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Book Review: AJAX and PHP: Building Responsive Web Applications

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Welcome to the first book review on PHPit, which is the first one in the new "Book Reviews" section on PHPit. There are many PHP & MySQL books these days, and more are being released every day, which makes it a hard task to pick a good PHP book. That's why I've decided to create this new section which will help you pick the best PHP books available. I will take a look at certain PHP books, and do a thorough review on each of them. Every review will end with a conclusion and a recommendation.

If you're a book publisher, and want me to review your books, let me know by contacting me (through the contact form).

If you own any PHP books, and want to write a review on PHPit, let me know as I'm very happy to receive any contributions.

With all the introductions out of the way, let's start with the first ever review on PHPit.


The publisher of "Ajax and PHP: Building Responsive Web Applications" sent me a free copy for reviewing purposes. Obviously this won't influence my judgement at all.

Technical Details

Title: AJAX and PHP: Building Responsive Web Applications
Publisher: Packt Publishing
Authors: Cristian Darie, Bogdan Brinzarea, Filip Chereches-Tosa and Mihai Bucica
Length: 273 pages (10 chapters + one appendix + index)
ISBN: 1904811825

The Review

The title immediately tells you what the book is about: AJAX and PHP, and that's exactly what you'll learn about in this book. Unfortunately the book doesn't come with a CD which holds the demos, but thankfully there is a website dedicated to the book available at There you will be able to find live working demos of all the examples in the book, and you will also be able to download all the code examples, and believe me, this is absolutely necessary. Typing the code examples from the book is pretty much out of the question, unless you want to spend hours typing.

Although there are ten chapters in this book, you can pretty much divide the book in two different sections. In the first section, which includes chapters one, two and three, you are introduced to the theory of AJAX and PHP. How it works, its history, etc. Then in the second section, chapters four to ten, you will be taken through seven different examples of using AJAX, like form validation, an AJAX chat, and more. I really liked this structure, since it allows you to focus on the first three chapters, after which you can pretty much steamroll through the last seven chapters. Of course I might be slightly biased here, since I already know a lot about AJAX, so a beginner may not like this style, but it certainly fit me.

In the first chapter you are first given a little bit background information on how the web (HTTP protocol) works, and I'm glad to see that this information is included in the book. AJAX completely changes the way interaction between client and server happens, and it's important to understand how it all works behind the scenes before jumping right in. Chapter one also includes some useful illustrations on how AJAX works to make it a bit clearer, although this can still be somewhat confusing. Of course no-one likes chapters which only cover theory, so chapter one finishes with a good example demonstrating the use of AJAX. Since this is only the first chapter, the example is briefly explained, but most things are left unexplained for later chapters.

Next: Part Two »

7 Responses to “Book Review: AJAX and PHP: Building Responsive Web Applications”

  1. Cristian Darie Says:

    Dennis, thanks very much for reviewing my book! I’ve mentioned in the book’s page on my website.



  2. srinivas gourishetty Says:

    thanks for review,

    Christian Darie,
    can you send me a pdf version of this book please,
    i want to go through this book,
    and i will leave a review of this book on my site

    in fact, i want to make my whole site using php and AJAX,
    so if you can share it with me, i will be helpful,

    if you want to contact me,
    you can at
    please replace -sometingxy with @

    thank you

  3. srinivas gourishetty Says:

    replacde -somethingxy with @gmail
    thank you

  4. Cristian Darie Says:


    Just wanted to let you know that we’ve made a step ahead by covering JSON, in a new version of Chapter 5: AJAX Chat. The PDF version of this new chapter is available for free download on my website at



  5. Tessa Says:

    Thanks Cristian. Covering JSON was a great move (especially as I’m still wondering what the big-deal vs. XML with it is) I’ve downloaded the free chapter and I’ll re-implement my Chat experiment using it.

    FYI: I just reviewed this book myself and now that I’m looking for other little venues to update and post regarding it, I’m seeing a lot of the other reviews and can see we’re all on the same boat with the book. You guys did a good job, and thanks so much Cristian, for handling the errata data and new chapter updates on your site.

  6. Cristian Darie Says:

    Tessa, thanks very much for the kind words, and for the wonderful review!

  7. Boycott Earth Says:

    Ajax Book Report!!

    Ajax is quickly changing the way we visit and how we interact with websites. It is about time. I have done my fair share of technical book reading. I have advanced from the Dummies series over the years to the more advanced O’Reilly series. My p…

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About the author
Dennis Pallett is the main contributor to PHPit. He owns several websites, including ASPit and Chill2Music. He is currently still studying.
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