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Adding Ajax [Kindle Edition]

Shelley Powers
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Ajax can bring many advantages to an existing web application without forcing you to redo the whole thing. This book explains how you can add Ajax to enhance, rather than replace, the way your application works. For instance, if you have a traditional web application based on submitting a form to update a table, you can enhance it by adding the capability to update the table with changes to the form fields, without actually having to submit the form. That's just one example.

Adding Ajax is for those of you more interested in extending existing applications than in creating Rich Internet Applications (RIA). You already know the "business-side" of applications-web forms, server-side driven pages, and static content-and now you want to make your web pages livelier, more fun, and much more interactive. This book:

  • Provides an overview of Ajax technologies, and the importance of developing a strategy for changing your site before you sit down to code

  • Explains the heart and soul of Ajax: how to work with the XMLHttpRequest object

  • Introduces and demonstrates several important Ajax libraries, including Prototype,, rico, Mochikit

  • Explores the interactive element that is Ajax, including how to work with events and event handlers that work across browsers

  • Introduces the concept of web page as space, and covers three popular approaches to managing web space

  • Explains how to make data updates, including adding new data, deleting, and making updates, all from within a single page

  • Describes the effects Ajax has on the Web-breaking the back button, losing browser history, dynamic effects that disappear when the page is refreshed, and more

  • Covers advanced CSS effects, including drag and drop "scroll bars", pagination, and the use of SVG and the Canvas object

  • Explores mashups-Ajax's ability to combine data from different web services in any number of ways, directly in our web pages

You don't need to start over to use Ajax. You can simply add to what you already have. This book explains how.

Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Making Existing Sites More Interactive

About the Author

Shelley Powers is a software developer/architect, photographer, and writer who has authored numerous computer books on web development and technologies, including the O'Reilly titles "Developing ASP Components", "Unix Power Tools, Third Edition", "Essential Blogging", and "Practical RDF". Through the years, Shelley has also contributed several articles on cross-browser development, standards, RDF, JavaScript, CSS, and XML for several publications, and has worked with some of the world's leading companies. Shelley's tech web site is

Product Details

  • File Size: 2536 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (February 9, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0026OR36W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,191,304 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Special Focus May Apply to Your Situation July 2, 2007
The book title delivers a vital clue. "Adding Ajax" has a special, limited focus that may be right up your alley -- if you are evaluating enhancing existing Web applications by adding Ajax effects. Developers looking to evaluate building an Ajax-based application architecture from the ground up may not be satisfied.

The book itself is a fast read. That is not because of lack of content -- there is plenty of that! Still, Shelley Powers has organized the information so that most of the chapters can be read out of order, as independently as possible from the others. Chapter 5, which deals with accordion menus, tabbed paging, and overlays with Ajax and common script libraries can be skipped if you are most interested in user updates of live data in Chapter 6 without a problem.

The author cites known experts for related material (like Jeremy Keith and Eric Meyer) and gives lots of URLs for follow-up material.

The book is pretty much practice-oriented and contains lots of code. That leads to my one quibble: there is a lot of code here that does not seem to be available in downloadable form. Some people would find it convenient to have the code examples in a way that could be immediately tested on a server. Re-typing is a drag. The O'Reilly page for this book has a *very* impressive Table of Contents, with content previews -- but no code download.

Other than that, this is a very fine book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of good advice for web developers April 28, 2010
The book describes a number of ways in which Ajax changes the traditional state of the web. However, to start with the author describes what you need to do to prepare yourself for Ajax. I especially like the Start Clean section in which Shelly claims that the default CSS values are not necessarily good. For example, link underlining in a-tag is not always a good idea. I have heard this concept of starting from a clean sheet a number of times, it is a popular idea in the design community.

Also in the first chapter the author introduces the notion of Progressive enhancement, a web development methodology. Basically it says that the web site should work in various environments, even in the simplest. The idea is to make sure that your web site is still accessible on various devices after adding new features to it. The author stresses the concept of accessibility throughout the book. Indeed, web is an open platform for everybody - people in developing world, people with disabilities, etc.

Then there is a chapter on various web frameworks. The author explains the tradeoffs associated with using them. Obviously, a web framework often includes features you don't need and that increases the loading time of your page, an important issue for people with slower connections. Among the frameworks, Prototype offers the best value. Its goal is to provide a cross-browser layer while staying quite minimal in size.

In Chapter 4 the book describes interactive effects that Ajax allows to add, for example instant previews, fade ins and outs, etc. Then it describes the widgets that Ajax allows one to use: accordion, tabs, overlays. After that, the book deals with more complex issues such as in-place editing and live validation which requires interacting with a server.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Any web programmer's collection should have ADDING AJAX September 5, 2007
Ajax can be added to existing web applications without redoing everything - and ADDING AJAX by Shelley Powers is the perfect web programmer's guide to doing so with ease. Chapters not only cover methods of adding Ajax, but how to use Ajax to enhance an application, how to work with Ajax libraries and interactive elements, and how to understand the effects Ajax has on Web applications. Any web programmer's collection should have ADDING AJAX: it discusses easy integration of Ajax into existing systems and operations.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
It is not necessary to read this book sequentially from start to finish. Most chapters largely stand alone, although there is some small degree of building on previous chapters' content, primarily in the use of an "Adding Ajax" library that is created as the book proceeds. However, all of the material is included in the downloadable examples, so you can skip around without too much confusion. What is probably essential is that you read chapters one and two before reading any other chapters. The book assumes the reader is already a web developer who wants to learn to add Ajax effects to his/her web applications. It is assumed that the reader has experience with HTML, XHTML, XML basics, CSS, and JavaScript. Finally, it is assumed that the reader is familiar with relational databases and has worked with them before. The PHP language is what is used in this book for all of the server-side components of the Ajax applications. The following is a description of the book's contents:

Chapter 1. Getting Ready to Make a Move to Ajax - Provides an overview of the Ajax technologies, but also covers the importance of developing a strategy for change to your site before sitting down to code.
Section 1.1. The Technologies That Are Ajax
Section 1.2. Start Clean
Section 1.3. Converting Tables to CSS Layouts
Section 1.4. Continuing the Conversion: Element by Element
Section 1.5. Dealing with Browser-Specific Quirks
Section 1.6. Understanding Your Client Base
Section 1.7. Designing a Framework for Your Site
Section 1.8. Progressive Enhancement Versus Massive Overhaul

Chapter 2. The Ajax Bits - Provides a nuts-and-bolts coverage of the heart and soul of Ajax: how to work with the XMLHttpRequest object.
Section 2.1. The Web Application
Section 2.2.
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More About the Author

Plain. Writer.

Shelley Powers has been working with, and writing about, web technologies--from the first release of JavaScript to the latest graphics and design tools--for more than 15 years. Her recent O'Reilly books have covered JavaScript, Node, and HTML5.

Shelley is now transitioning to other topic areas, including sustainable agriculture, food safety, environmentalism, animal welfare, and combating corporate front groups. Upcoming books will touch on the 100 year old battle over raw milk, and the ten year court case between Feld Entertainment (Ringling Brothers Circus) and the animal welfare community.


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