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Ajax: The Definitive Guide Paperback – February 4, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0596528386 ISBN-10: 0596528388 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 982 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (February 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596528388
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596528386
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 2.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #270,645 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Anthony T. Holdener III currently builds GIS web applications utilizing Esri ArcGIS JavaScript API, Google Maps JavaScript API, and/or Bing Maps API. He has worked with the web in one form or another since 1997 when he helped open an Internet cafe in Fairview Heights, Illinois. A graduate of St. Louis University with a degree in Computer Science, Anthony has worked as a web architect, developer, manager, or adjunct teacher for almost fifteen years in the St. Louis area. He is also the author of “Ajax: The Definitive Guide” (O’Reilly). He resides in the village of Shiloh, Illinois, a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, with his wife and twins.

Customer Reviews

If you don't have a pretty good knowledge of XML, CSS, and XHTML already you won't learn enough here to help you.
A lot of the coding techniques for the client side processing also dates to about the same era and wouldn't be used in a more modern web design.
Stephen Chapman
I would recommend this title to anyone who wants to know what Ajax is, how it works, etc. and is serious about it.
E. Peck

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Michael Macrone on March 27, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While "Ajax: The Definitive Guide" is certainly exhaustive, it's hard to have confidence in a text so riddled with errors. Other O'Reilly titles I've purchased in the last few years suffer from the same problem: very poor copy editing. In a "Definitive Guide," this is inexcusable.

Furthermore, he author's decision to rely on the Prototype framework is misguided. It saves a few lines of code per page, but one expects a "Definitive Guide" to define, explore, and use the actual objects and methods defined by the language itself, not those defined in one of many, many external libraries.

It is also somewhat comical to read on page 10 that developers, rather than browser vendors, "are to blame for not adopting standards" and that they are "stuck with the mentality of the 1990s, when browser quirks mode, coding hacks, and other tricks were the only things that allowed code to work in all environments," and then to read on page 191 that "Yes, there are always caveats in the world of standards compliance" and that "Example 7-2 will not work in Internet Explorer because Internet Explorer does not support the CSS2 rules that are used to make this work." And on page 187 that "Internet Explorer does not natively support :hover on elements other than <a>. For this reason, instead of using the CSS that will work for all other browsers, we must use this...."

(It's hard not to laugh, too, at a sentence that begins with "To take the file menu example fully to the Web 2.0 level....")

By the time all the errata are corrected and a second edition issued, it might be appropriate for the author to wag his finger at developers who can't yet afford to to be totally standards-pure, but by then the faddish jargon will seem very dated.

And until O'Reilly starts employing copy editors, I'm not buying the first edition of any title they release.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Brett Merkey on February 27, 2008
Format: Paperback
There is a LOT of code in this 950 page book. I guess there is something here for everyone because there is code not directly related to Ajax but is directed to HTML structure or CSS presentational aspects or to frameworks that may include Ajax conveniences.

In fact, the amount of code may interfere with the author's object of appealing to two very different types of people with this book: Web developers and project managers looking for a high-level view. Except for some intro chapters and the odd breather between 10-15 page code listings, I don't think any project managers *I* have worked with would extract much from the book.

The book has 4 sections:
Part 1 - Ajax Fundamentals: the basic technologies that could form the core of a typical Ajax application.

Part 2 - Ajax Foundations: approaches to standards-compliant structure, separation of the presentational layer and client-side behaviors. Code code code!

Part 3 - Ajax in Applications: describes the specific implementations of these technologies into Web applications. More code!

Part 4 - Wrapping Up: tips on optimization.

In addition, there are some reference appendices on XML and XSLT; on JavaScript frameworks; on Ajax implementation risks; and most interestingly, a catalog of freely available Web service APIs.

One thing I did not like about the code listings was the use of Prototype style $() function syntax. This means when I see something like:
var titleText = $('title').firstChild;
I had to check whether .firstChild was a reference to a Prototype object or a reference to the standard DOM object. If the standard object, it would have been a whole lot clear just to have written document.getElementById().

The book index is actually pretty good. With 950 pages stuffed with content, you will probably be thankful for that!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By The Commodore on September 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
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.
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