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Professional Ajax (Programmer to Programmer) 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0471777786
ISBN-10: 0471777781
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Combining tried-and-true CSS, XML, and JavaScript™ technologies, Ajax provides web developers with the ability to create more sophisticated and responsive user interfaces and break free from the "click-and-wait" standard that has dominated the web since its introduction.

This book discusses the range of request brokers (including the hidden frame technique, iframes, and XMLHttp) and explains when one should be used over another. You will also learn different Ajax techniques and patterns for executing client-server communication on your web site and in web applications. Each chapter builds on information in the previous chapters so that by the end of the book, you will have gained the practical knowledge necessary to implement your own Ajax solutions.

What you will learn from this book

  • Different methods for achieving Ajax communication and when to use each
  • A variety of Ajax design patterns to use in specific data retrieval circumstances
  • Techniques for using Ajax with RSS and Atom to produce a web-based news aggregator
  • How to use JavaScript Object Notation as an alternate data transmission format for Ajax communications
  • How to create Ajax widgets, such as a weather display and news ticker, that can be included in your web site

Who this book is for

This book is for web developers who want to enhance the usability of their sites and applications. Familiarity with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS is necessary, as is experience with a server-side language such as PHP or a .NET language.

Wrox Professional guides are planned and written by working programmers to meet the real-world needs of programmers, developers, and IT professionals. Focused and relevant, they address the issues technology professionals face every day. They provide examples, practical solutions, and expert education in new technologies, all designed to help programmers do a better job.

About the Author

Nicholas C. Zakas has a BS in Computer Science from Merrimack College and an MBA from Endicott College. He is the author of Professional JavaScript for Web Developers (Wiley 2005), Professional Ajax (1st and 2nd editions, Wiley 2007 and 2007) as well as several online articles. Nicholas works for Yahoo! as a frontend engineer and has worked in web development for more than 6 years, during which time he has helped develop web solutions in use at some of the largest companies in the world. Nicholas can be reached through his web site at www.nczonline.net.

Jeremy McPeak began tinkering with web development as a hobby in 1998. Currently working in the IT department of a school district, Jeremy has experience developing web solutions with JavaScript, PHP, and C#. He has written several online articles covering topics such as XSLT, WebForms, and C#.

Joe Fawcett started programming in the 1970s and worked briefly in IT after leaving full-time education. He then pursued a more checkered career before returning to software development in 1994. In 2003, he was awarded the title Microsoft Most Valuable Professional in XML for community contributions and technical expertise. Joe currently works in London as a developer for The Financial Training Company, which provides professional certifications and business training.


Product Details

  • Series: Programmer to Programmer
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Wrox; 1 edition (February 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471777781
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471777786
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 1 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,107,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
The book does a good job academically of showing how Ajax has evolved (itself a debatable topic) and how it is used in modern-day applications. The book doesn't marry the reader to any one particular web development framework, effectively citing examples in PHP, .NET, and JavaServer Pages. Practically, the authors exhibit a proper mix of (X)HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Dynamic HTML and XmlHttpRequests, showing how the technologies are blended for developing next-gen UIs.

There are great discussions of advanced concepts like JSON, REST, and SOAP-based web services and how Ajax is incorporated into them. Also, coding to allow cross-browser compatibility is stressed throughout the book, particularly in instantiating an XMLHTTP object across IE, Firefox, Mozilla and Safari. The authors' zXml and XParser are cited as two of several third-party libraries to seamlessly pull this off.

Some gems that I found within the book include Chapter 8 - "Web Site Widgets", which is very helpful, giving practical demonstrations and usable code for several Ajax-driven mini-applications we could all use in our web projects. Chapter 7's case study of a Google Suggest-style autocomplete text box was very elegant, using JSON as an alternative to XML's typically verbose payload. Chapter 2 - "Ajax Patterns" also abstracts many of the features common to apps using Ajax (i.e., polling, autosave, incremental updating). All are well done and greatly appreciated.

Syntactically, the authors' programming style is very clever. While not exhaustively described, the book shows how to feign object-oriented programming in client-side JavaScript, making liberal use of such time-saving coding tricks like faux classes, inline function definitions and prototypes.
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Format: Paperback
As a newcomer to Ajax, I cant comment on the coverage but it seemed reasonably comprehensive.

But the code walkthroughs were terrific - completely readable, easy to follow and sometimes even quite fun to read. I cant remember reading better code runthroughs ever.
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Format: Paperback
Professional Ajax will enable you to get up to speed with Ajax, the problems that Ajax solves, and common patters for Ajax use. The authors also introduce you to a cross-platform library to ease your own script development. The writing style is clear and no-nonsense.

I was happy to see their approach in explaining scripting techniques. Once to address IE, once to address Mozilla, and once to address the combined approach. I found this to be very helpful, as most sources jumble it all together. I was not happy to see that Opera and Safari were entirely ignored. The world doesn't need another Ajax app that fails in these browsers!

I was also surprised to see that the book is most definitely not platform-agnostic. At least not to the extent that I was led to believe by the description and comments. Examples are C# and PHP.

Too much time was spent focused on the server side. For example, the web servcies section spent more time showing you how to setup a web service in .Net than it did showing you how to consume it with Ajax. The server side could have been abstracted -- in a book about Ajax, the server side is a black box -- all that matters is what is sent out, and what is returned. I couldn't care less about the algorithms used to create the return.

All-in-all, it was a good read. Fast, to the point, concise. I'd also recommend Ajax in Action for a more thorough review of patterns, a look at elegantly creating reusable Ajax components, and coverage of other Ajax-related topics like usage of frameworks.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book to be extremely informative. It is written in a clear, engaging style that makes it a pleasure to read. The examples are well constructed, relevant to real world applications, and thoroughly explained. The essential bits of code are highlighted for quick reading. The most irritating thing about web development is cross-browser support, and authors do a great job to making this less intimidating and point readers to libraries to abstract away the differences. Also covered are related JavaScript XML, XPath, XSLT support, web services, RSS/Atom.

PHP is the primary server side language used, though they chose .NET/C# for creating a web service. Microsoft's .NET web service tools are excellent, but I would have liked it if the authors had rounded this out with giving the basics of creating a web service using open source solutions.

If you want to learn Ajax techniques and related technologies, this book is well worth your time and money.
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Format: Paperback
This book is very well done. It is a good introduction to AJAX and gets you up to speed quick.


1. Not enough treatment on the server side of things in the beginning chapters. Needed a little more on serializing XML, but then how do you do that in a platform-agnostic way. I was a little disappointed that there were little or no examples in java/jsp/servlet during the Basics, Patterns and XML chapters. Could have used that. Assumes knowledge of PHP.

2. Need a little more treatment of XML/XPath/XSLT. Gets a little bit confusing when the technologies are all combined.

3. I feel like the patterns chapter could have followed the XML/XPath/XSLT chapter.

4. Maybe JSON could be left for the back of the book since the X in AJAX stands for XML. Just a thought.

5. About 65 pages of the book are just on AjaxMail, which has numerous examples, but was a lot of reading to go through on one application.


1. Not a beginner's book. Assumes knowledge of many things, like PHP, network protocols, HTTP, etc. I'm glad a lot of those details were left out and AJAX was focused on.

2. Gets you up and running with good, working examples.

3. The patterns chapter is very helpful in deciding how to use the stuff.

4. Good chapter on widgets.

5. Bang for the buck when talking about the AJAX frameworks that are out there. Fairly good treatment of JPSpan, DWR and AJAX.NET.
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