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Head Rush Ajax 1st Edition

3.6 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0596102258
ISBN-10: 0596102259
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Brett McLaughlin has become one of the most well-known authors and programmers in the Java and XML communities. He's worked for Nextel Communications, implementing complex enterprise systems, at Lutris Technologies, actually writing application servers, and most recently at O'Reilly Media, Inc., where he continues to write and edit books that matter. His most recent book, "Java 5.0 Tiger: A Developer's Notebook", was the first book available on the newest version of Java, and his classic Java and XML remains one of the definitive works on using XML technologies in Java.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (April 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596102259
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596102258
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,160,688 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Francis Wong on October 20, 2006
Format: Paperback
If you are a complete beginner with respect to many of the skills needed for Ajax: HTML, CSS, DOM, JavaScript, then this book might be for you. All of the O'reilly Head First/Head Rush series are excellent teaching books and do a wonderful job at teaching skills in small bite-size chunks. Lots of pictures, exercises and games. This is about as fun as a book can get.

But once you've read the book, you'll realize that you really didn't cover much ground at all. 400 pages of Head Rush Ajax is about the same amount of Ajax technical material as 40 pages of Ajax in Action. All those fun pictures and games take up a lot of pages! Only the most basic topics of Ajax are covered. Much of the book is wasted explaining web-development 101 level subjects...

So it wasn't possible for me to give the book 2 different ratings. As a pure beginner's book - this is a 4 or 5 star book. But if you already know HTML, HTTP, DOM, and CSS -- then this book becomes a 2 star Ajax book because it teaches so little about Ajax.
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Format: Paperback
Asynchronous JavaScript And XML, or its acronym, Ajax, is a Web development technique for creating interactive web applications. The intent is to make web pages feel more responsive by exchanging small amounts of data with the server behind the scenes, so that the entire Web page does not have to be reloaded each time the user makes a change. This is meant to increase the Web page's interactivity, speed, and usability.
The Ajax technique uses a combination of:
1. XHTML (or HTML), CSS, for marking up and styling information.
2. The DOM accessed with a client-side scripting language, especially ECMAScript implementations like JavaScript and JScript, to dynamically display and interact with the information presented.
3. The XMLHttpRequest object to exchange data asynchronously with the web server. In some Ajax frameworks and in certain situations, an IFrame object is used instead of the XMLHttpRequest object to exchange data with the web server.
4. XML is commonly used as the format for transferring data back from the server, although any format will work, including preformatted HTML, plain text, JSON and even EBML.
Thus, like DHTML, Ajax is not a technology in itself, but a term that refers to the use of a group of technologies together.
"Head Rush Ajax" uses the head-first approach that has worked so well in books on Java, Design Patterns, and HTML. This book is aimed at teaching designers, JavaScript programmers, and your 'everyday' web developer about Ajax. Many of the other books on Ajax are focused on little widgets and gadgets and tricks. However, none of them seem to actually talk about the web browser, asynchrony, and really focus on what Ajax is.
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Format: Paperback
I was casually browsing Ajax books in the local Borders store, and was pleasantly surprised to find Head Rush Ajax. Having been a great fan of Head First Design Patterns, I decided to buy Head Rush Ajax on the spot. But I have to say I was a tad disappointed, and returned the book.



1. For people new to the Head First teaching approach, there's a high probability that they will like and embrace this style. People already familiar with it will know what to expect and won't be disappointed.

2. Each major concept of Ajax (Asynchronous requests, GET, POST, XML, DOM) has been explained in a separate chapter with examples that make sense.

3. The author clearly states that the intention is only to teach the basic minimum needed to understand and build an Ajax application, and he lives up to that promise.



1. Even though the author states his intention about teaching the basic minimum early on, he takes far too many pages to do the same. An experienced web developer can easily get all that he/she can from this book in a single day of reading. At the end, I was left with the feeling "Is that it? For all these pages?"

2. On a few occasions, I felt the Head First approach had been stretched way beyond limit. The notion of repeating a piece of information so that it sticks in the brain has been done one time too many. It has been done right in Head First Design Patterns, but not here.
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Format: Paperback
I have read or started to read different books on Ajax. This is the first one I have completed. I have been programming javascript,PHP,ASP, database interfaces for over six years. Have been using the DOM model in programming for some time.

No, this does not completely cover DOM, XML, javascript by any means, but it is a good book that shows you how to better utilize them and tie them all together.

But after reading and working through this book I feel I have a much better understanding of what I can do and with my experience and the knowledge I gained from this book, feel that I have a better idea of when to employ it's use. I highly recommend this book for intermediate PHP html javascript programmers. Beginners may like this book and I wouldn't steer them away, but it might be a little above their heads. Experts, what the heck are you looking for a book for anyway. This isn't a reference.

Some of the plusses for me were:
This book used W3C standard compliant code. [ I never want to program browser specific code again ]

I use PHP 4.x. I read one book was coded using PHP 5.x, I started recoding the examples so they would run on PHP 4.x and got tired of that. Then installed a server with PHP 5.x. That helped but my head was still getting around PHP 5.x and what I could use on the servers at work which are still PHP 4.x.

[...] This was more browser independent and gave me some hints on browsers which I don't use all of the time, like Opera and safari.

Warning to others, yes you will need a server which runs PHP to run the code examples. But if I were to choose one scripting language over another I would choose PHP, because people can get the server software to run PHP for free.
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