What Is AJAX Data Type?


Larry Thompson

What Is AJAX Data Type?

AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) is a powerful technique used in web development to create interactive and dynamic web pages. It allows you to update specific parts of a web page without reloading the entire page. One of the key components of AJAX is the ability to communicate with a server and retrieve data in different formats, such as JSON, XML, HTML, or even plain text.

The AJAX data type specifies the format in which the server sends the response back to the client. The most commonly used data types are:

  • JSON (JavaScript Object Notation): JSON is a lightweight data interchange format that is easy for humans to read and write, and easy for machines to parse and generate. It is based on key-value pairs and supports complex nested structures.
  • XML (eXtensible Markup Language): XML is a markup language that defines rules for encoding documents in a format that both humans and machines can read.

    It uses tags similar to HTML but allows you to define your own custom tags.

  • HTML (Hypertext Markup Language): HTML is the standard markup language used for creating web pages. While it may seem unusual to request an HTML response via AJAX, it can be useful in situations where you want to dynamically update parts of a page with pre-rendered HTML content.
  • Text: Text is the simplest data type that can be returned by a server. It can be plain text or any other format that doesn’t fit into any specific category like JSON, XML, or HTML.

AJAX Data Type Example: Retrieving JSON Data

To illustrate how AJAX data types work, let’s consider an example where we want to retrieve data from a server in JSON format. We can use the jQuery library to make AJAX requests and handle the response.

First, we need to specify the data type as “json” in our AJAX request:

  url: "https://example.com/api/data",
  dataType: "json",
  success: function(response) {
    // Handle the JSON response here

In this example, we are making a GET request to the URL “https://example.com/api/data” and specifying the data type as JSON. The success callback function will be called when the server responds with a JSON object.

Inside the success callback, you can access the JSON data using JavaScript dot notation or array-like syntax:

success: function(response) {
  console.log(response.name); // Accessing a specific property
  console.log(response[0]); // Accessing an array element


AJAX data types play a crucial role in retrieving and handling server responses in different formats. Whether you need to retrieve data in JSON, XML, HTML, or plain text format, AJAX provides a flexible way to communicate with servers and update web pages dynamically without reloading them entirely. Understanding how to specify and handle different data types is essential for building interactive and engaging web applications.

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