Ajax in Action

Dave Crane and Eric Pascarello with Darren James

October 2005 | 680 pages | B&W
ISBN: 9781932394610

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Web users are getting tired of the traditional web experience. They get frustrated losing their scroll position; they get annoyed waiting for refresh; they struggle to reorient themselves on every new page. And the list goes on. With asynchronous JavaScript and XML, known as "Ajax," you can give them a better experience. Once users have experienced an Ajax interface, they hate to go back. Ajax is a new way of thinking that can result in a flowing and intuitive interaction with the user.

Ajax in Action helps you implement that thinking— it explains how to distribute the application between the client and the server (hint: use a "nested MVC" design) while retaining the integrity of the system. You will learn how to ensure your app is flexible and maintainable, and how good, structured design can help avoid problems like browser incompatibilities. Along the way it helps you unlearn many old coding habits. Above all, it opens your mind to the many advantages gained by placing much of the processing in the browser. If you are a web developer who has prior experience with web technologies, this book is for you.

"What is Ajax?"
Get a taste of what Ajax is all about by viewing one of our original screencasts. Choose to watch the entertaining and informative four minute overview or view the more detailed demonstration in our twenty-two minute screencast. It defines Ajax and builds a working example with rich features you can learn to create for your users.

What's Inside


Dave Crane has pushed the boundaries of DHTML, and latterly Ajax, on digital TV set-top boxes, in home automation and banking and financial systems. He lives in Gloucestershire, UK. Eric Pascarello is an ASP.NET developer and a moderator of the HTML and JavaScript forum at JavaRanch. He lives in Laurel, MD. Darren James is the architect of the opensource Rico project. He lives in Sunnyvale, CA.

Page 608

Dear readers, page 608 is missing from the second printing of the book. We apologize for the inconvenience and are making that page available as a PDF so you can read it immediately.


"Best Computer and Internet Book of 2006."
-- Amazon.com

"Ajax in Action is an excellent book and provides a very comprehensive overview of all the Ajax technologies. If you like to build powerful websites after seeing Google Maps and GMail, this is the book you require to develop those powerful web applications with a rich client feel. This four-part book provides the reader with a complete and detailed guide to all aspects of Ajax.

The first part of the book would be suitable for any person who is interested to know about Ajax. The rest of the book is for programmers engaged in the web development. In all, this book provides an excellent introduction to this exciting new web development methodology. Last but not the least don't skip reading the appendices."
-- Javalobby.org

"There is much to like about this book, but top of the fold for me is the clear and concise explanation of just what exactly Ajax is and why it has the power to make a difference in the web application arena. At a time when more people speak of Ajax than actually understand it, this book has the power to bring forth understanding.

This is a magnificent book. Not because it's well written and has good example code in it, although it is and it does. Rather, it is magnificent because of the high speed target that they have accurately hit and described in a clear and hype-free fashion; for this the authors are to be commended. If you want to create dynamic web applications, get this book."
-- Slashdot.org

"If your question is, 'I'm planning to build an Ajax application-what issues should I consider?' then the breadth and depth of Ajax in Action makes it a more suitable book for your purposes."
-- Dr. Dobb's Journal

"[Ajax in Action] has one of the best appendices ever included in a programming book — 'JavaScript for Object-Oriented Programmers'."
-- Dr. Dobb's Journal, June 2006

"Succeeds in allowing developers to jump productively onto the Ajax bandwagon."
-- Computing Reviews

"The first technical book that I've read cover to cover TWICE prior to posting a review - Manning's very excellent "Ajax in Action" is really deep. Best practices are encouraged throughout the chapters and enforced in all code snippets...

Crane and Pascarello take a platform-agnostic look at incorporating Ajax-style programming into web applications, citing examples in PHP, Java and .NET, and accordingly the examples are all partial and abstracted, to be implemented in whatever platform the developer/reader is familiar with...

This book is really a tome of good reading. Appendix B is an outstanding discussion on JavaScript OOP, providing an introduction to and examples in JSON... This book is critical in your understanding of how to make the next big thing in web development to work for you. A must-have."
-- Guam-ASP.NET

"This four-part book provides the reader with a complete and thorough guide to all aspects of Ajax, from setting the scene and providing some historical context to an introduction to JavaScript for object oriented programmers to a whole section on live examples. Additionally there's coverage of Ajax frameworks, developers toolsets and more. On sheer coverage alone this is book scores highly."
-- The Register

"The explanation of the Ajax concepts is provided with crystal clear examples. ...another jewel in the 'In Action' series..."
-- AjaxGuru.Blogspot.com

"Ajax In Action is destined to be added to the standard reading list for anyone interested in serious AJAX development."
-- PDX PHP, Portland's PHP User Group

"Provides an excellent introduction to Ajax. It does more than just give the reader a menu of technologies. It shows how the different strands fit together in a cohesive way that opens the door to web apps that are more responsive and provide richer functionality without sacrificing performance. If you want to understand what the Ajax fuss is about then this is an excellent starting point. Recommended."
-- TechBookReport.com

"The authors treat Ajax as a programming discipline...you'll end up being a much better programmer on all fronts by the time you finish."
-- LotusUserGroup.org

"A tremendously useful field guide specifically written for developers down in the trenches...waiting for the killer solution..."
-- Val's Blog

"Renaissance men David Crane and Eric Pascarello show you how to weave together the pieces that make up an Ajax application: JavaScript, server scripts, HTML, CSS, and XML. ... If you're serious about helping to revolutionize the Web, you need this book."
-- JavaRanch.com, by Sheriff Friedman-Hill

"They cover a gigantic amount of information (680 pages, to be exact), everything from what Ajax is and some of the key elements involved all the way out to working with MVC frameworks and XSLT. The writing style makes it a good, easy read, and there are plenty of illustrations to guide you along. "
-- AjaxDeveloper.com

"The authors have been involved in using Ajax since its beginning. They are very familiar with the concepts and are also good writers that have an ability to explain these concepts in a clear and concise manner."
-- Books-On-Line

"The most comprehensive guide to using Ajax and associated patterns that I have yet seen."
-- C# Online.NET

"This is one of the best programming books I've read. It is easy to read whilst retaining a reasonable density of technical information and plentiful examples. It doesn't require anything greater than a passing familiarity with Javascript to be able to understand the examples, but a general understanding of programming is required."
-- The Voidspace Techie Blog

"If you are creating Ajax web applications on a large or small scale and need to consider such aspects as design and refactoring, security, speed and system resources, then this book will help answer some of these questions."
-- BellaOnline.com

"What is Ajax" Screencast

Manning proudly presents the original screencast "What is Ajax?" which defines Ajax and shows you an entertaining, working example of Ajax in action. By gradually adding features, the screencast makes you think about the richness of your users' experience and shows you how it is done. It is 18 minutes long (27MB download).

You can obtain the "What is Ajax?" Screencast by downloading from the following two URLs. We highly recommend using the QuickTime 7 version (listed first) - it is a much smaller file, and the image and sound quality are far superior.

Both screencasts are identical except file format. You only need one copy.

The screencast is available in two identical versions (differing only in encoding):

Quicktime is often included with other software (like iTunes) so you may already have it installed. If not, you can download it from Apple's Quicktime site.