[from the introduction]
"Making Web applications look and feel like desktop applications is what
this book is all about — that’s what Ajax does. Although Web development
is getting more and more popular, users still experience the nasty part
of having to click a button, wait until a new page loads, click another button,
wait until a new page loads, and so on.
That’s where Ajax comes in. With Ajax, you communicate with the server
behind the scenes, grab the data you want and display it instantly in a Web
page — no page refreshes needed, no flickering in the browser, no waiting.
That’s a big deal, because at last it lets Web applications start to look like
desktop applications. With today’s faster connections, grabbing data from
the server is usually a snap, so Web software can have the same look and feel
of software on the user’s desktop.
And that, in a nutshell, is going to be the future of Web programming — now
the applications in your browser can look and work just like the applications
installed on your computer. No wonder Ajax is the hottest topic to come
along in years."