AJAX is the current in thing to do with interactive webpages, there's no lack of free frameworks available out there for achieving AJAX functionality in your webpages. Typically an AJAX framework will help you easily map out and call a function on your server side pages so you can do a query to a DB, perform an action, and then return the results to the client browser without incurring a post back.
The problem was.. AFTER you got the results back, how are you going to update the page? In order to present the results you had to be pretty well versed in manipulating the HTML DOM to rebuild say.. a table of query results, and that was the usual stumbling block when someone wanted to implement AJAX functionality on their webpages.
Then Microsoft released the ASP.Net 2.0 AJAX Extensions, which used a very neat *trick* to solve the update problem. With the AJAX Extensions installed, you first code everything JUST AS YOU WOULD NORMALLY and this is important, for the most part you don't need to change a thing on how you code. Then you identify which controls require to be dynamically updated and put them into a container control called the UpdatePanel and like magic, the control now updates without a post back!
Of course that's a very simple description of the magic that happens, but if you're an ASP.Net 2.0 programmer you owe it to yourself to check out the extensions TODAY! ;)
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