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Ajax Interview Questions and Answers



Is the server or the client in control?
It depends. With AJAX the answer is more in between. Control can be more centralized in a server-side component or as a mix of client-side and server-side controllers.

* Centralized server-side controller - When having a more centralized controller the key is to make sure the data in client-side page is in sync with that of the server. Some applications may keep all the state on the server and push all updates to client DOM via a simple JavaScript controller.
* Client and server-side controllers - This architecture would use JavaScript to do all presentation related control, event processing, page manipulation, and rendering of model data on the client. The server-side would be responsible for things such as business logic and pushing updated model data to the client. In this case the server would not have intimate knowledge of the presentation short of the initial page that would be sent to the client page request.

There are some use cases where an entire AJAX application can be written in a single page. Keep in mind if you choose this type of architecture that navigation and bookmarking should be considered.
Both methods are viable depending on what you are trying to accomplish. I tend to prefer spreading the control across the client and server.

Is Ajax just another name for XMLHttpRequest?
No. XMLHttpRequest is only part of the Ajax equation. XMLHttpRequest is the technical component that makes the asynchronous server communication possible; Ajax is our name for the overall approach described in the article, which relies not only on XMLHttpRequest, but on CSS, DOM, and other technologies.

How do I abort the current XMLHttpRequest?
Just call the abort() method on the request.

What is the minimum version of PHP that needs to be running in order to use HTML_AJAX?
The oldest PHP version i've fully tested HTML_AJAX is 4.3.11, but it should run on 4.2.0 without any problems. (Testing reports from PHP versions older then 4.3.11 would be appreciated.)

Why does HTML_AJAX hang on some server installs
If you run into an HTML_AJAX problem only on some servers, chances are your running into a problem with output compression. If the output compression is handled in the PHP config we detect that and do the right thing, but if its done from an apache extension we have no way of knowing its going to compress the body. Some times setting HTML_AJAX::sendContentLength to false fixes the problem, but in other cases you'll need to disabled the extension for the AJAX pages.
I've also seen problems caused by debugging extensions like XDebug, disabling the extension on the server page usually fixes that. Questions dealing with Using HTML_AJAX, and general JavaScript development

How do I get the XMLHttpRequest object?
Depending upon the browser... if (window.ActiveXObject) { // Internet Explorer http_request = new ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLHTTP"); } else if...

Are there any security issues with AJAX?
JavaScript is in plain view to the user with by selecting view source of the page. JavaScript can not access the local filesystem without the user's permission. An AJAX interaction can only be made with the servers-side component from which the page was loaded. A proxy pattern could be used for AJAX interactions with external services.
You need to be careful not to expose your application model in such as way that your server-side components are at risk if a nefarious user to reverse engineer your application. As with any other web application, consider using HTTPS to secure the connection when confidential information is being exchanged.

What about applets and plugins ?
Don't be too quick to dump your plugin or applet based portions of your application. While AJAX and DHTML can do drag and drop and other advanced user interfaces there still limitations especially when it comes to browser support. Plugins and applets have been around for a while and have been able to make AJAX like requests for years. Applets provide a great set of UI components and APIs that provide developers literally anything.
Many people disregard applets or plugins because there is a startup time to initialize the plugin and there is no guarantee that the needed version of a plugin of JVM is installed. Plugins and applets may not be as capable of manipulating the page DOM. If you are in a uniform environment or can depend on a specific JVM or plugin version being available (such as in a corporate environment) a plugin or applet solution is great.
One thing to consider is a mix of AJAX and applets or plugins. Flickr uses a combination of AJAX interactions/DHTML for labeling pictures and user interaction and a plugin for manipulating photos and photo sets to provide a great user experience. If you design your server-side components well they can talk to both types of clients.

Why did you feel the need to give this a name?
I needed something shorter than “Asynchronous JavaScript+CSS+DOM+XMLHttpRequest” to use when discussing this approach with clients.

Is AJAX code cross browser compatible?
Not totally. Most browsers offer a native XMLHttpRequest JavaScript object, while another one (Internet Explorer) require you to get it as an ActiveX object....

Techniques for asynchronous server communication have been around for years. What makes Ajax a “new” approach?
What’s new is the prominent use of these techniques in real-world applications to change the fundamental interaction model of the Web. Ajax is taking hold now because these technologies and the industry’s understanding of how to deploy them most effectively have taken time to develop.

Is Ajax a technology platform or is it an architectural style?
It’s both. Ajax is a set of technologies being used together in a particular way.

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