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AJAX and PHP: Building Responsive Web Applications

Bogdan Brinzarea, Cristian Darie, Filip Cherecheş-Toşa, Mihai Bucica

Enhance the user experience of your PHP website using AJAX with this practical tutorial featuring detailed case studies
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Book Details

ISBN 139781904811824
Paperback284 pages

About This Book

  • Build a solid foundation for your next generation of web applications
  • Use better JavaScript code to enable powerful web features
  • Leverage the power of PHP and MySQL to create powerful back-end functionality and make it work in harmony with the smart AJAX client
  • Go through numerous case studies that demonstrate how to implement AJAX-enabled features in your site such as: real-time form validation, online chat, suggest & autocomplete, whiteboard, SVG realtime charting, whiteboard, web data grid, RSS reader, drag & drop

Who This Book Is For

This book is for web developers willing to build better web applications. A basic knowledge of PHP, XML, JavaScript and MySQL, or a strong will to learn-as-you-type, is assumed.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: AJAX and the Future of Web Applications
Delivering Functionality via the Web
Building Websites Since 1990
Understanding AJAX
Building a Simple Application with AJAX and PHP
Chapter 2: Client-Side Techniques with Smarter JavaScript
JavaScript and the Document Object Model
JavaScript Events and the DOM
Even More DOM
JavaScript, DOM, and CSS
Using the XMLHttpRequest Object
Working with XML Structures
Chapter 3: Server-Side Techniqueswith PHP and MySQL
Passing Parameters and Handling PHP Errors
Connecting to Remote Servers and JavaScript Security
Using a Proxy Server Script
A Framework for Making Repetitive Asynchronous Requests
Working with MySQL
Wrapping Things Up and Laying Out the Structure
Chapter 4: AJAX Form Validation
Implementing AJAX Form Validation
Chapter 5: AJAX Chat
Introducing AJAX Chat
Implementing AJAX Chat
Chapter 6: AJAX Suggest and Autocomplete
Introducing AJAX Suggest and Autocomplete
Implementing AJAX Suggest and Autocomplete
Chapter 7: AJAX Real-Time Charting with SVG
Implementing a Real-Time Chart with AJAX and SVG
Chapter 8: AJAX Grid
Implementing the AJAX Grid Using Client-Side XSLT
Chapter 9: AJAX RSS Reader
Working with RSS
Implementing the AJAX RSS Reader
Chapter 10: AJAX Drag and Drop
Using Drag and Drop on the Web
Building the AJAX Drag-and-Drop Sortable List Application

What You Will Learn

Chapter 1: AJAX and The Future Of Web Applications is an initial incursion into the world of AJAX and the vast possibilities it opens up for web developers and companies, to offer a better experience to their users. In this chapter you’ll also build your first AJAX-enabled web page, which will give you a first look of the component technologies. You can read this chapter in full, for free, here:

View AJAX and the Future of Web Applications Demo:

Chapter 2: Client-Side Techniques with Smarter JavaScript will guide you through the technologies you"ll use to build AJAX web clients, using JavaScript, DOM, the XMLHttpRequest object, and XML. While not being a complete tutorial for these technologies, you"ll be taken to the right track of using them together to build a solid foundation for your future applications.

Chapter 3: Server-Side Techniques with PHP and MySQL completes the theory foundation by presenting how to create smart servers to interact with your AJAX client. You"ll learn various techniques for implementing common tasks, including handling security and error handling problems.

Chapter 4: AJAX Form Validation guides you through creating a responsive, modern form with real-time validation based on server data. View AJAX Form Validation Demo:

Chapter 5: AJAX Chat presents a simple online chat that works exclusively using AJAX code, without Java applets, Flash code, or other specialized library, as most chat applications work these days. Chapter 5 has now been updated to cover JSON. You can read the chapter in full, for free, here: [PDF - 1 MB]

View AJAX Chat Demo:

Chapter 6: AJAX Suggest and Autocomplete builds a Google-suggest like feature, that helps you find PHP functions, and forward you to the official help page for the chosen function. View AJAX Suggest and Autocomplete demo:

Chapter 7: SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) is a text-based graphics language that can be used to draw shapes and text. (SVG is supported natively by Firefox 1.5, and requires a SVG plugin with other browsers). In this case study you learn how to implement a realtime charting solution with AJAX and SVG. View SVG Demo here:

Chapter 8: AJAX Grid teaches you how to build powerful updatable data grid. You"ll learn how to parse XML documents using XSLT to generate the looks of your grid. View AJAX Grid Demo here:

Chapter 9: AJAX RSS Reader uses the SimpleXML PHP library, XML and XSLT, to build a simple RSS aggregator. View AJAX RSS Reader Demo here:

Chapter 10: AJAX Drag and Drop is a demonstration of using the framework to build a simple list of elements with drag&drop functionality.

Appendix A: Configuring Your Working Environment teaches you how to install and configure the required software: Apache, PHP, MySQL, phpMyAdmin.

In Detail

Assuming a basic knowledge of PHP, XML, JavaScript and MySQL, this book will help you understand how the heart of AJAX beats and how the constituent technologies work together. After teaching the foundations, the book will walk you through numerous real-world case studies covering tasks you’ll be likely to need for your own applications:

  • Server-enabled form-validation page
  • Online chat collaboration tool
  • Customized type-ahead text entry solution
  • Real-time charting using SVG
  • Database-enabled, editable and customizable data grid
  • RSS aggregator application
  • A server-managed sortable list with drag&drop support using the JavaScript toolkit

The appendices guide you through installing your working environment, using powerful tools that enable debugging, improving, and profiling your code, working with XSLT and XPath.

From the Author, Cristian Darie
"AJAX and PHP: Building Responsive Web Applications is mainly a book for beginners, but when designing its contents we tried to find the ideal blend of topics that would help both novice and experienced web developers make a big step forward. One customer was very kind to let us know, through a review, that we succeeded:

"The theory behind all the technologies used is very clearly explained, without boring you with details about obvious things. Right from the first chapter you start learning by examples. The examples can be easily adapted to many web projects and they cover stuff that is both useful and fun."

Here are a few examples of such "useful and fun" things that you can find in this book:


  • details on using proxy scripts to work around the security measures in modern browsers
  • client-side and server-side code that doesn't break when fed with special characters (such as <, ", etc)
  • code that works efficiently with Internet Explorer 5, 6 and 7, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and others
  • a very quick introduction to SVG, the new rebel kid of the web (and of the house)
  • client-server communication based on message queues that guarantee that your messages aren't lost on the way, and arrive in the intended order at the destination
  • server-side state management techniques that use query string parameters and database records to keep track of your client's activity
  • simple yet effective error-handling structures that combine JavaScript code and PHP code to report when something bad happens on the client or on the server
  • a live errata page that is updated as soon as anyone reports a suggestion or a correction
  • a friendly AJAX tutorial and many case studies that teach you how to use JavaScript, PHP, MySQL and XML together in order to achieve wonderful results

The book's authors and the publisher are listening to your feedback, and appreciate when you invest some time to let them know what you think. The first result of this collaboration is an updated version of the AJAX Chat case study that uses (and teaches) JSON instead of XML. Find this new chapter in the code download or on my website.

Thanks for reading such a long message. Have fun!" Cristian Darie.


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