The name AJaX comes from one article written in January of 2005which was the first to use the acronym AJaX. In it is mentioned the technology (i..e the one function ‘XMLHttpRequest’) had been around for some time and is probably the only significant contribution that Microsoft has made to the internet’s development to date.
Microsoft have only recently announced they will move the entire office suite to the web (google have done it too!), and charge a subscription, which has totally changed the software market model completely. For the software companies this means they can cut out the packaging/shipping etc but more importantly worrying about the hardware setup on a zillion different types of home computers. They just have to worry about the browser version. The Browser IS the platform now. It also means that Google a web technology company is competing in the same market as Microsoft who are traditionally an OS and desktop applications company.
What this means to me from a system architecture point of view is that you can keep your “business logic” (the rules that govern you systems operation such as: “is this available for sale give they have 3 already in their shopping cart”) in one place on the server and just ask questions in response to users actions in real time, which greatly simplify software design as before you had to have all that logic on the web page when its loads if you wanted to respond to users without a page load (which even in this day-n-age of broadband is still tedious).
- Prototype, adopted by the ‘Ruby on Rails’ framework which is the trendiest thing on the web right now
- jquery, small set of tools adopted by the popular Drupal content management system, which I’m starting to work with a lot now. Also Visual JQuery is quite good too.
- Dojo, my personal favourite being one of the most experimental JS Frameworks as they annoyingly change it completely every 3 months, but the project leader seems to be the most hardcore JS guy on the planet I think, having invented the “Comet” approach which is like the next step after Ajax.