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Is the server or the client in control?

It depends. With AJAX the answer is more in between. Control can be more centralized in a server-side component or as a mix of client-side and server-side controllers.

* Centralized server-side controller - When having a more centralized controller the key is to make sure the data in client-side page is in sync with that of the server. Some applications may keep all the state on the server and push all updates to client DOM via a simple JavaScript controller.

* Client and server-side controllers - This architecture would use JavaScript to do all presentation related control, event processing, page manipulation, and rendering of model data on the client. The server-side would be responsible for things such as business logic and pushing updated model data to the client. In this case the server would not have intimate knowledge of the presentation short of the initial page that would be sent to the client page request.

There are some use cases where an entire AJAX application can be written in a single page. Keep in mind if you choose this type of architecture that navigation and bookmarking should be considered.Both methods are viable depending on what you are trying to accomplish. I tend to prefer spreading the control across the client and server.
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