To understand how AJAX works, we will create a small AJAX application.

First, we are going to create a standard HTML form with two text fields: username and time. The username field will be filled in by the user and the time field will be filled in using AJAX.

The HTML file will be named “testAjax.htm”, and it looks like this (notice that the HTML form below has no submit button!):

Name:
Time:

The keystone of AJAX is the XMLHttpRequest object.

Different browsers use different methods to create the XMLHttpRequest object.

Internet Explorer uses an ActiveXObject, while other browsers uses the built-in JavaScript object called XMLHttpRequest.

To create this object, and deal with different browsers, we are going to use a “try and catch” statement. You can read more about the try and catch statement in our JavaScript tutorial.

Let’s update our “testAjax.htm” file with the JavaScript that creates the XMLHttpRequest object:

function ajaxFunction()
{
var xmlHttp;
try
{
// Firefox, Opera 8.0+, Safari
xmlHttp=new XMLHttpRequest();
}
catch (e)
{
// Internet Explorer
try
{
xmlHttp=new ActiveXObject(“Msxml2.XMLHTTP”);
}
catch (e)
{
try
{
xmlHttp=new ActiveXObject(“Microsoft.XMLHTTP”);
}
catch (e)
{
alert(“Your browser does not support AJAX!”);
return false;
}
}
}
}

Name:
Time:

First create a variable xmlHttp to hold the XMLHttpRequest object.

Then try to create the object with XMLHttp=new XMLHttpRequest(). This is for the Firefox, Opera, and Safari browsers. If that fails, try xmlHttp=new ActiveXObject(“Msxml2.XMLHTTP”) which is for Internet Explorer 6.0+, if that also fails, try xmlHttp=new ActiveXObject(“Microsoft.XMLHTTP”) which is for Internet Explorer 5.5+

If none of the three methods work, the user has a very outdated browser, and he or she will get an alert stating that the browser doesn’t support AJAX.

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