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At this point, you're probably not ready to go out and write your first Ajax application -- at least, not unless you're willing to do some real digging in the Resources section. However, you can start to get the basic idea of how these applications work and a basic understanding of the XMLHttpRequest object. In the articles to come, you'll learn to master this object, how to handle JavaScript-to-server communication, how to work with HTML forms, and even get a handle on the DOM.

For now, though, spend some time thinking about just how powerful Ajax applications can be. Imagine a Web form that responds to you not just when you click a button, but when you type into a field, when you select an option from a combo box...even when you drag your mouse around the screen. Think about exactly what asynchronous means; think about JavaScript code running and not waiting on the server to respond to its requests. What sorts of problems can you run into? What areas do you watch out for? And how will the design of your forms change to account for this new approach in programming?

If you spend some real time with these issues, you'll be better served than just having some code you can cut-and-paste and throw into an application that you really don't understand. In the next article, you'll put these ideas into practice and I'll give you the details on the code you need to really make applications like this work. So, until then, enjoy the possibilities of Ajax.

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