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Ajax on Rails Paperback – January 13, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Build Dynamic Web Applications with Ruby

About the Author

Scott Raymond is a Ruby on Rails developer living in Kansas City. His work has been highlighted on the Rails website and the Wall Street Journal Online. Besides participating in the framework's development, he has led international Rails training sessions, and was a presenter at RailsConf 2006.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (January 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596527446
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596527440
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,849,610 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Brian DeLacey on January 31, 2007
Format: Paperback
Scott Raymond's book "Ajax on Rails" (published Jan 2007) serves as an introduction, tutorial, and reference for web development using Ajax and Rails. It is roughly 1/3 introductory and intermediate level text; 1/3 more advanced material for developing "Ajax on Rails" applications; and 1/3 sample - life-sized - applications. (The sample applications can be downloaded from the O'Reilly site.)

The author writes that Ajax is "a really simple idea: web pages, already loaded in a browser, can talk with the server and potentially change themselves as a result." [p. 2] There is elegance in this simplicity and the book reveals a lot of the mystery around Ajax and how it works.

The author does a great job exploring the basics. You will quickly get all the motivation needed to realize why this simple idea is so powerful in practice. You'll also soon see why "Ajax on Rails" is a productive approach for developing next generation applications on the web.

One of the real strengths of this book is its many working examples. I found even tricky techniques described in ways that were easy to understand. As I read the book, I entered sample code described on each page. (Having a working Rails installation is key for getting the most out of the book. The author provides a quick installation introduction which is supplemented with URLs for added help.) It was easy to apply "Ajax on Rails" to my own project, which I worked on as I read the book.

The centerpiece of the book is Chapter 5, which covers RJS (also known as Ruby-generated Javascript.) I expected to learn about Ajax, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I learned about the magic of Rails and Ruby development!
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Raymond Brigleb on January 25, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book to get. The author is an expert in the field - I've seen him speak in person, and read his articles in the past. The book does not disappoint.

It's really three books in one. The first part is a tutorial, taking you through the paces and up the ladder of frameworks. You go from JavaScript to Prototype to Scriptaculous to RJS, chapter by chapter, and it really makes sense. Then you get chapters on Usability, Performance, Testing, and Security, which really cover more than just the basics - Mr. Raymond shows you how to build your application around Ajax, and do it intelligently. The chapter on Performance had a better explanation of caching than I'd read anywhere else!

The second part is two chapters, two comprehensive references on Prototype and Scriptaculous, respectively. Combined, these might be worth the price of the book for some folks. I'm sure I'll be referring to these pages for some time.

Finally, you have three real-world application examples. Again, these might be worth the price of the book as well! You get a Review Quiz, Photo Gallery, and Intranet Workgroup application. The code is available at the O'Reilly site now, so you don't have to type them in, of course. Still, it's nice to read about them in the book, and why the author wrote them the way he did. All of the applications are useful, and use best-practices throughout.

It's nice to see O'Reilly starting to get their Rails titles out. Predictably, they're awesome. They always choose the best authors, edit and proof the books meticulously, and put out a quality product. Highly recommended.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By pounding on the keyboard on January 31, 2007
Format: Paperback
Outstanding, with a few nits. The author is a technical master and a master communicator, the editing is first rate, the book really flows. (The new Agile Rails book (skateboard book) has an excellent section which covers the same material, but in somewhat less detail.)

The sections on testing, security and performance are quite valuable. They're not too Ajax-specific and present best practices succinctly. The three case studies in the end are the most valuable chapters to me. I learn by taking apart code like this, I've hunkering down over the book,

BTW, if you don't use Ajax now and think you don't need to know about it etc, you don't UNLESS: you never work with other develoeprs, you never use anybody else's code, and all your users have JS turned off.

Nits: doesn't cover basic ECMA/javascript syntax at all. Chapter 1 (30,000 foot view of Rails) is perfunctory. The index isn't great, (the Pragmatics have really raised the bar on this). Doesn't use migrations. The 1-liner method def's (no semicolons) and the ones with no parentheses around parameter lists are hard to read, IMHO.

But all very minor complaints. On the whole, I would call this book indispensable
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Taylor on October 18, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm working through this book as I work to transition from PHP development to Rails with Ajax. I'm starting a new project from scratch and wanted to take on this "newish" methodology that is supposed to make my development more fun and way faster.

Well I bought the book a year ago when I was thinking the same thing. But I didn't find the time to invest in a new language until now.

Unfortunately Rails 2.0 has been out for a while and this book is written to 1.2 or something. Prototype is also in version 2.x and the book was written to something like 1.5

And that doesn't even mention that there are much different ways to get Ruby and Rails installed now.

So far I've spent a few days just making Rails work at all on my XP computer. It turns out that there is now a package called InstantRails that you just unzip and run in place. So I wasted those days trying to track down the components described in this book to no avail.

Now that I'm working with the code, I'm finding that the examples simply don't work in about half the cases due to the deprecated functions and new naming conventions and so on. It's like learning how it was done two years ago along with how it is done now. And it's really slowing me down.

Every time something doesn't work, instead of learning the lesson intended by the book, I spend a lot more time learning how to troubleshoot the problem until I find the new correct way of doing the same thing.

So I can't say that I'm not learning from this book. I'm learning a lot. It just that I'm learning by correcting errors on my own instead of by clear examples that work. It's kind of painful and slow.

The book seems to be good other than that.
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