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ASP.NET AJAX is come a long way since its inception a few years back and my personal take it is that it in a hype cycle right now, where everyone is trying to jump on-board and create AJAX based applications. Needless to say that it has its own benefits, but there definite downsides to it as well. You can read a set of 10 important aspects around AJAX here.

It is known that though it gives a flicker free UX, the under-the-hood story tells a different tale. Having read about it, some days back, we did a small experiment to really see the kind of differences one can get with different approaches and you can read about our findings in this report (Download file). The scenario we took is very simplistic, but the results are still eye-opening.


I agree AJAX must be used judiciously.

Can you please share the code you have used for validating?

You can get the sample code

Well written viewpoint. The bandwidth savings are well described. Would have liked one more section which gives some description of how UpdatePanel and Webservices invocation works.

Vijay, I have posted the code also here as reply to an earlier comment. Is there anything else that you are looking at?

I read the report and have some feedback ..

Your baseline is biased.

The page used for testing has only one UI element on it , the DataGrid.

The updatepanel has to send all the Elements contained inside its .

In your sample page , the page contains only the DataGrid and the text boxes and nothing else.
When you put the whole page inside an updatepanel , what you see as the Bytes sent is not
very different from a Full Post back .

Hence, this is an unfair comparision .

Consider this ,
You have a page with a whole lot of datagrids and you need to do AJax Updates on just one
DataGrid. In this case , the number of bytes sent corresponding to a Full page postback
is significantly smaller .

Had your example been a little realistic , we could have seen the actual benefits of using
the UpdatePanel.

And also, the maintenance benefit of using an UpdatePanel is a huge bargaining chip compared
to the WebServices Effort.

Raj, your comments are pefectly valid. Note however the intention of the paper is only to make developers aware that the partial page rendering that one gets from UpdatePanel has some under currents that they should be aware of. I have seen various real life projects that have used many update panels on a page and have run into performance issues.

I am definitely not trying to say that UpdatePanel is bad. Only that, be informed about what happens under the hood when using it.

As for the maintenance benefit, I will not entirely agree since to me performance of an application clearly outweighs any maintenance benefits that developers may derive by using the UpdatePanel as against Web service approach.

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