Ajax Lesson 01

February 22, 2006

Today I will be blogging about AJAX. AJAX uses a number of old web technologies, but it has recently become a very hot topic. A number of cool web applications like Google Maps as well as new email services like Windows Live Mail Beta use it. You may even have noticed it in our application when you create an invoice or use a coupon.

It basically allows you to access information from another web address without actually visiting that web address. To me, it means real-time access to our databases. Although AJAX is a very useful technology, it does have a number of short-comings. Browser compatibility and usability are the top two on my list. I will be going into more details about the benefits and drawbacks in my next post.

For the time being, here are a few useful links. I have separated them into two categories:

For Designers and Web Fanatics:
Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications
Written by the man who coined the term AJAX, this article introduces the concept. The diagrams in his article illustrate the concept beautifully.

Wikipedia – AJAX
This article is an excellent resource outlining a lot of information as well as a good overview of its history.

For Nerds:
Guide to Using AJAX and XMLHttpRequest from WebPasties
This is an excellent step-by-step tutorial on creating a basic application. I highly recommend it. Did I mention it comes with downloadable source code?

AJAX : A Basic Example and a Bookmarklet
This is another great tutorial to try once you have mastered the one above. This article goes into more detail about the core functions.

Stay tuned for more.

about the author

FreshBooks is the #1 accounting software in the cloud designed to make billing painless for small businesses and their teams. Today, over 10 million small businesses use FreshBooks to effortlessly send professional looking invoices, organize expenses and track their billable time.