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PHP Ajax Cookbook Paperback – December 8, 2011
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About the Author
He has a lot of experience in international environments and is currently employed by Skype as a software engineer specialized in front-end web technologies and cross-browser compatibility. In the past he has worked at Hewlett-Packard, Interoute and Intertec Media Group.
R. Rajesh Jeba Anbiah
R. Rajesh Jeba Anbiah is a very simple guy who first saw computers in 1998. He got addicted to programming and co-authored A to Z of C, a non-profit book on Turbo C/DOS programming, while pursuing Master of Computer Applications in The American College, Madurai. After graduation he joined Agriya agriya.com, then a startup company, and coded in Perl, Visual Basic, Delphi and heavily on PHP.
Currently he heads the projects division in Agriya, where he oversees challenging Web 2.0 sites development, web software products and labs initiatives. His goal at the workplace is to get big branding and coverage for his labs projects.
Roshan Bhattarai holds a M. Sc. in IT degree and has previously worked in various IT companies in Nepal and India as a Web developer and Technical Lead. Currently, he co-owns and working as a CTO at Proshore.
Roshan owns and authors at one of the popular web development related blog at http://roshanbh.com.np.
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Top Customer Reviews
None of these recipes provide anything of a dynamic nature, relying mostly on static chunks of HTML in place of server side data.
Formatting is also a mess. Code is scattered and in some cases, missing.
Also, at least 1/3 of the source code is omitted from the publisher's downloadable files. It's sad when books like this pass a publisher's standards.
Chapter 2 shows possible solutions to several common tasks using the jQuery library and AJAX functionality such as form validation, auto-suggest, file uploading, a rating system and pagination. Many of the solutions simply employ the use of a jQuery plug-in to do the heavy lifting. This is fine if your goal is to accomplish the task at hand in an efficient manner. Although each section contains a "How it works..." paragraph, if your goal is to learn and understand WHY it works, this chapter will leave you wanting more.
Chapter 3 continues where chapter 2 ended and addresses tasks such as tool tips, auto-complete, tabbed navigation, an image slider, using a lightbox, drag and drop functionality, a simple shopping cart, and some animation. As in chapter 2, you will not really be doing any programming. You will be using jQuery plugins and the jQuery UI (User Interface) library to accomplish these tasks. Again, there is not anything wrong with this approach if you simply want to add some AJAX functionality to your website.
Chapter 4 covers some more advanced AJAX utilities that will be used on fewer websites such as using a Comet server for live chat, using Google's API to create charts, a very basic OCR (Optical Character Recognition) with very limited practical use, displaying data.
Disclosure: I was provided with a free copy of this book in return for reviewing it.
With that said, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I recommend going ahead and downloading the source code files (there's a registration, but it's painless). Some examples are fairly lengthy, and you'll want the source code handy. In fact, this book is between 30% and 50% code!
The layout of the book is chapter around a main concept. Each chapter has several sections, each devoted to a single example. For every example, several things are provided: an overview of what the goal is, the code to implement a simple example (enough for you to build a real-world product), an explanation of how it works, often nearly line-by-line, and a "There's more..." section that gives you additional resources and ideas.
Chapter 2 goes over basic Ajaxy things. Form validation (really just jQuery form validation), autosuggest (similar to Google's search), creating a multi-step form wizard, file updload, multi-file upload using Ajax + Flash, implementing a 5-star rating system, etc. The purpose of this chapter is to expose you to how easy Ajax effects are to implement. It's generally a simple combination of CSS and small bits of jQuery that have a powerful effect.
Chapter 3 looks heavily at the extensions that are available for jQuery. Often there are several options (with links provided) of which one is chosen for demonstration purposes. If you're interested in using jQuery, this chapter will provide you with a wealth of resources to give you ideas for cool things you can do. Examples include an image slider, a Lightbox image loader, a shopping cart, and data sorting/filtering.
Chapter 4 pushes this further, showing how to create a chat system and how to decode a simple CAPTCHA using the HTML5 canvas element. These examples are very detailed and will give you a solid idea of the power that is present. One of the key things you will learn is how to do this without using excessive Ajax calls. You can easily kill a server's bandwidth with the "obvious" solution. Thi shows you how to avoid that.
Chapter 6 discusses optimization issues, including the use of Yslow. It's very easy to make an Ajax site that works poorly, so these tips will help a lot. It discusses where to place sections of code, caching concerns, etc. Most of these are tips you can find in numerous other sites, but they are nicely consolidated, here.
Chapter 7 discusses other best practices, including security concerns and how to address SEO concerns when dealing with dynamic content. Having SEO friendly content means having static content with fixed URL's for each content item. Having Ajaxy content is basically the opposite. This chapter has numerous tips on how to satisfy both requirements, so users can easily find your content.
Chapter 8 discusses ways to use various services that have API's, such as Flickr, Twitter, and Google Maps. These are techniques that can make a website "pop", such as getting a list of nearby restaurants with a map, a customized twitter feed, or image search. As usual, you won't learn the full API, but you will learn the basic techniques for leveraging these APIs on your own site.
Chapter 9 was the most surprising for me. Building iPhone apps using html, Ajax, and PhoneGap. It can also be used for building Android apps, but the authors focused on the iPhone. PhoneGap is a tool that lets you compile an HTML/Ajax page into a native app for the iPhone, Android, etc. It's a tool I'd never heard of, but offers a huge amount of options for the mobile development market.
I enjoyed the book. There's a TON of information here, and the timing was ideal, as I'll be designing a new PHP/Ajax app for my job at work. Topics range from basics of using a framework, to quality layouts, to security concerns. The details will be found elsewhere, but the core ideas are all in here.