Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Review: Foundations of Ajax

The first round of Ajax books have hit the shelves and Apress is trying to make their mark with Foundations of Ajax. A thin book with only 273 pages including the index, Foundations of Ajax hits the mark with its recipe style format and examples.

Foundations of Ajax starts out the way most tech books do with a bit of history and primer for what’s to come. Most people familiar with web applications and design can probably just skip chapter 1 and possibly 2. But don’t skip anymore. Chapter 3 jumps right in with your first fully functional Ajax enabled web page and it doesn’t let up. Some of the examples are dynamic tool tips, textfield autocomplete, dynamic drop down lists, and my favorite, the progress bar. The elements of each example are well explained and easy to understand but aren’t diluted with pages of theory and why’s. This book is all how.

The last few chapters all deal with tools for the developer to help make Ajax development easier. It talks about Firefox extensions, JSUnit, and lightly touches on some Ajax frameworks though no working examples of any of the frameworks are shown.

The book was not without its faults, however. There are syntax errors lightly scattered throughout some of the examples. This was frustrating because I had to debug javascript for someone else’s errors. The book also assumes a fair amount of Servlet knowledge and J2EE web app deployment know how. While I’m all for examples in Java, this does limit the books potential customer base. Ajax is pretty much server side technology agnostic. It can be used with ASP, PHP, J2EE, Ruby, and many others. And while the book does touch on this fact, newbies to Servlets will find running the examples difficult.

I whole heartedly enjoyed this book and it really wet my appetite for Ajax and how I can use it to improve my own applications UI and provide a better experience for the end user. I’d highly recommend this to anyone wanting to learn the “Foundations of Ajax”.

8 comments:

Apress said...

Hey there, Gregg:

Thanks for reviewing this cool Apress book. May Apress quote from it---on the Apress website, etc?

I look forward to hearing back from you. Thanks.

Ayisha said...

nice site for more books I have some more gifts..



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Craig Maloney sportsbook have reviewed today Foundations of Ajax Book by Ryan Asleson and Nathaniel T. Schutta and published by Apress. A great starting point for developers
Foundations of Ajax starts with a brief bet nfl history of interactive web-applications, starting from the crudest CGI and Java Applets, and chronicling various interactive technologies (Javascript, Servelets, ASP, PHP, Flash, DHTML, and the various XML browser languages like XUL, XAMJ, etc.) Issues aside, the book is very encouraging on the prospects of using Ajax in web applications, and http://www.enterbet.com invites the reader to use Ajax where it makes sense.

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