AJAX's XMLHttpRequest Used To Bring Back PDF And Excel Docs?

May 14, 2006

Can I use the XMLHttpRequest object to call a url which would generate a PDF and then display it to the screen?

I'm new to AJAX and I'm very interested in using it to asychronously bring back documents with a content-type that IS NOT text/plain or text/html (like a PDF or Excel document) and then display that document to the screen. I have a web application that dynamically generates PDF and Excel documents. A user may have to wait a minute for the new doc to be created and displayed to the user. I want to put an animated notice saying the doc is being generated similar to what you see when you execute a search on a search engine. I've tried using animated gifs (with frames, etc.) but they don't work. As soon as a request is sent for the PDF, the browser halts the gif in IE. If I could instead call the URL that will produce the PDF asynchronously, then I could display the animated gif and call the PDF at the same time. Once the PDF is generated, I want it to then be displayed to the screen.

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