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Web Development Solutions: Ajax, APIs, Libraries, and Hosted Services Made Easy 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1590598061
ISBN-10: 1590598067
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Christian Heilmann grew up in Germany and, after a year working with people with disabilities through the Red Cross, he spent a year as a radio producer. Beginning in 1997, he worked for several agencies in Munich as a web developer. In 2000, he moved to the U.S. to work for eToys and, after the dot-com crash, he moved to the U.K., where he currently works as a lead developer for Agilisys. He publishes an almost-daily blog at http://wait-till-i.com and runs an article repository at http://icant.co.uk. He is a member of the Web Standards Project's DOM Scripting Task Force.

Mark 'Norm' Francis is a Londoner, born and bred. He spent many years doing various IT jobs for City University, including working on the support desk and systems administration. After tiring of the relaxed environment and long holidays, he entered the real world. In 2000, he joined Purple Interactive, a commercial web company with clients such as Barclays, IBM and Honda. One site produced there was an unofficial F1 site, later acquired by Formula One Management. After leaving the world of motorsports, he joined Yahoo! in June 2004. He blogs at http://cackhanded.net. We want to identify as many opportunities as possible surrounding this book and its technology cluster, events, resources, themes, broadcast opportunities, websites, etc. that could help promote the book and get it seen by the end-customer.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: friendsofED; 1 edition (April 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590598067
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590598061
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,812,132 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Web Development Solutions: Ajax, APIs, Libraries, and Hosted Services Made Easy by Christian Heilmann and Mark Norman Francis left me with mixed feelings. The title lead me to believe there would be some more in-depth information related to the topics, but in reality the end of the title should have been Using Wordpress. The majority of this book focuses on Wordpress and how each of the topics relate to the blogging platform.

The reason I had mixed emotions is because on one hand, the authors made it seem as though web development is so easy your Grandma could do it, while on the other hand sliding in some disclaimers about needing more knowledge on different topics. I think that this book would give someone just enough material to be dangerous, but not enough to really understand web development as a whole. This book is geared to the beginner in web development, so I was hoping for some more solid material.

With that out of the way, lets take a closer look at the book and its contents:

The first chapter simply discusses the reason for starting up a website in the first place. There are many different reasons for many different people as to why they start a site. Some start for financial reasons (make money and advertising), while others start to share photos with family and friends. This chapter discussed several of these reasons for starting a website.

Chapter two was where the book really started to take off. This chapter discusses the Dilemma of "Rolling your Own" Solutions. We also get a brief crash course in several aspects related to web development.

The author gets you started by installing a local server on your machine with PHP and MySQL.
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Format: Paperback
I just finished reading Web Development Solutions by Christian Heilmann and Mark Norman Francis. It would be a great book for anyone who is just starting out in web development, and wants to make the jump from the world of WYSIWYG web tools, to the world of hand-coding and really understanding the underlying principles of best practices. It covers a broad range of topics, from WordPress blogs to Microformats, Ajax and APIs.

It would also be an ideal book for anyone using WordPress, who wants to really push it to the limits. The first several chapters cover some of the basics, as far as installing blog software both locally and remotely. There are examples of those who are "living the dream" blogging full-time, with financial support.

The latter chunk of chapters covers more granular details of web-dev, such as XHTML, CSS and JavaScript. Various JS libraries are described, including: jQuery, Mootools and YUI. Fundamentals of Ajax and REST are discussed, as well as how to incorporate off-site web services to spruce up your metadata. Doctypes are explained, and how this affects various browsers such as IE6 rendering standards compliance mode, rather than quirks.

Some of the basics around SEO are also covered, so that your website or blog is as visible as possible to automated search engine crawlers. Implicitly, anything good for bots is also good for accessibility, and gracefully degradable enhancements are illustrated. Such examples including using Google Maps.

Overall, this is a great introductory book for anyone looking to enhance their knowledge beyond that of hobbyist blogger to more of a true web developer. It covers the full spectrum of considerations, from self-promotional Digg links on blog posts, to some of the more in-depth DOM Scripting techniques out there. Fundamentals are far too often overlooked, but they are tackled well here.
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