Thursday, September 20th, 2007

“Ajax” Forever?

Category: Ajax, Editorial

When we started Ajaxian, we thought that the term “Ajax” would have legs for a few months, maybe a few years, and that it would eventually disintegrate back into the web development ether. As the years have gone by, it’s clear that the term Ajax is still hanging around.

The most recent data point is from Ryan Stewart’s popular blog:

Job Graph

Job postings mentioning “Ajax” skills are sharply on the rise. So while the tech. celebrity CEO’s like Steve Jobs have dropped Ajax from their vocabulary in recent presentations (in many cases falling back to the overloaded “Web 2.0” term), it seems that Ajax as a term for rich, dynamic websites will be with us for some time to come.

It’s also nice to see that maybe, just maybe, we are indeed driving up web developer wages. ;-)

Are you using “Ajax” to generically describe both JavaScript-driven remoting and interactivity, or do you use some other term?

Posted by Ben Galbraith at 6:00 am

3.8 rating from 34 votes


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AJAX when its JS/XML
POJO when its just JS/DOM

often times, people associate anything JS based to be AJAX… …let’s not forget what the first A and X stand for… …if its not there, its POJO!

Comment by eugene — September 20, 2007

@Eugene: Do you put POJO on your resume?

Comment by Jon — September 20, 2007

i just call it ‘interactive pages’, or ‘something better than webpages’, sometimes ‘web2.0’ – lot of people have no idea what is ajax.. :(

Comment by zero0x — September 20, 2007

RIA is a superset of Ajax meaning Rich Internet Applications
Ajax (NOT AJAX) means Asynchronous Javascript And XML(HTTPRequest)

I think the X meaning XML is just plain WRONG btw, I think it’s more of an XMLHTTPRequest thing… ;)

Just my 2cents…


Comment by Thomas Hansen — September 20, 2007

In my case fullAJAX to indicate sheer JS Programming… I was lacking a better term to describe it. I think “AJAX” rings the right bell, while “Web 2.0” tends to be regarded as an overaged marketing term. I think AJAX has a more professional sound.

Comment by Frank Thuerigen — September 20, 2007

I’ve started wrapping all high-end clientside experience into the Ajax hat. Web 2.0 sounds unprofessional and generalized. Usually if you’ve been using Ajax, then you also have experience doing JS/CSS/DOM too (unless of course you use one of those auto-JS generators like GWT in which case you’re just a poser and shouldn’t put Ajax on a resume ;-).

Comment by Andy Kant — September 20, 2007

About 99% of the people I’ve talked with have no idea what ajax stands for. They always mean ‘anything javascript based’.
I find the fact stupid that many people refer to me as ajax specialist. I’d much rather be called JavaScript specialist (well, that’s what I really am).
So when I talk about JavaScript, I also use the word JavaScript. Everything that’s going on dynamically on your webpages is JavaScript. Period. (…ah well, and VBScript, but that’s an exotic one :) )

Comment by Paul Bakaus — September 20, 2007

I’ll say HTML/CSS/JavaScript, just JavaScript, or “DHTML” even. It’s easier to infer Ajax or “Web 2.0” and people will smile and nod, though you can pretty sure they don’t know -specifically- what aspect you work on at that point. ;)

My “DHTML Arkanoid” project from 2002 would be labeled “Ajax” Arkanoid these days (it has been called that by some blogs, in fact), despite that there was no XHR involved until quite recently (Safari wouldn’t accept dynamic create/append of script nodes, or so it seemed.) :)

Regardless, mis-labeling/categorization of the webdev job is probably tied to the fact that it’s still an evolving position, covers a wide variety of skills and attracts a number of people from different backgrounds.

Comment by Scott Schiller — September 20, 2007

For me, work that relies on or takes advantage of an XHR may be referred to as AJAX. I generally try not to use the the term unless referring to asynchronous JavaScipt and XML – the words from which the acronym AJAX is derived. Asynchronous JavaScript pretty much means XHR, XmlHttpRequest, which implies XML on some level.

Regarding Ajax or AJAX, it’s pretty common to use upper case with acronyms, no?

I’m surprised how many said something to the effect that “many don’t know what AJAX is or stands for”. Of course, this is the case when I talk with folks who aren’t web devs but if they are, most I come across are quite familiar with AJAX. If they’re not web devs then I refer to websites having a certain AJAXiness with terms similar to those used by zero0x above. I’ll also often refer to a site driven by AJAX techniques as a web application that responds like a desktop application.

Comment by Eric — September 20, 2007

Any trend that can’t continue won’t.

Comment by Alex Russell — September 20, 2007

Alex nailed it.

“Ajax” is not a sustainable platform. It will be replaced and the term will disappear. But… it might take a few years.


Comment by Nate Grover — September 20, 2007

…wow, Alex and Nate… you guys sound depressed! Unplug and cheer up, guys, this stuff is fun :) …imho, Ajax is here to stay in whatever name it takes on — I define Ajax as: using browser native technologies (JavaScript esp) to make asynchronous requests && manipulate the DOM. Ajax = modern DHTML

Comment by Mark Holton — September 20, 2007

reminds me of the term “NOS”

remember how that took off after the fast and the furious movie came out

i bet AJAX will follow the same path

Comment by Scott — September 20, 2007

@Scott… are you serious? So you think people will abandon these asynchronous practices? And/or JavaScript development in the browser? Or will they all move to Flex/Flash/Silverlight? …I would disagree with all three of those wholeheartedly (and I happen to really like Flex). JS isn’t going anywhere, neither are browser standards (even if MSFT abandons them). It would be nice to see standards progress a little faster, but they sure aren’t going to go away. These techniques have generated enthusiasm because they present a more responsive web. I don’t see that changing for the worse, but instead continuing to evolve for the better. …call me an optimist

Comment by Mark Holton — September 20, 2007

I hope it’s not for the end of my life (world should have a progress).
Javascript is pretty simple and has number of speed and security problems (in compare with desktop applications).
I think it was a big step in web-dev to normalize javascript dom-event to all browsers with js-frameworks and innovate ajax as technology. It gave possibility to write much more faster applications and showed the world (and microsoft) that it is possible to use http for something more than just for static web-pages.
but dont forget, javascript + html were designed to display static webpages. why not to create technology to display dynamic web applications?
I think silverlight(or maybe adobe air) has the same problem as javascript and css ten years ago: it is not much client machines, which have support for that technology.

Comment by Dmitry Monin — September 20, 2007

If your job posting includes CSS+JavaScript+HTML than you can replace it with AJAX which includes all of them. Just like how LAMP represents Linux+Apache+etc.

Comment by Jordan — September 20, 2007

IMHO, term AJAX will fade with the passage of time, but it’ll remain there thats pretty much sure. Web 2.0 happens to be a more generic term, because it is supposed to be a more generic one. Web 2.0 is about the change of idea/concept of building/perceiving web application (i.e. giving web apps a look n feel n *behavior* like desktop apps). And you can do so by using any technology. However, AJAX restricts the technology to be in JavaScript only whereas Web 2.0 don’t (more generic term).

Comment by Muhammad Ali — September 20, 2007

Javascript is standardized, so it won’t fall into the proprietary manipulations we see from Microsoft.

As for Apple marketing. Jobs has chosen well to use the term Web 2.0, it resonates well with the average Joe. But at Apple there’s a major push toward Javascript/XML-RPC development (aka Ajax). Dojo and Prototype developers made presentations at well attended sessions at WWDC this year and there are going to be some nice AJAX surprises in Leopard.

Comment by HG — September 21, 2007

I think I’m going to go flash.

Comment by Justin L — September 21, 2007

Outside of the web dev community it’s difficult to get people to even understand the difference between java and javascript. Ajax is a meaningless term for them that pretty much equals the meaninglessness of web 2.0.

How I’ve viewed the issue is that web 2.0 denotes sites that try to empower users by offering community tools, and that ajax denotes web app construction technologies that improve responsiveness and gui richness.

Comment by Joeri — September 21, 2007

I would like to draw your attention to another alternative which is a paradigm shift for AJAX front ends. One should be aware that I am not, and do not pretend to be objective, never the less I believe that one can judge for himself. Visual WebGui is an open source rapid application development framework for graphic user interfaces of IT web applications. VWG replaces the obsolete paradigms of ASP.NET in both design-time and run-time which were designed for developing sites, with WinForms methodologies, which were designed for developing applications. Thus enabling designer that was designed for application interfaces (WinForms designer) instead of a word documents (ASP.NET designer). This provides the developer with an extremely efficient way to design interfaces using drag and drop instead of hand coding HTML Worth a look at

Comment by navot — September 21, 2007

hm.. You guys are on “Ajax”ian and leaving comment on how AJAX will fade/disappear? why bother ? :)

Comment by dhwang — September 26, 2007

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