Professional ASP.NET MVC 4 Paperback – Oct 2 2012
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From the Back Cover
An updated guide to ASP.NET MVC 4 from an author dream team
Learn ASP.NET MVC 4, a cutting-edge web framework, from Microsoft insiders and respected software development community leaders. After a brief introduction to the ASP.NET MVC framework, the authors dive straight into all the important information you need to build dynamic, data-driven websites with ASP.NET and the newest release of Microsoft's Model-View-Controller technology. Featuring step-by-step guidance and numerous code examples, this book guides you from basics to advanced topics.
Professional ASP.NET MVC 4:
Explains how the ASP.NET MVC framework differs from other "file per page" web frameworks
Covers controllers, views, models, forms and HTML helpers, data annotations and validation, membership, authorization, security, and routing
Highlights essential topics such as Ajax and jQuery, NuGet, dependency injection, unit testing, extending MVC, and Razor
Puts everything in context with a case study of a real-world, high-volume ASP.NET MVC site: the NuGet Gallery
Includes additional real-world coverage requested by readers of the previous edition
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About the Author
Jon Galloway works at Microsoft as a Community Program Manager. He wrote the MVC Music Store tutorial and helps manage ASP.NET site content.
Phil Haack is a developer at GitHub, a developer website used by more than a million programmers.
Brad Wilson is a developer on the ASP.NET team and has been a professional software developer for nearly 20 years.
K. Scott Allen is the founder of OdeToCode LLC. He provides custom development, consulting, and mentoring services for clients around the world.
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A good book, always introduces to the reader the path that led to the current state of affairs. In Chapter 1, GHWA takes the reader through an accelerated journey from MVC 1 through the current version, MVC 4. Along, the way GHWA addresses what has changed from version to version. Also in this Chapter, how to get started is explained as well as some helpful hints about Unit Testing. JQuery Mobile's is introduced as well. Compared to other books, I appreciated the fact that the introduction was brief and to the point.
The next couple of chapters go over Controller's, Views, and Models. One minor gripe I have is the fact that these chapters felt like the material was rushed to be presented. It was like being in college and the professor was providing information after information and leaving one to study for the rest of the week. However I can understand that if one has followed the MVC journey, most of the information has been covered numerous times.
Chapter 7 by Galloway, goes into Membership, Authorization, and Security. I skimmed through the first half of the chapter and read in detail about the security portion. Galloway titles this section, "Understanding the Security Vectors in a Web Application." He talks about the threats and ways to mitigate them.
The chapter on Ajax, Chapter 8, was a treat for me. Allen did an excellent job going AJAX in MVC 4. Since the core of AJAX support comes from JQuery, Allen does a quick example of JQuery syntax, selectors and events. He then goes on how to use it within your application.
Overall I spent about a day and a half reading and studying this book and I loved every moment. I feel more secure in my attempt to use MVC 4 without hesitation. I recommend this book.
The good: Overview of Models, Controllers, and Views provide a nice foundation. The Ajax chapter is Ok, but should focus more on JQuery Ajax which is becoming more of an industry standard vs. Ajax helpers. Validation chapter provides a decent reference.
The bad and the ugly: The routing chapter is not very well written.The Membership/Security chapter is almost useless. It doesn't even mention setting up the database to use the .net membership framework, which is still required. If you need to actually implement security on your website, this book will not help you.
The mobile section is also worthless. It barely mentions the capabilities of JQuery mobile which is a big part of MVC 4.
I gave it three stars because the book is a nice start. It really should get 2 1/2 because you should be able to write a site from start to finish with a good book. Without Security and Mobile, it isn't realistic with this book alone.
The introduction says this book is for beginners but realistically, that's not the case. I've been programming for several years in ASP Classic and ASP.NET MVC is a major shift in comparison. To me, this book often feels as though it's written for an experienced programmer that's coming from using recent iterations of ASP.NET as well as Entity Framework.
This book tends to cover things in small fragments which means you don't get to see the code as it looks in the bigger picture. It's true that the way you program in ASP.NET MVC tends to be lots of small files and small classes, like a puzzle with many pieces. But the code examples in this book basically never show you the whole file.
This is not a step-by-step guide, or learn by example book. In several early chapters you are led to believe that you might be building an application from beginning to end. But that simply isn't the case.
Just like almost all the books and tutorials I found on ASP.NET MVC, this book uses a built-in Application Template as well as Scaffolding Templates for views (chapter 4). This allows for a shorter book but leaves the beginner feeling confused about how to build things from the ground up. My experience has taught me to be skeptical of wizards, default templates, etc., and so far my experience following this book and other tutorials has proved my skepticism to be accurate. It could be argued that templates allow you to quickly build something that works and then from there you can reverse engineer (or simply deduce) enough to build your own. I personally don't find this approach to work for me.
Chapter 4 on Models is probably one of the most important chapters for beginners and it's far too brief and also too abstract. There are no examples of splitting your models up into Data Models, View Models, and Input Models. They use Entity Framework but are really brief on this so you really need to have experience with Entity Framework Code First, which brings me to something else. I'm not a fan of pure Code First. I don't mind the Code part but I prefer to design my own database and then mark up my Data Models with Attributes to coincide with my database (or use the Fluent API to configure). The idea of having my code create (and recreate) my database as well as seed it with data just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. It works wonderful in books, tutorials, and examples where you don't want to have to go to all the work of creating a database and seeding it. However, this isn't true to life. It's very impractical when it comes to websites and web applications. And it simply leaves the beginner confused. I believe a Code First-Database First hybrid approach is the best. This book uses pure Code First.
Chapter 9 on Routing is very necessary because default routing probably won't be good enough for you, specifically if you care about things like SEO friendly URL's, removing unnecessary "Actions" for read only controllers, etc. But I ended up learning how to do routing from other resources. Only after I learned it elsewhere could I come back to this book and make any sense out it. In a step-by-step example style book there are many topics from chapter nine that likely would have occurred early in the book.
Chapters 10 to 16 are quite advanced and seemed to barely fit in with the topics covered in this book. These chapters cover things like NuGet, the new ASP.Net Web API, Dependency Injection, Unit Testing, Extending default MVC classes, and so-called "Advanced Topics" (like Mobile Development, huh?). I would have preferred to see these topics moved to a different book. Then there would have been room to cover the beginner and core topics better, with more complete examples and perhaps a step-by-step application example.
I have little to say about Chapters 6 thru 8 because I haven't got to them yet. At this point I've almost lost hope that they will be complete enough for me to make sense out of. If my views and opinions change I'll come back and update my review.
I believe the authors' attempts to be brief and to cover so many topics resulted in a severe compromise. The book ends up being confusing more than anything else.
So which book should you buy? I haven't yet found a truly good ASP.NET MVC book yet, especially not for beginners. I've pre-ordered a new book by APress due in January 2013. It's an update of an earlier version that didn't get very good reviews, apparently because a lot of mistakes in the sample code.
It turns out that this book misses a lot as well. None of the examples were completely documented (I hand wrote in fixes to mistakes or undocumented dependancy stuff). I still cannot get the JQuery UI example to work. I have been developing with ASP.net for a while now and thought I could handle this book, but I am going to move back to "Pro Asp.net MVC 3 Framework" by Apress. The examples are easier to understand and actually take you Step-by-step through them where as this book makes pitiful attempts to walk you through their half-ass examples.
Do not buy this book if you aren't already very familar with ASP.NET MVC.
I think there is good information in the book but I was hoping for a different way of presenting it.