Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ajax For Dummies | PDF | Download Now

Ajax is obviously one of the hot web technologies these days, and now we have the Dummies title that covers it... Ajax for Dummies by Steve Holzner. While it might be easy to write this off as "just another Dummies book", I don't know that I'd be so hasty...

Part 1 - Getting Started: Ajax 101; It's All About JavaScript
Part 2 - Programming in Ajax: Getting to Know Ajax; Ajax in Depth
Part 3 - Ajax Frameworks: Introducing Ajax Frameworks; More Powerful Ajax Frameworks; Server-Side Ajax Frameworks
Part 4 - In-Depth Ajax Power: Handling XML in Ajax Applications; Working with Cascading Style Sheets in Ajax Applications; Working with Ajax and PHP
Part 5 - The Part of Tens: Ten Ajax Design Issues You Should Know About; Ten Super-Useful Ajax Resources

As I said, I wouldn't write this off as just another Dummies title. For one, Steve Holzner has an excellent track record of writing tech books that have become the go-to references in the industry. As per usual, he also does a great job on this book, albeit in the "Dummies" style of presentation and writing. There is an abundance of code and screen shots that make it easy to follow along, and he presents just enough background on JavaScript and other Ajax components to bring you up-to-speed if those are not your strong areas. The only "nit" I have is that some of the code and screen shots in Chapter 2 don't quite mesh. The code statements for what should be on the screen don't quite match what actually printed out. It's as if the screen shot was made with a slightly reworded JavaScript routine. It still is essentially the same, but it threw me slightly as I was going through the material.

I felt the book really came to life in Part 3 with coverage of the different frameworks. I don't think any of the other books I've read on Ajax to date have had quite this much information on all the different frameworks you can implement to eliminate much of the "heavy lifting". Since Steve does a good job of presenting the pros and cons of each, you'll quickly determine if a framework is the way you want to go, and which options might be best for your particular project.

While not the most technical book on the subject, Ajax for Dummies does bring some angles to the table that aren't present (or as strong) in other books. It'd be a good introduction to the subject matter, or a nice second volume to gain a different perspective on the technology.

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