There and Back Again

Understanding AJAX Digital Shortcut Available

A chapter from my book, Understanding AJAX has been made available as a digital shortcut. This chapter covers the different ways you can use the data you transfer using XMLHttpRequest.

Document centric approaches based on HTML and XML are described as well as various RPC approaches are shown.

Personally i tend to use JSON based RPC approaches or HTML document based approaches. Document based HTML approaches let you add AJAX support without radically changing your development model, since its just a matter of breaking your pages into small chunks and generating HTML just like normal. RPC approaches allow you to develop JavaScript driven apps, which is great for quick prototyping and small apps, since you can write a backend in PHP and have it made immediatly accessible (at least if you use a library like HTML_AJAX to do the work for you) to your HTML and JavaScript frontend.

In Clearhealth we use both approaches. JavaScript widgets like our patient selector make RPC requests. While screens like the claim editor make standard HTTP POSTs treating each form section like it is its own page.

I don’t do much work with AJAX and XML, but client side XSLT can be a good solution if you need to move lots of data since it tends to scale better to extremly large datasets (especially in IE).

If your interested in the details of these various approaches grab the digital shortcut or pickup Understanding AJAX.

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