scripting o Web server does all the work AJAX leverages both client and server side scripting How AJAX Works AJAX Web Interaction What you don t see Data reload happens in the background JavaScript queries the server to get the proper data without you knowing it Page updates without a screen reload Potential Problems Javascript MUST be enabled Back button doesn t always work Pages can be difficult to bookmark

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