- Old model -- every click requires re-loading the entire page even if you just changed one line. AJAX allows page updating without refreshing entire page.
(Derived in part from this Sun Developer Network article which includes a good list of uses and drawbacks)
- Response time, plus page doesn't reload so if you are scrolled down a ways on a page when you update, it doesn't scroll you back to the top.
- Smart forms -- immediate validation, auto-completion and only showing you relevant choices
- Sophisticated user interface controls -- web pages can behave more like desktop apps
- New model of development for programmers
- Browser 'Back' button may have unintended consequences
- Google Home Page, Google Maps, Google Suggest
- Zimbra web-based email client
- NumSum web-based spreadsheet
- Monket web-based calendar
- Also see an earlier post on uses of AJAX and the tech-oriented Ajaxian site
Examples at HBS
This kind of technology allows us to focus on those innovate technology uses we've already implemented and think about how we can continue to enrich the user experience on our products and applications. Some of these innovations have actually used AJAX, whereas others embody the same types of benefits.
- Tutorial Platform Authoring Environment -- we'll look at how AJAX is used in the new content editing feature as well as the module re-ordering tool.
- "Communication Exercise: Distinguishing Truth & Lies" -- we'll look at how an approach similar to AJAX is used in this interface.
- HBS/Google Map Mash-up. Our ETMM intern Jacob Potter created a mash-up of Google Maps with HBS campus info.