Ajax: The Definitive Guide
Interactive Applications for the Web
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Released: January 2008
Pages: 982

Is Ajax a new technology, or the same old stuff web developers have been using for years? Both, actually. This book demonstrates not only how tried-and-true web standards make Ajax possible, but how these older technologies allow you to give sites a decidedly modern Web 2.0 feel.

Ajax: The Definitive Guide explains how to use standards like JavaScript, XML, CSS, and XHTML, along with the XMLHttpRequest object, to build browser-based web applications that function like desktop programs. You get a complete background on what goes into today's web sites and applications, and learn to leverage these tools along with Ajax for advanced browser searching, web services, mashups, and more. You discover how to turn a web browser and web site into a true application, and why developing with Ajax is faster, easier and cheaper.

The book also explains:

  • How to connect server-side backend components to user interfaces in the browser
  • Loading and manipulating XML documents, and how to replace XML with JSON
  • Manipulating the Document Object Model (DOM)
  • Designing Ajax interfaces for usability, functionality, visualization, and accessibility
  • Site navigation layout, including issues with Ajax and the browser's back button
  • Adding life to tables & lists, navigation boxes and windows
  • Animation creation, interactive forms, and data validation
  • Search, web services and mash-ups
  • Applying Ajax to business communications, and creating Internet games without plug-ins
  • The advantages of modular coding, ways to optimize Ajax applications, and more
This book also provides references to XML and XSLT, popular JavaScript Frameworks, Libraries, and Toolkits, and various Web Service APIs. By offering web developers a much broader set of tools and options, Ajax gives developers a new way to create content on the Web, while throwing off the constraints of the past. Ajax: The Definitive Guide describes the contents of this unique toolbox in exhaustive detail, and explains how to get the most out of it.

Table of Contents
Product Details
About the Author
Colophon
Recommended for You
Customer Reviews

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
oreillyAjax: The Definitive Guide
 
3.1

(based on 8 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (4)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (2)

Reviewed by 8 customers

Sort by

Displaying reviews 1-8

Back to top

(1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

 
1.0

Too much extra

By Gus

from Carbondale PA

About Me Designer, Developer

Verified Reviewer

Pros

    Cons

    • Lacks continuity
    • Php
    • Too basic

    Best Uses

      Comments about oreilly Ajax: The Definitive Guide:

      This book should not have been written in its current form. It is a compilation of disconnected notes. In many instances, the author discusses items that have little direct impact on using AJAX in the wild. Had I known that php was the author's language of choice, I would never have bought the book. I hope O'Reilly adopts the practice of indicating the language used within O'Reilly products. Had I seen "php," I would not have purchased the book.

      I'll be honest. I've only read to page 75. I've jumped around a lot but it is not the same as reading and using one of the other O'Reilly definitive guides (HTML, Javascript, and CSS). In those books, the authors were careful to stay within the bounds set by the book title (well maybe not so much for CSS since the author has an agenda in mind). I use those three books constantly. They are always open to pages that affect my work. I fear that AJAX is not in that class.

      As I've indicated, I shouldn't have bought the book. Anyone want to buy a barely used copy?

      (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      Really exeptional book!

      By Devon - Intel Corp.

      from Tigard, OR

      About Me Designer, Developer, Educator, Maker, Sys Admin

      Verified Reviewer

      Pros

      • Accurate
      • Concise
      • Easy to understand
      • Helpful examples
      • Well-written

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Expert
        • Intermediate
        • Novice
        • Student

        Comments about oreilly Ajax: The Definitive Guide:

        People need to stop complaining about the length and amount of context in the book! IT IS THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE.. it is supposed to have EVERY detail, which it does, Anthony explains tons of different thing in this book, which if you are a beginner you will love the first 3 chapters of this book. But if you are experienced in Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX) Anthony clearly states in his comment blocks that if you know or dont need to know this skip to chapter X.
        This book has helped me get through many issues that arise when dealing with AJAX. The 924 pages of this book are the most informing information on AJAX you can anywhere. remeber when reading to have little colored post-it tablets to mark the most informative info you find.

        Anthony gives plenty of references to many of the up-coming standards that are in place, which is a good thing to keep your eyes on because few of them are going to change the way you work with AJAX to make it ABSOLUTLEY simple-"er"

        As well any good developer knows that OVER COMMENTING is a good thing, becasue you as the developer of a project/application are not the only one who will look at your code, maybe a Jr. or an Intern is in who is learning? everyone should remember to comment heavily in there code.
        I cant belive that someone would think that there is to much commenting especialy in a LEARNING BOOK..

        Moral is, If you know any or better all 3 of the fundamentals of AJAX, being: Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, then get this book and learn how to use them all at once combined with "some" server sided scripting (i.e. Ruby on Rails) to create some of the dynamicaly best web applications up to date!

        (4 of 7 customers found this review helpful)

         
        1.0

        Exhaustingly Exhaustive

        By Amicidavinci

        from Undisclosed

        Comments about oreilly Ajax: The Definitive Guide:

        This book has so many (exhaustive) comment blocks for example Javascript functions that most often the comment block is 10 times longer than the javascript code itself. Wading through it is a tremendous pain. Good code is self-documenting.

        More often than not, there is not much real instruction but a lot of extremely verbose commentary about boring stuff that is (or should be) obvious to anyone who has written code for more than a year or two.

        Everything that was said in this book could have been condensed into a book 1/3 the size and 1/3 the cost. I will be trying to see if B&N will let me return it.

        (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        exhaustive.

        By Muism4t

        from Undisclosed

        Comments about oreilly Ajax: The Definitive Guide:

        I recommend reading "Ajax The definitive guide"

        if you have loads of time and if you are new to AJAX techniques. It would also be a great book to use as a reference book.

        The book gives loads of information and clear examples. The book features a clear structure wherein every single part of using AJAX gets his place.

        Those "loads of information" also make it a bit difficult to read , sometimes you have to read parts again to fully understand it.

        I have to remark that English is not my native language. A Dutch review will appear shortly here (http://www.compublog.nl) .

        (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Exhaustive, but on-the-mark

        By Anonymous

        from Undisclosed

        Comments about oreilly Ajax: The Definitive Guide:

        Let me preface this review by saying that I have never been a fan of thick programming or computer books. If a book is 2 inches thick, I often find only 1/2 to 1 inch of it to be valuable. However, most of Ajax: The Definitive Guide seems to hit the mark. Since Ajax development is such an expansive, and rapidly changing, topic, it is perhaps a good idea to shoot for too much rather than too little information. Most developers will find this book not only a good learning guide, but also a handy reference for a wide variety of coding needs.

        One thing you will notice when scanning through this book is that there is a lot of code. The author is not afraid to publish pages and pages of Ajax code for readers to consider, copy and hack up to create their own applications. Not all is useful in real-world applications, however, since some of it is not cross-browser compatible (most often failing in Internet Explorer).

        The first three chapters are largely an introduction to Web technologies, and can be skipped by most developers. In Chapter 4, the author introduces the XMLHttpRequest object, the object that puts the "asynchronous" in Ajax (an acronym for "asynchronous JavaScript and XML"). He details how to make simple applications that pull information from server-based XML or JSON, an alternative data format well suited to Ajax. Chapter 5 deals with Document Object Model programming, a critical task that allows developers to change the look and content of Web pages that have already been rendered.

        After these foundational concepts, Part 2 contains nine chapters that provide specific solutions to common Web programming needs. Readers learn the ins and outs of creating Ajaxified navigation, forms, lists, tables, frames, etc.

        Part 3, called "Ajax in Applications," goes a step farther by showing the reader how to integrate Ajax with other applications. Chapter 16, for example, shows the reader how to incorporate Ajaxified Google search into a site and even include such dynamic features as search hinting. Other chapters in this section introduce Web services, Web APIs and even show how to create Ajax animated games.

        Part 4 contains two chapters that show readers how to create more modular code, and how to create faster, more compressed code. This is critical considering the importance of speed to the user experience in Ajax.

        One of the book's shortfalls is the lack of information about the various Ajax libraries. Libraries and frameworks provide solutions to common programming needs: ready-made widgets, improved JavaScript programming notation, useful objects and easy cross-browser compatibility. The author includes a brief introduction to the libraries in chapter 4 and a reference in Appendix B. There are also mentions of the major libraries scattered throughout the chapters. However, it would be worthwhile to include at least a chapter devoted to each of the major libraries such as Dojo, Prototype and jQuery.

        (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        2.0

        Disappointing at best

        By Anonymous

        from Undisclosed

        Comments about oreilly Ajax: The Definitive Guide:

        Although titled "Ajax - The Definitive Guide", actual discussion and examples of Ajax are a minor portion of the book. The actual focus is on use of CSS to produce desired page appearance with multiple browser types.

        There are many printed examples of code (good), few examples of what the code produces (poor), little discussion of what each code does (poor) and no downloadable examples due to referenced links not working (unexcusable).

        The overall information is good, but "not as advertised".

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Reads like a university textbook

        By thewebguyca

        from Undisclosed

        Comments about oreilly Ajax: The Definitive Guide:

        This book was my first real look at Ajax and I thought I'd get in and out quickly, painlessly and easily. Not a light read. You'll find yourself reading, rereading, rereading, rereading,

        It turned out to be a mouthful I had trouble chewing but that was mostly me. For those of you like me who want to start developing with Ajax much of the first four chapters are a waste of time. Lock yourself in your office and use the table of contents to cherry pick specific areas.

        Holdener really knows his material, this really is "The Definitive Guide" to Ajax.

        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Definitely one of the better offerings from O'Reilly

        By Anonymous

        from Undisclosed

        Comments about oreilly Ajax: The Definitive Guide:

        It's been a while since I read a decent O'Reilly book. I've been disappointed a lot recently by O'Reilly. Too many of the O'Reilly books I've read have been patchy, or tediously written, or lacked an adequate index. So, why do I keep buying them?

        I keep buying them because now and then they produce decent books. Ajax: The Definitive Guide comes under that category. The author knows the subject well, but more importantly, knows how to share his knowledge. The writing is clear, concise and keeps one interested. Apart from the jarring change of pace between chapters 3 and 4, which plunges head first into Ajax proper - rather like plunging down a ravine -, the book progresses at a good pace, digressing where necessary (but not too much), and covers a good breadth of the subject matter.

        To qualify myself, I admit I haven't read the entire volume. What I've read so far, and more importantly, how I've read so far, leads me to assume that barring any serious disasters the rest should be a matter of course. Recommended.

        Displaying reviews 1-8

        Back to top

         
        Buy 2 Get 1 Free Free Shipping Guarantee
        Buying Options
        Immediate Access - Go Digital what's this?
        Ebook: $39.99
        Formats:  DAISY, ePub, Mobi, PDF
        Print & Ebook: $54.99
        Print: $49.99