Professional Ajax

Front Cover
Wiley, Mar 12, 2007 - Computers - 598 pages
12 Reviews
Professional Ajax 2nd Edition provides a developer-level tutorial of Ajax techniques, patterns, and use cases. The book begins by exploring the roots of Ajax, covering how the evolution of the web and new technologies directly led to the development of Ajax techniques. A detailed discussion of how frames, JavaScript, cookies, XML, and XMLHttp requests (XHR) related to Ajax is included. After this introduction, the book moves on to cover the implementation of specific Ajax techniques. Request brokers such as hidden frames, dynamic iframes, and XHR are compared and contrasted, explaining when one method should be used over another. To make this discussion clearer, a brief overview of HTTP requests and responses is included.

Once a basic understanding of the various request types is discussed, the book moves on to provide in-depth examples of how and when to use Ajax in a web site or web application. Different data transmission formats, including plain text, HTML, XML, and JSON are discussed for their advantages and disadvantages. Also included is a discussion on web services and how they may be used to perform Ajax techniques. Next, more complex topics are covered. A chapter introducing a request management framework explores how to manage all of the requests inside of an Ajax application. Ajax debugging techniques are also discussed.

The last part of the book walks through the creation of two full-fledged Ajax web applications. The first, FooReader.NET, is an Ajax-powered RSS reader. The second, called AjaxMail, is an Ajax-enabled email system. Both of these applications incorporate many of the techniques discussed throughout the book.

Professional Ajax 2nd edition is written for Web application developers looking to enhance the usability of their web sites and web applications and intermediate JavaScript developers looking to further understand the language. Readers should have familiarity with XML, XSLT, Web Services, PHP or C#, HTML, CSS. This book is not aimed at beginners without a basic understanding of the aforementioned technologies. Also, a good understanding of JavaScript is vitally important to understanding this book. Those readers without such knowledge should instead refer to books such as Beginning JavaScript, Second Edition (Wrox, 2004, ISBN: 978-0-7645-5587-9) and Professional JavaScript for Web Developers (Wrox, 2005, ISBN: 978-0-7645-7908-0).

Professional Ajax 2nd edition adds nearly 200 pages of new and expanded coverage compared to the first edition. Some of the new topics covered here include:

  • Ajax Libraries including the Yahoo! Connection Manager, Prototype, and jQuery
  • Request Management with Priority Queues and the RequestManager Object
  • Comet push-based web systems and HTTP streaming
  • Maps and Mashups with Geocoding, Google Maps API and Yahoo! Maps API
  • Ajax Debugging with FireBug and Microsoft Fiddler

    ASP.NET AJAX Extensions (formerly code-named "Atlas")

And of course the Second Edition retains and updates the core first edition content including:

  • the range of request brokers (including the hidden frame technique, iframes, and XMLHttp) and explains when one should be used over another
  • different Ajax techniques and patterns for executing client-server communication
  • Ajax patterns including predictive fetch, page preloading, submission throttling, incremental field and form validation, periodic refresh, multi-stage download and more
  • Syndication with RSS, Atom, and XParser
  • JSON and creating an autosuggest textbox example
  • web site widgets for a news ticker, weather information, web search, and site search
  • Ajax Frameworks JSpan, DWR, and Ajax.NET Professional
  • A Web-based RSS/Atom aggregator case study
  • An AjaxMail case study

This book is also available as part of the 4-book JavaScript and Ajax Wrox Box (ISBN: 0470227818). This 4-book set includes:

  • Professional JavaScript for Web Developers (ISBN: 0764579088)
  • Professional Ajax 2nd

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About the author (2007)

Nicholas C. Zakas has a BS in Computer Science from Merrimack College and an MBA from Endicott College. He is the author of Professional JavaScript for Web Developers (Wiley 2005) as well as several online articles. Nicholas works for Yahoo! as a frontend engineer and has worked in web development for more than 6 years, during which time he has helped develop web solutions in use at some of the largest companies in the world. Nicholas can be reached through his web site at www.nczonline.net.

Jeremy McPeak began tinkering with web development as a hobby in 1998. Currently working in the IT department of a school district, Jeremy has experience developing web solutions with JavaScript, PHP, and C#. He has written several online articles covering topics such as XSLT, WebForms, and C#. He is also co–author of Beginning JavaScript, 3rd Edition (Wiley 2007). Jeremy can be reached through his web site at www.wdonline.com.

Joe Fawcett started programming in the 1970s and briefly worked in IT upon leaving full–time education. He then pursued a more checkered career before returning to software development in 1994. In 2003 he was awarded the title of Microsoft Most Valuable Professional in XML for community contributions and technical expertise. He currently works in London as a developer for FTC Kaplan, a leading international provider of accountancy and business training, where he specializes in systems integration.

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