It was never a big thing but it was not done. This what branding does - people jump in and start doing it. AJAX is one such brand. Even the hardcore netscape fans knew that its rendering engine was not good and thats why it lost the mighty war. Its not only important how fast your browser renders the page but also how your application does it. The new browsers have invested so much to give you the best possible rendering speed. Thanks to relentless effort by the Microsoft' IE team and then Opera and Mozilla foundation. Now comes your own application's turn and the AJAX gives you that way out. What I like about it is the way it encourages to keep the data separate from its' presentation. So if you are rendering an XML document think of using AJAX. Either its a transactional data or content stored in static XML files (Interwoven teamsite?) AJAX(?) can beautifully read it and give you a perfect user experience. I wish the AJAX was around 5 years ago when most of the web based applications tanked for the lack of it.