Internet Explorer 8 will contain new AJAX functionality

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A blog entry at MSDN reports that Internet Explorer 8 will contain an important new feature: it will be possible to control the navigation history by JavaScript.

Up to today, it was problematic for the user to navigate back and forth through an AJAX-based web application. After the page has been loaded completely, the state of the HTML document might be modified by AJAX-based interactions, for example dynamic loading of texts or data. If the user clicks the “Back” button in his browser, the browser will go back to the previously loaded page, losing the entire (potentially modified) state of the application.

The new implementation in Internet Explorer 8, which is adopted from HTML 5, is supposed to solve this problem. It will be possible to add AJAX-related changes of state to the navigation history, enabling the user to navigate back and forth through the application, based on a history that contains all dynamically changed states. This would solve a huge usability problem of AJAX-based web applications.

The new feature is presented here as a video.

Up to now, no estimate can be made about the adoption of the new functionality by other browser vendors. Time will show which decisions will be made by them.

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