Review: Ajax Starter Kit
Review: Ajax Starter Kit
Author: Phil Ballard
Publisher: Sams Publishing
The term Ajax has been tossed around the Web quite a bit. It's often labeled as a new type of technology but it actually consists of several technologies used together. It's similar to referring to the space shuttle as a technology when it actually consists of many components that work together as one unit.
With all this technology, the next thing is to figure out how to make it work together. There are many books written on the subject, and one of them is the Ajax Starter Kit. It's not really a book; it's actually a kit (as stated in the title), and consists of the following:
Quick Start Guide
A Bit of a Concern
The examples in the book use an HTML 4.01 transitional DOCTYPE, although the author states he is using 4.0 transitional. The author also uses deprecated HTML elements such as
<center>. These were deprecated in HTML 4.0. In addition to being used in code examples, the
<font> tag is also listed as a "useful HTML tag." For a book teaching the use of advanced methods of coding, these errors create issues with the book's credibility. While it's probably a safe bet that the Ajax coding is correct, using the deprecated tags will surely cause problems in code validation.
Ajax Programmer's Toolkit
The toolkit includes XAMPP for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. XAMPP is developed by Apache Friends and is a software bundle consisting of Apache MySQL, PHP and Perl packaged together. It's a quick and easy method of installing all of those software packages and having them work together seamlessly (well, most of the time). This allows you to program and test on yourcomputer without having to upload and download to a Web host. This is an excellent addition to the starter kit.
Tutorial Reference Library
Since Ajax is made up of several technologies, the Ajax Starter Kit also includes a library of books for reference. The library consists of six books in PDF format. Aside from the Quick Start Guide, it also includes the following titles, from the Sams Teach Yourself collection:
While these books won't make you an expert in each of the listed areas, they can give you a nice head start. They cover a fair amount of material, given the format. Considering that each of these books cost when sold separately, having them bundled together is a pretty good deal.
Ajax is here to stay, at least for now. It's the right technology for many applications but it must not be used just for the sake of using it. Often a better solution can be found. For those cases when it's the proper technology, this is a good place to learn how to use it. Aside from the few bits of outdated code in the Quick Start Guide (I didn't read all the books in the Tutorial Reference Library in their entirety), I think this is a good "starter kit" from which to begin a study of Ajax. You will be able to see your strengths and weaknesses, and you'll learn how to write better Ajax code.