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What is AJAX? Does Microsoft do AJAX?

Posted by Keith Mitchell on Tue, Feb 05, 2013

ajax_pAjax is “Asynchronous JavaScript and XML”. If you’ve ever used Microsoft Outlook Web (OWA), then you’ve used AJAX. Microsoft wrote OWA with hidden embedded web requests, so OWA could get and display new mail without refreshing the page all the time. Within a few years, everyone was doing this in several different ways. Microsoft was a pioneer, but AJAX is not Microsoft technology.

JavaScript (the modest little webpage scripting language) was one surprising ingredient. JavaScript was combined with something we got from Web Services: XML. That’s right-- Microsoft’s hidden browser function was combined with JavaScript and with some of the fast, light, network-ready data formats that we all learned from web services and SOAP, to create AJAX. Like magic, XML was being sent into web pages, “from behind”, to display data and reformat pages. The best part? It’s fast.

Atlas” was Microsoft’s first AJAX toolkit, released in 2007. When Microsoft renamed it to “AJAX toolkit 1.0”, many Microsoft developers were unhappy because they lost the cool name. But Microsoft knew what they were doing, because we’ve already been asked by clients why our AJAX is working, even though they never installed Microsoft AJAX on their

Unfortunately, Microsoft AJAX toolkit is not yet a tool of common choice, and many Microsoft.NET programmers compare the AJAX toolkit to early versions of FrontPage(they assume it will get much better before being replaced with something else entirely). As of right now, Microsoft AJAX Toolkit doesn’t easily stand up to such libraries as Prototype, Dojo, Scriptaculous, and General Interface, in the same manner that Front Page (which has now been replaced by SharePoint Designer) didn’t survive well in the market against Adobe Dreamweaver.

Before MS AJAX arrived, these other toolkits were listing clients on their websites from Gucci to NASA to Apple to ESPN to Sony, and even Microsoft! Developers who use only Microsoft tools may say AJAX is slow, because Microsoft AJAX can be slow. AJAX tools are already far more sophisticated than Web Service tools ever became, and the simple truth is that good web programming now requires qualified, experienced pros.

How does NSK Inc do AJAX?

NSK Inc uses an in-house AJAX library, which was specifically designed to do three things. It performs as well or better than equivalent Windows-based applications. It is learned easily by developers, so work for our clients can be done quickly and inexpensively. And our framework is useable on many browsers (in addition to Internet Explorer), and is 100% compatible with all current major server and development technologies, including Microsoft.NET. We’ve seen development turn-around as short as eight months, on financial industry projects of considerable complexity.

Written by Keith Mitchell, Senior Developer at Touch Ahead Software

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Tags: New Technology

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