Marty McFly once said: “Yeah, well, history is gonna change”, and if you’re using one of the latest Gecko 2 based web browsers, such as Firefox 4, Thunderbird 3.3 or SeaMonkey 2.1, then this just might be the case for you.
So what exactly does this mean?
Well, imagine you’ve just done a search on Google and it’s given you a nice list of search results, then say you wanted to move to page two of those results, well rather than the whole page having to reload; Google could use AJAX to refresh just the central results area, meaning you didn’t need to load all the surrounding content/images/style sheets etc.
So that part is nothing new, but what they could now do is at the same time, change your URL bar to show something like: /page/2, and if you click again: /page/3. These new URLs would be neatly slotted into your browser history, meaning that you can return to the specific pages in the future (that is if you also create the static view of the results too or have AJAX check the query and re-render the results).
All in all, it’s a pretty neat way to start building a site that uses a lot of AJAX, but allows for those who need to return to the dynamic pages directly.