Ajax in Action

Ajax in Action
Dave Crane, Eric Pascarello, Darren James
01 Oct 2005
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Val's Blog "A tremendously useful field guide specifically written for developers down in the trenches...waiting for the killer solution..." Book Description Web users are getting tired of the traditional web experience. They get frustrated losing their scroll position; they get annoyed waiting for refresh; they struggle to reorient themselves on every new page. And the list goes on. With asynchronous JavaScript and XML, known as "Ajax," you can give them a better experience.

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  1. Editorial Reviews
  2. Customer Reviews

Customer Reviews

Leo Mckenzie III said
This one thick book that covers AJAX quite well. It discusses the meaning and history of the mesh of technologies that make up AJAX, various techniques and even covers some sample projects. It took me a few times to get through the book, but I do recommend it. It's a great read for anyone doing any web development.

Joseph Flores said
I read through some other user reviews before digging into this, and I noticed one major flaw in most of the lower-rated reviews: none of the reviewers seem to understand Ajax, nor what it is defined as (Asynchronous Javascript + XML)- Ajax is not some magical new scripting language, and this book is not for the person who doesn't understand the basics of OO programming or Javascript.

The book sets out to teach the reader everything they need to know about Ajax, and in that regard it succeeds brilliantly; Crane and Pascarello do their damnedest to make sure that the reader is following the best programming practices when building their apps, and guide you along the way to make sure that they explain, as best possible, why certain tasks should be handled client-side or server-side. Easy to understand diagrams and illustrations are peppered throughout to help you understand the concepts, and the code snippets are annotated by flow of functionality, allowing you to glance at a code block and understand the process, a much simpler design than the classic "3 page clarification after a huge 5 page block of code" layout that seems to pervade the tech publishing world nowadays.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to any programmer familiar with client- and server-side scripting that needs a good lesson in combining them both into a dynamic, highly functional app.

Elar Alexander said
I tried reading the book (up to chapter 8) still could not find a piece of useful information written properly or completely. Vague writing. I don't think the author has actual experience Ajax or design patterns ,he talks about.

The chapters and sample codes looks more like written by a beginner . Too much plumbing and bad coding practice.

And did I said verbose ?

Clint Pachl said
This book covers lots of ground coming in at 600 pages of real content. I almost gave this book 3 stars until I re-read it. It may seem verbose for the more experienced programmer, but I think would be a perfect read for the novice Javascript programmer. It really is packed full of great implementation ideas and good practices, such as the use of software patterns (MVC, singleton, adapter) and extensive code refactoring. There are tons of screen shots, images, diagrams, code examples and snippets, and external references. Although the AJAX protocol is server-side neutral, the author implements the backends in Java, C#, PHP, and VB.NET.

The biggest drawback is security coverage. Security issues in the AJAX world have really unfolded since this book was first published. This title does dedicate about 30 pages (chapter 7) to security. The author touches on the basics, like securely parsing XMLHttpRequest response data. However, I would highly recommend Ajax Security for a more in-depth study. "AJAX Security" is almost the size of this book, but entirely dedicated to security and about 2 years newer.

The book concludes with five big example applications. The fourth example implements a live search. It employs XSLT for XML parsing and presentation, which really piqued my interest. For me, the live search example is the highlight of the book.

Thing with a hook said
Looking for the latest DHTML tricks and Javascript libraries? You came to the wrong place: this was published in 2005.

But I really liked this book. All you need is competence with HTML, CSS and Javascript, and Ajax in Action will help you understand what makes Ajax different from the traditional client-server architecture of web apps. It also introduces some design patterns and other basic considerations, e.g. cross browser issues. The second half of the book has several examples that illustrate what Ajax can buy you.

If you're already doing Ajax, there's not likely to be much here of any practical value, and a lot of the basic issues have been finessed away with the more common Javascript libraries. But if you're looking for a higher-level overview of the principles of Ajax and the issues involved in delivering the Ajax experience across browsers, this is still very relevant.

Reading Ajax in Action is not going to make you an expert. But this (or something like Head Rush Ajax) is a very good introduction.

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