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Microsoft Windows Azure Development Cookbook Paperback – August 5, 2011
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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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Every recipe clearly states "How to Do It" and "How it Works".
Wish I'd read this last week.
The samples are clear and concise, without sacrificing important concepts. IF I had read his recipe for dealing with the counter intuitive "Append anti-pattern" I could have saved myself a couple of days of experimentation and head scratching.
Every Steps will introduce different Approach of doing same thing. This will teach you the way of coding... Excellent explanation about Azure Storage and Access Control. I am in the middle of book. I am working for cloud more that 2 years. Now working as Architect in the field of Distributing computations. Full rank to authors.
Who wants the guide for the developing windows azure apps as Web or WCF or Worker roles.. This is the highly recommended books.. Excellent.
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.
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... at least not much] Further, I thought that the pointing of the reader to external tools and libraries that were not necessarily required to solve the stated problem but add significant value to the actual solution was great (such as the library for handling connection failures when working with SQL Azure and AppFabric). It is attention to detail such as this that gives the reader confidence that the author wasn't just pounding out tasks to meet a deadline but rather was sharing solutions that he had used to solve real-world problems.
Taking a more critical view of the book, I'd mention just a few things. The first is that there are a number of key points that begin with "Note:" or something similar that have key tips that are very important to the success of the recipe however (at least in the eBook version I have) they are easily lost in the rest of the text. This is likely due to the format/structure of the book and the intention is for you to read one recipe end-to-end and be done rather than reading start to finish as I did, but I would encourage the reader to be sure to read the entire recipe text and not just copy/paste the code. Neil often uses the code to teach concepts and if you just copy the code you will miss this instruction.
My second criticism is that there are a number of places in the text where the author says something along the lines of "xyz is related to this. See the Using XYZ recipe for details". While not possible in the print copy, it would have been great in the eBook version for these to be hyperlinks to the referenced section
Being that it is a first edition, there are also a few places where there are minor errors such as task numbers not lining up exactly with the numbers used in the related "how it works" section, but in such cases it was rather easy to intuit what was being referred to and didn't detract from the book.
All told, it is a good book and I'd quickly recommend it as a reference tool for Azure developers.
In the interest of full disclosure, I was sent a copy of the book and asked to read it and post a review.