Chapter 3. Ajax Tools and Terminology

JavaScript has undergone a metamorphosis since its earliest beginnings. With newer versions, in addition to more complex and rich JavaScript libraries, it may seem as if you’re using an entirely new language—full of strange and odd operators and functions. The popularity of Ajax has generated interest in more formal approaches to JavaScript development and this has led to the creation of new concepts and associated terminology and coding syntax. The positive effect of such effort is more robust and richer applications. The downside, however, is having to learn the lingo of the Ajax development community, as well as having to spend a considerable amount of time with the libraries before you can incorporate them into your own applications.

This chapter looks at some of the more popular Ajax libraries, both as an introduction to the library and as a way of introducing some of the more commonly occurring Ajax concepts and terminologies. In addition, it also covers some of the more common “gotchas” associated with using the libraries, many of which were designed more for developing a new form of desktop application than adding Ajax to existing web sites and applications.

Most Ajax libraries provide a basic set of functionality, such as methods that can access any web page object without having to use the DOM methods. Most libraries also provide the ability to communicate with a web service. The major difference between library types is whether they ...

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