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Microsoft Windows Azure Development Cookbook Paperback – August 5, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Neil Mackenzie Neil Mackenzie has worked with computers for nearly three decades. He started his computer career doing large-scale numerical simulations for scientific research and business planning. Since then, he has been involved primarily in healthcare software, developing electronic medical records systems. He has been using Windows Azure since PDC 2008 and has used nearly all parts of the Windows Azure platform - including those that no longer exist. Neil is very active in the online Windows Azure community - in particular, helping to solve many of the questions raised in the MSDN Windows Azure Forums. He is a Microsoft MVP for Windows Azure.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Packt Publishing (August 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849682224
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849682220
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.9 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,641,883 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Ullal on February 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book skips the introductory (and educational) aspects of Azure so the assumption is that the reader is familiar (or has worked) with Azure. If you're at that stage, you'll find the book very handy for solving specific issues that you may encounter during an Azure project.

The topics that the author has covered are:

Chapter 1, Controlling Access in the Windows Azure Platform.
Chapter 2, Handling Blobs in Windows Azure.
Chapter 3, Going NoSQL with Windows Azure Tables.
Chapter 4, Disconnecting with Windows Azure Queues.
Chapter 5, Developing Hosted Services for Windows Azure.
Chapter 6, Digging into Windows Azure Diagnostics.
Chapter 7, Managing Hosted Services with the Service Management API.
Chapter 8, Using SQL Azure.
Chapter 9, Looking at the Windows Azure AppFabric.

Each chapter then has recipes for specific tasks that one may need. Each recipe starts with a task, a description of the task and how to complete that task. If any preparation needs to be done, the author lists it a "Getting Ready" section. Then, an "How to do it..." section goes into detail explaining how to complete the task with code. Lastly, each recipe ends with an "How it works..." section where the author explains how the code seen in the previous section works.

A warning to the reader: some of the recipes are not task oriented but will help you make architectural decisions, which I found was a pleasant surprise.

In summary, this book is for an intermediate or advanced Azure developer/Architect who is in need of immediate help with a particular issue s/he might be facing in a project.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rob on October 23, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I should admit that I didn't pay much attention to the front matter or explanation of the book and just dove right in. I mention this only because it was a bit jolting due to the fact that (as could easily be gleaned from the title) this is a cookbook. This means that there is not a lot of un-necessary ensemble, but rather a collection of highly focused technical nuggets. While this structure became obvious rather quickly, I decided to continue on and read it straight through just to see what I learned.

I appreciated the fact that the book was devoid of a large section of text dedicated to the now-worn-out question of "what is cloud computing". Nor was there any prologue describing Windows Azure to be found. Instead, the assumption (I presume) is that if you've picked up the book, you likely know the answer to both of those questions (within reason) and simply need help getting past some of nuances of the platform. If this describes you, this book is for you.

Light on fluff, heavy on details, this is a solid book that deals with a number of real-world issues using the Azure platform. This book works great as a reference tool: have a problem, look it up in the index or table of contents, read the recipe, put it back on the shelf.

One of the things that impressed me about the book was Neil's work to point the reader to external resources. There were a number of places where there is something along the lines of "for a more detailed explanation of topic X, visit person Y's website at [...]" [and, in case you are wondering, this comment was not influenced by Neil's excellent external references on blob storage interactions...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Evelio Alonso Fuentes on August 11, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book starts directly by hitting on the major areas of Microsoft Windows Azure Development that any developer should understand real well to make good use of this platform. Topics like Controlling Access, Blobs, Azure Tables, Azure Queues, Azure Diagnostics and more are discussed in detail. Not only how to use these things, but in which scenarios would you want to utilize each.

One more thing I would like to mention is the inclusion of exercises in this book - a great idea in my mind for folks who learn by sample (like myself).
My recommendation: Buy it for yourself. It's worth the price!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeffo on August 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
Given the complexities of Windows Azure, it's very effective when climbing up the learning curve to have a practical reference that helps you code on a variety of topics that span most of the relevant aspects of the subject. This is such a reference.

I like the format of each recipe - an introduction to the topic, including explanations for why Azure is architected the way it is and what the various elements of each topic (e.g. associated classes and methods) do within the Azure architecture, then a "How to do it..." section with specific coding steps to generate the code that's included in the accompanying set of Visual Studio solutions, followed by a "How it works..." section that summarizes the coding steps and includes additional explanations and "gotchas".

Different recipes build on one another. For example, there is a recipe for using Azure Drives (virtual hard drives mounted as blobs) in the cloud, and the author concludes that recipe by pointing out the differences between using them in the cloud versus in the development environment (locally, before deployment to the cloud). The following recipe then describes simulating Azure Drives in the development environment.

I also appreciate that the author is not at all "chatty". This I've come to expect with "recipe" books, as I refer to them when I need to learn something very specific, usually in the middle of a project. The author holds very true to this format.

I was a bit surprised to find that some of the recipes are not coding exercises at all, but rather advice in making certain solution architecture or pattern choices. For example, there is a recipe on how to choose the best Azure storage type for a hosted service.
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