AJAX Construction Kit
Title:  AJAX Construction Kit
Author: Michael Morrison
Publisher: Prentice Hall, 2007
Pages: 314
ISBN: 978-0132350082
Aimed at: Web developers new to AJAX
Rating: 2.5
Pros: Focused and practical, readable style
Cons: Won’t teach you much about AJAX
Reviewed by: Dave Wheeler

My concerns with this book started on reading the first sentence, which goes “This whole book idea started as a bet I had with my editor that we couldn’t pick two random techie topics and tie them together in a book.” If a technical book is worth writing (and reading), then it must be because there lies a passion within the author to explain a technology to a group of his or her peers. A bet is simply not reason enough.

This book will not teach you about AJAX from first principles. Instead, it will show you how to use the author’s own custom AJAX toolkit to implement common features in your Web application. Therefore, if all you are looking for is to rapidly add “AJAX” to your application, then this book might well be of interest to you. However, any sensible ASP.NET developer is likely to use the ASP.NET AJAX Extensions, Anthem.NET or one of the myriad of existing AJAX toolkits and thus will find no value in this book.

Intriguingly, having made an assertion that AJAX toolkits have steep learning curves, the author then spends a lot of time explaining his own code. There is some benefit to this approach, but if your ambition is to really learn AJAX then you’d be better off reading a book that helps you to build your own library from scratch. Morrison writes well, in a clear and quirkily humorous way, and he clearly understands the technology. But there are better books on AJAX around, and the idea of learning his toolkit in comparison to one of the more common implementations seems a little redundant.

<Reviewed in VSJ>
Last Updated ( Saturday, 20 June 2009 )