Book review: Microsoft Silverlight 5 and Windows Azure Enterprise Integration

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Packt Publishing.

The author, David Burela, though I didn’t hear about him before seems to be well known in the Australian community.

When you look at the contents of the book it looks like it’s covering the main integration parts with Windows Azure.

- Hosting Silverlight Applications in Azure
- Using Azure Queues with Silverlight
- Accessing Azure Blob Storage from Silverlight
- Storing Data in Azure Table Storage from Silverlight
- Relational Data with SQL Azure and Entity Framework
- RIA Services and SQL Azure
- Exposing OData to Silverlight Applications
- Application Authentication

The author expects you to already have some Silverlight knowledge and thus won’t explain the Silverlight parts in too much detail. My experience with Windows Azure is small, which makes me probably part of the target audience. The introduction helps you understand what Azure is, a good refresher for me. After that, chapter after chapter there’s an explanation on how to integrate Silverlight with the backend, running on Azure. All in all it stays very basic and a couple of times it refers to some MSDN pages for the details. Though I agree that copying information that’s already on the web is probably not a good thing, I was reading the book on the bench and this means, no details for me at the time. I would rather have a book that is complete and puts these kind of additional parts in an Appendix.

In the end I didn’t feel satisfied. Most of the integration was more like, you integrate with WCF and that WCF will integrate with Windows Azure. This doesn’t have anything to do with the book itself, the content is good. However is a book like this really needed? You have to judge that yourself. It is an engaging book that will introduce Windows Azure to Silverlight developers.

Book review: ASP.NET MVC in Action now in print

image Jeffrey Palermo, Ben Scheirman and Jimmy Bogard, real community leaders, have written the ASP.NET MVC in Action book. I did have the honour to review the MS of the book in very early stages. They were already writing this book when ASP.NET MVC was still in a preview stadium.

Although I followed the development of ASP.NET MVC, I didn’t have time to try every feature. After the final release of ASP.NET MVC this book helped me better understand ASP.NET MVC. Reading this book will give you control over ASP.NET MVC. If you want to learn ASP.NET MVC this book will really help you. It covers best practices and recipes. Besides all the basics, you will really get at speed level if you combine reading sessions with development sessions.

Book review: NHibernate in Action now in print

imageIt took the authors of NHibernate in Action a very long time to complete this book. It was already in the summer of 2006 that I got involved in the NHibernate in Action book. First steps were basically reviewing the first chapters manuscript. Later on I also reviewed other chapters. About half a year ago, or maybe it was even three quarter of a year ago (time goes fast these days), Manning asked me to do the Technical Proofreading of NHïbernate in Action. In het end the book finally got to print. And yes I really like it. Although I would have been very happy to have this book in the year 2006, I’m glad to have it now. Besides the fact that this is a NHibernate book, it also covers ORM in general. And a lot patterns and concepts discussed in this book apply to other ORMs as well, like Linq2SQL and the Entity Framework.

Book review: Silverlight 2 in Action now in print

It's already a year ago when I read the first piece of Silverlight in Action. At that time it was still called Silverlight 1.1. But now Silverlight 2 In Action by Chad A. Campbell and John Stockton is in print.

I really like this book, it helped me learn Silverlight, so I recommend this book to everyone into learning Silverlight 2.

It covers all the stuff you need to know about Silverlight, including:

  • Interaction with the old web
  • Layout and text
  • User interaction
  • Data binding
  • Networking and communications
  • Digital media
  • Graphics and transforms
  • Animation
  • Styling
  • Distribution and deployment

Book review: Test Driven by Lasse Koskela

Some time ago I did the technical review of the Manning Book Test Driven by Lasse Koskela. The book is available since October 10th.

The book is devided in three rough parts: Part 1, A TDD primer; Part 2,  Applying TDD to specific technologies; Part 3, Building products with acceptance TDD.

Part 1, A TDD primer: This part is about Testing in general and covers refactoring and patterns as well. Everything is written with Test Driven Development in mind. So don't expect all possible refactorings and patterns covered here.

Part 2, Applying TDD to specific technologies: This part covers testing on specific technologies. Where the first part can help people start testing, the second part will help people continue testing even if the more complicated tests need to be written. Specially complex testing on Web components, data access, etc.

Part 3, Building products with acceptance TDD: The last part covers more on acceptance testing. I haven't got any experience with automated acceptance testing but this part covers it quite well.

Although this book has some influence from the Java world almost everything can be applied within other technology worlds as well, like .NET, Ruby and PHP. I like this book and will use it every once in a while to keep myself focused.