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Applications of AJAX

AJAX Applications: In this article, we are going to learn about the applications of AJAX programming.
Submitted by Siddhant Verma, November 19, 2019

AJAX has several benefits that can be utilized inside a web application. In this article, we'll explore some advantages of AJAX and see some of its applications.

Writing Callbacks

Recall that a simple callback function is just one function calling another one by taking the latter as a parameter. We can use AJAX to make a callback in many applications without waiting for the page to respond with the data. Now, this has an advantage when it comes to building an application that runs fast and smoothly thereby providing great user experience. The network speeds up and performance becomes better because the network utilization is considerably reduced. Similarly, if a website has a restricted bandwidth, it considerably boosts up. This is a great exploitation of the fact that many times writing AJAX requests we only need a small amount of data for our application. It doesn't make sense to have a large response time for minimal data. The response time, network load and speed should be in accordance with the kind and amount of data we're taking in.

Making Asynchronous Calls

The asynchronous behavior of an application is the magic behind single-page applications. These days modern applications have a single page with multiple functions that are undisturbed when the process is fetching data from a server is going on the background. These asynchronous calls can be made with Ajax to a backend, API or a server. As a user, we never have to wait for that data to come back for seeing other pages on the website or seeing some content.

Alright so AJAX is used to write callbacks and making async calls, but where are these benefits utilized?

1) Login forms

Working with AJAX in login forms is a great way to understand it's an advantage. We create a simple login form and attach an event listener to our submit event. When this event is triggered, we make an AJAX call to our database and check for valid user credentials. All of this without the slightest need to steer away from the current page or reloading the pageA popular site like Digg has a login system that works this way.

2) Autocomplete

Google was one of the first major companies to start using AJAX. When google's search engine tool came out everyone was talking about it. You must have not noticed that the autocomplete feature inside their engine was dynamic even back then, courtesy of AJAX. When typing into the Google search bar, it starts to use AJAX to get common results from the database on each keystroke. Even now you can use AJAX to add auto-complete features on your web application easily. This is also implemented in many UI Libraries which give us the autocomplete feature using an inbuilt plugin but inside it's simple AJAX callback working on the autocomplete feature.

3) Dynamically updating content

It shouldn't be a surprise that popular social media platforms established their dominance on the web by showing the user's feed, comments, posts, etc dynamically without the need to refresh the page. The AJAX engine would fetch data in real-time and show it to the user. This is how the page would update content dynamically and offers a great user experience.

4) Chatting applications

Long ago, back when instant messaging had just come out and had started gaining immense popularity, most online chat rooms and chat apps were using AJAX requests for the complete functioning of their chatting applications.

5) Widgets and adds

Widgets were super popular back then just as much as ads are these days. You must have noticed a lot of times adds on a website changes after some time and all of this happens while you have been on the same page for the last 15 minutes doing possibly nothing but read out some wiki information that you need. You never clicked anywhere, never reloaded the page, the network speed was fantabulous. In such a situation if the page just out of nowhere grabs some data and updates it, while you're in awe wondering wasn't there an advertisement of mind valley here before? Now there's one for Mitashi. All of this because of AJAX callbacks and asynchronous AJAX requests.

Reference: How AJAX Works: 10 Practical Uses For AJAX

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