Craig Maloney writes "You've no doubt heard about Ajax. Practically every new and exciting application on the web uses some form of Ajax. Google's suite of applications (GMail, Google Maps, etc.), Amazon's A9 search engine, and Netflix use Ajax interfaces to give the user a better browsing experience. By using some pretty basic innovations to current technology, browsers can now deliver content in ways unimaginable only a few short years ago. Foundations of Ajax provides developers who haven't taken the time to look into Ajax a hands-on guide for quickly leveraging these technologies in their own applications." Read on for Craig's review.
|Foundations of Ajax|
|author||Ryan Asleson and Nathaniel T. Schutta|
Chapter 2 talks about the request method that makes Ajax possible: XMLHTTPRequest (XHR). The XHR methods are explained with several examples that detail the fundamentals occurring with the request. The examples are very clear, and the entire process is laid out in careful detail, although the Dynamic Object Model (DOM) is mentioned, but not explained until the end of the chapter.
Chapter 4 is really where the book starts doing very interesting examples with Ajax. It's also, coincidentally, the largest chapter in the book, and the chapter readers will find the most useful reference examples. The book steps through the creation of examples of Simple date validation, Reading response headers for a simple ping application, Dynamically Loading List Boxes, Automatically Refreshing Pages, Progress bar (a personal favorite), Tool tips, Accessing Web Services using REST, and Auto complete. Each example is introduced with a real-world working application as an example (such as the auto complete feature of the Google search engine), and could easily be implemented in a developer's application. I found myself thinking of ways to enhance my code using these techniques.
Chapter 8 rounds out the book with the typical "for more information" sites to visit. However, in true Steve Jobs "One more thing" fashion, the authors not only plug their Ajax Framework, but also create a browser-based, Macintosh-like Dashboard application with four widgets. I was all set to finish the book, but the authors quietly slipped the best for last in the final pages of the book, bringing out a complete Mac OSX-like "Dashboard" windowed-environment in a browser complete with the drag-and-drop elements I've most associated with Ajax sites. This is by far the most complicated project in the book, and it make for an excellent ending to an already fine book.
Foundations of Ajax is a great starting point for developers wondering how they can incorporate Ajax into their own web-based projects. One minor gripe I had with this book was the examples looked pale in comparison with their real-world models, but design is hardly the focus of the book. Where Foundations of Ajax shines is it's no-nonsense introduction, implementation, and expansion of the basics of Ajax programming, leaving the reader confidently ready to utilize the concepts within. The authors have seen the potential of Ajax, and competently convey their expertise and enthusiasm for this technology."
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