A new Ajax book

Build Your Own AJAX Web Applications has just been published by Sitepoint. It’s written by Matthew Eernisse and tech edited by Stuart Langridge.

This looks an interesting book, covering quite a lot of ground. You can download some sample chapters to get a feel for its scope and style.

After perusing the samples, it’s clear that this isn’t a book for the complete beginner: it dives into object-oriented code pretty early on. But if you’re comfortable with that, this could be exactly your cup of tea.

As yet, there doesn’t seem to be any Ajax book out there aimed at the complete novice — in other words, the audience that I aimed my book at. Which leads me to ponder… do you think there is a need for such a book? An Ajax book for standards-savvy front-end developers who are not programmers?

Yes, it’s a leading question. Yes, I have a vested interest in discovering the answer.

Posted by Jeremy on Thursday, June 22nd, 2006 at 10:24pm


I’m a programmer, but not a Javascript programmer. I know enough to make small modifications to existing code, but have trouble trying to do anything complex. I haven’t gotten your book yet, but I plan to. However, I’m not sure I’d be ready to jump into something much more advanced after reading it, so a novice book on AJAX sounds like a good idea to me.

# Posted by Scott on Thursday, June 22nd, 2006 at 10:58pm

I am just about done with "Head Rush Ajax" which is a pure beginners book. I read it as a follow-up to your book so I felt like an advanced reader. The book assumes some ultra basic knowledge of js, but it pretty well targeted toward someone just starting out with javascript.

One note about the book is that it is written in a workbook style, with lots of repition, pictures and other things to stimulate the mind. Some readers may find it a bit childish, but I found it to be a very effective teaching technique. I would highly recommend the book.

PS I would be very interested in a follow up to DOM scripting. You can go deeper into the DOM, cover a few chapters on ajax, and finish up with object oriented js. You might also consider expanding on some of the libraries that are currently in use.

# Posted by Scott on Thursday, June 22nd, 2006 at 11:09pm

I’d buy a Jeremy Keith authored book on Ajax in a heartbeat. I’m loving "Dom Scripting." I wouldn’t say I’m a novice to JavaScript, but certainly someone who’s been doing the the wrong way for too many years. I’ve tried Head Rush: Ajax, but the style works completely opposite from my brain. It’s got way too many stupid jokes, and spends the first part just explaining itself. You have to learn how to use the book before your learn Ajax.

I’ve been working with Ajax, but again, I’d love your "fresh start" style to build a foundation in the technology. You could title it, "Hijax: Unobtrusive Ajax with DOM Scripting."

# Posted by Colin on Friday, June 23rd, 2006 at 12:19am

"I wouldn’t say I’m a novice to JavaScript, but certainly someone who’s been doing the the wrong way for too many years."

This is so true! I’ve been doing JavaScript for about 4yrs and since reading "DOM Scripting" realised how horribly wrong I’ve been. At the same time I’m not an advanced programmer (I’ve never had any need to be), but I’m interested in seeing what cool stuff I can do with Ajax but all the books out there at the moment assume you’ve built these huge applications or that you are a guru with JavaScript, which frustrates me because I would love to learn Ajax but feel like its a little out of my reach at the moment?

Jeremy: If you decide to release a beginners book on Ajax I would be a very happy person!!

# Posted by Mark McDonnell on Friday, June 23rd, 2006 at 7:21am

Go for it, man. I can’t tell you how many times I dip into my copy of DOM Scripting.

# Posted by Michael Hessling on Friday, June 23rd, 2006 at 7:31am

I’m with Colin on that title! I am about to finish "DOM Scripting" right now and would like a follow up that goes deeper into Hijax. There are quite a number of Ajax books out there, but not so many on "unobtrusive AJAX". I’d like to see a book that was build up the same way as "DOM Scripting" i.e. first build a functional page/app, then enhance it further with Hijax. And lot’s of pratical examples!

I’d also like the book to be in colour, if that’s at all possible. Dan Cederholm’s colorful "Bulletproof Web Design" was a lot more fun to read than the previous B/W book "Web Standards Solutions".

# Posted by Danny on Friday, June 23rd, 2006 at 7:38am

Just write the damn thing :-)

# Posted by Olly on Friday, June 23rd, 2006 at 9:57am

Seems like we will not hear a lot from Jeremy the coming months, with him locking himself up in his basement to write :)

Can I pre order yet?

# Posted by Matthijs on Friday, June 23rd, 2006 at 10:13am

An AJAX book with the same approach as "DOM Scripting" ? You bet !!

# Posted by Pierre Bourgeois on Friday, June 23rd, 2006 at 10:25am

Yes please Jeremy, I’m sure we’d all love to see that. I wish chapter 12 of DOM Scripting had gone on for ever.

I’d also like to see you write about using Javascript/Ajax libraries such as prototype, no-one writes as clearly as you on these subjects. Put me down as another pre-orderer.

# Posted by Bob on Friday, June 23rd, 2006 at 11:21am

Please please write a great AJAX book :)

# Posted by Arthur Case on Friday, June 23rd, 2006 at 11:35am

Well, it looks like most people would like to see you do that book, but what with all your conference attendences and so on I do wonder - when would you find time to do some work for Clearleft? ;-)

I think there is a market for such a book, but I’m not sure of the definition of ‘complete novice’. When I wrote my book (plug, plug) for SitePoint it was absolutely for the complete beginner (to the extent that the reader may not know what a text editor or web browser is - they just ‘use the internet and email’). What would you class as beginner? Has some HTML knowledge but not touched scripts at all? Not been sullied by bad methods yet?

I like the approach you took with your first book (proof? Google for ‘review dom scripting’ - am I not good to you?) so I can see it working again, but there is an overlap between the two. Personally I think one needs to understand JavaScript in its traditional form before doing Ajax - it’s like another layer of behaviour in my opinion. And I know you like to seperate them!

# Posted by Ian Lloyd on Friday, June 23rd, 2006 at 12:01pm

I with Ian Lloyd on needing an understanding of Javascript first and then moving to Ajax.

I think your writing style is great and it is very understandable. I had looked at other books and tutorials online, and I think you have done the best job of breaking things down. I do hope to see an Hijax book from you in the future.

I am also on board with the name some one mentioned earlier.

# Posted by Alex Lemanski on Friday, June 23rd, 2006 at 12:53pm

Yes. Yes. Yes. I had my library purchase your book and have had it checked out for the past 6 months. I make my student employees read chapter 5 before doing any javascript programming. I probably won’t be programming the next big web 2.0 app but there are a few basic items I’d like to be able to do. Knowing how to build a basic asynchronous request would be a good start.

# Posted by Tom on Friday, June 23rd, 2006 at 3:59pm

Do it Jeremy, you know you want to. DOM Scripting was a brilliant book that left me thirsty for more, quench my thirst.

# Posted by Charlie on Friday, June 23rd, 2006 at 4:17pm

I’m with Colin: I’d buy a Jeremy Keith authored book on Ajax in a heartbeat! DOM Scripting was without question the best programming book I’ve ever read. I’ve been very interested in AJAX, but feel like the available books and tutorials are mostly above my starting level (I’m a front-end guy with a beginner’s knowledge of JS/DOM Scripting).

If you write about AJAX as well as you wrote about DOM Scripting, that book would be a dream come true.

# Posted by David on Friday, June 23rd, 2006 at 4:35pm

I’ve thought about getting the Head Rush Ajax book, because it seemed to me to be targeted at that sweet spot of people who are not super-knowledgable about Javascript, but have some other web expertise. (And yes, if you are considering an Ajax book in the same vein as DOM Scripting, PLEASE go for it!)

# Posted by Elaine Nelson on Friday, June 23rd, 2006 at 4:48pm

I can only assume you are referring to "Beginning JavaScript with DOM Scripting and Ajax" by fellow DOM Scripting Task Force member Christian Heilmann. Did you do some technical editing or contribute in some way to the book? I’ve had my copy on pre-order with Amazon for weeks. If it’s even remotely as good as either your book or Christian’s "Unobtrusive Javascript" article, it’ll be a welcome addition to my "best practices" library!

# Posted by Kevin Fukawa on Friday, June 23rd, 2006 at 7:52pm

Hi, I read you DOM book, I would definitly appreciate a AJAX-book from Jeremy Keith

# Posted by Kurt on Saturday, June 24th, 2006 at 5:15pm

Wow. What a response. Thank you all very much for your feedback. It looks like there certainly is a market for a beginner’s Ajax book.

# Posted by Jeremy Keith on Saturday, June 24th, 2006 at 11:05pm

As pointed out earlier, DOM Scripting and Head Rush AJAX complement each other quite nicely for getting started…but I’d still buy anything by Jeremy. DOM Scripting is a great book.

# Posted by Robert Meineke on Sunday, June 25th, 2006 at 5:41am

I’d suggest to include some cool Greasemonkey examples in your next book. It’s an amazing tool, and let’s you explore the beauty and power of DOM on anybody’s web site.


# Posted by Al on Sunday, June 25th, 2006 at 4:17pm

Reading your book on DOM Scripting really gave me a lot more confidence in writing small javascripts to enhance pages, without interfering with accessibility. So yes, a Jeremy Keith book which goes into AJAX and covers more complex DOM scripting would be a godsend! Maybe I’d finally learn why I would want to add AJAX to my websites.

# Posted by Nora Brown on Sunday, June 25th, 2006 at 6:39pm

Yep if you would write such an ajax I would definitely buy it! Please do! I love your DOM book!

# Posted by erik on Tuesday, June 27th, 2006 at 4:53am

Please, Please, Please! DOM Scripting is one of those rare books that is easy for a designer that has only ever gotten yay far into coding javascript get a grasp on some really powerful ideas. If your AJAX book is half as good it will be better than most books currently out there.

# Posted by Tony on Friday, June 30th, 2006 at 12:37pm

Jeremy, I’d buy it. Pretty please?

# Posted by Paul on Thursday, July 6th, 2006 at 11:17am

Beginners better start from easy languages, such like VB. It was my favourite, when I was young and silly

# Posted by Milena on Saturday, July 8th, 2006 at 4:35pm

Sorry. Comments are closed.

June 2006

Recommended Reading

XML Subscribe

Grab the RSS feed for this blog.

JavaScript API

Grab the RSS feed of comments for this entry.