When Surface Acquaintaince Becomes Practical Knowledge

In my pursuit to become more literate in the web-development world I recently made a few purchases of technology books that I hope will accelerate my understanding of things like Ajax, DOM, Json, JavaScript, Java…etc. I know that there is a wealth of material available for free on the internets but there’s just something about a good book that makes learning so much easier. Key word there is good!

A good book I’ve just finished reading (and written a review on) is “Head Rush Ajax“by Brett McLaughlin. Thanks to the freaky layout and writing style (it’s definitely not your typical technical resource!) this was a book that I quickly worked through and at least now I have a firmer grasp of concepts that were just acquaintances before.

For instance, I now know:

  • AJAX – isn’t a new language. It is simply a “method” of coding (using existing languages – JavaScript primarily) to enable visitors of a web-page interact with a page without having to reload it. Of course, I already knew of AJAXian goodness from using all the various web-apps that apply it – but it’s neat to know that it’s really not that hard to work with – it certainly isn’t as intimidating as I thought it would be.
  • DOM – Wow! What was I missing! I had no idea there was such hidden power in the browser and that so much could be manipulated by accessing the DOM tree πŸ™‚ Of course to seasoned developers the DOM is nothing new – but it was one of those terms I saw referenced and mentioned but never realized it’s application. Understanding DOM is one of those knowledge bits that kind of pieces the puzzle together for so many code snippets that didn’t make sense to me before. Now when I read a bit of Java-script I’ll know what document.getElementByID("gotcha") means. To any neophyte web-monkey’s reading this…learn DOM!
  • XML – Okay I knew a little bit of XML before reading this book but the book helped me understand the far-reaching applications of XML that I didn’t know of before.
  • JSON – Hee hee, now when someone mentions JSON I’ll know they aren’t talking about that guy from Friday the 13th.Γ‚ This JSON is so much cooler!Γ‚ But since the book just scratched the surface on JSON vs. XML there’s a lot more learning that I’ve gotta do with it.

Bottom line, I’m glad I invested a few bucks in the book.Γ‚ It will be a good resource for me as I try out AJAX on my own and has opened up a new world of web-application and website prettification that was just a dream for me before.

An added bonus?Γ‚ I’ve got some ideas for how I want to improve my Organize Series WordPress Plugin πŸ˜‰

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