Ajax Frameworks

The best technology to build dynamic web pages is Ajax. JavaScript code embedded into the HTML page is used to send requests to the server. At the server side, some processing is required to handle them, find the info or store the data. To do that, we need for a specialized framework. The framework has always a JavaScript part, and sometimes a server side part in another scripting language. A lot of them exist in various programming languages, in all environments around, but we retain here only the most widely used.


Why a framework?

Actually, this framework is the Ajax engine described by J. J. Garrett and intended to suppress waiting for the user when accessing the server.
The framework provides classical, cross-browser functions to use the XMLHttpRequest object. But a framework may goes beyond that, and allow to build "rich web applications", applications with a graphical user interface and other features of desktop software that run through a browser, while exchanging data with a remote server.

Features of an Ajax framework

Any Ajax framework is able to communicate with the server, and thus, to read data or to send it data or commands. In the last case a server-side script is required.
The frameworks often add components that make use of the asynchronous communication with the server.
The classical examples are buttons, tabbed panels, grids, listboxs and other such widgets.
A more innovative example, the "boxes", are more and more often implemented, and Lightbox and Slimbox are two of them. There are image galleries that place them side by side on the screen and that are making use of Ajax to display them instantanously .

Framework may be server-driven also, and in this case, component are created on the server with a scripting language such as PHP, and sent to the browser. Ajax is used to transmit user actions to the server part, and to handle the results.

The ability to work offline as it is offered by HTML 5 is a complement to the Ajax framework as well.

What Ajax framework to choose?

You want to use an Ajax framework to make dynamic pages without having to rewrite the whole stuff youself and test it on all browsers...
But they are so numerous that you wonder which one to use. You want not make a bad choise and be forced later to redo all the pages with a different framework!

You are less likely to regret the choice of a framework if you adopt one of the most used because they are continually supplemented by new extensions and have a good support by users.
Among these, there are jQuery, well documented, Mootools that is modular, Ext JS offering many widgets for RIA.
The interaction with a server side language also should guide the choice.

JavaScript libraries

Many Ajax frameworks and libraries rely solely upon JavaScript and contain no server components and therefore server technology dependencies.
Most of them use XML as data format, and sometime JSON, another textual format.

But all these simple JavaScript frameworks date a bit, it is more common now to use React, Angular or Vue.js all of which allow access to a database.

Java frameworks

Java is the programming language that is the more often used to build web services.
A Java framework permit to use Java web services interactively with a web page.

.NET frameworks

Beyond Ajax

Some current developments will reinforce again the importance of Ajax by providing standard for RIA (Rich Internet Applications), mainly HTML 5 that extends HTML with Web applications features and that allows a Web application to run offline.


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