Patterns being patterns, theres not a lot of unseen information here. Patterns are just a concise way to represent the knowledge embodied in the many AJAX applications that are out there. The point is to discover best practices by investigating how developers have successfully traded off conflicting design principles. AJAX is all about usability, so the patterns focus particularly on delivering usability in the face of constraints, most notably: user capabilities and expectations, bandwidth limits, the stateless nature of HTTP, the complexity of JavaScript.
AJAX is a new term, but XMLHttpRequest and related technologies have been around for a while. I know that, but the introduction of a single umbrella term nevertheless constitutes a tipping point which is forcing web development to move heavily in a certain direction. AJAX is only a name, but names can be tremendously important.

these are some points……..
Minimise traffic between browser and server so that the user feels the application is responsive.
Be clear on the interaction mode being used – regular HTML versus AJAX versus desktop application so that the user can predict what will happen next .. no surprises.
While avoiding confusion, borrow from conventions of HTML and desktop applications so that the user can rapidly learn how to use your application.

4 Responses to patterns
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  3. Michael J. Ryan
    December 21, 2009 | 3:31 pm

    Just one mention. It’s typical to use a non-acronym version of “Ajax” when referring to AJAX-Like applications, since the X in AJAX is for XML. The term has become commonplace and most data interaction is in JavaScript Object Notation (JSON). Probably the most important pattern IMHO is to always capture any errors at as high a level as possible, and return a json package… “{ error: ‘message here’ }” This way any client-side use can simply evaluate… var result = JSON.parse(result.ResultText); if (result.error) return alert(result.error); at the beginning of a valid response handler… in the case of an http error (400/500) I will direct that html into a new window, or the top of the current window.

    This way errors/exceptions captured within the application can portray an appropriate error to be displayed on the client, and system errors can be separated out.

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