Programming Razor
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on April 9, 2012
I'm an experienced ASP.NET developer who's trying to ramp up my skills in MVC and Razor development skills.

When I first saw this book, I honestly didn't expect much - I'd be perfectly happy if I can find some MVC/Razor common practices or 'tricks' to achieve some common web programming tasks, such as how Razor would handle common tasks for a dropdown list. But it's such a disappointment even with that little expectation. I don't understand whom the author tries to target his book at -- the technical content and level in this book is more like for people with no tech background, but then I doubt those people would be interested in reading this since to use it effectively, Razor requires some understanding in .NET and programing in general. You're going to be completely disappointed if you are hoping to find some of the author's insights. Honestly, I don't know how this book gets published. The tutorial from ASP.NET MVC site offers better Razor introduction than this book.

If you are a technical person that wants to learn how Razor works, even if you are completely new to Razor, this book is, well, it's not nice to say 'complete waste of time', but let's say it's pretty close to that. I gave it a 2 star because I used to read many tech books from this publisher, especially back in school days. Programming Microsoft ASP.NET MVC by Dino is a much better reading.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2011
This 100 page book is nice and not too complicated for getting introduced to the Razor API, syntax and possibilities. It has some very useful code samples, it narrows the gap between MVC and WebMatrix so that MVC is understandable too, even though WebMatrix was made to be super easy to use.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This book does not have the quality I expect from an O'Reilly title:

1. There is no index. O'Reilly's author guidelines Chapter 4: "Your final draft should include
an index." Those same guidelines Chapter 5: "The index is the single most important part of
your book."

2. Razor has a syntax, but no reference information is given for the syntax, using EBNF or
any other syntax notation.

3. Information that should be present, complete, and grouped together is not. For example, Razor
has control structures. We encounter a few of them as the author works through various examples
and tutorials. There is no section listing the Razor control structures and giving the syntax
and meaning for each.

4. Illustrations in the print book are mainly screen shots, several of which are very faint
and hard to read.

The following comments may also be useful but are less important. A DOCTYPE syntax that I believe only works in
HTML5 is used, without comment or explanation: <!DOCTYPE html>. The book does not mention the existence
of other view engines like Spark or NHaml and does not compare Razor to those alternatives.

Why do I still give this book three stars? Jess has a clear and easy to read writing style.
I did learn quite a bit about Razor from reading this book. I encourage him to write a
second edition that fixes the problems noted and updates the information to reflect
the latest versions of ASP.NET MVC and Razor.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2012
This is more of a Razor pamphlet instead of a "book".

You should save your $20 and just use the online microsoft getting started guide for WebMaxtrix/Razor. Once you are done with that, buy a Pro MVC book or the like from Wrox so you have a comprehensive guide.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2014
Nice introduction to the 2010 Razor engine, coming with MVC 3. And it still looks like the only book totally dedicated to Razor.

However, Razor 2 (shipped with MVC 4 in 2012) brought important changes and enhancements. This book is clearly in large part obsolete today. It still provides a foundation, but it's also a bit chaotic and not very well-structured.
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on August 13, 2012
As most readers of this little review already know, there is a conflict in every programmer's heart between the desire to settle into a set of technologies for the long haul, and the temptation of learning the latest, emerging, promising, protocol. It's a difficult decision when you consider how little time there is to waste and how frequently these new evolutions fade into obsolescence. Deciding whether or not to investigate Razor presented me with exactly that type of inner conflict. However, after reading through Programming Razor, by Jess Chadwick, I can confidently say that it is probably worth the effort.
Razor, to summarize, is, "a template syntax that allows you to combine code and content in a fluid and expressive manner." To be clear, Razor isn't a new language, it permits one to use his/her language of choice while switching back and forth between that language and markup. In short, Razor employs a few keywords, symbols, and helper methods to provide a happy medium for developers that, "view ASP as a hindrance to object-oriented development, ASP.NET Web Forms as too much of an abstraction from core HTML/CSS/JavaScript, and ASP.NET MVC as too complex."
There are several clear examples of code "disambiguation" early in the book that are crucial to clarifying where Razor's worth lies. Those examples resonated with me immediately, because my first programming efforts were websites using Classic ASP and VBScript where I would typically start out using a default page layout that interspersed ASP tags and markup, switching out parts of the page as appropriate. That's the pattern the author starts out with in Chapter One and it's an excellent way to quickly capture the reader's attention. I appreciated him not making me wait too long for the payoff.
Another interesting element of the book is the introduction of the Web Matrix IDE as a tool for building web applications using the Web Pages API and Razor. Considering its power, price, and pleasant UI, I don't think you can go wrong with it, especially if you're not currently vested in another. I'm comfortable recommending Web Matrix and the Razor syntax to any new web developer looking for a suite of technologies that will provide the power to do real work and that will likely be around long enough to justify his/her efforts to learn them.
In the latter part of the book the author teaches the reader to use Razor and the MVC3 pattern in Visual Studio, after a download of the necessary toolset. That last part represented the third major learning opportunity in a book consisting of less than 100 pages. The only criticism I have for the book is for its lack of an index. I know it's a short read, but no index? Come on man!
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on March 7, 2014
The Razor parser isn't new to me, but I consider myself a novice since I only started using it last week. I bought the book thinking there might be some really neat tricks with it that weren't covered in Jess' other book "Programming ASP.NET MVC 4" (O'Reilly) which also covers Razor for a little bit. It was really seeming like one of those books that didn't add any value until I got to the back 20 or so pages of the book where it got more in depth about using the parser for things other than code, dynamically compiling Razor templates on the fly, how to do unit testing with Razor, and some performance improvements that Visual Studio doesn't automatically make.

If you are completely new to Razor, try it. If you aren't, skip it - unless those four areas interest you. I left off a star because it's the by far the thinnest O'Reilly book I've ever seen that wasn't a Pocket Reference for the price I paid for it. It's seriously 1/5 the size of the book mentioned above. Razor seems fairly straight forward, but wish Jess could pack more into future editions of the book.
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on May 2, 2014
Relatively easy to follow but it imply at least a basic knowledge of C#, good for intermediate web programmers that intend to use ASP.Net Web Matrix
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on November 3, 2013
This book gives an excellent demonstration of what Razor is, how it works with Web matrix, and its uses with ASP.NET MVC. I read this book over a two day period and learned many new functions and uses of Razor in my projects.
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on April 18, 2013
It was informative but lacking like getting it to the publishing market was more important than any depth to the material. The author seems to know the material though. Sad day for the publisher!
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