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Ajax has changed the way we build web apps, allowing rich communication between the client and server without any need to refresh the page. But despite its power and flexibility, Ajax has numerous shortcomings such as a same-domain request policy and the inability to receive data without polling the server. For these limitations, we've seen workarounds such as JSONP and Comet.

One issue we have not yet seen addressed is the Ajax's inability to receive a response in any form but text. Since it is now common for web applications to offer options for exporting your data in desktop app formats - such as .doc or .xls - we wrote a jQuery plugin to facilitate requests from the front end that result in a file for download. The plugin does not actually use Ajax, but its syntax follows the conventions of jQuery's native Ajax functions, making it a natural addition to our jQuery toolset.



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