Ajax Tutorial PDF

Dec 28-05

A number of people have been asking about this so here it is. I have made available a printable PDF version of the popular Ajax What Is it Good For  tutorial I did a few months ago.  Currently it’s just available from this site and not at the tutorial itself.  Also note there are a few changes in the PDF as in different wording than the original tutorial, but these are minor changes and the online tutorial will reflect the changes in the PDF shortly as soon as the new version of the site goes into place.

 In the meantime you can download the PDF file in zip format from the following link:

update: fixed the broken link, sorry about that... Works ok now.

Download PDF

It's a Coming

Dec 28-05

The next few days should see the new version of this site go up.  What I ended up deciding to do was to create a mixture of a multi blog and static page environment.  Essentially it means that I will run 4 separate blogs but make it appear as if it is one site through the help of some Ajax and Remote IFrame Scripting. 

To give you a better idea of what is coming imagine two separate blog installs.  Let’s say one is for programming and one is for design.  I then have a main interface (no blogs) and a menu on the left.  If you were to click on programming for example, then a xmlhttprequest gathers the blog associated with programming and embeds it into the main interface.  Once loaded then you would see various categories associated with programming.  For example, one category may be Ajax, another JavaScript, and another CSS and so on…  

If you clicked on the design menu item, then that similarly makes an Ajax request and sucks in that blog into the main interface. Then you would have all the associated categories for that, for example, graphics, 3D, templates etc…

So why not just use one blog for everything?  The problem as I see it, is that if I were to just use one blog then you have a long list and I do mean long list of categories that this site covers. I always find it bad practice to have such a long system in place as a user tends to get overwhelmed with choices if that occurs.  I know every time I visit a site that has lots of categories it switches me off. 

It also creates a longer initial download time for users because you have to have more markup to cover everything.  So by doing it in the way that I am, if a user is only interested in programming then that’s the only thing that gets loaded, hence less markup and quicker loading of content. 

The trade off as I perceive it is that if you wanted to subscribe to everything in the site via RSS then it means multiple feeds.  That aside though its working pretty well thus far with comments, trackbacks, the usual bloggy stuff all functioning well.

Once the interface is finished, then it’s a matter of formatting all the content to suit the new system.  It will take a while to convert all my tutorials into that system.  So while that process is underway, I will put up a link to the interface you are on and then you can still have access to all the materials here.   But that is just an interim measure until all the content is in place.

Dear Santa

Dec 18-05

Once again, I managed to get a hold of some of Santa’s letters. Lets just say one of those elves is not what it appears to be…   

Dear Santa,

God spoke to me again the other day and said he was on my side. He, yeah God is a he, specifically told me that the Muslims were working for the devil.  But our publicists aren’t as convincing as yours and I am having trouble spreading the word. 

You on the other hand, you really got the world believing in you huh?  Boy, wish I could do that!

So this Christmas I would like it if you could forward me the name of the advertising agency you use? 

Any assistance would be appreciated

Signed George Bush (president of the good ole USA)


Dear Santa,

mmmmmmmmmmmmmm donuts.

Homer Simpson


Dear Santa,

My name is Mrs.Larisa Nitskaya, personal secretary to mr.boris mikhail kodorkovsky, the arrested chairman/ceo of yukos oil and bank menatep spb in russia. I have the documents of a large amount of funds which he handed over to me before he was detained and now been tried in russia for financing political parties (the union of right forces, led by boris nemtsov and yabloko, a liberal/social democratic party led by gregor yavlinsky) opposed to the government of mr.vladmir putin, the president thereby leading to the freezing of his finances and assets.

After searching through the books of your country's chambers of commerce and industries here in Russia i am contacting you to assist me to re-profile the funds and equally invest same on his behalf. The total amount of funds to be re-profilled is eighty six million dollars (usd$86,000,000.00) and you will be paid 30% for your management services.

As soon as I receive your acceptance, I will send you the necessary details and my identification.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs.Larisa Nitskaya


Dear Santa,

Hey, Yo, I want to kill you

Slim Shady (aka Eminem, aka Marshall Mathers)

Dear Santa,

I don’t need brains or maturity or even love. I did see a million dollar dress the other day though that I wouldn’t mind hanging out in. 

Could you send it to me for Christmas and in return I would not do any more sex videos with my boyfriends for at least a few weeks. 

Paris Hilton


Dear Santa,

Remember us, we wrote to you a few years ago!  Drug production is still going up, people are still scared to leave their homes, and our leaders roam free with multiple wives doing their bidding. 

What’s not to like?  Like previous years, more of the same please.

Signed the Taliban


Wat up Santa?

I know the earth is flat and I don’t see why our schools should not teach that as valid science.  After all every picture of a round earth is on a flat piece of paper.  That’s like Duh!

Spread the truth man...

Signed anonymous

Dear Santa,

This Christmas, I really, really, really, really, really, really would like to win American Idol. No really!

Signed Osama Bin Laden

Dear Santa PermaLink


Microsoft Office 12

Dec 15-05

I have been giving Microsoft office 12 a run through and after a few days of use I am very impressed.  So much so that I could not go back to previous versions.   The much talked about ribbon feature works well and does indeed provide you quicker and more intuitive access to tools.  Microsoft’s research also did a good job in saying that it would take something like 20 to 30 minutes for a previous user of Microsoft Office to get familiar with the interface.  I found this to be an accurate assessment. 

I haven’t gone through the whole suite as yet but the new Microsoft Word is proving a boon in terms of production and getting things out the door quicker.  A large part of that is due to clicking less and working more within word.   I like the themes in word, the word count feature which updates automatically, the new fonts supplied with the suite, the ability to customize themes, its much stronger referencing features but to name a few.  Overall this is just a straight out winner.

Perhaps the buggiest piece in the suite is Outlook 12.  It crashes frequently on exit, and there are some focus issues that need to be resolved.  But that’s to be expected in software that is in a relatively early stage of development.  What I do like about outlook 12 is their anti-phishing features so far it has been pretty accurate with what is a phishing email and what is not and I do like the fact that it errs on the side of caution rather than the other way around. 

There is also a news aggregator in outlook, but I found this to be buggy at best.  I am sure this will be fixed by the time it ships.  Outlook 12 does need to step up a bit no doubt but what I have seen thus far is very promising. 

I am sold on this suite as a whole and will definitively be buying Office 12 when it ships.

Office 12 PermaLink

Firefox And Adsense

Dec 15-05

Just a quick reminder to those people not using Firefox as their default browser. There is a new version of Firefox out and its quick and reliable.  My default browser is Firefox and unless something drastic happens with IE7 it will remain so.  Why should you use Firefox?  Quicker browsing experience, better security, great stability and its absolutely free.  Doesn’t cost you a single cent.    You can sign up from here:

While at it, if you have a blog or web page and want to earn some extra money sign up for Google Adsense.  Same deal doesn’t cost you a cent and every time a user clicks on off the ads presented by Google you get paid for the click regardless of whether the user purchases or not.  You can sign up from here:



Section Targetting With Google Adsense

Dec 15-05

This may be a way for you to get rid of all those blogging ads and have more relevant ads show up by using what Google calls section targeting. Url for more information is here:


I am giving this a whirl so hopefully when Google does it next index of this page I will have better targeted ads show up.


Voip and Beta Messengers

Dec 15-05

Both Yahoo and Microsoft have released beta versions of their messenger services.  Both now have voip services as part of their messenger suites and the rates are pretty low.  I haven’t had a chance as yet to test out quality but ill do so when some time frees up.   

Voip and Beta Messengers PermaLink

New Ajax Site Coming Along

Dec 15-05

I have been building a new version of this site with an expected release date of somewhere around Christmas or the New Year. 

One of the things I have been testing is how to get the smallest file sizes while doing the same function.  In general, I have found that its best to not use a whole lot of CSS in Web 2.0 applications and rather let JavaScript perform the main styling.   This sees several kbs shaved of the file sizes if you use object orientated code.  Lighter pages means quicker load times. 

But there is a caveat here.  This would not apply for most Web pages and is dependent upon the number of layers and elements contained with the page.  Consequently most web pages are fine as are and wouldn’t derive any great benefit from using these methods.    

As a thought you may be wondering how a site like this would degrade.  It would not degrade gracefully, but it would degrade functionally.  What I plan to do is provide a simple list based site navigation for when JavaScript is turned off.  Think site map here and you would not be wrong.  This will allow all browsers to navigate across the pages.   Just as importantly it allows search engines to correctly index and follow your pages. 

If this sort of fall back navigation system were not provided and only Ajax was used then the search engines wouldn’t be able to index your pages and no one wants that.  The plan is if someone has JavaScript turned on and most visitors here do, then they would get an Ajax enabled menu system with pretty quick load times.    

So where am I in terms of development?  Layout and design wise I am done.  I am just working on a dynamic menu system and am close to finishing that.  The next major thing to add is an image gallery with a few neat effects.   It will build on some of the notions presented in the Ajax Image Gallery I built earlier on in the year.   This will be offered as standalone widget when complete.  Then there is some minor stuff to do like add some tooltips, a preload widget etc, but this is not a whole lot of work. 

There will be a few new sections in the site, one will be a tech gadget section which will be blog based and another section will contain links to well designed sites that may provide ideas for your future projects.

Well enough talk on this topic and back to building. 

Ajax Site PermaLink

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