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Understanding AJAX: Using JavaScript to Create Rich Internet Applications

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Understanding AJAX: Using JavaScript to Create Rich Internet Applications


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  • Copyright 2007
  • Dimensions: 7" x 9-1/4"
  • Pages: 384
  • Edition: 1st
  • Book
  • ISBN-10: 0-13-221635-3
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-13-221635-7

AJAX: fast mastery for experienced Web developers!

Already an experienced Web developer? Apply your skills in today’s fastest-growing area of Web development: AJAX!

Building on what you already know, this fast-paced guide will show you exactly how to create rich, usable Internet applications. Joshua Eichorn teaches through sophisticated code examples, including extensive server-side PHP code.

You won’t just learn how to code AJAX applications: Eichorn covers the entire development lifecycle, from use cases and design through debugging. He also presents detailed application case studies, including a start-to-finish update of a non-AJAX application that addresses everything from feature improvements to changing usage patterns. Coverage includes:

·       How AJAX changes the conventional Web development cycle

·       Problems created by the AJAX paradigm -- and how to avoid them

·       Adding AJAX to existing Web applications: key considerations

·       Using core AJAX technologies, including the XMLHttpRequest object

·       Consuming data returned to an AJAX application using both XSLT and JSON

·       Building more usable AJAX applications: guidelines and downloadable resources

·       Use cases: solving real-world problems in the AJAX environment

·       Libraries and toolkits for simplifying AJAX development, including Sarissa, scriptaculous, and HTML_AJAX

·       A complete guide to AJAX debugging

·       Supporting browsers without XMLHttpRequest by using IFrames or cookies

·       JSON data encoding debugging guide, which covers tools for Firefox and Internet Explorer

·       A list of libraries, which includes PHP, .NET, Java, and other libraries that can be used with any server language


Related Article

Introduction to HIJAX

Sample Content

Online Sample Chapter

Getting Started with AJAX and the XMLHttpRequest Object

Downloadable Sample Chapter

Download the Sample Chapter from this book.

Table of Contents

Understanding AJAX:

Using JavaScript to Create Rich Internet Applications

Joshua Eichorn



Chapter 1 What Is AJAX?

1.1 Rich Internet Applications

1.2 AJAX Defined 

1.3 Technologies of AJAX

1.4 Remote Scripting

1.5 Gmail Brings XMLHttpRequest into the Mainstream

1.6 New Name: AJAX 

1.7 Summary

Chapter 2 Getting Started

2.1 XMLHttpRequest Overview

    2.1.1 XMLHttpRequest::Open()

    2.1.2 XMLHttpRequest::Send()

    2.1.3 XMLHttpRequest::setRequestHeader()

    2.1.4 XMLHttpRequest::getResponseHeader() and getAllResponseHeaders()

    2.1.5 Other XMLHttpRequest Methods

    2.1.6 XMLHttpRequest Properties

    2.1.7 readyState Reference

2.2 Cross-Browser XMLHttpRequest

2.3 Sending Asynchronous Requests

2.4 AJAX Without XMLHttpRequest

2.5 Fallback Option 1: Sending a Request Using an IFrame

    2.5.1 Creating a Hidden IFrame

    2.5.2 Creating a Form

    2.5.3 Send Data from the Loaded Content to the Original Document

    2.5.4 Complete Iframe AJAX Example

2.6 Fallback Option 2: Sending a Request Using a Cookie

2.7 Summary

Chapter 3 Consuming the Sent Data

3.1 Document-Centric Approaches

    3.1.1 Adding New HTML Content to a Page with AJAX

    3.1.2 Consuming XML Using DOM

    3.1.3 Consuming XML Using XSLT

3.2 Remote Scripting

    3.2.1 Basic RPC

    3.2.2 SOAP and XML-RPC

    3.2.3 Custom XML

    3.2.4 JavaScript and JSON

3.3 How to Decide on a Request Type

3.4 Summary

Chapter 4 Adding AJAX to Your Web Development Process

4.1 Changes to the Development

    4.1.1 Enhancement-Driven Changes

    4.1.2 AJAX in Action: Removing a Popup User Search

    4.1.3 Changes Caused by Creating an AJAX-Driven Application

4.2 Integrating AJAX into a Framework

4.3 JavaScript as a Primary Development Language

4.4 Problems Created by the New Development Paradigm

4.5 Advantages to Using a Library

4.6 Reasons to Build Your Own Library

4.7 How Open Source Fits into the Mix

    4.7.1 Evaluating an Open Source Library

    4.7.2 Open Source Libraries in Relation to Commercial Libraries

4.8 Use Case for Building: The Firefox Counter

4.9 Use Case for Downloading: An Intranet Web Site

4.10 Summary

Chapter 5 Getting the Most from AJAX

5.1 Goals of AJAX

    5.1.1 Increasing Interactivity

    5.1.2 Decreasing the Time Required to Perform Actions

    5.1.3 Reducing Bandwidth Use

    5.1.4 Creating Rich Applications

5.2 Measuring Improvements

5.3 Promises and Problems of Combining AJAX with Other New Technologies

    5.3.1 Combining AJAX with Flash

    5.3.2 Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG)

    5.3.3 XML User Interface Languages

5.4 Summary

Chapter 6 Usability Guidelines

6.1 Defining Usability

6.2 Usability Guidelines

    6.2.1 Keep the User’s Expectations in Mind

    6.2.2 Provide Feedback to Actions

    6.2.3 Maintain the User’s Focus When Adding Content

    6.2.4 Keep the Ability to Undo Actions

    6.2.5 Know If You Are Developing an Application or a Web Site

    6.2.6 Only Use AJAX Where It Has the Greatest Effect

    6.2.7 Have a Plan for Those Users Without XMLHttpRequest

6.3 Common Usability Problems

    6.3.1 Stealing Focus with Validation Messages

    6.3.2 Preventing Undo with Autosave

    6.3.3 Updating Sections of a Page Withoutthe User Realizing It

    6.3.4 Breaking Bookmarking by Using AJAX to Load Entire Pages

    6.3.5 Making AJAX Required on a Web Store

6.4 Summary

Chapter 7 AJAX Debugging Guide

7.1 Two Sides to Debugging

7.2 Looking at AJAX Communications

    7.2.1 Building an AJAX Logger

    7.2.2 Using the Logger

    7.2.3 Firebug: A Firefox Debugging Extension

    7.2.4 Fiddler

    7.2.5 General Debugging Scenarios

7.3 JavaScript Debugging Tools

7.4 JavaScript Exceptions

7.5 Dumping Variables

7.6 Summary


Chapter 8 Libraries Used in Part II: Sarissa, Scriptaculous

8.1 Overview of the Use Cases

8.2 Libraries Used in Part II of This Book

8.3 Sarissa

    8.3.1 Installation

    8.3.2 Making an AJAX Request

    8.3.3 Basic XML Features

    8.3.4 Working with DOM Documents

    8.3.5 Using XPath to Find Nodes in a Document

    8.3.6 Transforming XML with XSLT

    8.3.7 Sarissa Development Tips

8.4 Scriptaculous

    8.4.1 Installation

    8.4.2 Visual Effects

    8.4.3 Hide/Show Pairs

    8.4.4 Drag-and-Drop

    8.4.5 Sortables

    8.4.6 Slider Control

    8.4.7 Scriptaculous Development Tips

8.5 Summary

Chapter 9 Libraries Used in Part II: HTML_AJAX


    9.1.1 Installation

    9.1.2 HTML_AJAX JavaScript API

    9.1.3 Remote Stub AJAX

    9.1.4 Using HTML_AJAX_Action

    9.1.5 JavaScript Behaviors

    9.1.6 JavaScript Utility Methods

    9.1.7 PHP Utility Methods

    9.1.8 HTML_AJAX Development Tips

9.2 Summary

Chapter 10 Speeding Up Data Display

10.1 Overview of the Sun Rise and Set Data Viewer

10.2 Building the Non-AJAX Version of the Sun Rise and Set Viewer

    10.2.1 SunRiseSet Class

    10.2.2 Graph.php

    10.2.3 Standard.php

10.3 Problems with the Non-AJAX Viewer

10.4 Improving Viewing with AJAX

    10.4.1 Viewer HTML Updated for AJAX

    10.4.2 Viewer PHP Script Updated for AJAX

10.5 Summary

Chapter 11 Adding an AJAX Login to a Blog

11.1 Why Logins Work Well with AJAX

11.2 Building an AJAX Login

11.3 Extending the Login Form

11.4 Implementing the AJAX Comment Login System Using XML

11.5 Summary

Chapter 12 Building a Trouble-Ticket System

12.1 Trouble-Ticketing System

12.2 AJAX Reliance Scale 

12.3 Creating the Back End

12.4 Exporting the Back End

12.5 Building the JavaScript Application

12.6 Login Component

12.7 User-Registration Component

12.8 Account-Editing Component

12.9 Ticket-Creation Component

12.10 Ticket-Editor Component

12.11 My-Tickets Component

12.12 Assign-Tickets Component

12.13 Security Considerations with AJAX Applications

12.14 Comparing Our AJAX-Driven Application against a Standard MVC Model

12.15 Summary

Appendix A JavaScript AJAX Libraries

AJAX Toolbox


Dojo Toolkit




Simple AJAX Code-Kit (SACK)




Yahoo! User Interface Library

Appendix B AJAX Libraries with Server Ties










    Direct Web Remoting (DWR)

    Google Web Toolkit







Multiple Languages




Appendix C JavaScript DHTML Libraries

Accesskey Underlining Library (AUL)



Dean Edwards IE7


JavaScript Shell

Lightbox JS


Nifty Corners Cube







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