The term Ajax was coined by Jesse James Garrett of AdaptivePath in a paper that he wrote not long ago discussing a new approach to web applications. If you have an interest in Ajax, this is the defining paper article to read, as I’ve dumbed down my explanation here.
While Ajax means different things to developers and end-users, it has recently been associated with fast web-based applications with rich interfaces - also known as RIAs (Rich Internet Applications) or even ARIAs (Ajax RIAs). The surge of interest in Ajax stems primarily from the ability of applications developers to deliver web-based interfaces that behave as if they are running on a desktop instead of within a browser (or browser-like) window. Ajax also increases the potential for huge collaborative efforts, and makes distribution of software upgrades easy, since the applications are running on the Internet.
Several Ajax and RIA development environments have been appearing in the past year, including TIBCO General Interface, Morfik JST, and Backbase. I’ve tried all three of these IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) and they each take a different approach with their own pros and cons. These three are the most prominent, but no doubt other environments will become available, as Ajax techniques have and will continue to revolutionize the way that software is developed and distributed.
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