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”.

Friday, November 04, 2005

KornShell Scripting Reference

I've been doing quite a bit of KornShell scripting at my new job the past couple of days. I am familiar with bash primarily so I was needing some reference to KornShell and it took me forever to find something good. This link was buried about 9 pages deep in google. It answered a lot of questions that other tutorials and links just didn't touch on. So I thought I would share it in case anyone else needs something similar.

Unix KornShell Quick Reference

Happy scripting!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Just An Update On My New Job

[I noticed that this post has made it to the top of javablogs Hot list. I added this blog to javablogs yesterday and it aggregated everything. This post is really old and I am not even at this job anymore. Sorry about that.]

I got yelled at the other day for not having any updates on my weblog for a long time. Not that me taking long breaks from blogging is anything new, but I figured I'd go ahead and throw out one today.

Last week I started a new job at DST Output in Kansas City, MO. So far things are going pretty well. I'm enjoying being at a job where I am getting paid to write code full time instead of my part time consulting work. The company has a great history and great financials. My colleagues have been very helpful in getting me up to speed on everything we do here.

I would say more about the work I am doing and the company however, only being here a week, I am not quite sure what all I am at liberty to speak about in public. More to come in later days I am sure. Now back to work...