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Web Design Fundamentals is a survey of Web design and development techniques and technologies, fundamental concepts, terms, and best practices involved in professional web design. Instructor James Williamson examines popular web development tools, server-side software solutions, content management solutions, and cloud-based software, providing a high-level overview of the world of Web publishing.
Recently, the term Ajax has gotten a lot of attention in web design, becoming one of the most used buzzwords in recent memory. Now despite this attention, there is still a great deal of confusion over just what Ajax is. Before discussing what Ajax is, I want to take a moment to define what Ajax isn't. First of, Ajax is not a new technology. It is not a programming language or a scripting software. In fact, Ajax isn't any one thing at all. Ajax is actually a very loose term that refers to the development of interactive applications, widgets, and interfaces through the use of existing technologies.
Ajax is a huge subject and there are entire books and titles on some of the various aspects of it. Rather than trying to cover everything in five minutes, I want to explain Ajax by breaking down a typical Ajax application. This will help show the advantages to using Ajax and why it is becoming increasingly more popular. Let's say you have a website that allows the user to browse and purchase paintings from several artists. You may want to first show a list of all paintings available, including a thumbnail of the painting, the artist, medium used, and price. Most shoppers would want more detailed inspection of the artwork, so you'd like them to be able to select an individual painting and learn more about it.
Now traditionally, most of this process would be handled by server-side application software. You would create a database of the artwork, and then create an initial page that dynamically populates the list, based on the database. Clicking on one of the paintings would traditionally take you to what is known as the Detail Page where additional information would be presented from the database, based on which item is clicked. To return to the list, the user would browse back to the listing page. Now while functional, this approach highlights a glaring deficiency with most server-side applications.
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