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Head Rush Ajax

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the dizzy-programming dept.

122

barryhawkins writes " Programmers are flooded with choices about which technologies to pursue in order to maintain a marketable skillset. Even in a particular area of programming like web applications, one must choose carefully where to invest time. Ajax, to the regret of some and delight of others, has emerged as a means of providing rich, responsive web applications that are highly cross-platform. However, when arriving home after a 10-hour day at the office programming, who has the energy to plow through yet another new facet of emerging technology? If a developer is going to invest their free time in self-driven career development, should it not be at least remotely enjoyable? Judging from the content of O'Reilly's new release Head Rush Ajax, their answer is yes." Read the rest of Barry's review.

Like its forerunner the Head First series, the Head Rush line approaches learning a given technical topic with the principles derived from studies in cognitive science, neurobiology, and educational psychology. It comes as no surprise that the classic approach of turgid, monotonous, visually-fatiguing tomes is not the ideal way to have someone learn a topic. Learning is aided by having variation in the way content is presented. This book moves between presentation of information, application through interactive exercises, and review questions that stimulate the reader and invite them to continue in the book's journey through Ajax. Each exercise is also tied to a storyline, where the reader has a person with an application that needs to be enhanced by the application of the skills being learned.

Head Rush Ajax scales well. Ready-to-run scripts for the more technical components of the sample applications are provided so that a reader with only a background in HTML and CSS will not experience barriers to participation early in the book. This facility does not come at the expense of the experienced web developer; anyone who knows their way around a PHP script and databases is free to write the server-side code on their own. Some readers may look upon the choice of PHP for the back-end scripts as regrettable, particularly those with Java and .Net backgrounds. However, the focus is on Ajax itself, and not the particular back-end platform providing the HTTP responses. Those who look upon that sort of thing with scorn typically view Ajax as a novelty itself, so the number of complaints about using PHP should be relatively low; the dissenting voices will have probably passed over Ajax for the time being anyway.

The author never takes himself too seriously; the informal tone of the book is comfortable, like having a conversation with one's colleagues at the office. The balance of levity and solid technical content is refreshing, making this volume of some 400 pages reach its end surprisingly soon. Retro cartoon graphics and narrative comments like "Now, everyone hates you. You're an idiot, and all this Ajax stuff was a waste of time" when a URL caching error is uncovered make for a genuinely enjoyable read.

The Document Object Model, or DOM, has long had a reputation for being an unwieldy and problematic interface to manipulate. The tree metaphor used in this book along with the series of progressive exercises present the DOM in a refreshingly approachable manner. By the end of the DOM-specific coverage, an entire application has been created that is highly dynamic yet involves no Ajax-specific coding. The critical role of the DOM in effective use of Ajax is driven home without being heavy-handed.

The choice between using XML and JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) for receiving data via HTTP responses is another entertaining treatment of a topic that is often grounds for argument between practitioners of web development. The author comes across with a pragmatic viewpoint, preferring JSON as the simpler choice that is most often adequate and does not bear the high ceremony that accompanies proper handling of XML via the DOM. Two of the sample applications choose opposite means of receiving their data, once again fleshing out a topic in a concrete manner rather than pontificating about the virtues of either approach.

The progression of the book is masterful. The types of issues that typically plague web applications are addressed in the order they tend surface during the lifecycle of a real-world application. Proper functionality is the first stage, followed by enhanced functionality, then onto issues with synchronicity, security, and more complex domain model requirements. A reader can pass through an encapsulated representation of application lifecycles by working through the book from start to finish.

The goal of Head Rush Ajax is to have the reader learn Ajax, not master it. At the conclusion, the author appropriately offers topics for further exploration in the form of two appendices. The first appendix covers Ajax toolkits, user interface libraries, DOM utilities (most of which are built plugins for the browsers in use on desktops every day), and JSON libraries. Links to the project sites provide easy access to pick up where the book's coverage leaves off. The second appendix provides deeper insight on the internals of two JavaScript utilities provided for use in the exercises throughout the book. One is an Ajax-specific set of common infrastructure for typical Ajax applications, while the other provides convenient methods for DOM manipulation. Head Rush Ajax is a most enjoyable launchpad into the world of Ajax web applications, well worth the investment in time and money."


You can purchase Head Rush Ajax from bn.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15255672)

fp! jon

Head first series is great. (2, Interesting)

iplayfast (166447) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255719)

I've no need of learning ajax at the moment, but if it's done by the same people who did the head first series, I may just spend the money. I know that it won't be a waste, because it will be useful somewhere down the line.

Re:Head first series is great. (2, Informative)

nojomofo (123944) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256263)

I agree... sort of. I have one of the Head First books (something about CSS and HTML - needed to learn CSS). As far as teaching goes, it's good. I skimmed the book pretty quickly (because I had some familiarity with the subject matter to begin with). However, the book is now useless. The index is absolutely atrocious (of the HTML/CSS book, that is - I have no experience with the Ajax book). It is completely unusable as a reference - the only way to refer to anything in the book is to go back and read the whole thing again, because there's no other way to find a piece of content. Any book about CSS whose index doesn't have an entry for "text-align" has a real problem.

Re:Head first series is great. (1)

$1uck (710826) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256341)

I've read most of the Head First Java books and they do a really good job. Reading them was easy not the least bit tedious. I was already familiar with the topics and that might have helped, but I've yet to read any other books that make reading them as much "fun". If I ever taught programming to beginners (I used to think teaching programming to highschool students might be interesting) I'd definitely use these books.

Re:Head first series is great. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15256761)

You are right - the Head First / Head Rush books are not meant as a reference, and not very useful for that. If you want a reference, get a "...in a nutshell" kind of book.

However, as a teaching tool to learn a new subject, they are absolutely wonderful - I don't know anything else that even comes close to that combination of accessible presentation and thourough teaching.

Re:Head first series is great. (2, Insightful)

JulesLt (909417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257895)

It's taken me a few years and a lot of tech books to appreciate what they're doing; most books make the mistake of trying to mix tutorial with reference.

That means you end up with a very bloated reference book, and a poorly structured learning experience - i.e. my general experience is that authors will try and structure a book so that they start with simple concepts - primitive types, basic conditional control - before building up to collections, iteration, etc - but suffering from needing to introduce some features too early in order to get full coverage.
Do you cover iterating over a collection in the chapter on collections? Or iteration?

Perhaps a neat marketing idea would be if they sold them with a matching slim reference volume.

I was wondering (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15255742)

whether O'Reilly pays you by the word or just a flat fee for the review?

Re:I was wondering (1)

barryhawkins (623101) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255848)

As I understand it, you can choose between by-the-word and per-review compensation, but since they're both a rate of 0, you're not penalized by choosing one over the other. 8^)

Ajax web framework support (4, Interesting)

FecesFlingingRhesus (806117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255750)

I would like to see more web frameworks include a mature AJAX framework to facilitate more dynamic interaction. To date the best I have seen so far is Echo2 [nextapp.com] which incorporate an event driven architecture that allows for seamless integration of client side events transmitted to the server side architecture.

Re:Ajax web framework support (5, Funny)

0110011001110101 (881374) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255799)

could you re-post your comment, but incorporate more techie buzzwords into that?? I was low for the day, but your post has just about pushed me to my quota.

Re:Ajax web framework support (4, Informative)

FecesFlingingRhesus (806117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255871)

Actully my description depicts exactly what the framework does it allows communication between the client and server to make a web application more dynamic. Now if I had said "creating synergy between the client and server, with bleeding edge technology, that creates a new development paradigm" I could see your complaint.

Re:Ajax web framework support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15256647)

BINGO! [landofsurfandbeer.com]

Re:Ajax web framework support (1)

dubl-u (51156) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257948)

creating synergy between the client and server, with bleeding edge technology, that creates a new development paradigm

As buzzwords go, those are low-hanging fruit. If you were more proactive, you would have incentivised yourself to think outsize the box.

Perfect timing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15256067)

Odd you should mention this on exactly the day the company you're constantly shilling for delivered their latest release.

Re:Ajax web framework support (0, Flamebait)

omega9 (138280) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256191)

Look. We fucking get it already. You're a lame shill for NextApp. I don't think I could stand to look at Echo2 again after seeing you comment
  • on [slashdot.org]
  • it [slashdot.org]
  • so [slashdot.org]
  • fucking [slashdot.org]
  • much [slashdot.org]
  • !

Re:Ajax web framework support (3, Funny)

TodLiebeck (633704) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257382)

Look. We f***ing get it already. You're a lame shill for NextApp. I don't think I could stand to look at Echo2 again after seeing you comment


My apologies, but "FecesFlingingRhesus" is not on our list of paid shills. My best guess is that he might be a member of the cult [pathf.com] .

Best regards
--Tod Liebeck (Director of Shills and Level 6 Cult Leader)
    NextApp, Inc.

Re:Ajax web framework support (1)

kap1 (164828) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258664)

Not one of our shills; they're all accounted for.

-Dietrich

Re:Ajax web framework support (1)

FecesFlingingRhesus (806117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257773)

I will say it again, as I have said it a thousand times before. I use Echo2, I like Echo2, when an article about Ajax comes up I am going to take the opportunity to say why I like Echo2. It is no different that the RoR guys highlighting their framework. I do not work for NextApp but I do like their product and I think it would be beneficial to others as well. It's called grassroots development, you find something you like and then you tell others about it. If these guys can take their time to build a framework for free then the least I can do is tell someone else about it. If you don't like it then foe me and don't read my posts it is as simple as that.

Re:Ajax web framework support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15256824)

An interesting option is ICEfaces [icesoft.com] . It leverages the standard J2EE JavaServer Faces (JSF) component framework to develop AJAX-enabled web apps using standard Java IDEs. You just use their components directly, no JavaScript development required. It also supports a really nifty "server-push" feature where the server-based application can asynchronously update the browser UI.

Re:Ajax web framework support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15257705)

Is there something wrong with a feces flinging Rhesus monkey wanting to facilitate dynamic interaction, or is it just me? I guess it's just me.

Re:Ajax web framework support (1)

spoco2 (322835) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258382)

I have mentioned this language/product before here on Slashdot, but that's because I program in it everyday... but Laszlo does what you want. The biggest thing that scares 'tech heads' away from it is that it's output currently is Flash. Now I personally think it's a excellent thing, huge penetration of plugin, almost completely guaranteed same result in all browsers/operating systems, supurb animation an interaction ability. It makes for a great user experience.

However they now have a pre-beta DHTML runtime option as well. So you can have the same source code (written in the Laszlo language which is XML + Javascript) delivery either Flash OR DHMTL.

Check it out (including a demo of DHMTL vs Flash from the one source) at OpenLaszlo [openlaszlo.org] .

And my PR for my current programming language is done for today! :P

Re:Ajax web framework support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15260257)

Unfortunately for many, Laszlo uses the GPL-incompatible CPL [gnu.org]

It is a really nice package, though.

Tree metaphor (5, Funny)

msuarezalvarez (667058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255800)

The Document Object Model, or DOM, has long had a reputation for being an unwieldy and problematic interface to manipulate. The tree metaphor used in this book along with the series of progressive exercises present the DOM in a refreshingly approachable manner.

Wow. A tree metaphor for the DOM! Now that's a new idea!

Invest in People, Not Skills (4, Insightful)

neuraljazz (307431) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255810)

Reviewer says:
Programmers are flooded with choices about which technologies to pursue in order to maintain a marketable skillset.

A better skillset is the standard:
- Bathe frequently
- Show up on time
- Learn people skills (don't assume less experience is stupidity)
- Learn how to LEARN

Buy the book if you need to learn AJAX, not because you're afraid you're no longer on the bleeding edge of programming languages.
-nj

Re:Invest in People, Not Skills (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15256066)

Hail to that - I never belived in learning dry the best practice is eeeee practice :) The small problem is always to convince the the prospective customer and then not to blow it. Learning skill is in my view the most important.
A bit raugh smell has never harmed although there are always people that are ready to inform you about inventions like shower etc that are now available to people earning your amouont of money (never tried that however I was informed many time about existence of barber shops when I stopped trimming my
beard for a year or so :) //

Re:Invest in People, Not Skills (4, Insightful)

jbellis (142590) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257028)

Like it or not, the majority of employers do at least some screening by skill-set. You could be God's Own Lead Developer, but if all you know is COBOL, you won't be getting a call.

Re:Invest in People, Not Skills (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15258366)

Actually, pookie-kins, there's a shortage of COBOL programmers expected in the years to come, as many a COBOL programmer working now will be a-retiring soon.

Btw, would you like to sniff my farts?

Re:Invest in People, Not Skills (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258979)

You could be God's Own Lead Developer, but if all you know is COBOL

You're right, I don't think I'd hire Azreal, angel of death to program my system in COBOL.

Save $14.80 by buying the book here! (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15255839)

Save yourself $14.80 by buying the book here: Head Rush Ajax [amazon.com] . And if you use the "secret" A9.com Instant Reward discount [amazon.com] , you can save an extra 1.57%! That's a total savings of $15.20, or 38.58%!

Re:Save $14.80 by buying the book here! (2, Insightful)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257089)

Yes, let's all click your shop link, kaleidojewel-20. Did you know that Amazon's terms of service explicitly prohibit forum spamming?

No monster.com activity for AJAX (3, Interesting)

Spinlock_1977 (777598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255855)

I "learned" Ajax last month. Well, ok, "enough" to produce a small GUI that did some cool things, asynchronously.

I beefed up my resume on Monster.com expecting a flood of Ajax inquiries. Although 2 recruiters have contacted me recently, neither was interested in my Ajax stuff. Just PHP, Oracle, SQL server, etc.

I'm quite surprised - either I suck (alway a possbility), or Ajax jobs are not the hot thing right now.

Re:No monster.com activity for AJAX (5, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255899)

I don't think you'll find a lot of jobs that will employ you just for your ajax skills. If you're a web developer, than you'd better learn how Ajax works. Just like it's probably a good idea to know HTML, Javascript, PHP, ASP.Net and other web technologies. Getting into that rut where you only know one thing is where a lot of people go wrong. There isn't a whole lot to learn about AJAX. If you know Javascript, and understand XML, Stylesheets, and HTML, you pretty much know everything you need to know. You just have to learn how to put them together.

Re:No monster.com activity for AJAX (1)

p!ssa (660270) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256863)

or..., maybe it was your 1 month experience in AJAX creating your plaything that kept them away...

Re:No monster.com activity for AJAX (1)

Spinlock_1977 (777598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256882)

I doubt it. It was a GUI for a call center with 50 operators (more than a toy), and I didn't advertise that it took only 3 months to build. Something else is watering down the Ajax demand, I suspect.

Re:No monster.com activity for AJAX - Dead right (1)

sien (35268) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258337)

This is dead right. I've been keeping tabs on the local (Melbourne, AU) market. AJAX is not even on the list of buzzwords people put in job adds. If you check one of the two major sites you get, rounding and averaging for the past few months:

180 SQL
100 Java
50 C++
40 C#
5 AJAX
20 PHP
2 Python

To tell some Programmer that they need to learn AJAX is internet meme following BS. If you want a job now, or in the next year or so, solid Java and SQL skills are the main thing you want followed by C++.

In 5 years it may be AJAX - but AJAX may happily go the way of SOAP and Web Services and become a buzzword that didn't take off and is now just a small segment of the market.

Enjoy Yourself (2, Insightful)

cerelib (903469) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255906)

If Ajax does not seem enjoyable to you, don't try to learn it as a career skill. If somebody hires you because you know Ajax then you might get stuck doing something that you don't enjoy. I do not have a large interest in web apps, but I do have interest in digital audio. So I do digital audio and MIDI stuff on my spare programming time and hope to make a career out of it some day. Follow your interests.

Re:Enjoy Yourself (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15256347)

If Ajax does not seem enjoyable to you, don't try to learn it as a career skill. If somebody hires you because you know Ajax then you might get stuck doing something that you don't enjoy. I do not have a large interest in web apps, but I do have interest in digital audio. So I do digital audio and MIDI stuff on my spare programming time and hope to make a career out of it some day. Follow your interests.

I was given this advice by a teacher at school. "There's a lot of computer stuff to learn out there. Spend the most amount of time learning about stuff you like doing and you'll end up getting a job doing it."

I think it was the best advice I've ever gotten.

Re:Enjoy Yourself (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258094)

I was given this advice by a teacher at school. "There's a lot of computer stuff to learn out there. Spend the most amount of time learning about stuff you like doing and you'll end up getting a job doing it."

I think it was the best advice I've ever gotten.

Now what would you like on your hot dog?

Re:Enjoy Yourself (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257215)

Follow your interests to pick a career/job? Are you a HS guidance counselor?

Terrible advice. Follow the market. Let your interests influence the decision.

I kinda like computers and really like girls. But, due to market forces, I didn't make enough money to retire in a reasonable time when I was a bikini inspector. So I followed the market and became a coder. Now I have financial security and its not THAT much wors than being a BI. The paperwork's a bitch in both.

Re:Enjoy Yourself (1)

cerelib (903469) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257436)

I think that being happy with your work is very important. There are some people, you might be one of them, who really do not care what they do as long as they make good money doing it because that is something that makes them happy. Each of these is a valid viewpoint. I am not saying everybody is going to get what they want in a job, I am not naive. But, given free time to pursue other subjects I believe that it is important to do something you enjoy. If possible find something you enjoy that is also a marketable skill.

Re:Enjoy Yourself (2, Interesting)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258413)

Actually, I think the best strategy is to get into the most lucrative career you can, live cheap, invest heavily, and retire while in your 30's. Then, for the rest if your life, you really can do whatever the hell you want. It's what I'm trying to do. At the rate I'm investing (100% stocks) it looks like it will happen.

Other Ajax Books (2, Informative)

Sixty4Bit (6131) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255913)

If you are in the market for some Ajax knowledge, you should check out Relevance LLC's reviews [relevancellc.com] of Ajax books. A couple of smart guys. They have reviewed 7 books so far.

Ajax is kinda cool but.. (3, Insightful)

Kranfer (620510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255918)

While I tend to agree that you need to keep your skillset up, as not to appear at the bottom of the development ladder, I must say from what we have used of AJAX here at work, it is something that I would have to recommend to any developer out there that works with web applications. However, jumping on the bandwagon and learning AJAX just because its the newest and greatest thing does seem rather stupid. Keep your skill setup by Learning to learn new and exciting things while incorporating it into work. Why learn something on your own time when it can make you more productive at work, while learning it on the job?

10 hour days? (4, Funny)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255928)

...when arriving home after a 10-hour day at the office programming...

Dude, if you had just developed it in AJAX you'd get it done in half the time. ;)

Re:10 hour days? (1)

grazzy (56382) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255956)

Not really. Developing in AJAX doesnt exactly speed the process of coding up.

Re:10 hour days? (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256043)

Oh I know it doesn't. It was purely a joke since so many people are talking about AJAX like it solves all you problems and washes your windows, too.

Re:10 hour days? (1)

grazzy (56382) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256351)

It doesnt wash your windows? :/

I've got mine set up todo that asyncronously while i browse slashdot.

Re:10 hour days? (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256098)

I work in HECTOR and get done before I start, leaving plenty of free time to get dragged around the city.

KFG

excuses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15255974)

"However, when arriving home after a 10-hour day at the office programming, who has the energy to plow through yet another new facet of emerging technology? "

me

anyone who doesn't is just making an excuse. get busy living or get busy dying. the choice is yours.

Re:excuses (1)

engwar (521117) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257266)

Hmmm. Let me guess. You're childless right? You're a dumbass who can't think outside of his own life experience. Now get busy growing up.

Re:excuses. Kids are not a hindrance to learning.. (1)

jerkyjunkmail (590408) | more than 8 years ago | (#15259478)

Kids are no excuse. If you are driven to want to learn new things you will find ways to make the time. I have two kids and the ol' lady works swing shift so I am on my own taking care of them for the evening after work. After they are sleeping it's possible to find time to do lots of thing and depending on what it is you want to do you can do it with them. In spite of not being childless, I manaage to find time to read books(mostly technical but sometimes more recreational), go for walks with the kids, take the kids for a bike ride in the bike trailer, I recently took up the guitar(I've never played an instrument before), mess around with new things in my home lab, play with the kids, clean up around the house and throw a fuckin' on the wife at every opportunity(or maybe two on a good day) and sometimes we'l even get a chance to go and hang out with some of our friends or see their band play or whatever. You won't get much done sitting in front of the boob tube(or constantly reading Slashdot) but there shouldn't be any reason you can't learn new things unless you aren't motivated. Oh yeah and sleep is overrated. You might not be able to all of those things everyday but if you spread it out, finding a little time few days a week isn't unrealistic. The key is to not sit still, keep moving.


Jerky

Amazon has it much cheaper. (3, Informative)

heffel (83440) | more than 8 years ago | (#15255980)

Amazon [amazon.com] has it about $10 cheaper than BN.

Re:Amazon has it much cheaper. (1)

mustafap (452510) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256349)

Thanks for the tip. This is definately a book I'm going to buy.

Re:Amazon has it much cheaper. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15257216)

If you don't mind giving your money to low lifes that might be helpful. I personally have not forgiven Amazon for what they did [gnu.org] , unlike the FSF. Once a bad apple always a bad apple.

Re:Amazon has it much cheaper. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15258987)

Nice affiliate link you troll. Come up with your own original idea for earning quick bucks. You are less worthy than the lowly disgusting piece of slime at the bottom of my shoe.

10-hour day? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256003)

TEN

HOUR

DAY??

is that what passes for exhausting to the new crowd of code monkeys?

Re:10-hour day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15256139)

If you don't feel exhausted at the end of a 10 hour day, your job is too easy. The kind of job robots will be doing soon.

(Comment shamelessly stolen from here [despair.com] ).

Re:10-hour day? (3, Funny)

Zarf (5735) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256313)

TEN HOUR DAY?? is that what passes for exhausting to the new crowd of code monkeys?

I know what you mean. I put in a 10 hour day when I'm on vacation. Geesh. Slackers.

Re:10-hour day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15260004)

Vacation!?!
Back in my day we used to write code in a coal mine for 36 hours a day...

Re:10-hour day? (1)

gravyface (592485) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256529)

How did we get into this rut, this "I work harder than you do" bullshit that permeates the programmer culture? When did it become "ok" to work 80 hours a week?

My company realised along time ago that all this unpaid overtime is a waste -- sloppy code and unhappy employees are worthless bi-products of this mentality.

You are not permitted to stay after hours unless it is absolutely necessary for maintenance work, in which case, you can either come in late that day or take off those hours the next day.

Nobody works more than 40 hours a week.

Re:10-hour day? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15256735)

somehow people still think its cool to work 10+ hours a day. The rest of us have a life outside of work.

Re:10-hour day? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256738)

unpaid overtime

UNPAID

OVERTIME???

go hourly. you'll find yourself smiling through 100-hour weeks and 4-month vacations.

Re:10-hour day? (1)

gravyface (592485) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256794)

salary = slavery

Re:10-hour day? (1)

Cryptimus (243846) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257230)

Well, this has a lot to do with the fact that modern codemonkeys tend to have two things which earlier codemonkeys did not.

    They're known as:

    A) A life

    B) A girlfriend.

Re:10-hour day? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 8 years ago | (#15260218)

You left out

c) no hope of ever making more than $29.50/hour...

Keep your basics polished (1)

debiansid (881350) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256048)

That is the best one can do. Chasing a new skillset as soon as you enter the market can be dangerous for some.

Once you have understood how programming languages work (the usual combo of C/C++/Java ought to teach you most of it) you will have a fair idea of what to expect from other programming environments. Once you have that you can pick up any new programming language /environment with fair ease.

I haven't done much Ajax programming at all (I've used a combo of javascript and iframes once. Does that count?) but from what I've heard it is simply a pickle of javascript+xml+iframes. So I guess as far as the code language is concerned it shouldn't be a problem.

Re:Keep your basics polished (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256120)

AJAX is what replaces using iframes+js. You still use the js but instead of using iframes for communication (which allows only pull, no push) you have a more friendly connection.

Re:Keep your basics polished (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256515)

Isnt iframe was something to be avoided, a no-no, a security risk ?

Ajax? Head Rush? (2, Funny)

Aqua_boy17 (962670) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256079)

Just don't try to snort it! "Look, it's turning blue!" (I forget what movie that was from.)

Re:Ajax? Head Rush? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15257469)

Cheech and Chong, Up In Smoke...

Web development is simple... (3, Insightful)

reebmmm (939463) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256091)

... and just about any paradigm will do. However, the problem is that most developers don't have the basic skills in the basic tools of their trade:

  • html
  • javascript
  • css

If you need a new book every time some new acronym for a combination of those three things, you'd better check your skill set.

waiting for the next bunch of reviews from barry (1)

ranjix (892606) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256136)

when the reviews for
1. allergy SOAP
2. mental block SOA
3. fractured XML cast XSL
4. on rails Ruby
?

Re:waiting for the next bunch of reviews from barr (1)

barryhawkins (623101) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256847)

Sorry, that'll be a long wait. I don't have that much free time that's not already allocated to work, family, or F/OSS participation. Thanks for being interested though; glad to hear you apparently enjoyed the review. 8^)

Basic AJAX (3, Informative)

boristdog (133725) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256143)

I realize this will remove 20 points from my geek rating to say "wow, this stuff is really easy" because we're the wizards with the black boxes that do magic stuff that confuses mortals...but jeez, this AJAX stuff is pretty simple. Do a 10 minute tutorial and say "Huh, so that's it..."

And basic AJAX skills CAN be acquired with a 10 minute tutorial if you know a little javascript and a little of any CGI-type backend (PERL, ASP, PHP, PLONE etc.)

Don't be afraid of the hype if you feel you don't have the time to learn. Any web programmer needs to know this, and it's pretty simple. Sure, you can do some weird cool stuff and get complex, but the concept is simple and you don't need to learn anything really new.

Take a tutorial now. At work. I mean, the stuff on the screen is still just magic inscriptions and incantations to the non-geeks and PHBs anyway.

Not everyone has the intelligence ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15256543)

after a 10-hour day at the office programming, who has the energy to plow through yet another new facet of emerging technology?

Someone who's stupid enough to give his/her employer 10 hours of time, when the employer has paid only for 8, probably isn't smart enough to learn new stuff anyway.

Better Ajax (4, Informative)

somethinghollow (530478) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256565)

I tried Ajax when I first heard about it, which I think was when it was first gathering mass. Initially, the responseXML DOM object was a pain in the ass and that made me stay away from it. After I accepted that it would be difficult, I moved on to sending values back with responseText. That proved to be very easy. Then, I found that constantly creating XMLHttpRequest objects and setting up the proper parameters for IE vs. Everyone Else was a pain in the ass and that made me not like it. Eventually I found out about prototype.js, which was nice. I ended up ditching it because it was a little bloated to be used for Ajax-only stuff. So, I wrote my own JavaScript Ajax "class" to handle all the sending, waiting, receiving, and callbacks. I even have it create an associative array representation of the XML and "trace" so it looks like a print_r'd array in PHP. All I have to do is set the Ajax object to a variable, call a function in the object (that specifies the file to query, the post string, and the callback function), write the callback function, and write some php. It makes Ajax painless.

My point is: If you want to "learn" Ajax, learn how it works, write a class that does the stuff you will typically do, then use the class. It'll save you tons of time, code, and frustration in the end. Ajax is actually worth using now and has helped my company separate PHP code and HTML in our intranet web apps without using a template engine, which makes our PHP guy happy that I'm not fudging with his code and makes me happy that our PHP guy isn't fudging with my design.

Re:Better Ajax (1)

cerebralpc (705727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258375)

How a about you give me that code

Apply that idea more generally (1)

Asmor (775910) | more than 8 years ago | (#15259896)

I think that idea can and should be applied much more generally. For example, I can't speak for others, but I find file reading and writing to be a pain in the ass in Java (the only non-web based programming language I know at the moment). So what did I do? Made a class for opening and saving text files painlessly as arrays of strings. Maybe not the most efficient thing option, but it's a hell of a lot easier and it's really not that bad.

I think that should apply to pretty much anything. Whenever you encounter a moderately complex piece of programming that doesn't work the way you'd intutively expect it to, make a library so that it DOES work the way you'd intuitively expect it to.

Javascript still sucks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15256631)

Totally unreliable, why waste your time?

AJAX message board. (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256740)

Oooh! Ooooh! AJAX reference. That means I can legitimately mention my AJAX message board and viewer counter, that's to be found at calum.org [calum.org] !

Please try it out before you mod me. It's not bad, if I do say so myself.

Re:AJAX message board. (1)

jdbartlett (941012) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256978)

Nice concept, but you could do a few things to improve end user experience:

1.) New messages don't appear on new lines in Safari. Someone on there (not sure if it was you) told me it works fine in other browsers, though.

2.) Change the 'add' hyperlink to an input type submit and add its onclick event to the onsubmit handler for the form and change the form action to an anchor reference on the current page. That way, when the user hits enter, the current message will submit to the handler without having to click 'add'.

3.) Flag messages as 'belonging' to IP addresses so it's easier to follow conversations.

Nice and light, though.

Re:AJAX message board. (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256994)

1. Yes it was me. Can you load /rpc/messages.php and see what the formatting looks like there?
2. I'll look that up. As I said, I'm not too good with JS currently. More a server-side man.
3. Every post prefixes the first 2 octets of the IP - is that not what you want?

Re:AJAX message board. (1)

jdbartlett (941012) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257136)

Looks the same. Looking at the source of the php output, I worked out what's happening. You're relying on an innerHtml or other HTML injector to render the HTML you're providing. While Firefox and IE are correctly rendering that as part of the current document, Safari is having trouble rendering it.

To be blunt, Safari has such a small audience, I'm not sure the fix is worth the trouble, especially when you're new to JavaScript. If you do want to fix it, you could research DOM methods to inject new elements into the document instead of re-rendering the message portion each time the messages are gathered. Although you could include a timestamp when requesting new messages and possibly save bandwidth, it may take longer to render (in my experience, adding elements through JavaScript DOM controls is always slower than HTML rendering).

Re:AJAX message board. (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257998)

I actually worked it out - I messed up the table - I swapped a /td with a td, and it obviously "broke" more in Safari.
Check back now. It now greys out peoples messages that have left.

Re:AJAX message board. (1)

jdbartlett (941012) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258054)

Ooh, well spotted, I missed that one. Yep, it looks fine in Safari! Woot! Much better! And now I can see those IP IDs!

Ah, a new member of the club (2, Insightful)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256829)

However, when arriving home after a 10-hour day at the office programming, who has the energy to plow through yet another new facet of emerging technology?

It's called aging, kid. Welcome to the club!

Re:Ah, a new member of the club (1)

barryhawkins (623101) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258565)

Thanks, at 35 I am so rarely referred to as kid! ;-)

New Pink Floyd album? (1)

Warg! The Orcs!! (957405) | more than 8 years ago | (#15256988)

is Head Rush Ajax like Atom Heart Mother?

Examining AJAX (1)

Xenophon Fenderson, (1469) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257034)

The AJAX technique appears to be pretty simple. To me, it looks just like RPC. I've been pouring over the Google Maps JavaScript. It appears to marshall (unmarshal) native data types to (from) XML, which it exchanges with the back-end server over HTTP. The hard parts, I imagine, are in developing the XML style sheet (i.e. the RPC protocol itself) and in creating the user interface (i.e. the RPC client). The only documented samples out there mimic Google Suggest, which is pretty straightforward when compared to Google Maps. I wish better public documentation and tutorials existed.

Deobfuscated Google (1)

cerelib (903469) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257583)

I have to know. Were you able to deobfuscate the Google Maps js code? I looked at that before and it looked like they turn every line into a new function with cryptic names.

It's not enough. (2, Insightful)

stonecypher (118140) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257066)

Ajax doesn't matter until we get raw headers and server push [tri-bit.com] . Until then, it's limited to server-pull, polling, and web servers.

Re:It's not enough. (1)

QuestionsNotAnswers (723120) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258327)

You don't have to poll with Ajax/HTTP - you can keep a connection open: http://www.ajaxian.com/archives/comet-a-new-approa ch-to-ajax-applications [ajaxian.com]

The issue is that existing web server frameworks generally don't support keeping connections open to clients, or perhaps they just can't scale if they do.

Of course, this technique is yet another hack (like most everything in the browser world ;) but it does work.

Don't like retraining yourself every 6 months? (1)

irishkev (457679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257515)

Find something else to do.

I got out of IT completely because of the constant pressure to learn a new skillset every few months. And for what? Increasingly criminal PHBs and diminishing returns.

I'm a farmer now.

Bullshit (1)

porneL (674499) | more than 8 years ago | (#15257839)

web applications that are highly cross-platform.

Working on Firefox and IE6 only isn't highly cross-platform (and that's the case with most of these apps). That's Medieval Internet ruled by NN+IE.

Google's apps turn out to be more challange than Acid2 test (Safari and Opera are constantly screwed by not-so-standard and not-so-valid "OMG AJAX" code).

Great Review (1)

unity (1740) | more than 8 years ago | (#15258457)

Thanks for the excellent review. This type of article is what made /. great.

AJAX is a bandaid over a dying platform (1)

dsgfh (517540) | more than 8 years ago | (#15259569)

Ajax, to the regret of some and delight of others, has emerged as a means of providing rich, responsive web applications that are highly cross-platform.
Is it just me, or are highly cross-platform & browser based javascript mutually exlusive concepts? I attended the Sun Dev days here in Melb a few weeks back, where one of Sun's evangilists described AJAX as an exciting emerging technology providing rich clients to the web. I'm sorry, but it's neither exciting, nor emerging. AJAX is a bandaid over the top of standards that have long since outlived their useful lives. Browsers & HTML aren't a platform for building rich, interactive applications. They're a platform for publishing static documents in a simple fashion, or for mildly interactive server-based systems. AJAX is a stop-gap until the major players bite the bullet & standardises on a new platform for massively multiplayer online rich-client apps. Anyone who's had to build this stuff from scratch knows the pain of building it, especially in making it cross-platform using 10 year old cross-browser kludges.

MOD PARENT UP (1)

carlislematthew (726846) | more than 8 years ago | (#15259854)

THANK YOU! I've been saying the same thing myself...

AJAX *can* accomplish some cool things, there's so doubt. But to pretend it's NEW and COOL and the FUTURE is sad. I won't add too much to your post - you said it very well.

Beyond AJAX (1)

aCapitalist (552761) | more than 8 years ago | (#15259723)

I hope we're making headway towards "web 3.0" because although AJAX is nice for document-centric pages with some app functionality, it's still HTML underneath and you can dress up a pig, but....

AJAX is like a house of cards, and when a browser vendor screws up on a revision it'll all come tumbling down. Div tricks are nice and all, and I expect that there will be a couple javascript frameworks that rise above the rest, but if I'm going to do an app in a browser then I'll just bypass all those headaches and use Flash.

Once WPF/E makes it into the vast majority of browsers, things are going to change.

Re:Beyond AJAX (1)

carlislematthew (726846) | more than 8 years ago | (#15259879)

The thing that bothered me about Flash was that I wanted to program in a "real" programming language. Actionscript just didn't do it for me. At the same time, I really like Flash for its capabilities. So, I was pleased to see a new product called Neoswiff come out, from a company called GlobFX. Do a Google search for it...

In brief, the product allows you to code Flash in C# from Visual Studio, and you get access to a reasonable selection of the .NET framework, ported to Flash. Anyway, it made the difference for me and I jumped right in. It's new, has a few problems, but it'll get there.

I have no association with GlobFX except for liking their product and technology...

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