If you've used Google Maps, Gmail or Microsoft's Outlook Web Access, you're familiar with the power of AJAX, which gives Web applications the responsiveness users associate with desktop applications.
It's no wonder that AJAX has generated lots of hype. However, before you "AJAXify" your Web applications, you need to be aware of the pitfalls, particularly in the areas of security, reliability and performance.
What's AJAX all about?
Pitfalls of developing an AJAX app
Web developers ultimately need a complete, robust AJAX-focused development stack that will marry client-side and server-side programming in a neat package.
It's likely that Microsoft with its Atlas project and Sun with its various Java 2 Platform Enterprise Edition AJAX examples and components will ultimately win over a large portion of the developer community, particularly when each vendor fully integrates these efforts into its development platforms.
But for now, many early adopters continue to roll their own AJAX libraries, use open source frameworks such as Prototype and the Dojo Toolkit, explore the few more developed commercial platforms from vendors Tibco, JackBe or Backbase, or completely switch gears and adopt a new language such as Ruby with its programmer productivity-focused, Ruby on Rails Web development framework.