One of the most popular Ajax applications is Gmail, a web-based e-mail system that incorporates a lot of Ajax techniques to create a seamless user experience. Gmail loads a single page and then makes changes to reflect user actions, eliminating almost entirely the "click-and-wait" experience of most web applications. There is a lot of back-and-forth with the server to retrieve information that the user never knows is occurring because of the system's design. Because Gmail is an excellent example of how to build an Ajax-based web application, this chapter focuses on developing a similar application called AjaxMail.
In this chapter, you will use techniques learned throughout the book to bring AjaxMail to life. Both hidden frames and the XMLHttp object will be used for communicating with the server, and you will be reminded when and how to use each technique. Remember, the whole point of using Ajax is to improve the user's experience; this chapter gives you the opportunity to see firsthand how to create an application with the user in mind.