Bulletproof AJAX

**** Jun162007

I’d love to give this book 5 stars. As usual, Jeremy Keith explains complex topics in straightforward and pleasurable-to-read language. He cuts through the hype surrounding Ajax and shows that it’s just another tool you can use, with its own advantages and disadvantages. However, this book is too brief, and just doesn’t get you far enough down the road to building your own AJAX-enhanced websites and applications.

What is covered in Bulletproof Ajax

This book introduces the basics of javascript, DOM scripting, the XMLHttpRequest (at the heart of AJAX functionality) as well as the concept of progressive enhancement, and the usability and accessibility challenges inherent to AJAX. The different data formats (XML, JSON, and HTML) and their pros and cons are described clearly.

What isn’t covered

While the author does an excellent job of explaining many of the problems with using javascript and AJAX, such as breaking the “back” button, interfering with bookmarking, and myriad accessibility issues, he does less in the way of providing implementable solutions.

In addition, someone (such as myself) who needs a book this basic to get started with AJAX is likely to use her favorite javascript library to overcome some of the cross-browser issues. But Jeremy Keith, being the javascript virtuoso that he is, seems to shun such shortcuts (though he does list a few library/toolkit options). That said, I do think it’s valuable to have some understanding of what is going on “under the hood” when relying on such a library.


This is a short book, and should be considered a primer to be read before diving in to more project-oriented books on AJAX. It is perfect for someone with little familiarity with javascript or DOM scripting.

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Author(s)Jeremy Keith
PublisherNew Riders

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