Head Rush Ajax

This book and I have a love/hate relationship. I love stretching my mind and learning, and this book makes that pretty easy. However, I found the pedagogic approach taken to be more than slightly patronising.

Stylistically, the book is jammed full of pictures, cartoons and sketches, some of which are just intended to break up the text; others explain things. There are a lot of exercises that the reader is exhorted to read and work through, and the author tries a number of different approaches to make them fun.

The content of the book is good. Sparse but good. I found myself wishing there was a 25-page reference containing the pertinent details from the book all in one place. (Hmm, Ajax Pocket Reference.. I wonder if it's been done?)

In this wild and wacky page-turner, we romp through the XMLHttpRequest object, stride through long miles of readystatechange, find out how to POST our requests, learn far too much to be healthy about the DOM and make our acquaintance with the Javascript Object Notation, JSON.

It's only to be expected that the examples are little more than models, but I found the coffee machine project that spans much of the book to be very annoying. Its basic unstated premise: that everybody using this coffee machine will be using the same web browser to control it, seems utterly implausible. If we challenge that assumption, the web app might as well be synchronous.

If you happen to jive with the Ajax Web 2 Dot 0 Scene (beta), but have no idea what Ajax is, this book is for you. Otherwise, read a tutorial online then buy a smaller book as a reference.

Score: 5 out of 10

Andrew Stribblehill


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