My colleague Jesse James Garrett has an essay on the new web user experience platform he’s dubbed Ajax. Don’t let all the boxes and arrows in the diagrams overwhelm you — the essay is clear in spelling out how it works and what it means. The nub (or gist) — Ajax serves as an intermediary between the browser and the server, and while we typically think of intermediaries as making things take longer, here, it’s just the opposite. Ajax sends stuff to the server only when needed, and much of the time it can handle the request itself, providing for more the immediate interactions and feedback we’ve been seeing in new web applications. Additionally, when Ajax determines that it needs to go to the server for data, it does so in such a way as to not interrupt the flow of the user’s experience.
Anyway, Jesse’s essay is great in how it brings together a lot of the discussion around this new application interface approach.