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+ - Your guide to Mastering Ajax on Rails

Submitted by
Brian DeLacey
Brian DeLacey writes "Book Review Title: Your guide to mastering Ajax on Rails

Ajax on Rails, by Scott Raymond
336 pages, O'Reilly Media (Published, January 3, 2007)

Scott Raymond's book "Ajax on Rails" was published in January and is a timely guide for interactive web development using Ajax and Rails. The book starts with the basics, transitions to intermediate techniques, and finishes with a flourish of full source to three life-sized Rails applications using Ajax. (The sample applications can be downloaded from the publisher's site at http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/9780596527440/#.) This book is worth a look for novices and experts.

The author writes that Ajax is "a really simple idea: web pages, already loaded in a browser, can talk with the server and potentially change themselves as a result." [p. 2] He then leads you beyond the mystery of Ajax to reveal why "Ajax on Rails" is such a powerful approach to building fun, effective, and highly interactive web applications.

One of the real strengths of this book is its many easy-to-follow examples. I found even tricky techniques described clearly. I typed in code samples as I read and found it to be highly accurate. Having a working Rails installation is key for getting the most out of the book. All the software you'll need to get going is freely available on the net.

The centerpiece of the book is Chapter 5, "RJS" (also known as Ruby-generated Javascript.) A number of more advanced technical topics, often overlooked, are also covered: `Usability', 'Testing and Debugging', 'Performance' and 'Security'.

The author does an elegant job taking the reader from simple code snippets to more complex applications. I applied what I was learning to my own Rails project as I read along. The book is the right size: it won't break your bookshelf at just over 300 pages. (The book could be even better if it left out some of the details of Prototype and script.aculo.us, which could be easily referred to on the web.)

"Ajax on Rails" was a joy to read and work through. The title nails the topic: this is a defining text. The material is clearly organized. The writing moves at a great pace. You can't beat the sample code. (I expect I'll be referring back to it in the future.) This book is a terrific tool for mastering two phenomenal web developments — Ajax and Rails. The author's website, http://scottraymond.net/, provides more background and adds supporting, up-dated information and is worth visiting.

Reviewer Brian DeLacey, founder of the "Greater Boston Ruby and Rails Group" (www.greaterbostonrubyandrails.com)

[EDITORS, PLEASE NOTE — The following information is for your background and not for publication.]

Full Disclosure: "Greater Boston Ruby and Rails Group" is recognized as a user group by O'Reilly Media, the publisher of Ajax on Rails.

DeLacey has published or co-authored works related to information systems, industry standards, innovation, and open source (e.g. http://blog.hitachixbrl.com/2007/01/23/open-source -and-xbrl/ ) DeLacey worked in software at Lotus Development for 13 years and research at the Harvard Business School for eight years.

The reviewer believes an important part of adopting important, new, innovative technologies is getting the word out and providing supporting educational materials. Great books do that. As a result, the reviewer decided to write some reviews in support of his enthusiasm for Ruby, Rails and related technologies, including open source.

A substantially different version of this review may appear elsewhere:

http://www.oreillynet.com/cs/catalog/view/cs_msg/8 8674
http://www.amazon.com/Ajax-Rails-Scott-Raymond/dp/ 0596527446
http://amapedia.amazon.com/view/Ajax+on+Rails/id=1 45492

Email: bdelacey@gmail.com"

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