In essence – the book is a wasted opportunity of a re-write and brushing up of a once good book.
I got inspiration as to how to tackle this review when I watched an episode of Scrubs, which featured an older doctor that everybody in the hospital loved and saw as a mentor. This doctor asked a new intern to perform an outdated and possibly dangerous technique on a patient. As the person almost died, people started to realise that the doctor they all admire hides his lack of improvement and ability to learn new techniques behind a very likeable façade. In the end, they had to let him go as this made him a danger for the patients.
This book is like a detailed explanation of how to fix 1940s tractors.
The book smacks of a re-write that went terribly wrong. It is like a “best of” CD of an artist that didn’t want to release a new album but was bound by contract to do so. To make the collection more interesting the label put a “previously unreleased” or “rare live” track at the end and voila – new album!
The new Ajax chapter is OK in explaining the basics of Ajax and features exciting examples but also lacks proper technical editing. For example there is no mention of what to do when the connection doesn’t work properly – using a timeout to tell the user to re-try. There is also no mention as to how to provide links that work without Ajax and override their functionality when JS can be applied. You can build your first Ajax apps with the information provided, but you also create apps that break very easily and are open to attacks. The PHP examples provided don’t check any form data for injected scripts or third party URLs and the book never mentions that this could be a problem.
Both Jeffrey Zeldman’s Designing with Web Standards and Steve Krug’s Don’t make me think had a second edition re-write last year and prove that you can build up on an old great book and make it even better and thus worth while spending money on although you have it already on your bookshelf.
I am sorry that I cannot say anything nicer, but that is how it is. I am not a big fan of saying bad things about people or products. If I rip on you personally in public then it is a sign of affection – or that I am terribly drunk – actually most of the time both.