How complex are the books you are looking at? It always helps to start at the very start and go from there (seems obvious, but I've got one "beginner" PHP book which is quite complicated from the start - luckily I read the reviews and so purchased this more as an "intermediate" book)
Try and find a really basic AJAX article online. That's what I did. I know understand the basics and if I ever wanted (which I don't at the moment), I could build up from there.
It sure isn't easy though. You need a good, solid understanding of JS before going on. Once you can understand how the JS end functions, it's not too hard (all the PHP bit does is get the data via the $_GET vars, process them, and output back).
Yeah I searched Amazon for beginner books but they always start out with an example that a 3 year old can understand then suddenly jump to 200 line examples without explaining what the purpose of the functions are.
Okay I see what you mean. To be honest my level of AJAX isn't too high (probably around a 4 year old level ), I guess it's just about searching around online to find an article that explains AJAX in a lot of depth and going from there.
It's really not easy though, higher level AJAX confuses me a lot (whilst I'm quite happy with higher level PHP and all)
To prove it I will now share with you my complete AJAX knowledge:
The function library:
* request another page from an
* existing page without refresh.
* takes a url to get and an element id
* the get must be under the same domain
* as the page for security reasons.
* If ajax doesn't work, the 'get' is
* put in the page as a simple "click here"
* link, unless innerHTML doesn't work, in
* which case the requesting page won't change.
* This function is one-liner safe :)
/* Firefox, Opera 8.0+, Safari */
/* Internet Explorer */
/* Internet Explorer 6.0+ */
/* Internet Explorer 5.5+ */
document.getElementById(divid).innerHTML='<a href="'+get+'">Click Here</a>';
To be honest JQuery definitely seems to be the way a lot of people are going these days - it's definitely on my to-learn list. Either way the important point is to pick a framework and learn it - once you do AJAX all starts to seem very easy - in some cases even easier than doing things the old-fashioned way.