Home > Web > AJAX vs DHTML


AJAX is gaining a lot of adopters these days and it seems to be like the new cool kid in town. If you’re in the web development area, you must use AJAX, otherwise you’re not cool at all.

But more than this, AJAX became a buzzword. And I definitely don’t like buzzwords. Because amateurs would try to use that word for everything that is related to that area.

We have to clearly see the difference between AJAX and DHTML. AJAX stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML and it is simply a way to communicate with a web server without making a new request in the browser. And this will happen more likely without user really feeling it. DHTML stands for Dynamic HTML and it is a set of technologies used for dynamically modifying a web page, usually incorporating JavaScript and CSS.

AJAX and DHTML are not excluding each other, but working together. With DHTML you can dynamically modify a site using client-side code. But sometimes you cannot simply have everything on the client side (or it could be too expensive to have it) and you should interact in some way with the server-side code. And then AJAX comes into stage, just to simply create a connection between some JavaScript client-side code (on an DHTML site) and a web server. Before this, you could have used signed Java applets or Flash, but this offers the opportunity of a pure JavaScript solution.

Actually you could even say that AJAX is a small part from DHTML, but people are using it the other way around. I have to admit that even the name was chosen to fit a new upcoming buzzword. With AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) you can even do synchronous requests and handle HTML or plain text, even tough the initial intent and good practice is not to do it.
I know that it is cool to use all these new buzzwords, but it will be much more correct to use the right term.

For a good AJAX reference you can use Wikipedia. Read also the articles referenced at the end, I would especially recommend the ones from IBM developerWorks.

Categories: Web Tags: , , , , ,
  1. Philip
    February 10, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Thanks for the clarification, just what I was looking for.

  2. jo
    September 9, 2009 at 11:15 pm

    Thank you, this gives me crystal clear understanding now…

  3. January 5, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    appealing answers i like it

  4. Anonymous
    October 4, 2010 at 11:05 am


  5. Anonymous
    November 28, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    Thank u for the explanation

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