Difference between Ajax and Ajax Control Toolkit

Key difference: AJAX stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. It is a group of web development programs used to design websites. The programs create interactive web applications using a combination of XHTML for basic programming, CSS for styling, DOM for interaction, data exchange using XML and XSLT, XMLHttpRequest and JavaScript. The Ajax Control Toolkit, on the other hand, is a set of controls that can be used to build highly responsive and interactive Ajax-enabled Web applications. Essentially, the toolkit is a set of tools to implement Ajax.

AJAX stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. It is a group of web development programs used to design websites. The programs create interactive web applications using a combination of XHTML for basic programming, CSS for styling, DOM for interaction, data exchange using XML and XSLT, XMLHttpRequest and JavaScript. AJAX enables web pages to send data to and receive data from a server without changing or hindering the web page itself. AJAX eliminates the need for the customers to wait, making interaction between the customer and the server asynchronous.

Google is the biggest known supporter of AJAX and has invested millions of dollars to advance it. Major Google products, such as Orkut, Gmail, Google Suggest, and Google Maps are AJAX applications. Amazon has also launched it’s own search engine, A9, on AJAX.

Ajax is not a single technology. It is a group of technologies. Jesse James Garrett, the one who coined the term, AJAX, lists the various technologies incorporated in AJAX:

 
  • HTML (or XHTML) and CSS for presentation
  • The Document Object Model (DOM) for dynamic display of and interaction with data
  • XML for the interchange of data, and XSLT for its manipulation
  • The XMLHttpRequest object for asynchronous communication
  • JavaScript to bring these technologies together

The Ajax Control Toolkit, on the other hand, is a set of controls that can be used to build highly responsive and interactive Ajax-enabled Web applications. Essentially, the toolkit is a set of tools to implement Ajax. It uses the ASP.NET AJAX base library for creating the controls.

The Ajax Control Toolkit contains more than 40 controls, including the AutoComplete, CollapsiblePanel, ColorPicker, MaskedEdit, Calendar, Accordion, HTML Editor Extender, and Watermark controls.

The Toolkit can also be used to build Ajax-enabled ASP.NET Web Forms applications by dragging-and-dropping Toolkit controls from the Visual Studio Toolbox onto an ASP.NET Web Forms page.

Image Courtesy: esublimeinfosystems.com, asp.net

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