Ajax training workshop | November 24, 2005

Hot on the success of d.Construct 2005, I’m pleased to announce Clearleft’s first Ajax training workshop.

Love it or hate it, the word Ajax is here to stay. Derided by some as unnecessary buzzword, praised by others as a revolutionary technology, the truth about Ajax lies somewhere in-between. This one-day workshop will explain the benefits and the pitfalls of the hippest methodology on the Web today.

The workshop is aimed at designers and developers with some JavaScript experience, who are interested in dipping their toes into the world of Ajax and Web 2.0.

This workshop will explain the hows and whys of Ajax, illustrated with straightforward examples. Don’t let the code put you off: the most important lessons to be learned are about concepts, not syntax.

Clearleft Director, author and WASP member, Jeremy Keith, will take you through the basics of modern DOM scripting, before showing you the ins-and-outs of the XMLHttpRequest Object. Then, using a concept dubbed Hijax, Jeremy will show you how to build Ajax applications that remain usable and accessible while degrading gracefully.

Just as with accessibility and usability, a little planning can go a long way when it comes to graceful degradation. Instead of creating a fully-fledged Ajax application and then attempting to retrofit it, it makes more sense to create a traditional series of page refreshes and then intercept, or hijack, those requests using Ajax.

The event takes place in London on the 10th of February and you can register now for an early bird price of just £345 (that’s a £50 discount). Tickets are likely to book up very quickly, so if you are interested in coming, it would be a good idea to register early.

Posted at November 24, 2005 1:06 PM


Richard Conyard said on November 24, 2005 2:49 PM

Any idea what server side technologies will be gone through?

Andy Budd said on November 24, 2005 3:00 PM

The good thing about Ajax is that it’s essentially server side language agnostic. Some people have built specific Ajax frameworks for passing objects backwards and forwards. However that is really just the icing on the cake, and not a core component of Ajax.

This workshop will mostly be focussing on the core concepts behind Ajax. Looking at how the DOM and the XMLHttpRequest Object can be used to take XML data or XHTML snippets and update the page, while at the same time maintaining good usability and accessibility.

Steven Woods said on November 24, 2005 3:18 PM

£345? Thats a little steep isn’t it? Bearing in mind that not everyone has deep pockets / works for a company willing to pay for its employees attending such events.

Not wanting to rain on the parade, I’m sure the event will be fantastic but it is a bit pricey considering @Media wasn’t that much more and had a whole host of speakers - across 2 days.

You know they’ll sell like hot-cakes anyway ;)

Andy Budd said on November 24, 2005 5:30 PM

Hi Steve,

I do understand your concerns. However the price is pretty standard for most full day training courses.

Large scale conferences such as @media are great for networking and inspiration. However they do rely on attracting very large numbers to make them commercially viable.

By contrast workshops provide personal, hands-on training and the chance to develop new and saleable skills. Unfortunately because the number of attendees are much lower, they do usually cost more than conferences.

However the cost of the workshop is less than a day or twos freelance work and for this you will learn new skills that will help increase your marketability and profitability (Ajax is very hot at the moment). So from a business perspective I think going on training courses and workshops makes a lot of sense.

If you are looking for a more grassroots approach check out the recent d.Construct conference we ran, or SkillSwap.org

Steven Woods said on November 25, 2005 12:21 AM

Thanks for your reply, Andy - I do understand the reasoning, it’s just a shame for some people who might want to attend events like these but can’t due to lack of funds - such is life I suppose :)

A quick (general) question regarding these workshops - do the people who attend tend to already have a grasp of the subjects in hand, or are the courses specifically designed to cater for people without any knowledge at all [of the subject]?

Chris said on November 25, 2005 7:28 AM

I live out of UK and do not have enough money to attend. Could you recommend a free online tutorial for Ajax?
Thank you

Phil Wilson said on November 25, 2005 11:15 AM

I’m just picking on you because you actually have an open feedback mechanism, but:

35 people at 345 each = £12,075

You’re right, this is the standard price for this type of event, but that doesn’t stop them all from being overpriced.

Hippy said on November 25, 2005 1:00 PM

What a rip off. Frankly anyone that pays to go on this course is an idiot.

Especially as this site doesn’t work properly on all browsers.

Andy Budd said on November 25, 2005 1:20 PM

Well as I’ve said, I honestly don’t think that 1-2 days freelance rate can be considered over priced, when you compare it to the value attendees will get out of the event. If you can get more work, increase your hourly rate and earn more, I think £345 is a very small price to pay.

As for the overall amount you quoted, it may sound a lot when you do the maths (personally I don’t think it does). However working it out this way is a bit nonsensical. I doubt you choose to buy a book by working out how much money the publisher has made. You choose to purchase based on the value you attribute those items.

I’m not going to go into detail, but you’d be surprised how little a small workshop event actually makes once you have factored in the costs of a central London venue, food and refreshments, AV and projector equipment, the length of time it will take to plan the event, write the slides and staff the event.

The truth is, we will be earning less than our daily rate putting this event on. However we are all really passionate about developer education and increasing the quality of web design in the UK, which is why we put on professional training events such as this one, low cost grassroots events such as d.construct and free events such as SkillSwap.org.

This event may not be to everybody’s taste or budget, but those that do attend will get a great deal of value from the event. There really isn’t anything more I can say on the subject apart from that.

Hippy said on November 25, 2005 4:26 PM

Fair enough, this site still doesn’t work properly on all browsers tho.

Andy Budd said on November 25, 2005 5:04 PM

Tell me about it. Case of cobblers children I’m afraid.

Steven Woods said on November 25, 2005 11:14 PM

Well, I don’t particularly think its a rip-off (harsh words to be honest), but my brain immediately thinks, culd there not have been 70 places at ~£170, or 140 places at £85?

I’m sure its a logistics issue that prohibits it though :-)

Regardless of all that, will you be broadcasting any of the event contents in any way shape or form? I for one am very interested in this stuff.

By the way, might as well help you (*) up after the battering above… I reckon I speak for a LOT of developers in the UK when i say thanks very much for leading the way and helping a lot of people get started in all of this - the next few years are going to be VERY interesting on the web scene once people start getting their heads around specific techniques that they’ve learned in one way or another.

Jon said on November 26, 2005 2:21 AM

I apologise for going off topic but I’ve only just seen Andy’s picture on the d.Construct 2005 page. If he wears a beany hat then he’s a dead ringer for ‘Edge’ from U2.

There you go, that could be your selling point…

“See Edge from U2 teach AJAX and more.”

Seriously though, I hope it goes really well. It’s good to see more events like this taking place in the south.

Andy Budd said on November 26, 2005 10:05 AM

Thanks Steve,

Unfortunately a larger venue would cost more so the correlation with ticket price isn’t direct. Also the benefit of keeping numbers small is that everybody has a chance to ask questions and interact. Any more than 30-40 people and it becomes more of a conference than a training event.

Not sure about the Edge thing but, er, thanks. I think :-)

Gareth said on November 26, 2005 4:25 PM

The size thing I have to agree on, I am going along (thanks to my employer) but thing the value of the event is magnified by having only a small number of people, especially where examples are being worked on.

@media and conferences in general work best IMO for general, top level type discussions or overviews - and are not that good at going over code examples in particular. I’m hoping the workshop will pretty much gloss over that in favor of quickly going over how and then on to the sort of details you can only get if you’ve done more than play - common pit falls, gotchas, etc.

Andy Saxton said on November 28, 2005 12:03 AM

I don’t think I will be going but I wanted to address peoples complaints about the price.

I think they need to come back to the real world. Try putting on an event and then come back and complain about the cost. We put on samll events / short courses and to give people perceived “value for money” we practically run at a loss.

Just like anything else; If you don’t think something is worth the asking price don’t buy it. It’s no skin off your nose. if enough people share your view the venture will fail. Thats how a free market works.

There will be plenty of people that do think it’s a good price. You don’t have to be Mystic Meg to know this will sell out and be a hit. Good luck with it anyway, not that you guys will need it.

Alex said on November 30, 2005 5:38 PM

Hi Andy

I just wanted to repeat one of the questions that Steven ask and in all the talk about pricing it got a bit lost.

“A quick (general) question regarding these workshops - do the people who attend tend to already have a grasp of the subjects in hand, or are the courses specifically designed to cater for people without any knowledge at all [of the subject]?”

Many thanks

Ashley Bowers said on December 1, 2005 9:45 AM

Should be a great learning experience and alot of fun. Look forward to attending the workshop!!

trovster said on December 2, 2005 9:46 AM

Background animated-gifs do not play in Safari and it only displays the first frame of the animation.

You might frown upon animated gifs in todays webtwopointoh world, but this is subtle and required by client. And it’s better in the CSS than physically in the markup!

I found two solutions.

The first was simply using the first frame of the animation as the final resting display of the image. Problem with this technique is you can’t have a fade from nothing, as the first frame needs to be the final display.

The second solution was to put another background on the animated-gifs container, but make it static. If the first frame is empty, Safari renders the static image.

Andy Budd said on December 2, 2005 6:30 PM

Hi Alex (and Steven).

To answer your question, you will probably get the most out of this workshop if you know some JavaScript or at least a similar language. However you won’t need to be an expert and you won’t be expected to have expirience using Ajax. This workshop aims to show people new to JavaScript and Ajax how they can start using this exciting new technique.

If you do already know some Ajax, this workshop should still be useful as it aims to show how you can use it in a usabble, accessible and backwards compatible fashion.

For more info, take a look at Jeremy’s post about the workshop.

matt mondz said on December 5, 2005 11:09 PM

what up

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