“Asynchronous JavaScript and XML” is a group of inter-related web development techniques used for creating interactive web applications. A primary characteristic is the increased responsiveness and interactivity of web pages achieved by exchanging small amounts of data with the server “behind the scenes” so that entire web pages do not have to be reloaded each time there is a need to fetch data from the server. This is intended to increase the web page’s interactivity, speed, functionality and usability.

Ajax is asynchronous, in that extra data is requested from the server and loaded in the background without interfering with the display and behavior of the existing page. JavaScript is the scripting language in which Ajax function calls are usually made. Data is retrieved using the XMLHttpRequest object that is available to scripting languages run in modern browsers, or, alternatively, through the use of Remote Scripting in browsers that do not support XMLHttpRequest. In any case, it is not required that the asynchronous content be formatted in XML.

Ajax is a cross-platform technique usable on many different operating systems, computer architectures, and web browsers as it is based on open standards such as JavaScript and the DOM. There are free and open source implementations of suitable frameworks and libraries.