Why is Ajax important? What makes a set of technologies that were invented a decade ago suddenly relevant? Don’t we have easier ways to write rich applications? And aren’t some of those already cross-platform? Wasn’t the deployment problem solved long ago, making web applications less and less relevant?

Those are legitimate questions—yet all the planets seem to have aligned for Ajax right now.

First, the browser wars are finally over and even Internet Explorer is firmly steered toward standards compliance. This means that it has become possible, at last, to write truly cross-browser applications with a little help from Ajax toolkits, effectively ironing-out any last differences.

Second, JavaScript, long considered a toy language, ...

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