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Gmail inbox auto update, is this AJAX? How could I do this?

Posted on 2011-02-15
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
In Gmail once you received a new email it will update your inbox page with the new email without you reloading the page. How is Gmail doing this? How does Gmail knows I have a new email? From what I know AJAX only works if there's an action from a user, is this correct?

Please provide a sample code / a link to a tutorial on how I could do this.
Question by:Bandai2
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LVL 82

Expert Comment

ID: 34899328
different method if you're trying to do this using IMAP, POP or HTTP

>From what I know AJAX only works if there's an action from a user, is this correct?
No, you can do an ajax call using a timer, at page load and so on


Author Comment

ID: 34899548
>different method if you're trying to do this using IMAP, POP or HTTP

I should have been more clear, I'm not doing this to access emails. I just want the functionality of Gmail where it knows there is new data for the inbox. In my case instead of emails, my data would come from the database. I need to update the page as soon as there is new data saved on the database.

>No, you can do an ajax call using a timer, at page load and so on

Isn't this a resource heavy solution for the user? Is this how Gmail is doing it? A non stop timer?

Expert Comment

ID: 34899553
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Expert Comment

ID: 34899571
My response was very terse I hit submit before explaining it. So much of the GMAIL functionallity is exposed to developers through Google API where you can get into the code of nearly everything Google has. If you follow my link and start searching and exploring in there you will find everything you need.
LVL 82

Accepted Solution

leakim971 earned 2000 total points
ID: 34899639
The term is << pulling >>, check this (HTTP Pull) :
At the opposite, << pushing >> same page (Reverse AJAX)

you have good info on the page.
setInterval on the client :
comet and ajax push on the server : and
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 34904122
Hi, You have to use the ajax control like update panel, and set its target control to refresh button. It is working like gmail inbox. Try this otherwise I will give you a video tutorials for ajax. ok

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