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Rich Web Applications with AJAX

Posted by gmurray71 on April 25, 2005 at 2:44 PM PDT

There has been much talk about rich web applications in recent days. When I first encountered Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) it was still being called web remoting or remote scripting. After seeing some pretty cool applications being developed by some well known companies I took myself to task and wrote a few rich web applications using AJAX with J2EE technologies supporting the server-side logic. I found that AJAX can really make a better web applications that can do some amazing things such as simulated server-side pushes using polling, in-page form validation using server-side validation logic, and auto-completion all without page refreshes.
The document Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) with Java 2 Enterprise Edition details the AJAX interaction model in much more detail and elaborates on some of the usecases for AJAX.

Using AJAX does not come for free though. You must accept and embrace JavaScript and CSS, assume that it is available and enabled on the client, and invest time making sure the applications behave the same across browsers. This sounds simple enough but from my experience I spend much more time developing the JavaScript and CSS than I do the server-side logic. In time this will become easier as frameworks embrace/emerge that will support AJAX.

Where are we at today?

Currently, I am responsible for the servlet specification and I am a former member of the BluePrints team. The BluePrints team and I are using the Java BluePrints Solutions Catalog to showcase AJAX with J2EE technologies. There are currently four solutions for using AJAX with J2EE in the Java BluePrints Solutions Catalog. Each solution includes a problem/solution statement, a design document, and working code.

Please download the Java BluePrints Solutions Catalog (a set of web applications including the documentation) or view the documentation online at We plan to actively increase the number of solutions in the catalog so please stay tuned.

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