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Sams Teach Yourself AJAX in 10 Minutes Paperback – 28 Apr 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Sams; 1 edition (28 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0672328682
  • ISBN-13: 978-0672328688
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 1.3 x 20.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,056,369 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Phil Ballard graduated in 1980 with an honours degree in Electronics from the University of Leeds, England. Following an early career as a research scientist with a major multinational, he spent a few years in commercial and managerial roles within the high technology sector, later working full time as a software engineering consultant.
Operating as "The Mouse Whisperer" (www.mousewhisperer.co.uk), Phil spent recent years involved in website and intranet design and development for an international portfolio of clients.
Phil is now a full-time author and blogger.

Product Description

From the Back Cover

Sams Teach Yourself Ajax in 10 Minutes is a concise introduction to the basics of building Ajax applications and the architecture and operation of these applications. You will learn the techniques employed in using Ajax, introducing Ajax and explaining how it may be used to solve realistic user interface problems. You will be able to immediately begin building web applications, and will have platform from which to explore more advanced aspects of Ajax.

About the Author

Phil Ballard is a professional web consultant specializing in website and intranet design, search engine optimization, server-side scripting, client-side design and programming and hosting. Phil has written a number of online tutorials, including the most popular of late, on AJAX.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Matt Gibson on 7 May 2007
Format: Paperback
This is definitely not a book for the Ajax expert. However, I didn't even know what AJAX stood for when I started reading this book, and it was definitely the book for me!

I wanted to add some basic "Web 2.0" features to a website I'd just created, and I didn't have much time to learn, so this book seemed a good choice when I saw it in a library.

Basically, it does exactly what it says on the tin. It gives brief, but not too brief, introductions to the technologies which make up Ajax, and gives you exactly what you need to know to get started. It's presented in bite-size chunks (which for me were a bit more than ten minutes, but maybe I'm slow!) which are pretty self-contained, and take you through Ajax in a logical progression.

By the end of Lesson 11, I knew enough to be writing my own small Ajax features for my website, and had them working fine in all the major browsers.

This is a small book, an unintimidating 200 pages in a nice portable format, which makes it easy to carry around with you. It's definitely aimed at Ajax beginners like me, and won't give enough depth for the advanced reader, nor go into subjects like the Google Web Toolkit, etc., but then it doesn't promise to.

What it does do is give an accurate and useful introduction to Ajax, including details on all the basic technologies, e.g. Javascript and XML and the way Ajax uses them. then carries on to give a taste of more advanced topics, including SOAP and REST.

For the low price, this is an excellent introduction to Ajax for people who know enough to develop simple websites but want to explore the use of simple Ajax features to improve the user experience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matty on 28 Nov 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book to try and find out the basic principles of AJAX quickly and easily, which it did very well. I really can't fault this book, it cuts through the waffle and shows you quickly how to use the XMLHttpRequest object to interact with a server and then update a web page. If you have little background knowledge of programming and / or web development you might not get what you want out of this book, in which case you might want to look at something else.

For me the book is excellent value for money, and has a permanent place on my work desk.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mr. M. Oconnell on 19 Jun 2006
Format: Paperback
This book serves no other purpose than to give an insight into the AJAX technology. I have just finished the book and I am now looking for a more detailed book on the subject. If you want an introduction then this is quite an easy read, however if you want to be developing AJAX sites by the end of the read then this is definately not the book for you.

One very annoying issue is that the provided code in the book needs some tinkering before it works, also the books online site allows for the download of all sample code which differs to what is in the book and again needs tinkering to get it working.

To summarize I would advise against buying this book, AJAX is something which doesnt suit the 10 minute approach. However with that said other editions of this series has been very useful to me but not this one.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 17 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Good cheap introduction 26 Sep 2006
By Alexander Bunkenburg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Who is the author?

Phil Ballard is behind themousewhisperer and crackajax.


The small book of some 220 pages has four parts.

The first part resumes what you need to know before doing any AJAX: HTML, HTTP, JavaScript, PHP, XML. Explains javascript-access to XML DOM.

The second part introduces AJAX. AJAX is motivated by a better user experience that is more like a desktop application and by saving bandwidth. Phil goes on to introduce the central part of AJAX, the XMLHttpRequest Object, with simple examples returning html-snippets as text.

The third part show how to use the XMLHttpRequest object with text and with XML, asynchronously, with SOAP, and lists some gotchas. The SOAP example constructs the SOAP requests directly in javascript and takes the SOAP response apart in the same way.

The fourth part briefly recommends three toolkits for AJAX programming:

prototype.js, by Sam Stephenson, which provides useful DHTML functions and ajax-encapsulation.

Rico, which goes on top of prototype.js, which lets you register page elements for manipulation from an AJAX-response. Also gives drag & drop, which is not AJAX, but often will be followed by an AJAX communication of the user action to the server.

XOAD, PHP server side AJAX support, by Stanimir Angeloff. It makes PHP classes callable from Javascript, and can change page elements from PHP.


The book is generally well written, although sometimes I would have preferred to be told more clearly what the problem and the main idea of the proposed solution are, before being shown the details of the solution.

The book really starts from first principles. It may seem a little slow sometimes, but that is good. An example for slowness is that there are several repitions of browser-independent XMLHttpRequest creation.

It is not tied to any framework or library and lets you understand what is behind the libraries by experimenting directly with the XMLHttpRequest object. There is a little use of PHP on the server.

In the explanations, I feel that UML sequence diagrams would have helped, for example on page 79. With AJAX, it is important to understand what methods are called, when they are called, and where they are.

I like that the authour seems in favour of using AJAX for returning html text, and of using the simple REST philosophy, when these simple techniques are sufficient for a particular design. Too often people get tempted into using more complex technologies without being clear about whether they are really necessary.

The SOAP example constructs the SOAP envelope manually and takes the SOAP response apart manually. Of course, SOAP is a lot of work if you do it that way! Realistically, must use a library that encapsulates the SOAP protocol and lets you communicate in terms of objects. SOAP is remote procedure call. It is only advisable to use SOAP if you really need the generality of remote procedure call and if you do, SOAP is a better option than making your own protocol.

For who is the book?

The book is for web programmers that already know HTML, HTTP, JavaScript and want to start using AJAX. The book recaps the important points of these topics as far as they will be used in the book.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The audience for this book is somewhat confusing... 10 Sep 2006
By Thomas Duff - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In a perfect world, you could pick up any new technology in 10 minute chunks. But the world isn't perfect, and some technologies don't even come close to this 10 minute standard. This could be a case in point... Teach Yourself AJAX in 10 Minutes by Phil Ballard.


Part 1 - A Refresher on Web Technologies: Anatomy of a Website; Writing Web Pages in HTML; Sending Requests Using HTTP; Client-Side Coding Using JavaScript; Server-Side Programming in PHP; A Brief Introduction to XML

Part 2 - Introducing Ajax: Anatomy of an Ajax Application; The XMLHTTPRequest Object; Talking with the Server; Using the Returned Data; Our First Ajax Application

Part 3 - More Complex Ajax Technologies: Returning Data as Text; AHAH - Asynchronous HTML and HTTP; Returning Data as XML; Web Services and the REST Protocol; Web Services Using SOAP; A JavaScript Library for Ajax; Ajax "Gotchas"

Part 4 - Commercial and Open Source Ajax Resources: the prototype.js Toolkit; Using Rico; Using XOAD


I don't think that this is a bad book... It's just that it tries to cover a whole lot of material in a short format, and as such ends up with a muddled target audience. Ajax is a combination of technologies, so you just can't cover a single subject and be done with it. The first part of the book attempts to be a refresher for HTML, JavaScript, and numerous other subjects that can be large books unto themselves. But if you need this refresher, it's likely that you're not at a point where you could effectively use Ajax anyway. Part 2 is solid information, albeit constrained by the 10 minute format. Parts 3 and 4 build on the Part 2 information, so if you didn't get grounded there, you could be in trouble. I imagine that the target audience (web developers without a significant programming background) would end up confused in the coding sections, and the designers with coding experience would be looking for more in-depth information...

I found the book most helpful if I viewed each chapter on its own merits based on my interest level. For instance, the "gotchas" chapter is good if you're trying to avoid common issues that Ajax applications encounter. But I'm not sure if there's enough "single chapter" material here to make it an attractive recommendation to someone who already is dabbling in Ajax and has other reference material. And I definitely wouldn't recommend it as a first exposure to Ajax for a newbie...
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Good general overview of AJAX 2 July 2006
By D. Wood - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was looking for some basic information on AJAX, such as the XMLHttpRequest object. I was not aware that simple HTM (or any other text) could be passed back from the web server, now I know and that's very useful to know, since those are more useful to me that XML. This book gave me the general basic info I needed. Now that I've got a working knowledge of AJAX, I can find another book with more detail for more advanced uses of the capability.

I think the book wasted space with it's attempt at an intro to html and intro to javascript. I'm not sure that anyone unfamiliar with these aspects of web development needs to be tackling AJAX, because they're probably not the least bit knowledgeable of server-side technology.

I would have appreciated the server-side scripting to be ASP instead of PHP (with which I'm not familiar), but that's a minor issue since the scrips are small and easy enough to grasp what they're doing.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Awesome Introduction to Ajax! 5 Nov 2008
By FLYingG0D - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have programmed in PHP, and done a lot of work with HTML and CSS (seeing as they go together well with PHP) - but have been really curious about this new Ajax stuff. I have poked at JavaScript before, but mostly just copying and pasting code from code snippet sites. I understand the concept of XML, but not too much about it.

So, I sent for this book to see what the hub-bub was about, and now I have a good understanding on how to use this programming language, if you want to call it that, for more impressive websites!

The book does not give you extensive background on PHP, but rather a brief intro, and the code you need to put on your web server to interact with the rest of the system. JavaScript is explained a bit more, as this is the heart of Ajax, and XML is explained pretty well too. You are not going to master any of these languages from this book, but rather learn enough about them to get you started and building some working Ajax programs.

Ajax is not really a language, but is a method of using JavaScript and a Server-Side language like PHP with the possibility to use XML for more database type data, if you need it, and constructing dynamic content for your web page to load. Without having to load a new page, and have PHP build all the changes.

This book guides you through building a clock that is updates when you click a button, an RSS news reader, and a few other simple programs that might not seem like a huge accomplishment, but are meant to give you an understanding of how it works so you can make something out of it. It hands you a wrench, and shows you how to bolt and unbolt things, but it is up to you as to what you go build, or destroy.

The book is not meant to be finished in it's entirety in 10 minutes. It is broken up into sections meant to take only about 10 minutes to read. Instead of having to dedicate a good hour or two to reading, I could easily read parts of this book here and there, between tasks at work, and in those times where I have a bit of time free, but not enough to do anything major. That was really a benefit for me. Learning, cut up into smaller bits, for people on the go!

I found this book to be exactly what I needed to step into the world of Ajax, and if you have experience with some PHP, and some JavaScript, and want to ad a little pizazz to your web pages, then I would really recommend this book to get you started!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Wow! Simple, clear way to understand AJAX for a newbie! 7 April 2010
By Frank Mcleod - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had been developing websites and web applications in ASP, VBA, PHP, JavaScript and HTML. I was getting pretty good at it. But, I had no way of grabbing refreshed data from the server and presenting it on the client side without rewriting everything on the client. Then, along came this book ... just what I needed!

I also bought the companion, AJAX for Dummies. By working through the simple examples, I developed an understanding of AJAX and how to apply it. Now, I can grab data from mySQL, msAccess or other data stores and update just the significant portion of the client page.

The book gave me the basic concepts and understanding. The creativity to apply it was in my hands. Great purchase!
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