• February, 1 2006
  • By Marshall Lager, founder and managing principal, Third Idea Consulting; contributor, CRM magazine

Cleaner Page Loads with AJAX

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What can companies do when they need granularity in their dashboards? The answer is, clean them up with AJAX. Most companies already have experienced AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), with Google Maps or the photo-sharing service FlickR. The rich Internet application (RIA) refreshes an on-demand dashboard or other app only with figures that have changed, rather than the whole page. This improves performance by reducing bandwidth and memory usage. "HTML is at the limit of what it can do," says Jason Bloomberg, senior analyst at ZapThink, noting its inefficiency with tabular data. "RIAs like AJAX are the new generation of thin client." "Using AJAX to customize applications will greatly speed up the adoption of SaaS in CRM," says Rosie Hausler, vice president of marketing for Nsite. "We have found that with CRM and extensions of it, each user company wants unique processes." Nsite plans to leverage AJAX for its SOA builder application. "It's important for anybody who is exposing their API through Web services." Although Java and XML are mainstream, the term AJAX was not coined until February 2005 by Jesse James Garrett, founder of tech firm AdaptivePath, in an essay on Web-user experience. Like Nsite, NetSuite already was using the pieces of AJAX in this context before it was named. "We use it in providing more functionality and snappier response for the user, clientside," says Mini Peiris, senior director of product management. This includes dynamic lists that sort in real time, and the ability to refresh individual KPIs on a dashboard. NetSuite developer Luke Braud adds, "AJAX lets us make on-demand apps that perform better than the desktop, not just as well."
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