Book Review: ASP.NET MVC 1.0 Quickly

9/18/2009 10:00:00 PM

Disclosure

I was asked to review ASP.NET MVC 1.0 Quickly by Packt Publishing. I received a copy of the book for free, there is no other compensation.

ASP.NET MVC 1.0 Quickly was written by Maarten Balliauw and appears to be his first book. I applaud him for taking this leap into the book writing world, I'm sure it's really tough! Overall I think he did a good job with the book for his target audience and I hope he keeps on writing.

Impressions

If you are an entry level developer currently working on ASP.NET Webform applications, stop and find an alternative. If that alternative is ASP.NET MVC then the book ASP.NET MVC 1.0 Quickly can help you with the transition.

If you are not an entry level developer then this book is not for you.

Observations

My first impression: the cover tag-line caught my eye because it's a pet peeve of mine. "Design, develop, and test powerful and robust web applications the agile way, with MVC framework." I really dislike how frequently agile gets thrown around as a hot keyword in the development community. Also this book had next to nothing to do with agile development methodologies. However, your never supposed to judge a book by its cover :)

ASP.NET MVC 1.0 Quickly does a good job touching on most of the key topics for ASP.NET MVC. It is detailed and parts of the book can be used as a reference.

I liked the sections on mixing ASP.NET Webforms and ASP.NET MVC. This will help people with making the transition while working on legacy projects. If the politics of your job wont let you I suggest you break the rules :) The sooner you are not working in ASP.NET Webforms the better the code will be and the happier you will be.

I didn't like how the book toed the Microsoft line about the reasons you may want to use ASP.NET Webforms. Frankly, Webforms poorly model the web. If you are starting a new project you should not be using it. Whenever I read the Microsoft reasons for using ASP.NET Webforms over ASP.NET MVC I get the impression they are just trying to make their customers who have invested so much in Webforms not feel like fools.

The description of the request life-cycle should have been front and center and more detailed. Although it was one of the earlier topics discussed I think it should have been the first.

I was very disappointed to see MSTest as the testing framework of choice. I consider MSTest to be a bit of a joke actually. It causes too much hassle in a project and there are much better solutions out there. The testing section was rather weak and seeing MSTest as the testing framework the book choose left a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe VS 2010 has improved MSTest, but honestly I'll probably never try it.

The book didn't go into enough detail about the extensibility options for the MVC architecture. Specifically I would have liked ASP.NET MVC 1.0 Quickly to go into more depth with some of the other view engines that are out there. The ASP.NET MVC Webforms view engine is held back by a lot of legacy Webforms decisions and one of the first things I do on any project nowadays is setup spark.

Finale

Although I've mostly pointed out things I don't like about ASP.NET MVC 1.0 Quickly this is because it is just simpler to point out things I see wrong and I believe this helps with incremental improvement. Overall I think this is a good book for the target audience. The entry level developer trying to move from ASP.NET Webforms to ASP.NET MVC

Here is the link if your interested: AP.NET MVC 1.0 Quickly

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