Dealing with long request times

I am not sure if this is the right forum but seems to be the closest.

Although it is irrelevant to my question, my app is using Rails, and there are several places where the after submitting a form, a long time will pass before it is completed. These are not database request but calls to libraries that run applications such as nmap. This can take a while.

Is there a non-AJAX way to be able to give the user a status update? If I start using AJAX, then most of the application will have to use it and I am not a fan of over using AJAX. It is fine for the occasional small task but it is terrible to heavily rely on it.

I think maybe a web browser just isn't the solution for my app and I need to make it a proper desktop application.
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