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XMLHttpRequest and AJAX for PHP programmers

Although the concept isn't entirely new, XMLHttpRequest technology is implemented on more sites now than ever. Compatibility is no longer an issue (IE, Mozilla and Opera all support it), and the benefits to using it are amazing. There are too many PHP programmers avoiding any work with javascript beyond simple form validation, and for good reason. It's difficult to keep several languages proficiently under your belt. But using the XMLHttpRequest object is not as hard as everybody thinks, and you don't need to buy and memorize another reference manual.

Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, or AJAX is a method of sending and receiving data (usually XML) from a server-side application through javascript. Since javascript offers the ability to change the contents of a web page on-the-fly, this technique allows web programmers to venture closer to programming truly interactive web applications similar to those built with Java and ActiveX.

As PHP developers, it might seem tempting to avoid the use of Javascript and leave it to the dsigner. After all, we aren't usually programming the UI, but the processing components required by the UI. The distinction between the two is disappearing.

By James Kassemi

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Chris Charlton

Chris CharltonChris, Los Angeles' CSS & ActionScript guru, successfully cannonballed into web development in the late 90's. Always caught up with the latest in Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, and XML, Chris authored premium articles for the largest Dreamweaver/Flash community (www.DMXzone.com) and produced WebDevDesign (iTunes featured), a popular Web Design & Development Podcast. Somewhere, Chris finds time to run an authorized Adobe user group focused around open source and Adobe technologies. Being a big community leader, Chris Charlton remains a resident faculty member of the Rich Media Insitute and lends himself to speak at large industry events, like JobStock, NAB, and FITC Hollywood.

Brain cycles from Chris are always Web Standards, Flash Platform, and accessibility.

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