Ajax is a really important piece of the modern web application story. The technology was originally developed by Microsoft to power a web-based version of its Outlook e mail software. Microsoft implemented Ajax as an ActiveX control that could be used by its browser, Internet Explorer, and be called from JavaScript to perform asynchronous browser requests.

The advantage of the approach is that the browser doesn’t have to refresh the entire page to interact with the server, thus allowing the development of applications that bear a closer resemblance to their desktop counterparts. Since then, browsers other than Internet Explorer ...

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