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differences and usage of JavaScript, Ajax, GWT

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Hi. I am interesting in the differences and similarities with technologies in the title. I am Java programmer, but oriented especially to back-end.
I am little confused about usage of Ajax or GWT, particularly and how the JavaScript and XML are involved into. I ask this because, I found a plenty of books, the whole assortment devoted to these technologies ( you have a bunch of books related to JavaScript, a bunch related to Ajax, a bunch related to GWT). My question is: should I start, let say Ajax with book "Ajax in action", as an example, even if I have no knowledge of JavaScript ( is that wrong?). Or should I start "GWT in Action", also without knowledge on JavaSript (would I find there a necessary knowledge about JavaScript?).
Or I NEED to O'Reilly's 'Learning JavaScript' books first ( how they are related JavaScript-Ajax-GWt)? I mean what is the BASE and what is UPGRADING ?

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Ajax is not a competing technology to JavaScript -- it is part of JavaScript.

GWT is its own deal. Essentially, with GWT, you write your UI programatically in Java (sort of like Swing apps) and GWT "cross-compiles" it to JavaScript and HTML. I personally loathe it.

XML comes into the picture only if that's what you return from Ajax requests. Most people are more fond of JSON for the most part.

If you want to learn Ajax, you'll need at least a basic understanding of JavaScript, because again, Ajax is JavaScript. (It's sort of like saying "I want to learn how to use the classes, do I need to learn Java?").

Goran Markovic
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So in these technologies essential is JavaScript, upon what they are built...Thanks Bear.
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