What is AJAX.
AJAX is a web development technique for creating interactive web applications using a combination of:
• XHTML, HTML and CSS for marking up and styling information.
• The XMLHttpRequest object to exchange data asynchronously with the web server.
• And finally XML for transfering data, although any format will work, including preformatted HTML, plain text.
Ajax's prime advantage over other Rich Internet Application technologies is seamless integration with HTML so it can be used incrementally without the need to change existing Web content.
However, the AJAX technology is still immature, and tools and frameworks have not gained a lot of traction yet. It involves a lot of work with toolkits and libraries.
Rich Internet Applications are those applications that offer functionality beyond standard HTML frames and hyperlinks. A well-noted example of Ajax functionality is Google Maps.
The dominant RIA technology in use today is Macromedia Flash/Flex. Other RIA technologies include the user interface markup language for the Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation called XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language), Mozilla's XML-based user interface language XUL, droplets and Java applets, and Microsoft's upcoming Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere (WPF/E).
Microsoft is planning to roll out an Ajax framework extension, code-named Atlas, which looks very promising.
The Tibco tool for writing Ajax applications looks quite good.
In addition to IDEs or framework extensions, there are also Ajax UI tools and remoting tools available -- more than four dozen in all, including both proprietary and open source offerings.
To date, much of the Ajax attention has been focused on business-to consumer Web sites, but Ajax does have some synergy with Web services and SOA, and it could impact enterprise portals.
Some people believe Ajax will be a major comeback factor in portal solutions. Portals came out with a lot of hype, but in reality they're not a quite a silver bullet. But the ability to combine Ajax presentation with portal functionally will enhance the corporate user experience.
The analogy I use is the browser popup window, which was originally a usability feature, but it was so abused it became a pariah of the Web and people disabled them.
So as of now, there is no clear data whether AJAX is just hype or a reality that will make its way into enterprises.
My personal suggestion is to wait and watch to see how the industry embraces AJAX but in the meantime, do prepare yourself with at least the basics of AJAX so when enterprises are ready to embrace AJAX, you already are!!
Here are some nice links for you to get started:
Talkbacks and comments are always welcome.