March 30, 2006

Head Rush Ajax: A Caffeinated Learning Guide to the World of Dynamic Web Pages

Sebastopol, CA--With every new technology, a new race starts--whether it's to be the first to get a handle on the buzzwords, to publish on the subject, or to learn to use the technology for a few new tricks--and the Ajax race is going strong. There's a reason why: Ajax--or Asynchronous JavaScript and XML--lets you build rich internet applications that are more interactive, responsive, and easy to use than ever before. It puts an end to waiting for tiresome page reloads. Instead, clunky old web applications feel fast and smooth, like dynamic desktop apps.

So where do you turn if you want to learn Ajax fast and learn it well? To learn it in a way that sticks in your brain, and even lets you have fun in the process? Head Rush Ajax (O'Reilly, US $39.99) by Brett McLaughlin is the answer. It uses the award-winning Head First approach you've seen before in Head First Java and Head First Design Objects and blends it with a jolt of pure caffeine. It's an accelerated learning style designed for experienced programmers and web designers; it'll get the essentials of Ajax in your brain, fast.

"I looked around at the Ajax books coming out and was really disappointed," recalls McLaughlin. "First, they all seemed to target a pretty high-end, uber-geek type of market. I was much more interested in teaching designers, JavaScript programmers, and your 'everyday' web developer about Ajax. I'm sure those other books are great for people who want to sit around and talk about transient usage patterns and the like, but I'm just a normal guy. I wanted this to be a book for normal people."

"And that's the other thing," McLaughlin continues. "Some of the books I'm seeing on Ajax are all about little widgets and gadgets and tricks. But none of them seem to actually talk about the web browser, and asynchrony, and really focus on what Ajax is. Sure, it's a combination of technologies that have been around for a while, but that hardly means that everybody really gets what all those technologies are. I'd rather really ground someone in JavaScript, and the web browser, and asynchronous requests, and the Document Object Model, rather than blazing through that in 65 pages and spending 400 pages talking about esoteric user interface patterns and server-side languages. It's just not where my head's at...again, I just want a book that a normal web developer (or even a motivated designer) can pick up, and get some light bulbs to turn on."

Head Rush Ajax provides a learning experience that's as compelling and cutting-edge as the sites you want to design. If you've ever read a Head First book, you'll know what to expect: a visually rich format designed for the way your brain works. Head Rush ramps up the intensity with an even faster look and feel. Readers will have their first working app before they finish Chapter 1, meet up with the nefarious PROJECT: CHAOS Stealth team, and even settle the question of the Top 5 Blues CDs of all time (who says you can't have fun and deliberate important issues while learning?).

"If you thought Ajax was rocket science, this book is for you," says Jesse James Garrett of Adaptive Path, "Head Rush Ajax puts dynamic, compelling experiences within reach for every web developer."

"It just skips all the hype," agrees McLaughlin. "It talks about what the web browser is, and how it's a far richer and more important player in web applications--and especially in asynchronous applications--than most people realize. And we just don't really care about being fancy in this book. If people want someone to talk down to them, or they want to really be impressed by the author, Head Rush Ajax is going to disappoint. I just want people to learn about this stuff, without a lot of fancy terms or tricks that really don't matter in most web apps."

Early praise for Head Rush Ajax:

"A 'technology-meets-reality' book for web pioneers on the cutting edge."
--Valentin Crettaz, CTO, Condris Technologies

"This stuff is brain candy; I can't get enough of it."
--Pauline McNamara, Center for New Technologies and Education, Fribourg University, Switzerland

Additional Resources:

Head Rush Ajax
Brett McLaughlin
ISBN: 0-596-10225-9, 413 pages, $39.99 US
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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