I wrote this internally for our studio at work to make sure they’re not incorrectly using all these new fangled terms. Thought I’d replicate it here for the sake of posterity (and so i can find it again in the future).
Ah sweet Ajax, that oft mis-used term.
I thought it would be useful for you all to understand just what Ajax is, so you’re able to use it in the correct context. Being a digital agency, we should pride ourselves on being able to seperate bullshit terms dropped into conversation and actually meaning what we say.
This is a non-technical explanation of what Ajax is, so you understand the terminology. If you’d like a more indepth explanation, please ask any member of the webteam!
It has its benefits and disadvantages, which I won’t go into here. It is also worth noting that AJAX as a method of getting data isn’t even new, its been around in various guises for about 10 years, so feel free to chuckle and say “that ol’ thing?” when people tell you its the latest thing in webtech.
Ajax is NOT animated HTML, Ajax is not a slideshow where images swap in and out without reloading a page, or tabs, or scrolling divs, or anything like that. Ajax is often USED to help create those effects, ie. loading in an image from a database query, or update a block of text based upon a search, etc. etc., but Ajax itself is not creating the animation or the engaging HTML experience.
Whilst many people say ‘ajax’ to be a catchall term to describe the things i’ve mentioned above, web2.0 fancy shizzle, etc, they are often wrong, and we should be aware of that. We don’t need to be pedants, laugh at them and say “ha! i think you’ll find you’re incorrect there, mr client”, but we can help educate our clients, and at the very least use correct terminology internally when describing our work.
Wikipedia (as ever) has a great page with more detail on Ajax (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajax_%28programming%29), not to mention the dozen other things which the Trojan war hero has lent his name to.