What is AJAX in Magento 2? Advantage and Disadvantage of AJAX.

What is AJAX in Magento 2

When checking out the Magento extension, you must encounter the term AJAX support. Ever wonder what AJAX means and what it does?

Don’t worry.

AJAX is a popular jargon term among web developers. The technology is itself widely used in multiple modern-day applications.

In this quick article, I will tell you what AJAX is and how it is helping the Magento environment.

What Is AJAX?

AJAX stands for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML. It is made up of several inter-related technologies like JavaScript, DOM, XML, HTML/XHTML, CSS, XMLHttpRequest etc.

AJAX enables sending and receiving the data asynchronously without having to reload the webpage. Thus, it improves the speed of the webpage by loading only the requested information asynchronously.

With AJAX, the web page requests to fetch the critical information to the server instead of the entire page. As a result, the dynamic page becomes more interactive and faster.

Where is AJAX used?

When you select filter attributes in an eCommerce store, the product listing updates without loading the page, that is one case of AJAX.

Messaging services apps like Facebook, WhatsApp, Gmail, etc. update the message without loading the entire page. 

The same is with social media; the post and the information on the page are updated without requiring a complete refresh.

Multiple websites use AJAX to log in. Instead of loading to the login page, the website displays a pop-up box that interacts with the user.

There are so many different uses of AJAX we see on the Internet every day. It makes browsing convenient and much faster.

Advantage of AJAX

Let’s see several advantages of using AJAX.

#1 Reduce Server Load and Increase PageSpeed

As the AJAX allows the webpages to render the selective information without loading the entire page, it reduces the load on the server. The web server does not receive similar requests and only responds with the critical information required to update the page.

The visitor on the page does not have to wait to load screen or white space; the page remains open while the data updates. 

The pagespeed increased, and customers experienced a fast website.

#2 Enable Lazy Loading

Lazy loading is an optimization technique in which only the content under the viewport is loaded. For example, only the content, images, and data on display would be loaded, while the other part of the webpage would be paused.

AJAX enables asynchronous calls so that the web developers can use the framework to lazy load the web apps.

So, a visitor does not have to wait for the entire webpage to load just to load the one piece of information.

Lazy loading is used in a large part of the Internet to improve the performance of the pages.

#3 Low Bandwidth Usage

If you use cloud hosting and pay as the resources are used, AJAX loading saves a lot of bandwidth. It helps the web owners cut the cost.

If the web page is loading every time someone needs refreshed content, it means the connection is being made, and bandwidth is used.

However, with AJAX, the page is not loaded, but only the updated particle of the page is fetched fresh from the server. 

So, you can save a copy of the content in the cache, while the changed content could be fetched from the server. Entity tags help in finding whether the data is updated or not.

#4 Form Validation

Ever submitting the form, and as you move to the next box to fill, the previous one shows red because you filled in the wrong information?

That is due to the AJAX.

Traditionally, form information validation happens after you submit the form. But that is a traditional approach and often a waste of time. For example, if one piece of information is incorrect, the user has to fill all the boxes again.

With AJAX live interactive form validation, the user knows if the form is not filled correctly before submitting it.

Disadvantages of AJAX

Now there are several disadvantages of AJAX too. Let’s see them.

#1 OpenSource

Being open-source means the AJAX source code is public. However, open-source code is not less secure than any other technology, but the bugs and issues are known. If someone finds a way to exploit the bugs to hack the website, your website may come under the radar too.

However, there are many methods to protect the website, and it is a minor issue.

#2 Search Engine Optimisation

AJAX websites are similar to flash. They are interactive and fast but without navigation. The crawler needs to navigate to the page to index it, so the AJAX site becomes harder to index.

All the content is loading under the same URL; hence there is no file or directories to index. So the next or back buttons are useless.

Cloaking issues are also a reason. Unintentionally yet, the user may see the different content from the search engine. Thus, AJAX does raise SEO concerns; however, these issues could be solved with the right approach.

#3 Difficulty in Debugging

AJAX does not show proper error messages, hence making the development difficult for the applications.  In this detailed article, you will see why and how AJAX debugging has problems.

Lack of debugging can cause security risks to applications in the future.

#4 Browser Support

Modern browsers and the latest version can support AJAX. However, the technology itself depends on JavaScript to a major extent, so the browser has to support JS, XMLHTTPRequest, and HTML.

#5 Bookmarking Issue

Saving dynamic pages that load under the URL that also loads several other web pages is difficult to bookmark. On the next visit, the page may not be there, or the content might be changed.

#6 No Back/Previous Pages

If you press the back page button, you will not load the previous version of the page. Instead, it will load the previous page. This is because the browser does not save the URL version in the history.

The successive AJAX requests are counted as one request. So, to check the previous version of the page, you have to select the previous attributes of the page.

Popular AJAX Magento 2 Application

AJAX is used to retrieve small pieces of data without affecting the entire webpage. As a result, there are many cases in Magento eCommerce stores that utilize the AJAX technology.

Magento 2 Lazy Loading: Speed up the page loading by only loading the page that the user can see. It applies the AJAX technology to load the images, giving the user a frictionless browsing experience.

Magento 2 Ajax Layered Navigation: Apply the attributes to filter the products list without loading the entire page. It also uses AJAX technology to improve website performance.

Magento 2 Ajax Cart Extension: Quickly use the cart functionalities such as add to cart, add to wishlist, compare the products, or update product values without refreshing the pages.

Magento 2 AJAX Search: Search the product and display it on the same page. You have to click on the search icon at Amazon, and the page refreshes to show an updated list. That is not AJAX. With AJAX, you don’t have to click on search, but as you type, the new product list will be updated according to the query. 

Wrap Up

AJAX technology brings speed and dynamic functions to the eCommerce store. It sure is helpful technology, and the majority of eCommerce stores are utilizing it.

If you are looking for a Magento 2 extension, do check if it has features that can be performed using AJAX and whether they support it or not.

I hope you understand the AJAX and advantages & disadvantages of AJAX. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

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