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on April 11, 2012
I have bought this book as a supplement for the online UC Berkley course on Software as a Service, and it helped me a lot in absorbing all the covered concepts.

Beware of two things though: this is an Alpha version, so it is very rough, and about half done (half of the chapters are literally missing from the book), and the title is very vague, and doesn't give much info on actual subjects covered. This book provides a good primer in: Ruby, Rails, SaaS concepts and driving ideas, Agile SW development, Cloud computing, GIT usage, Herouku usage, Testing (unit, functional, integration) and Business analysis (all this is covered in the first half which can be found in this Alpha version). The full version promises to tackle a few more subjects, like working with legacy code.

The book comes with some extra material like webcasts and code snippets hosted at Pastebin. These can be quite useful, but are not accessible on all eBook devices.

Needless to say, it is very topic-rich, which results in superficial coverage at some places. Still, in my view it gives a very good basis for further improvement, and it bootstraps you to actually be able to deploy your first web application onto a public cloud server.

Considering the price for the Alpha, I feel it is worth the information you will find within. Also, consider taking the free SaaS class, just Google it :).
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on August 17, 2012
I have spent most of my programming years working with C, C++ and Java code. The syntax of Ruby was very different and anti-intuitive for me at first (It was like awwkkkkkkk!). In my view for C programmer, it is the biggest rudder and they need to reset what they know. But Ruby has lot of things which other language don't have; so it is a good learning.

The book is generally well written but the reader needs to be very active learner (e.g. trying lot of different things with the code to fully understand the idea). Additionally if you see accompanying UC Berkeley course videos or have taken Coursera or EDUx SaaS course, it will be better. Coursera offerings are edits from autor's university course. In my view this offering will be much better if authors make custom videos, especially for online offering (which I assume they are now doing for EDUx).

I usually work for systems software and making websites etc is what I did a long time ago. So learning software engineering using website making was another difficult part for me because I never found enough motivation in making a SaaS. But the truth is that if you learn it, you are really learning skills which are in demand.

In summary I have some mixed feelings about the book but I will say that you should try it out because it is not that costly and you will have a new and different perspective.
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on April 10, 2012
This book is an alpha edition that goes along with a Berkley Course. Chapters six - ten are only stubs and there was no content with the version I bought (future updates are going to be provided, and will be much anticipated). The book worked very well along with other course materials, the appendix provides an excellent 'how to' on getting an application deployed to the Cloud.

I do not understand the harshness of other reviews; I was surprised at how effective Ruby/Rails/Cucumber provided as a learning platform and this book had brought the information together in an entertaining manner. The ease of setup, productivity and effectiveness of the tools presented are great.

You will not find a better guide on how to start building SaaS on the Cloud. I only wish this was taught when I was in my undergraduate program. Buy it!
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on November 29, 2013
I have done CS169.1 and CS169.2 and this book has been a practical bible for any software engineer who wants to have hands-on development experience in SAAS with many of Agile concepts. This book is a reference to some of the important TDD/BDD concepts which is relevant for software development whether it is a cloud based service or on-prem software/device software. Though this book uses Ruby on Rails as a software development environment, the learnings from this book can be applied to any other development environment/language. SOLID and SOFA concepts are excellent and I would strongly recommend this for engineers who are starting their career in software and for engineers who have done software development through Waterfall model. Prof. Fox and Prof. Patterson did an amazing job in coursersa on this course and I apply many of the concepts from this course in everyday software development.
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on June 10, 2012
Taking the SaaS on coursera, I tried to follow the SaaS class without buying this book. It went on well in the first week. But soon I found out that I spent much time google stuff in order to do the homework. When it comes to Rail it became unbearable, I felt totally at loss although I watch all the video, read all the sample code and thread in the forum.
After buying the book I can do the homework finally.
The book is very important to understand the class, I can't say it is necessary, actually. But you probably will spend much more time on google and wander around among other sources like I did, if you don't buy it.
The class is very good and the book is specifically designed for the class. Personally, I like this book because it is not wordy at all, unlike many other textbooks, it's quite SICP styled. Concise but not confusing.

If not take the class probably there are other better choices, I don't know for sure. the price is great after all.
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on March 8, 2013
This book is deeply flawed, yet still outstanding book! It gives you an excellent high-level perspective of software state-of-the-art. But it is very unsatisfying to read--kinda like having to eat your broccoli. Why? Because from cover to cover it's a data dump! You read and read and read until the cows come home and your eyes glaze over, while writing almost NO CODE! I'd say it shows how NOT to write a software book.
So why the 4 stars? Because in my experience it is almost unique in the broad perspective it provides. If you don't read this book, likely there will be many gaps in your understanding of how the countless pieces of software come-together.
So what's an aspiring software titan to do? Use it like an encyclopedia. Gain the broad perspective it provides, then use other resources to dive deep into the area you want to specialize in.
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on April 19, 2012
I also bought the book while taking the online class.
It is perfect in that context: detailed instructions are included; videos and sample code are just a click away.

I see two issues: one is easily fixable and the other is beyond authors' control.
The first problem is with the title. It does not tell enough about the book intention and the audience.
As a result, people might buy it as a cheaper alternative to other books and complaint that their expectations are not met.

More importantly, this is a new approach to the information dissemination.
The authors introduced a whole ecosystem for the book, including videos, external references, sample code.
This is still in its infancy, and some of the techniques would need time to mature.
And I would like to thank Armando and David for their efforts.
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on March 28, 2013
First of all, take into consideration that, until this point, I've only read the first 8 chapters.
I bought this book in order to make my learning experience with SaaS I from edX as pleasant as possible.

After finishing the course, my opinion is that taking it without this book is not effective, you won't learn much unless you already have a good experience with some of the tools/concepts (in which case, the course is useless); so, the book fills this role in perfection.

If you are thinking of buying it in order to use it as standalone learning material: I'd advise you not to do it; most concepts are equally available freely (and are easy to find) in the internet, what makes the book really useful are the code snippets for the ones who feel lost getting everything up from scratch.
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on April 13, 2012
I found this book very useful, as well as SaaS class by Armando Fox and David Patterson (which could be found at Coursera). It gives broad review on how to plan, create and test web applications with Ruby on Rails.

ELLS is a good accompanion book for Berkeley class on SaaS and, actually, it's better to read it beyond just watch lectures from this class. For me the most interesting was the part on Behavior Driven Development and Test Driven Development. Concept of SMART user stories is presented very clearly and this chapters also give the taste of Cucumber, Capybara, RSpec and some other tools and concepts in web applications testing.

Great work! Waiting for next versions of the book)
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on February 3, 2013
This book is a companion to the online class "Saas" (software as a service). The foreword says "This book is an opinionated path through the bewildering array of methodologies, languages, tools, and artifact types that collectively make up 'software engineering', " I don't mind opinionated, but there is no attempt to address the bewildering aspects of these subjects. Unfortunately, there are not many alternatives to the book. The subject of Ruby on Rails does not have a lot of publications that make an effort to explain and organize the bewildering pieces of the framework with clear, workable examples. Hopefully these will be forthcoming.
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