Ajax and PHP – Building Responsive Web Applications

Packt Publishing have been kind enough to send me an copy of their Ajax and PHP book. I now have dedicated place for this book on my work desk, and expect it’ll come in extremely handy when building my next Ajaxed and PHP based application.

The book is aimed mainly at developers who have some HTML, PHP and JavaScript knowledge – but you do not need to be an expert in any of these by any standard. The book starts off by explaining exactly what Ajax is and how it works (contains many descriptive diagrams to make this clear), also covers the basics of how HTTP and HTML work to make it more complete. Don’t worry, it covers these explanations perfectly – not to in depth and not to sparse, in my opinion they have got the concentration perfect.

The book is split into 10 Chapters, covering the most common uses of Ajax (DOM, XML, Form Validation, Chatting, Charting, RSS , Drag and Drop etc.)

Before I give a run down of each chapter I would just like to say this. I’ve read many computer programming books over the years, many great and some not so good. In comparison, I’d put this book in my top 5. My rating for this book is 9 out of 10.

More details on Ajax and PHP

Paperback: 275 pages
Release date: March 2006
ISBN: 1904811825
Authors: Cristian Darie, Bogdan Brinzarea, Filip Chereches-Tosa and Mihai Bucica

AJAX and PHP: Building Responsive Web Applications is the most practical and efficient resource a reader can get to enter the exciting world of AJAX. This book will teach you how to create faster, lighter, better web applications by using the AJAX ingredients technologies to their full potential.

In Detail
Assuming a basic knowledge of PHP, XML, JavaScript and MySQL, this book will help you understand how the heart of AJAX beats and how the constituent technologies work together. After teaching the foundations, the book will walk you through numerous real-world case studies covering tasks you’ll be likely to need for your own applications:

  • Server-enabled form-validation page
  • Online chat collaboration tool
  • Customized type-ahead text entry solution
  • Real-time charting using SVG
  • Database-enabled, editable and customizable data grid
  • RSS aggregator application
  • A server-managed sortable list with drag&drop support using the script.aculo.us
    JavaScript toolkit

The appendices guide you through installing your working environment, using powerful tools that enable debugging, improving, and profiling your code, working with XSLT and XPath.

What you will learn from this book

Chapter 1: AJAX and The Future Of Web Applications is an initial incursion into the world of AJAX and the vast possibilities it opens up for web developers and companies, to offer a better experience to their users. In this chapter you’ll also build your first AJAX-enabled web page, which will give you a first look of the component technologies.

Chapter 2: Client-Side Techniques with Smarter JavaScript will guide you through the technologies you’ll use to build AJAX web clients, using JavaScript, DOM, the XMLHttpRequest object, and XML. While not being a complete tutorial for these technologies, you’ll be taken to the right track of using them together to build a solid foundation for your future applications.

Chapter 3: Server-Side Techniques with PHP and MySQL completes the theory foundation by presenting how to create smart servers to interact with your AJAX client. You’ll learn various techniques for implementing common tasks, including handling security and error handling problems.

Chapter 4: AJAX Form Validation guides you through creating a responsive, modern form with real-time validation based on server data.

Chapter 5: AJAX Chat presents a simple online chat that works exclusively using AJAX code, without Java applets, Flash code, or other specialized library, as most chat applications work these days.

Chapter 6: AJAX Suggest and Autocomplete builds a Google-suggest like feature, that helps you find PHP functions, and forward you to the official help page for the chosen function.

Chapter 7: SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) is a text-based graphics language that can be used to draw shapes and text. (SVG is supported natively by Firefox 1.5, and requires a SVG plugin with other browsers). In this case study you learn how to implement a realtime charting solution with AJAX and SVG.

Chapter 8: AJAX Grid teaches you how to build powerful updatable data grid. You’ll learn how to parse XML documents using XSLT to generate the looks of your grid.

Chapter 9: AJAX RSS Reader uses the SimpleXML PHP library,
XML and XSLT, to build a simple RSS aggregator.

Chapter 10: AJAX Drag and Drop is a demonstration of using the script.aculo.us framework to build a simple list of elements with drag&drop functionality.

Appendix A: Configuring Your Working Environment teaches you
how to install and configure the required software: Apache, PHP, MySQL, phpMyAdmin.

Who this book is written for
This book is for web developers willing to build better web applications. A basic knowledge of PHP, XML, JavaScript and MySQL, or a strong will to learn-as-you-type, is assumed.

If you are interested in buying this book, I suggest buying it directly from the publishers as they seem to have the best discount right now.

Download the sample chapter: Chapter 1: AJAX and The Future Of Web Applications

2 Comments on Learning Ajax Book : Ajax and PHP

  1. Stuart, thanks for writing this review!

    You readers can find on http://www.cristiandarie.ro/ajax-php/ links to the online demos from the book, four chapters in PDF format, and a few more details about the book.


  2. Pradeep says:

    Contents of your book is very good. I really like it.