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Ajax Hacks: Creative Approaches to Enhancing the Ajax Experience

April 5, 2006

Sebastopol, CA?What could be better than using Ajax to bring new flexibility and responsiveness to your sites and applications? Why, hacking Ajax, of course. To hear web developers and designers talk, Ajax?a term used to describe the combination of a group of popular web technologies?is the best thing to happen to web sites in years. But once you?ve dabbled in Ajax and mastered the basics, you?ll start looking for new ways to apply it. Ajax Hacks (O?Reilly, US $29.99) by Bruce W. Perry offers a wealth of tips and tools to keep Ajax aficionados coding for as long as they like.

According to Perry, Ajax Hacks was written for people enjoy hacking web applications creatively, as well as for both experienced and new web-application developers. ?Ajax seems to have reached a tipping point where many software developers are examining this group of existing technologies (JavaScript, XML, JSON, DOM, XMLHttpRequest) as a potential model for future web applications,? says Perry. ?Because of the increasing ubiquity of broadband Internet connections and connected mobile devices, web applications continue to be used for tasks that may have previously used a traditional desktop application. These new web applications will increasingly use the Ajax model.?

In a foreword to the book, Jesse James Garrett of Adaptive Path, known for coining the term Ajax, observes that over the years web designers and developers have developed an arsenal of conventions to rely on when designing applications: where the logo goes, how a link behaves when it is clicked, etc. But he observes that much of that knowledge goes out the windows with Ajax. ?We have a wider palette to work with,? says Garrett, ?but that also means we have more opportunities to make mistakes. And believe me, we?ll make a lot of them. It takes time to get smart, and just as it took us a while to get a handle on the old static Web, it?ll take us some time to get good at creating Ajax experiences as well.?

Garrett adds, ?That?s where you?and this book?come in.? In Ajax Hacks readers will learn to:

  • Enhance HTML forms with Ajax capabilities, customizing them to fit user expectations
  • Explore the Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, and GeoURL APIs, and combine them
  • Work with cookies in an Ajax environment Manage Browser History and the Back button
  • Create Ajax applications using Direct Web Remoting for Java and Ruby on Rails
  • Build applications on the Prototype, Rico, and script.aculo.us JavaScript libraries
  • Manage network connections and web services
  • ?We were careful to include a lot of detailed programming descriptions in the hacks,? says Perry. ?As a result, many of them read like tutorials and are appropriate to people who are completely new to Ajax (although it helps to have some knowledge of XML, JavaScript, and DOM).?

    Additional Resources:

    Ajax Hacks
    Bruce Perry
    ISBN: 0-596-10169-4, 414 pages, $29.99 US
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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