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Ajax Interview Questions and Answers



How do I handle concurrent AJAX requests?
With JavaScript you can have more than one AJAX request processing at a single time. In order to insure the proper post processing of code it is recommended that you use JavaScript Closures. The example below shows an XMLHttpRequest object abstracted by a JavaScript object called AJAXInteraction. As arguments you pass in the URL to call and the function to call when the processing is done.
function AJAXInteraction(url, callback) {

var req = init();
req.onreadystatechange = processRequest;

function init() {
if (window.XMLHttpRequest) {
return new XMLHttpRequest();
} else if (window.ActiveXObject) {
return new ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLHTTP");
}
}

function processRequest () {
if (req.readyState == 4) {
if (req.status == 200) {
if (callback) callback(req.responseXML);
}
}
}

this.doGet = function() {
req.open("GET", url, true);
req.send(null);
}

this.doPost = function(body) {
req.open("POST", url, true);
req.setRequestHeader("Content-Type", "
application/x-www-form-urlencoded");
req.send(body);
}
}

function makeRequest() {
var ai = new AJAXInteraction("processme",
function() { alert("Doing Post Process");});
ai.doGet();
}

The function makeRequest() in the example above creates an AJAXInteraction with a URL to of "processme" and an inline function that will show an alert dialog with the message "Doing Post Process". When ai.doGet() is called the AJAX interaction is initiated and when server-side component mapped to the URL "processme" returns a document which is passed to the callback function that was specified when the AJAXInteraction was created.
Using this closures insures that the proper callback function associated with a specific AJAX interaction is called. Caution should still be taken when creating multiple closure objects in that make XmlHttpRequests as to there is a limited number of sockets that are used to make requests at any given time. Because there are limited number of requests that can be made concurrently. Internet Explorer for example only allows for two concurrent AJAX requests at any given time. Other browsers may allow more but it is generally between three and five requests. You may choose to use pool of AJAXInteraction objects.
One thing to note when making multiple AJAX calls from the client is that the calls are not guaranteed to return in any given order. Having closures within the callback of a closure object can be used to ensure dependencies are processed correctly.
There is a discussion titled Ajaxian Fire and Forget Pattern that is helpful.

What do I do on the server to interact with an AJAX client?
The "Content-Type" header needs to be set to"text/xml". In servlets this may be done using the HttpServletResponse.setContentType()should be set to "text/xml" when the return type is XML. Many XMLHttpRequest implementations will result in an error if the "Content-Type" header is set The code below shows how to set the "Content-Type".

response.setContentType("text/xml");
response.getWriter().write("<response>invalid</response>");

You may also want to set whether or not to set the caches header for cases such as autocomplete where you may want to notify proxy servers/and browsers not to cache the results.

response.setContentType("text/xml");
response.setHeader("Cache-Control", "no-cache");
response.getWriter().write("<response>invalid</response>");

Note to the developer: Internet Explorer will automatically use a cached result of any AJAX response from a HTTP GET if this header is not set which can make things difficult for a developer. During development mode you may want set this header. Where do I store state with an AJAX client

As with other browser based web applications you have a few options which include:
* On the client in cookies - The size is limited (generally around 4KB X 20 cookies per domain so a total of 80KB) and the content may not be secure unless encrypted which is difficult but not impossible using JavaScript.
* On the client in the page - This can be done securely but can be problematic and difficult to work with. See my blog entry on Storing State on the Client for more details on this topic.
* On the client file system - This can be done if the client grants access to the browser to write to the local file system. Depending on your uses cases this may be necessary but caution is advised.
* On the Server - This is closer to the traditional model where the client view is of the state on the server. Keeping the data in sync can be a bit problematic and thus we have a solution Refreshing Data on this. As more information processing and control moves to the client where state is stored will need to be re-evaluated.

Whats with the -alpha in the install instructions?
HTML_AJAX hasn't had a stable release yet and the pear installer doesn't install non stable packages by default unless you specify a version.

How do I submit a form or a part of a form without a page refresh?
When creating a form make sure that the "form" element "onSubmit" attribute is set to a JavaScript function that returns false.
<form onSubmit="doAJAXSubmit();return false;" >
<input type="text" id="tf1" />
<input type="submit" id="submit1" value="Update"/>
</>

You can also submit data by associating a function with a form button in a similar way.

<form onSubmit="doAJAXSubmit();return false;" >
<input type="text" id="tf1" />
<input type="button" id="button1" onClick="doAJAXSubmit()" value="Update"/>
</>

Note that the form "onSubmit" attribute is still set. If the user hits the enter key in the text field the form will be submitted so you still need to handle that case.
When updating the page it is recommend you wait to make sure that the AJAX update of the form data was successful before updating the data in the page. Otherwise, the data may not properly update and the user may not know. I like to provide an informative message when doing a partial update and upon a successful AJAX interaction I will then update the page.

How do I test my AJAX code?
There is a port of JUnit for client-side JavaScript called JsUnit

What exactly is the W3C DOM?
The W3C Document Object Model (DOM) is defined by the W3C as the following: The Document Object Model is a platform- and language-neutral interface...

When will HTML_AJAX have a stable release?
Once all the major features are complete and the API has been tested, the roadmap gives an idea of whats left to be done.

What parts of the HTML_AJAX API are stable?
We don't have a list right now, but most of the API is stable as of 0.3.0. There should be no major changes at this point, though there will be lots of new additions.

What Browsers does HTML_AJAX work with?
As of 0.3.0, all the examples that ship with HTML_AJAX have been verified to work with
* Firefox 1.0+
* Internet Explorer 5.5+ (5.0 should work but it hasn't been tested)
Most things work with
* Safari 2+
* Opera 8.5+

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