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Glossary

AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) is a cross platform web development technique for creating interactive web applications using a combination of largely existing technologies, including:

  1. XHTML/DHTML and CSS for marking up and styling the information.
  2. The Document Object Model manipulated through JavaScript to dynamically display and interact with the information presented.
  3. The XMLHttpRequest object to exchange data asynchronously with the web server. Or possibly in some AJAX frameworks or in some situations, an IFrame object is used instead of the XMLHttpRequest object to exchange data with the web server.

We were actually performing some asynchronous remote scripting prior to the Ajax term ever being coined – simply using DHTML, JavaScript and XMLHttp (XmlHttp reduces the need for Web clients to reconnect to a Web server every time information is downloaded).

AJAX benefits include the following:                        

  1. Delivery of richly formatted, browser-based business applications with a real-time interaction equivalent to Win32 desktop programs. Specific browser-based functionality includes drag-and-drop movement, selection sensitive toolbars and menus, auto-completion and most of all real-time system changes without page refreshes.
  2. Also referred to as a Rich Internet Application (RIA), AJAX refreshes only figures that have changed, rather than a whole Web page; thereby improving performance by reducing bandwidth and memory usage.
  3. No more click-and-wait for our users. The traditional web-based architecture (the post-back model) is inefficient as it wastes bandwidth. Every hyperlink activation or button press results in a post-back (reload) of an entire web page, when often all that was required was a tiny block of text from the database. AJAX solves this inefficiency with XML HTTP. Using XML HTTP and JavaScript, a developer can make an asynchronous request for a block of information from a server without needing to reload an entire page.
  4. AJAX relies on nothing but the built-in browser internals and requires no proprietary plug-ins or downloads. No extra software needs to be distributed to users, making AJAX an attractive option for companies concerned about security and logistical implications of distributing installed software to users. AJAX is supported by all major browsers, including IE, Mozilla FireFox, Netscape, Opera and Safari.
  5. Network benefits include: Servers receive fewer requests per time per user, servers do not need to render HTML, thereby reducing the number of CPU cycles needed for each request and traffic transferred over the network is significantly smaller than full HTML representation.
  6. Performing targeted information updates, or micro-updates , can substantially reduce network loads and produce faster interaction with live data. Benefits can be measured through total bytes transferred, total download time and steps/seconds to complete a task.

Atlas--which is a downloadable piece of JavaScript code from MS -- gives developers a more structured AJAX environment for building applications, providing time-saving services such as an object model and debugging. It will work across any Web browser that supports AJAX technologies. We’ll expect Microsoft to build a framework around Atlas and we’ll continue to monitor Atlas advancement.

Reference Computer Associates.

vendor's decision to standardize on the MS .NET development environment was largely influenced by the tools used witin our client target market as well as the technical capabilities to develop enterprise-level, mission critical business systems. According to Forrester, 56% of enterprises are choosing .NET, vs. 44% for J2EE, while IDC reports that 35.7% of large corporations use .NET for their most important applications, compared with 25.3% for Java.

Oracle financials not used here.

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