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Ajax can bring many advantages to an existing web application without forcing you to redo the whole thing. This book explains how you can add Ajax to enhance, rather than replace, the way your application works. For instance, if you have a traditional web application based on submitting a form to update a table, you can enhance it by adding the capability to update the table with changes to the form fields, without actually having to submit the form. That's just one example.
Adding Ajax is for those of you more interested in extending existing applications than in creating Rich Internet Applications (RIA). You already know the "business-side" of applications-web forms, server-side driven pages, and static content-and now you want to make your web pages livelier, more fun, and much more interactive. This book:
Provides an overview of Ajax technologies, and the importance of developing a strategy for changing your site before you sit down to code
Explains the heart and soul of Ajax: how to work with the XMLHttpRequest object
Introduces and demonstrates several important Ajax libraries, including Prototype, script.aculo.us, rico, Mochikit
Explores the interactive element that is Ajax, including how to work with events and event handlers that work across browsers
Introduces the concept of web page as space, and covers three popular approaches to managing web space
Explains how to make data updates, including adding new data, deleting, and making updates, all from within a single page
Describes the effects Ajax has on the Web-breaking the back button, losing browser history, dynamic effects that disappear when the page is refreshed, and more
Covers advanced CSS effects, including drag and drop "scroll bars", pagination, and the use of SVG and the Canvas object
Explores mashups-Ajax's ability to combine data from different web services in any number of ways, directly in our web pages
You don't need to start over to use Ajax. You can simply add to what you already have. This book explains how.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is a complete disappointment. Not enough detail where it matters, and too much useless filler in the latter portions of the book.
Don't waste your time or money on this one.
The book describes a number of ways in which Ajax changes the traditional state of the web. However, to start with the author describes what you need to do to prepare yourself for Ajax. I especially like the Start Clean section in which Shelly claims that the default CSS values are not necessarily good. For example, link underlining in a-tag is not always a good idea. I have heard this concept of starting from a clean sheet a number of times, it is a popular idea in the design community.
Also in the first chapter the author introduces the notion of Progressive enhancement, a web development methodology. Basically it says that the web site should work in various environments, even in the simplest. The idea is to make sure that your web site is still accessible on various devices after adding new features to it. The author stresses the concept of accessibility throughout the book. Indeed, web is an open platform for everybody - people in developing world, people with...
§ The book title delivers a vital clue. "Adding Ajax" has a special, limited focus that may be right up your alley -- if you are evaluating enhancing existing Web applications by adding Ajax effects. Developers looking to evaluate building an Ajax-based application architecture from the ground up may not be satisfied.
The book itself is a fast read. That is not because of lack of content -- there is plenty of that! Still, Shelley Powers has organized the information so that most of the chapters can be read out of order, as independently as possible from the others. Chapter 5, which deals with accordion menus, tabbed paging, and overlays with Ajax and common script libraries can be skipped if you are most interested in user updates of live data in Chapter 6 without a problem.
The author cites known experts for related material (like Jeremy Keith and Eric Meyer) and gives lots of URLs for follow-up material.
The book is pretty much practice-oriented...
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