Since then AJAX as a term has become pretty widespread and ubiquitous, as has its impact on the web. Now we can add the Walker to the large list of sites using this technology.
If you head over to our Art on Call website, you may notice a few changes to our stops list. Gone is the long list of stops, and in it’s place is a searchable, sortable, paginated view of our info. All of this happens dynamically without refreshing the page.
There are two benefits to the normal approach. One is that it takes any translation processing off the server load and puts it onto the users machine, allowing the server to be more responsive. Two is that it gives you some flexibility in placing lots of data changes all over a page.
Instead I chose to go a different route, something more in line with the AHAH (Asynchronous HTML and HTTP) method. AHAH could be thought of as a subset of AJAX. There is still asynchronous data exchange, the difference lies in the fact that the data parsing is done on the server and spit to the browser as fully formatted and designed HTML.
This does however make the data slightly less flexible. It’s harder to pull out one tiny bit of data to display in a remote spot on the page (though it still can be done). Our servers are also doing a tad bit more work (however most of the server work is generating the XML from the database, which would happen with either solution). But from a time, maintenance and budget standpoint it’s the right approach.
There’s still a few kinks to be worked out on the Art on Call page, as well as new features to add. These will be available in the coming weeks and should greatly enhance the usability and features of the site. And because we’ve taken this modified approach to AJAX, we’re able to deliver these features in a timely manner.
More on that and some things to watch out for when coding AJAX at a later date.