You Need To Know About Ajax

It seems the whole w.w.w has gone Ajax mad recently. And with good cause! It's amazing. It's kind of passed me by until now. Then on Friday I actually used it for the first time, in order to meet a client's requirements. I think they were almost as blown away as I was. Me more so as I was impressed merely that it worked with such little effort.

You've probably been amazed at some of the stuff Google have been doing recently: Maps, Gmail, Suggest to name, erm, three. Wondered how they work? Well the glue that holds them all together is Ajax.

I feel duty-bound to bring it to your attention. As web developers you really, really need to know about this! And so, my mission this week is to convince you of three things:

  1. Just how useful/important the Ajax concept is.
  2. That it's not really that hard to learn about and use in your applications.
  3. That learning to use Ajax with Domino will completely change the way you develop your applications.

Even if you don't believe me about how useful it is or if you find it incredibly difficult to understand I'm sure you'll be thankful for sticking with me on this one. More tomorrow.


    • avatar
    • Blop
    • Tue 26 Apr 2005 02:59

    A salient reminder of why I read this blog.

    When you take ...

    1. your ability to teach others stuff you either already know or are in the process of learning,

    and combined it with

    2. (For me at least), a common background of Domino development,

    it results in some very relevant stuff.

  1. I did that with domino about 4 years ago - thats what projectdx was originally about.

    At the time soap was not a buzzword - but concepts were the same - the notesdocument was bundled in xml and delivered via a servlet - requested by a javascript api and rendered to the fixed screen (so an application felt more like an application not just a dumb browser flickering from page to page).

    Views were rendered using readviewentries and readviewdesign etc

    It was a huge bit of code/software that is still in use commercially today by one of the largest companies in the US and some pretty big ones in the UK.

    • avatar
    • Iris
    • Tue 26 Apr 2005 04:46


    Do you still need to work?


  2. There is a lot of nice tweaks for even a modest website you can pull out of this technique. Based on the Google Suggest, we used it to populate a hierarchy of drop downs so we didn't have to do page refreshes.

    The beauty is that you can use it with simple text... you don't neccesarily need to learn or work with XML... so if that's worrying you off, stay tuned for what Jake is going to cover tomorrow as I'm sure he'll hit all the angles.

  3. Iris - unfortunately yes! People made a lot of money from it - I was not one!

  4. Oh boy Jake, you're a master of the classic 'soap cliffhanger technique'.

    You know, the one where they end Eastenders/Crossroads/Neighbours immediately following a major revelation which keeps the viewer coming back to watch the next episode to see what happens next.

    You should go into marketing or something.

    • avatar
    • Jake Howlett
    • Tue 26 Apr 2005 12:00

    This *is* marketing Tyron. Apparently blogging is "passive" marketing. It seems to work for me as I've not looked for work or used an agency for about three years now.

    • avatar
    • Yuval
    • Tue 26 Apr 2005 02:57 PM

    I'm using it for 3-4 years now, and never knew it has a name, and not just a common name but Ajax, my favorite team.

    who would imagine I will now think about soccer every time I'm using an XML request to create a dynamic list ?

  5. If doing Javascript/XML development you might want to check out Sarissa to overcome browser incompabilities --> {Link}

    • avatar
    • Jake Howlett
    • Tue 26 Apr 2005 04:25 PM

    Makes me think of domestic cleaning products Yuval.

    Thanks Mikkel. Looks good.

    For the sake of my own ego I'd like to point out that when I say I used it for the first time recently I mean the specific implementation "suggested" by Ajax. For years now I've been using JS and XML to do on-the-fly stuff. Now I am doing it with Ajax and it works in all browsers.

    • avatar
    • Andrew Tetlaw
    • Tue 26 Apr 2005 08:46 PM

    Yeah, I agree with Mikkel, Sarissa is great.

    The prototype library looks good too:

    prototype.conio.net {Link}

  6. Hi

    I used "AJAX" a couple a years ago in connection with a B2B Domino website.

    I had 3 dynamic dropdown boxes each dependant of each other. By using "AJAX" and some views this worked beautifuly.

    (May write something about that soon)

    Some years ago I also used XLoadTree (AJAX based) from {Link} to show Domino views as trees in the browser. Works great in Firefox ..not so fast in IE (see Link)


    Jesper Kiær

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