Thing I Learned Today: AJAX

by Brian Shourd on October 12, 2012

Tags: coding

Today I learned what AJAX, the buzzword I’ve been hearing for so long, really is. I always thought that it was a programming language, one of the many that I’ve never dealt with in the foreign land of web programming. But it turns out that AJAX stands for Asynchronous Javascript and XML, and is just a method/pattern for getting data to and retrieving data from a server without refreshing a web page.

It’s a good thing, since this is exactly what I need to do for the project that Hank and I are working on. The project is called MathMail, and it’s going to be a Django app geared towards letting students ask math questions of their teachers using real math notation online. A key part is an in-browser visual equation editor, which needs to update a live preview. I’m thinking that’s a very AJAXy thing to do. We’ll probably look into jQuery, which is another buzzword JS library that I know basically nothing about (although I learned today that it implements AJAX, among other things).