Chapter 7. Programming Ajax and Silverlight Clients

An Ajax application is a web browser-based application that relies heavily on JavaScript and web services for its functionality. The idea is to bring some of the richness of desktop clients built directly on operating systems to applications built inside a web browser.


Ajax used to stand for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. However, the industry has decided that Ajax is no longer an acronym, and instead is now a word. It’s kind of odd how that happens, but it makes sense in this case because most Ajax applications today use JavaScript, and fewer and fewer use XML, as I’ll explain later in the chapter.

Gone are the days when browsers simply made HTTP requests and displayed the resulting web pages. Nowadays, modern browsers support the use of client-side code that allows users to access functions within a web page without having to make additional requests to the server. This code may be JavaScript, or it may be a more sophisticated browser plug-in written in some other language. Applications that use plug-ins are often called rich Internet applications, or RIAs. The calls back to the web server are normally used to get data, which then can be used to update the HTML displayed in the browser, via the browser’s API (usually referred to as the HTML Document Object Model, or DOM). These applications are generally user-friendly, as the page in the browser can change and respond to UI requests without having to be refreshed in its entirety, ...

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