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Ajax: The Definitive Guide Paperback – Feb 4 2008
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Furthermore, he author's decision to rely on the Prototype framework is misguided. It saves a few lines of code per page, but one expects a "Definitive Guide" to define, explore, and use the actual objects and methods defined by the language itself, not those defined in one of many, many external libraries.
It is also somewhat comical to read on page 10 that developers, rather than browser vendors, "are to blame for not adopting standards" and that they are "stuck with the mentality of the 1990s, when browser quirks mode, coding hacks, and other tricks were the only things that allowed code to work in all environments," and then to read on page 191 that "Yes, there are always caveats in the world of standards compliance" and that "Example 7-2 will not work in Internet Explorer because Internet Explorer does not support the CSS2 rules that are used to make this work." And on page 187 that "Internet Explorer does not natively support :hover on elements other than <a>. For this reason, instead of using the CSS that will work for all other browsers, we must use this...."
(It's hard not to laugh, too, at a sentence that begins with "To take the file menu example fully to the Web 2.0 level....")
By the time all the errata are corrected and a second edition issued, it might be appropriate for the author to wag his finger at developers who can't yet afford to to be totally standards-pure, but by then the faddish jargon will seem very dated.
And until O'Reilly starts employing copy editors, I'm not buying the first edition of any title they release.
There is a LOT of code in this 950 page book. I guess there is something here for everyone because there is code not directly related to Ajax but is directed to HTML structure or CSS presentational aspects or to frameworks that may include Ajax conveniences.
In fact, the amount of code may interfere with the author's object of appealing to two very different types of people with this book: Web developers and project managers looking for a high-level view. Except for some intro chapters and the odd breather between 10-15 page code listings, I don't think any project managers *I* have worked with would extract much from the book.
The book has 4 sections:
Part 1 - Ajax Fundamentals: the basic technologies that could form the core of a typical Ajax application.
Part 2 - Ajax Foundations: approaches to standards-compliant structure, separation of the presentational layer and client-side behaviors. Code code code!
Part 3 - Ajax in Applications: describes the specific implementations of these technologies into Web applications. More code!
Part 4 - Wrapping Up: tips on optimization.
One thing I did not like about the code listings was the use of Prototype style $() function syntax. This means when I see something like:
var titleText = $('title').firstChild;
I had to check whether .firstChild was a reference to a Prototype object or a reference to the standard DOM object. If the standard object, it would have been a whole lot clear just to have written document.getElementById().
The book index is actually pretty good. With 950 pages stuffed with content, you will probably be thankful for that!
One thing you will notice when scanning through this book is that there is a *lot* of code. The author is not afraid to publish pages and pages of Ajax code for readers to consider, copy and hack up to create their own applications. Not all is useful in real-world applications, however, since some of it is not cross-browser compatible (most often failing in Internet Explorer).
After these foundational concepts, Part 2 contains nine chapters that provide specific solutions to common Web programming needs. Readers learn the ins and outs of creating Ajaxified navigation, forms, lists, tables, frames, etc.
Part 3, called "Ajax in Applications," goes a step farther by showing the reader how to integrate Ajax with other applications. Chapter 16, for example, shows the reader how to incorporate Ajaxified Google search into a site and even include such dynamic features as search hinting. Other chapters in this section introduce Web services, Web APIs and even show how to create Ajax animated games.
Part 4 contains two chapters that show readers how to create more modular code, and how to create faster, more compressed code. This is critical considering the importance of speed to the user experience in Ajax.
If however you want to have a brief guide of the internet, computers, and various programming languages unrelated to AJAX then you should probably hit the back button and find books related specifically to those topics.
I am a programmer and I know how to use AJAX, which for the layman is a way to refresh content on a website without reloading the page. This book I read through because I figured it was the definitive guide, and might be able to provide some insights that I was unaware of regarding AJAX.
What I received for example, in chapter 21 was "internet games without plugins" which being a gamer i found an interesting title. I thought wow okay fine, how to use AJAX to make games without plugins.. that makes sense cause we don't have to refresh the page anymore! Instead was a history of different game genres and not a quip about how to program for them.
Anyway, i just hope that i can save one person from giving away their money for a piece of junk that this book represents. Unless of course learning w/some sort of shotgun analogy then go right ahead.
It is probably the most boring programming book I have ever read.
I think a monkey smashing a keyboard would have written a better book.
If you want to learn about Ajax, I recommend you to look elsewhere. This book is just a nightmare.
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