Jesse James Garrett and the team at Adaptive Path have coined the shorthand term “Ajax” to mean the combination of all this cool DOM and CSS and XMLHTTPRequest stuff that everyone’s going on about. Garrett’s article, “Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications”, defines Ajax as follows:

  • standards-based presentation using XHTML and CSS;
  • dynamic display and interaction using the Document Object Model;
  • data interchange and manipulation using XML and XSLT;
  • asynchronous data retrieval using XMLHttpRequest;
  • and JavaScript binding everything together.

While I doubt that these concepts are new to Stylish Scripting readers, it is surely handy to have a nice short name to refer to them by. The article runs into some detail about how he concepts tie together, and flags examples of Ajax-enabled applications, like most of Google’s latest innovations. The Year of the DOM is the year of Ajax.


  • Hehe,.. I was going to blog about that too.

    The term ‘Ajax’ certainly has a catchy ring to it. The article does a great job at presenting the big picture, whereas most writing up till now has focussed on the specific ‘how-to’s’.

  • I have to admit I prefer “remote scripting” to Ajax, mainly because you really don’t need to involve any XML to do interesting client-server communications stuff. Still, it’s definitely convenient to have some shared vocabulary to discuss this stuff.

  • stylo~

    Nor do you need the asyncronous, xhtml or xslt. But then it would have to be called Ja for javascript, I guess, which it is, and you can’t charge a fortune to big companies to explain it.

    Better to point people here:

  • Remi

    Ajax is a football (soccer) squad in the netherlands … ;)

  • The way Google is pushing these technology, the future of web application depends more on the user. Three factor will make these technologies stable . 1) User interface 2) Communicating fast and effectively 3) using least resources.

    “Ajax” : The Implementation model of SOAP,XML

  • sil

    The reason I like the word “Ajax” is that, even though the X technically stands for “XML”, I think it’ll become a shorthand term for doing client-side stuff that involves dialogue with the server, whether it’s done with XMLHTTPRequest or not, and whether it’s done in XML or not. It’s a good word. Wish I’d thought of it :-)

  • gene

    I agree that the buzzword isn’t entirely accurate but it is useful and catchy. I think there’s already no stopping it, which isn’t a bad thing.

  • JR

    Ajax rules!! are they still in the league?

  • dotvoid

    Sorry – I’d say the AJAX word is is a stupid name for it as asynchronous is not a requirement and even often something you do not whish to use.

    I agree that it is a catchy name but building acronyms on incorrect assumptions just creates future confusion about the concept.

    Remote scripting is a way better expression for the different technologies available since many different technologies are used based on current needs.

    There are so many different ways of achieving this and to single out a specific selection as the ONE is really not a good idea.

    You have at your hands many technologies for javascript communication with a backend; iframe based callbacks, script src tag manipulation, SOAP, XMLHttpRequest and more. XML serialization is also not always a good idea.

    JPSpan mentioned above is one solution. Other good links are:

    Apart from the name the Ajax article did a good job of describing the technology very nicely.

  • jbot

    The only reason he’s coined this term is for publicity for his company. He reckons that if he people hear that Google implemented an Ajax solution they’ll also reckon it was based on software which his company developed. It’s a marketing scam – make up a name and associate it with some third party product so that others will think you had something to do with it. I really don’t think we should go along with this and let the guy benefit from other people’s work. Moreoever, Ajax used to be a type of toilet bleach here in the UK, which really sums up his crappy attempt to hoodwink the less knowledgeable.

  • theharmonyguy

    Tantek Celik has proposed “Cadex” instead . . .

  • I certainly like “Ajax”, and beside the commercial implications jbot sees, I elieve that having a name for such a complex thing (thinking on web site consumers, not developers) is always a good thing.

    Soon customers will ask if you know AJAX, as they ask now if you do SOAP or develop DHTML.

    They may don’t even know what it is, they just like the name and “have heard” that it is a good thing to have in their new site because it means a better user experience.

    That’s good to know I can replace my xmlHttpRequest with “Ajax” when describing a new project to a customer.


  • Am I going to have to point out the issue of lack of accessibility of XMLHTTPRequest AGAIN? This is another one of those ‘good ideas’ that the web community has had that eventually screws us *all* over, for one reason or another. See: frames, iframes, layers, table-based design … et cetera, ad nauseam.

    Don’t forget all your buddies will still be using the sites you build now in a couple of years, but on their mobiles – what will you tell them when they don’t work the way they expected cos the technology didn’t catch up yet? [/rant]

  • maladjust

    Funny, I thought that we still called this technology “DHTML”.

    Silly me.

  • Nik: There’s nothing about remote scripting or ‘ajaz’ that forces you to make things inaccessible without scripting. It’s more work to create a site that works without scripting, then add scripting for those who support it, but it’s nowhere near impossible.

  • Berislav Lopac

    Two points:

    1. Ajax is actually a heor from ancient Greek mythology, fighting alongside Achilles in Troian war (the huge guy with the mace in the recent movie).

    2. I’ve recently realized that anyone doing a Web applications is unavoidably making two applications: one server-side, and another client-side, unless the client side is nothing but pure HTML with no code to be executed client-side. The only thing that connects the two is the HTTP (or other similar) protocol, and the data passing between them.

    It is irrelevant what is the nature of the client application — whether it’s installed locally, or it’s transferred once (applet, flash, “ajax”) or on each page request (standard javascript). In my opinion, it is extremely important for Web developers to realize that, and construct their apllications with that in mind, or we end up with such monstrosities as portlets or ASP.NET.

  • Berislav Lopac

    On a second thought, if we used SOAP for back-end communication (And why wouldn’t we? This way we make our server-side application available to any conceivable client.), Ajax might be quite an appropriate name. :)

  • chris ward

    javascript remoting

  • stylo~

    > I believe that having a name for such a complex thing (thinking on web site consumers, not developers) is always a good thing.

    It’s always been called RPC (remote procedure calls) or “remote scripting” for as many years as I can remember by anyone who actually uses it.

    A- asynchronous not needed
    x- xml/xhtml/xslt/xmlhttprequest not needed


  • MrBester

    Yup, remote scripting is fun. For all this “Ajax” hype, it has been available for years; see Brent Ashley’s JSRS library which works in any browser capable of JavaScript. He even went to the trouble of writing server side handlers in a variety of languages (ASP, PHP, Python) and the concept (and the code) is really simple to anyone with a modicum of web app development experience.

    This was a few years ago, so possibly could be extended to embrace XMLHTTPREQUEST without too much difficulty. After all it’s only an object detection.

  • Aishwarya Rai

    Not sure how come ajax is such a hot thing. The base technology existed years ago


  • Puneet

    Ajax is definetily one of the best technology That the web world has seen. It has given whole new dimenssion to web application.

  • bijita

    hii there….i m working on ajax….m facing a typical problem….there is a link for sign out…it behaves normally most of the times….
    but sometimes it doesnt redirect to the home page properly.Instead it shows a blank page….
    i have tried echoing to check whether the header are getting redirected properly or not…
    on local system it works just fine….
    the problem exists only on the live server….
    and that too there is no such special case for this error….
    it occurs at random…..
    please suggest something….or mail me at

  • Bijita, this isn’t really a help desk. Try asking your question in our forums.

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