Bulletproof Ajax reviews

Bulletproof Ajax has been out for a weeks now—long enough for some people to have read the book and write their opinion of it. Actually, it doesn’t take very long at all to read the book: Dan Mall told me that he read the whole thing on the flight from Philadelphia to Austin for South by Southwest. It really is a quick read.

The review on Monday by Noon is quite in-depth and is summed up nicely at the end:

I think Bulletproof Ajax by Jeremy Keith is a great resource to have on your bookshelf. It will prove to be especially helpful to those who are just starting to take an interest in Ajax, but also a good read for seasoned developers.

Nate Klaiber also penned a step-by-step review and finishes by saying:

Overall, this book was a great read. This book is geared for the beginner, and I believe it will help a user have a complete grasp of AJAX. AJAX is a tricky subject, and Jeremy does a great job of tackling each subject in great detail. This book would go well with a Javascript book to help you bulletproof your applications. This is a must read for those who are interested in understanding AJAX and its place in the world of web standards.

Over on Revish, Dan Champion has given the book five stars and finishes up his solid review thusly:

If you’re considering using Ajax on a website, or already do so and want to learn more about how it should be done, don’t take any chances - buy this book. For me there’s nothing better online or in print.

Raphael Stolt jotted down his thoughts in a short review:

I can recommend this book to anybody who’s new to Ajax and need’s a good and libary-free introduction to the concepts behind it. If you are already versed in building ajaxied applications I can recommend it as a good and not very time consuming refreshment as it is fun and very fluent to read.

But he adds some words of caution:

In case you are looking for a book with a main focus on server-sided Ajax this book might not the one to choose.

That’s a good point. Bulletproof Ajax is very much a front-end book. Of course, with Ajax it’s very difficult to avoid straying into at least some server-side code. In the penultimate chapter, I’ve included some PHP code but I don’t go into any great detail on that language. This has also been pointed out in a review on “Ask the CSS Guy”:

The server-side code isn’t completely left unexplained, and code for all examples are found on the web site for reference, but the level of detail is not as equal to that for the JavaScript.

He still liked the book but he suggests that a certain level of understanding of server-side scripting would really help in getting the most out of Bulletproof Ajax:

As for Ajax concepts in the world of Web Standards, Bulletproof Ajax is an essential read. However, rather than refer to it as “the sequel to DOM Scripting”, I would instead think of it as the third book in the following trilogy:

  1. DOM Scripting
  2. Some server-side language beginner book, PHP preferred
  3. Bulletproof Ajax

I don’t think that PHP knowledge is necessary to enjoy Bulletproof Ajax but I agree that it would certainly grease the wheels of comprehension.

As more reviews come in, I’ll point to them here. So if you’ve read the book and you’d like to share your conclusions, blog away. Or you can always post a review on the book’s Amazon page where it currently has four and a half stars. Not bad. That half a star that’s keeping me from getting a full house is down to an early disgruntled reviewer who said:

This is useful only for a stater (sic) who is starting to used AJAX for very small usage.

Well, yeah… that’s kind of the whole point of the book. To avoid any further disappointment, let me just re-iterate that Bulletproof Ajax is not a book for seasoned server-side developers. It’s for front-end coders who already know markup and CSS with perhaps a smattering of JavaScript.

If that sounds like you, give the book a read and once you’re done, post a review… preferably a favourable one but more importantly, an honest one. I’d be grateful for any constructive criticism.

Posted by Jeremy on Saturday, March 31st, 2007 at 4:57pm


Hi Jeremy, I’ll write a review soon. I’d just like to say that as a reader of this site and Adactio much of the book was familiar to me. Nonetheless I’d definitely recommend to anyone who wants to get started with AJAX. After reading it, I’ve passed it around to many colleagues in my lab, all of whom said it was the most painless programming book they’ve ever read. The examples are excellent, the explanations are simple and precise. It’s just a top notch book. Congrats.


# Posted by Des Traynor on Sunday, April 1st, 2007 at 4:03pm


I’m in the middle of your book, and have found the examples and explanations about Ajax easy to understand and follow. I also have your DOM Scripting book; in fact I recommended it to my college instructor last year, and he is now using it for this semester’s JavaScript class.

For item #2 - "Some server-side language beginner book, PHP preferred", might I suggest David Powers "PHP Solutions" book which came out last fall?

David has done an excellent job explaining PHP for the beginner. The book is large, over 400 pages, but each chapter is focused on a single topic (writing php scripts, forms, includes, uploading files, etc.). David provides detailed information and examples in each of the chapters.

In addition, his code uses best practices and web standards, is easy to read (good comments!), and it validates, showing that extra steps have been taken. David frequently visits the Friends of Ed forums, answering questions from readers about the book’s examples.

# Posted by Deborah on Sunday, April 1st, 2007 at 10:43pm

Of course someone can read book in one flight, but I don’t think he understood all you wrote in this book. Sincerely yours

# Posted by Proplier on Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007 at 2:27pm

Good stuff, Jeremy! I’ve listed this post at Positive Lookahead (http://www.positivelookahead.com/book_details/0321472667.aspx) for you. :)

# Posted by Milan Negovan on Wednesday, April 4th, 2007 at 8:13pm

Best yet, very helpful and an easy enjoyable read, would also recommend Dom Scripting.

# Posted by HeavyWeightGeek on Thursday, April 5th, 2007 at 12:03am

It’s an easy book to understand. I like the way was writing. I’m a designer but also a developer i have to say. I write code client side & server side too. I need ajax in this moment only for cp interfaces to interact with server without refreshing the page, in fact i need to build things similar with basecamp from 37 signal. I really like accessibility & usability, and for that ajax is not ready. Anyway this book just help me understand exactly the way is function ajax, and for me is enough.

# Posted by Avasilcai Daniel on Monday, April 9th, 2007 at 7:14pm

Here is one more review http://manwithnoblog.com/2007/04/08/bulletproof-ajax-a-review/ Check it out

# Posted by Michael Whee on Friday, April 13th, 2007 at 12:45pm

And another review http://www.cvwdesign.com/txp/article/209/bulletproof-ajax :-)

# Posted by Clive Walker on Friday, April 13th, 2007 at 3:46pm

thank you who gave links all on similar information.

# Posted by Yura on Saturday, April 14th, 2007 at 12:48pm

Michael thanks for link to more review. btw. Thanks Jeremy for another great article. Greetings

# Posted by Tomek on Wednesday, April 18th, 2007 at 4:43pm

Nice reviews. I’ll try out Ajax

# Posted by Jeremy on Thursday, April 19th, 2007 at 1:29pm

Well, after reading this post and the comments that follow, I headed to Amazon to buy the book. AJAX is something I’ve been wanting to get into, but haven’t had a real reason to dive in. Hopefully this will convince me to get it going. Looking forward to it!

# Posted by will chatham on Friday, April 20th, 2007 at 2:20pm

Sorry. Comments are closed.

March 2007

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