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Head First Ajax 1st Edition

24 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0596515782
ISBN-10: 0596515782
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

With twenty years experience in the field, Rebecca M. Riordan has earned an international reputation for designing and implementing computer systems that are technically sound, reliable, and effectively meet her clients' needs. Her particular area of expertise is database design and she is a five year Access MVP. Rebecca has also authored several database books and served as a senior technical support engineer for Microsoft's database products. As a Microsoft employee in Australia, Rebecca was the Senior technical support engineer for Microsoft's database products.


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Product Details

  • Series: Head First
  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (September 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596515782
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596515782
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #447,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By calvinnme HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 21, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is for people who already know HTML very well and are familiar - but not necessarily experts - with CSS and Javascript. If you are not in that category you should probably check out "Head First HTML and CSS" first. This is not a reference book, but a book for understanding and, more importantly remembering Ajax via an unusual presentation style. That unusual presentation style includes fake interviews, lots of illustrations, and question and answer sessions. You are also presented several designs and shown the right and wrong ways to approach problems. Ajax requires a non-traditional approach to web application design, and head first books are always good at adjusting your thought process as painlessly as possible.

The topics covered include designing Ajax applications, Javascript events, multiple event handlers, asynchronous applications, the document object model and its manipulation, frameworks and toolkits, XML requests and responses, Javascript Standard Object Notation, forms and validations, post requests, leftovers, and utility functions.

I liked this book not only for its casual and fun presentation style, but because it starts explaining Ajax at the beginning and does not get confusing as you go forward. The author knows how to ramp up the difficulty level without you really noticing. Plus, you don't feel like you need half a dozen other books to understand what's going on. The author is clear in her explanation of what the book's limitations are.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Adam Roberts on January 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
First, a preface...I like Head First Books. I feel they make great primers for advanced subjects because of their plain-language approach, the playful fun they have, and the focus on the whys as opposed to a cookbook approach.

Now the review (intended for the 1st edition):

The selected content, and the order presented is excellent. I have little to add that hasn't already been shared by previous reviews.

The editing however is laced with errors. I'm only a third through the text so far and have encountered and corrected 6 significant errors in the code. These are all backed up on the HeadFirst errata page, but I have to ask...where was the editor on this book? If I wasn't very familiar with Javascript, much of this code wouldn't work without debugging.

One example as a case in point:

Beginning on page 118, there's a sequence of instructions and code to get you to build a simple tab animation with images. If you build and test the code as written in the text, it has no hope of working as the code was obviously written with different image names than the ones provided with the downloadable code. (the text has you create code [pg.119] to build image filepaths such as "images/beginnersTop.png", when the file it intends to point to is actually "images/beginnersTabActive.png".

The script I'm referring to is intended to be used as an example of bad coding choices...not bad code. It is there to show options for separating behavior from presentation. Despite that, presenting broken code is just not acceptable.

My advice...good book but wait for the next edition when O-Reilly will have hopefully fixed these errors.

And to the really dropped the ball on this one. A disappointment in an otherwise exemplary series.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By I. M. There on September 11, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is not for the person learning on their own, or not in a class. Yes, I agree, Head First presentation is humorous, easy to read, etc., but there are many errors in syntax and code in this book. One needs to set up a server on their computer to run the code. In chapter 1 it says there is info in the Appendix "i", "the top ten topics we didn't cover", but there are only five, and the missing five are not online. I thought the problems were with the server I set up, but other code ran fine. The problem was the code itself. I could fix the syntax and typo errors, but being the student, I am not able to correct the code. It took me two days to figure out the code was the problem. When I saw there were errors in the second chapter also, I quit, and went looking for a better text. Maybe it was rushed to press, and not type read, but after a year, you'd expect that at least the files one downloads for the lessons would have been corrected. Head First was Head Dropped on this one.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ernie S on October 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
I could not put this book down. I have a decent amount of experience with JavaScript and the DOM, etc., but I always thought of AJAX as something alien that would be difficult to understand. It turns out that this is just a different way of using what I already know. The book is very well organized and helps to make the concepts very understandable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By T. Gabriel on July 1, 2010
Format: Paperback
The actual content of this book is 50% DHTML, 30% application design, and 20% AJAX. And by AJAX, I mean, something that actually involves asynchonous (or synchronous) communication with the server. It could be entitled "Head First DHTML with Ajax." The DHTML lessons are in DOM and javascript/json (of course.) The application design emphasizes separation of content from presentation from behavior. At my level of expertise, I learned more than I thought I would from the non-Ajax topics. I have not read any other book on Ajax, so maybe there just isn't too much to learn about AJAX, so the authors padded material with the 'interactive spirit of AJAX', i.e., DHTML.

I have read another Head First book, Design Patterns, so I anticipated a little fun. This book was not as fun. The word search puzzles have no value; you are not forced to remember what you've learned. I prefer the crosswords of the Design Patterns book.

The authors leave security considerations to the last chapter, where they tell you that you've been doing executing the less secure form of asynchronous communication for the previous 11 chapters. Read the whole book.

I didn't have PHP installed, and installing it was a chore. The book (also Head First/Oreilly websites) gives no clue as to how to install, and executing the first procedure I found online completely disabled my IIS 5.1 server(Window XP OS). There is no instruction in PHP despite the fact that all the async communications are with .php files.

You'll definitely want to hit the errata and forum pages online as there many errors, including plainly incorrect statements in big type.

I imagine that reading this book makes the reader almost dangerous, but you'll need to pick up PHP to really do some damage.
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