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January 24, 2007

Ajax on Rails: Build Dynamic Web Applications with Ruby

Sebastopol, CA--In recent years, Ajax and Rails have been two of the hottest--if not the hottest--new technologies in web development. According to Scott Raymond, author of Ajax on Rails (O'Reilly, US $39.99), the two technologies have a bit of a symbiotic relationship: "Rails has popularized certain Ajax techniques, and Ajax developers have been drawn to Rails' approach," he explains. "Although most other Rails books have touched on Rails' Ajax abilities, they left a lot of fertile ground uncovered. I wanted to thoroughly explore the intersection of the two technologies."

As Raymond point out, there are solid reasons to believe that both Ajax and Rails will be significant features of the web development landscape for some time. "Big players are leading by example: Yahoo, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and IBM have all started using and touting Ajax techniques, and Rails has become so associated with web startups that it's almost cliche." His new book, which is also available as a PDF (US $19.99), is the definitive guide to where these two technologies converge.

"Rails and its supporting technologies continue to evolve and grow at a tiring rate, and the documentation efforts tend to lag behind. This book covers the leading edge--with the latest enhancements to RJS (Ruby-generated JavaScript), new Rails best practices like RESTful routes, and a slew of as-yet-undocumented changes in Prototype 1.5, Rails' standard JavaScript library," notes Raymond. The recently released Rails 1.2 and Prototype 1.5 are rich in new features, and both are very well represented in the book.

  • The book demonstrates how to use Ajax and Rails to build high-performance, scalable applications without having to write reams of difficult-to-maintain JavaScript code.
  • Provides a thorough, low-level understanding of what's under the hood, with a high-level understanding of how to use Ajax techniques effectively.
  • Includes a complete reference to Prototype 1.5 and script.aculo.us 1.6.1, which can be used even outside of the Rails platform.
  • Three fully worked out applications--a quiz program, a photo gallery, and a workgroup collaboration tool--show how everything fits together in practice.

"My goal is that serious readers will finish the book with the confidence to call themselves Ajax on Rails experts," says Raymond. "That means you will not only understand how to use all of Rails' shortcuts, but you'll understand how they work as well."

Ajax on Rails is written for readers who are familiar with the technologies used in dynamic web sites: (X)HTML, CSS, some basic JavaScript, and some server-side language like PHP. Although this book isn't an exhaustive guide to Rails (or Ruby), it should be possible for new users to work through all of the examples.

"On the flip side," adds Raymond, "There is a lot in this book meant for pros as well that goes well beyond what any other resource offers. The book covers high-level topics like security, performance, testing, and debugging."

And there is one secret about the book, says Raymond: "Despite the title, this book is useful for non-Rails developers as well. Its extensive references to Prototype and script.aculo.us are the only such resources in print. Those libraries have users far beyond the Rails community."

Scott Raymond is a Ruby on Rails developer living in Kansas City. His work has been highlighted on the Rails web site and the "Wall Street Journal Online." Besides participating in the framework's development, he has led international training sessions and was a presenter at RailsConf 2006.

Background and Market Information: http://del.icio.us/oreillymedia/AjaxonRails

Additional Resources:

Ajax on Rails
Scott Raymond
ISBN: 0-596-52744-6, 336 pages, Print: $39.99 US, $51.99 CA
PDF $19.99 US
order@oreilly.com
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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