Monday, January 28, 2013

Review: Programming ASP.NET MVC 4 by Jess Chadwick, Todd Snyder, and Hrusikesh Panda

Programming ASP.NET MVC 4

This one took me a long time to get through and I didn't even read it all that deeply. Unlike the other O’Reilly books I've read recently, this one is HUGE. It seems like O’Reilly has two types of books: giant 500 page reference tomes, and focused technology pancakes between 50 and 150 pages.  I think I prefer the pancakes.  They’re easier to read and they are more likely to address what you purchase them for.  On the other hand, there can be a lot of repetition: if you've read their JavaScript books you know what I mean. 

I wanted to review this book (and full disclosure: I got the ebook for free from O’Reilly), because I’m looking to learn the new MVC 4 features, having used MVC 3 for a little over a year.  This book was OK for that goal but there was a good bit that I already knew.  Luckily, there is a section that addresses what is new and provides a link to the appropriate chapters.  Those chapters were good, but tended to be rather basic, and not all that much better than what could be gleaned from the web.  Having said this, I've also skimmed ASP.NET MVC 4 in Action and I think Programming MVC 4 covers the new material better and in a way better integrated into the text.
I think this book would be great for a beginner who is approaching ASP.NET MVC [#] for the first time.  The introductory chapters are great and the reference application is nice (the feel is very similar to Pro ASP.NET MVC 3 Framework—which I used to learn MVC last year—though I haven’t read the latest version that one).  The book explains the ‘theory’ behind the framework well.

I liked the chapter “Client-Side Optimization Techniques”: it is basically the Cliff Notes of High Performance Web Sites, with specific applications to the .NET platform.  The “Parallel, Asynchronous, and Real-Time Data Operations” was surprisingly thorough, covering the subjects better than other MVC books I've looked into.

In summary, I think this book would be perfect for a beginner wanting to get a complete picture of MVC 4 and who already knows the .NET framework and C#.  It would give them a good foundation for digging deeper into subjects that are important to them, though they would probably need to look elsewhere for that depth.  For those of us looking for the new version 4 stuff only, it probably isn’t worth it unless you like reading and owning big giant books.
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