Review: Microsoft AJAX Library Essentials - Client Side ASP.NET AJAX 1.0 Explained
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by Jesudas Chinnathampi (Das)
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Inside the Book

The book contains a total of 8 chapters. It also includes an appendix which contains an AJAX Library reference. Chapter 1 gives a brief introduction about AJAX. All examples in this book are based of Visual Studio 2005 Web Developer Express, which is a FREE download at Microsoft web site. The chapter contains a simple example which explains how to display the classic old, "Hello World" using JavaScript. If you are already familiar with displaying "Hello World" using JavaScript, then you could go directly to the second chapter.

The second chapter talks mainly about JavaScript DOM and CSS. This chapter also discusses in detail how to make asynchronous with XMLHttpRequest. The explanation includes a well crafted example which is very important that one should understand if he or she wants to create AJAX enabled web applications.

The third chapter is entitled Object-Oriented JavaScript. If you were under the impression that JavaScript cannot do OOP, then you might want to read this chapter. Various OOP features, such as encapsulation, inheritance, polymorphism, etc., have been discussed in detail. All examples are laid out in pure JavaScript.

Chapter four explains the Microsoft AJAX Library. One example includes how to make simple web requests using Microsoft AJAX Library. This is probably the shortest chapter. The primary purpose of this chapter is to explain the main architectural principles built into the Microsoft AJAX Library.

Fifth chapter is the most entertaining one. It discusses in detail about OOP and Microsoft AJAX Library. This chapter is the building block for the upcoming two chapters. There are quite a few examples in this chapter which use Microsoft AJAX Library and the client-side programming. It is almost certain that this chapter provides you a solid introduction to the client-side platform offered by Microsoft.

If you want to get your hands wet, then chapter 6 is just for you. This is all about creating client components. In depth analysis is done about client page life-cycle events. This chapter does not include any examples, but clearly talks about the key aspects that need to be taken care while developing a custom client component.

Chapter seven is a case study, which explains in detail about creating EnhancedTextBox (Auto-complete textbox) component and Timer component. In fact, I ended up writing my own article after reading this case study. The article Developing AutoComplete Textbox using ASP.NET AJAX 1.0, Web Service and JavaScript was based on the techniques mentioned in this chapter. This chapter discusses the nuts and bolts for developing a client side component. Since this is very similar to creating a custom control, we need to take care of so many events while developing a client side component. All these have been discussed in detail with examples. Once you are done with this chapter, you will be able to create your own client side component.

The final chapter briefly talks about debugging and tracing with Microsoft AJAX Library. Step-by-step instructions are provided about how to debug JavaScript code in Internet Explorer and Firefox. This chapter talks about some other tools available in the market which can be used to debug JavaScript code. 

Overall, this is a high quality book which will be handy for those who want to develop custom client side components/controls.

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