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Ajax in Action [Paperback]

Dave Crane , Eric Pascarello , Darren James
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
Price: 31.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

3 Nov 2005 1932394613 978-1932394610 1

Val's Blog "A tremendously useful field guide specifically written for developers down in the trenches...waiting for the killer solution..."

Web users are getting tired of the traditional web experience. They get frustrated losing their scroll position; they get annoyed waiting for refresh; they struggle to reorient themselves on every new page. And the list goes on. With asynchronous JavaScript and XML, known as "Ajax," you can give them a better experience. Once users have experienced an Ajax interface, they hate to go back. Ajax is new way of thinking that can result in a flowing and intuitive interaction with the user.

Ajax in Action helps you implement that thinking--it explains how to distribute the application between the client and the server (hint: use a "nested MVC" design) while retaining the integrity of the system. You will learn how to ensure your app is flexible and maintainable, and how good, structured design can help avoid problems like browser incompatibilities. Along the way it helps you unlearn many old coding habits. Above all, it opens your mind to the many advantages gained by placing much of the processing in the browser. If you are a web developer who has prior experience with web technologies, this book is for you.

Purchase of the print book comes with an offer of a free PDF, ePub, and Kindle eBook from Manning. Also available is all code from the book.

Product details

  • Paperback: 680 pages
  • Publisher: Manning Publications; 1 edition (3 Nov 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932394613
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932394610
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 23.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 882,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Dave Crane holds degrees in Chemistry, Parallel Computing and Ecological Economics from Edinburgh University in Scaotland. He has worked with Internet Technologies for the last ten years, primarily with Java technologies such as J2EE, Jini and Jython. He has pushed the boundaries of DHTML - and latterly Ajax - since 1997, in website design, on early Digital TV set-up boxes and in home automation systems. Most recently, he has been senior developer for Smartstream Technologies Ltd., developing highly-interactive Ajax-based application frameworks that are currently in use in many tier-1 banks and financial institutions worldwide. Dave lives in Gloucestershire, UK.

Eric Pascarello graduated from Penn State University in 2002 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Since then Eric has been employed as a Senior Developer, developing enterprise level applications in ASP.NET. Eric has also writtenJavaScript: Your visual blueprint for Dynamic WebPages, 2nd ed.. Eric volunteers his free time as a moderator of the HTML and Java Script forum at www.JavaRanch.com, a friendly online community dedicated to helping people learn Java and other web technologies. He lives in Laurel, MD.

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars
2.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much waffle. 22 Oct 2008
I wouldn't recommend this book unless your an absolute newcomer.
The best thing to do is run the screencast and don't buy the book!
On the plus side it gives examples using Prototype, Scriptaculuous, X and Rico. So you'll get an appreciation of these frameworks. It does go into some detail about design patterns. Chapter 8 on performance was the best chapter in book.
On the down side:
* Chapters 1-8: Are rather labored and elementary. There's a lot of superflous stuff. jQuery in Action by contrast is snappy & to the point.
* Chapter 9-13. Examples are given. The problem is this book tries to be all things to all developers and consequently delivers a watered down result. (Some VB.NET/ASP.NET/C#/PHP/Java. Wouldn't be so bad if versions of each server-side code were in Ch9-13 with deployment instructions).
=> I've just finished reading chapter 9 and found the author of that particular chapter both facetious and egotisical.
=> The last 5 chapters are presented in a fashion where code is created then refactored. Why not cut to the chase. Just show the refactored stuff. I found this most arduous in chapter 9 and feel enough is enough. Next book...
Other major disappointments:
* A couple of the more meaty examples appear to be missing (Battleships from ch7 and ObjectViewer ch4-6. You were supposed to be able to edit data on Planets. Couldn't see it in download).
* The code that is there is buggy doesn't work in IE7. I see a lot of posts along same line with IE6 on Manning forum.
* A lot of the external links are broken in chapter summaries.
* And finally unlike other Manning authors, the forum doesn't get regularly reviewed by it's authors.
* My advice. Steer clear and look at something like jQuery In Action.
The code for that book is spot on and the authors style of writing is much crisper.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good intro to Ajax principles and architecture 6 April 2008
Looking for the latest DHTML tricks and Javascript libraries? You came to the wrong place: this was published in 2005.

But I really liked this book. All you need is competence with HTML, CSS and Javascript, and Ajax in Action will help you understand what makes Ajax different from the traditional client-server architecture of web apps. It also introduces some design patterns and other basic considerations, e.g. cross browser issues. The second half of the book has several examples that illustrate what Ajax can buy you.

If you're already doing Ajax, there's not likely to be much here of any practical value, and a lot of the basic issues have been finessed away with the more common Javascript libraries. But if you're looking for a higher-level overview of the principles of Ajax and the issues involved in delivering the Ajax experience across browsers, this is still very relevant.

Reading Ajax in Action is not going to make you an expert. But this (or something like Head Rush Ajax is a very good introduction.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Part One - not impressed 19 April 2007
I have just read through the first part of this book and learned virtually nothing in 116 pages.

Part One - Rethinking the Web Application

Chapter 1 - A new design for the web, 27 pages.

This is an overview of Ajax that is so trivial as to be insulting and can be safely skipped unless you've been living on the moon recently.

Chapter 2 - First steps with Ajax, 37 pages.

A frustratingly wordy and paper thin introduction to the ajax technologies of Javascript, CSS, DOM and XmlHTTPRequest. It even includes a recap on HTTP! Skip most of this chapter unless you're a complete novice.

Chapter 3 - Introducing order to Ajax, 47 pages.

This chapter demonstrates perfectly the very worst form of bloat in technical books today. It has little to do with Ajax. Not only do Design Patterns receive a very undignified roughing up (a confused half page on Facade for example) but a woefully inaccurate account of Refactoring is levered in for good measure. This latter definition includes no mention of automated unit tests (JSUnit?) and suggests that Refactoring is nothing more than 'changing stuff' (hack hack hack). A not bad section on MVC follows. The chapter is rounded off with a frustratingly short section (11 pages) on Ajax frameworks.

So far definitely not worth the money!

If you don't find a review of Part Two at some point, assume I've hacked my own head off with a rusty saw.
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