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The first use of the term in public was by Jesse James Garrett in February 2005. Garrett thought of the term while in the shower, when he realized the need for a shorthand term to represent the suite of technologies he was proposing to a client.
Although the term “Ajax” was coined in 2005, most histories of the technologies that enable Ajax start a decade earlier with Microsoft’s initiatives in developing Remote Scripting. Techniques for the asynchronous loading of content on an existing Web page without requiring a full reload date back as far as the IFRAME element type (introduced in Internet Explorer 3 in 1996) and the LAYER element type (introduced in Netscape 4 in 1997, abandoned during early development of Mozilla). Both element types had a src attribute that could take any external URL, and by loading a page containing JavaScript that manipulated the parent page, Ajax-like effects could be attained. This set of client-side technologies was usually grouped together under the generic term of DHTML. Macromedia’s Flash could also, from version 4, load XML and CSV files from a remote server without requiring a browser refresh.

The Ajax technique uses a combination of:

  • XHTML (or HTML) and CSS, for marking up and styling information.
  • The DOM accessed with a client-side scripting language, especially ECMAScript implementations such as JavaScript and JScript, to dynamically display and interact with the information presented.
  • The XMLHttpRequest object is used to exchange data asynchronously with the web server. In some Ajax frameworks and in certain situations, an IFrame object is used instead of the
  • XMLHttpRequest object to exchange data with the web server, and in other implementations, dynamically added < script> tags may be used.
    XML is sometimes used as the format for transferring data between the server and client, although any format will work, including preformatted HTML, plain text, JSON and even EBML. These files may be created dynamically by some form of server-side some form of server-side scripting.
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