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Submission + - Microsoft Ajax Library Essentials

Darren Kopp writes: Microsoft AJAX Library Essentials

Microsoft AJAX Library Essentials, by Bogdan Brinzarea and Cristian Darie, introduces the reader to the Microsoft AJAX script library. The term AJAX stands for Asynchronous Javascript and XML, and represents a more unobtrusive way for internet browsers to interact with back end servers, however, as the authors show, the Microsoft AJAX library goes much further and makes web development a lot less painful for developers.

The book starts off with a brief history of the web but very quickly delves into some basic javascript. The authors do a good job of covering the basics of javascript, the Document Object Model (DOM) and the XMLHttpRequest object. These three elements are the core elements of AJAX. While the authors do cover all the core features of each of these elements, I would say that they assume that the reader has had some experience with javascript and the DOM. If the reader has not, I would suggest reading an introduction to javascript and the DOM.

After the reader has their feet wet with the basics of AJAX, the authors delve right into some more advanced javascript topics including Object Oriented javascript, closures, and anonymous methods. Now don't get worried, the authors do a good job of explaining these topics, however again, it is cursory coverage and assume that the reader has had previous experience with javascript.

Finally, the authors get to the Microsoft Ajax Library. The book covers all of the core features that the framework enables you to do in javascript which includes events, inheritance with objects, enumerations, and more. The tutorials throughout this introduction are simple, but comprehensively documented.

At it's core, the book gives a good introduction to the framework, though I feel that it drew to a conclusion much to quickly. The book is only 230 pages long, with 80 of those pages being the history of AJAX and the introduction to javascript. All of the topics covered are covered well, but again, I would have liked to see more about the Microsoft AJAX Library. However, the last 40 or so pages of the book are a class reference for the Microsoft AJAX Library, making this a valuable desktop reference.

One thing that I did not like about the book was how it handled source. I personally like to see colored formatting of source, but at a minimum source code should have a different background than other text on the page, where this book just had a monospace font to set aside source code. This just made it a bit harder to navigate the source.

All in all, the book is a good introduction to javascript and the way that the Microsoft AJAX Library adds functionality to web pages. Although the library was developed to give a consistent feel to the .NET framework, this library can be used by all web developers. Also, although in the book when the authors refer to server-side methods in ASP.NET terms, this is not Microsoft web server specific technology, and could easily be implemented on a LAMP (Linux,Apache,MySql,PHP) stack.

Submission + - Microsoft to release source code for .NET Framewor

darrenkopp writes: Scott Gunthrie announced today that Microsoft will be releasing the full source code for their .NET framework, including comments, for download later this year. It will be released under the Microsoft Reference License (MS-RL). Doing this will allow developers to both view the source code, as well as step into sections of with a debugger that formerly were unavailable. It is unknown how this will affect Mono development, but assuredly this will speed it up. However, one may wonder, based on Microsoft and Novell's recent agreements, if the Mono community could use large poritions of the frameworks code.

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