Playing around with Ajax

There is always something new that comes out. And sometimes it is so hard to catch up with what’s happening. If you are just starting out making websites and learned HTML, once you learn it… you find out there is more to learn with Javascript, with CSS. To make your website look nice, you still need to know your graphic softwares, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator. Then you find out there is some animation software, there is more to learn. Macromedia Flash, and Flash has it’s own scripting language, Actionscript. And you learn you can’t do databases, you need some server side programming language, some database where you have many options, either PHP, ASP/, JSP, Cold Fusion, Perl, Miva Phyton and more with so many database options, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Microsoft SQL Server, Sybase, Oracle and a lot more. After you learn all of that, it just does not end there. You can learn about SEO, and techniques on special ways to do things. Tableless sites in CSS, CSS rollovers, Spritenavs, Suckerfish Navs, better transparent PNGs, cross-browser techniques, scalable designs and a lot more.

Some people get discouraged with all these things to learn but all I can say is, you do not need to learn it all. And collaborate with others. Or how I do it… just find out what everything can do, and just learn specific parts that are needed on a project. And gradually increase knowledge as more projects come in.

After I first read about Ajax or Asynchronous JavaScript + XML on the article on the Adaptive Path website a few months back when former co-worker Jason Kent sent me the link via an ICQ message at work I took a quick look at read and read through it quickly since I still had a lot of work to do that time. I said to myself, great, now I got something new to learn again, when is this going to stop? Can I still catch up with all the new things coming out? The article sound a bit complicated showing all these diagrams and the only Ajax I knew then was some laundry soap.

Although I already had a good grasp of the concept, I never tried it out until just recently, actually last 2 days ago. I was just working on an email contact form and needed to add an anti-spam code generated on an image that the user must type in a text box to avoid spam bots submitting the form. The code should not be found anywhere and should be save on the server. After discussing this with Mike Lopez via YM, he suggested the Ajax approach and I said, nah, I got a lot of projects to finish, I will just do a page reload and study Ajax some other time. But he told me it is not as hard as you think. It is really simple, it only takes 30 minutes to learn. And through the process of looking for a good tutorial online, he found Sajax made by Modern Method which is an Ajax toolkit. Yes it did make Ajax easier.

With my inferior Javascript skills, it still took me 2 days to get it work (but not working whole day on it, only in the night time). I had problems passing the values of variables from Javascript to PHP and back. And when I found out what was causing the problems, they are super simple dumb reasons. I shared Sajax at work and Mike Hawkins showed my something else. He showed me Xajax and after reading about it, it seems Xajax is offering something better. But I haven’t really tried Xajax out yet. I might try that out on my next Ajax implementation.