Adaptive Path's guru Garrett's canonical example of his "AJAX" acronym is Google Suggest:
Immediately thereafter Garrett decrees the "rules" of his premise with these bullet points:
"Ajax isn't a technology. Its really several technologies, each flourishing in its own right, coming together in powerful new ways. Ajax incorporates:
The problem is that neither does Google Suggest use XML nor does it use XHTML, or CSS! In fact it doesn't even necessarily use XMLHTTPRequest: if your browser doesn't support it, it degrades gracefully to the hidden IFRAME technique made popular by Brent Ashley back in 2000 with his "JSRS" Remote Scripting implementation.
Here's the crux of this Ajax issue as I see it: Remote Scripting is the basic technique that has been around since 1998, which I define as that of making an out of band request (either synchronous or asynchronous) to a web resource and bringing back the information to be displayed or inserted into an existing web page with no form post or page reloading. If you want to add XML, XHTML, CSS, XSLT, that's your business, and goody for you. You still did "Remote Scripting". XML and XSLT, whiile not often used for this, have to do with the transport layer and transformation of same to the UI layer; they're standards that are used by thousands of developers either with or without the use of Remote Scripting. CSS and XHTML are standards that have to do with the UI layer, and once again, widely used by web developers without Remote Scripting. And let's get one final item straight: the XMLHttpRequest object is not a W3C standard.
Hey, of course I think observing web standards is important! But the standards were already there to observe! Coining a new buzzword to cover a very old technique which may or (as is often the case) may not include various other techniques and standards does very little to legitimize the concept. So if i wrote a web page that uses some Remote Scripting to return some data but I don't use XML with it, is this now "NOT AJAX", because I didn't observe all of Garrett's "rules" (which by his own example he doesn't even observe himself!)? You want to pontificate about "AJAX" as being about web standards? Submit it to W3C and ask for a recommendation and get it ratified. Then you can talk about standards.
The whole thing, to me, is so childish and asinine as to be almost laughable! I tell you what -- when the W3C or OASIS gives me a spec that says what AJAX is, that's the day I'll start using the term. Don't hold your breath. Remote Scripting with Web standards compliant XHTML, CSS, XSLT, etc -- is simply Remote Scripting with XHTML, CSS, and XSLT. AJAX? Its a foaming cleaner put out by Colgate-Palmolive.