I recently had the opportunity to review Microsoft Azure Development Cookbook Second Edition, by Packt Publishing (@packtpub). I’m relatively new to development with Azure, and because it’s such a hot topic, I wanted to learn more. I follow some blogs and magazines about Azure and I know for sure that it is a vast subject.
I think that authors have done a good job on the book. As its title states, it is a book of recipes, and they are organized into 8 chapters:
Chapter 1: Developing Cloud Services for Microsoft Azure is an introduction to using Visual Studio to implement Azure solutions. It covers what we would expect from such a chapter, from regular Visual Studio and Azure Emulator configuration, to setting up SSL certificates and using roles.
Chapter 2: Deploying Quickly with Azure Websites is about websites, deploying contents with Git and TFS and using other technologies (Java, PHP).
Chapter 3: Getting Storage with Blobs in Azure talks about the Blob Storage service, how to control access to it, set properties, manage contents and replicate them with Azure Content Delivery Network.
Chapter 4: Going Relational with the Azure SQL Database is about Azure’s relational database. It starts from creating databases and configuring accesses to it (authentication, firewalls), then goes into development with .NET technologies (ADO.NET and Entity Framework) as well as PHP and Java, proceeds to backup and restore and ends with monitoring.
Chapter 5: Going NoSQL with Azure Tables presents a number of recipes for dealing with Azure’s schemaless pre-DocumentDB service. It first explains how to create tables, moves to transactions, paging, segmented queries and continuation tokens and then talks about events and optimizing results by using projections.
Chapter 6: Messaging and Queues with the Storage and Service Bus presents asynchronous messaging using Azure queues and Service Bus. An example of how to put Java and .NET talking together is put together.
Chapter 7: Managing Azure Resources with the Azure Management Libraries is about programmatic configuration of Azure. The chapter discusses how we can do common management tasks using the Azure API. It covers mostly .NET APIs, PowerShell is mentioned only briefly, which is a bit of a shame.
Chapter 8: Going In-memory with Azure Cache presents the Azure Cache facilities, including Redis. It starts from configuring cache options and notifications, goes on to explaining how we can troubleshoot some problems and optimize its performance and ends with more advanced features and the Redis cache.
This is a book for .NET developers with minimum knowledge of Azure, although experienced users may find something for them as well. It was a nice read, with good coverage of some of the most important features of Azure. Unfortunately, because Azure is moving so fast, the book does not cover some of the latest features, such as DocumentDB, Media Services, Streaming Analytics or WebJobs. Also, I think PowerShell should have deserved more coverage, because it has become somewhat of an ubiquitous language for managing Microsoft environments, but overall I think it is a welcome addition to the Azure bookshelf.