CHAPTER 5Ajax and Data Exchange

If you've heard the term used only casually, you might have pondered whether Ajax has simply become the new word for JavaScript. The term, coined by Jesse James Garrett of Adaptive Path, actually came about fairly recently (in 2005). Garrett (and probably others within Adaptive Path) came up with the term as a convenient way of describing a specific interaction: Asynchronous JavaScript and XML.

With Ajax, JavaScript can communicate with the server, returning results in a chunk of XML. You can then use that new data to update what the user sees on the screen, and it all is done without a page refresh. The great thing about this process is the asynchronous part: you can perform these tasks behind the scenes while ...

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