If you have any interest in the field of front-end web development, adding AJAX to your developers’ toolbox is a must-have. Ajax is not a programming language, nor is it a stand-alone software or web application. It stands for “Asynchronous JavaScript and XML” and is actually a series of development techniques used to build websites and applications.

With a baseline familiarity of JavaScript and XML, you can learn Ajax in a matter of hours and gain the additional knowledge needed to become a well-rounded and highly skilled developer. Read on to learn more about this technique, its use cases and how to master it.

What is AJAX?

For new users, the core functionality of Ajax can be found in the first letter of the acronym: it updates web content asynchronously, which means a small portion of content on a page can load, without a user’s web browser needing to reload entirely. With Ajax, back-end web servers can send and receive data in the background without interfering with the display and behavior of an existing page.

Next, the “J” in the acronym stands for the scripting language Javascript. Since it is responsible for updating dynamic web content, the language is a vital component of Ajax. The “X” is for XML (Extensible Markup Language). In the same family as the HTML and CSS languages, XML transfers data stored on a page to browsers that view it, and is also utilized as the data transfer method for the Ajax process.

Javascript and XML work together to power Ajax via a XMLHttpRequest. Users activate Ajax with a prescribed event like a page load or button click, then JavaScript creates an XMLHttpRequest object, which transfers data via XML. The request communicated between the web server and the web browser, updated the page data on the server-side, and then sent back to the browser. Finally, JavaScript is used to process the response and display the updated content.

Here is an example of an Ajax request written in Javascript from the client-side and server-side:

The tech behind Ajax was established in 1996, with the adoption of XMLHttpRequest scripting object by Microsoft Outlook following in 1998. Google introduced standard compliance with Ajax for Gmail in 2005 and Google Maps in 2005, with Kayak becoming the first popular ecommerce site to adopt the standard in 2004. Today, the technique is used widely across millions of sites using JavaScript and is adapted as a living standard by the World Wide Web Consortium.

Considering its widespread adoption on the internet, there are a number of reasons learning Ajax is worth your time; here are just a few!

Why is AJAX Useful?

  • Ajax is Quick and Easy to Learn – If you’re already familiar with the ins and outs of Javascript and markup languages, Ajax is essentially a method of bringing those skills together and be learned quite easily in a few hours through free internet resources. Intro courses teaching key concepts are offered by a number of major providers like Udacity and jQuery.


  • Ubiquitous and Versatile Use Cases – Over the years Ajax has embedded itself as a fundamental part of contemporary web browsing, making it necessary to master for building all types of sites. When you think of Ajax, think of live features like the Google “suggest” bar for search queries or updating statuses, notification bars or online forms. All these and more use Ajax, making it difficult to avoid its key functionalities in most online spaces.


  • Open Standards – Ajax is based on open standards, which has allowed for the development of several open-sourced toolkits and frameworks compatible with the technique. Not only can you pick and choose among these frameworks to find the best solution for a site, but you can also consult with a growing community of developers on forums for problem-solving tips and tricks.


  • Add to Your Developer Resume – Front-end Web Developers are responsible for coding the user interface of a website or an app and regularly work with markup languages and JavaScript. Knowing Ajax will only increase your ability to create dynamic sites and stand out for potential employers or clients in this crowded, but growing field. Nearly 5,000 development roles on Glassdoor explicitly ask for Ajax skills, so it should come in handy in your job search.

How to Learn AJAX

As a budding front-end developer there are a number of steps you can take to incorporate Ajax into your toolbox:

  1. Master Programming Languages – Javascript, HTML, CSS and XML. These standard languages form the backbone of all websites and applications and are used alongside Ajax techniques. Frameworks and libraries for different languages are also widely used to create beautiful web pages more efficiently.
  2. Consider Educational Paths – What’s the best way to pick up these skills and level up your career? While many still choose to undergo a four-year degree program in computer science, skills-based bootcamps in coding and web development have become an increasingly popular choice for concentrated and cost-effective tech education. Many of these programs will incorporate Ajax in their curriculum so take a moment to browse our listings and see what program might be right for you.
  3. Research Career Options – The good news for those entering the field is that front-end web development is expected to grow as a profession by 8 percent by 2029 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. As you begin your job search, consider what type of company and role best aligns with your interests; specialties exist among mobile apps, social platforms, ecommerce and more!

Browse bootcamps that teach AJAX.

Explore some of the top schools offering AJAX bootcamps and find the right fit for your needs and schedule.