I meant to review Sriram Krishnan’s Programming Windows Azure book a few weeks ago, but I have been slacking. It wasn’t until last night, when I was halfway through my next technical book (which I will review soon), that I realized that I had neglected to do the obligatory blog post.
I’ve been working with Windows Azure since the day after the CTP Launch. I was in the Early Adopter program. I corresponded regularly via email or via the forums with various members of the Azure Team for about 8 months between December 2008 and July 2009. I’ve led three major projects in the Azure world, and at PDC last year, members of the Azure team were finally able to put a face to the name of the guy that kept asking the questions that kept them working a lot of hours. Most of them didn’t hold that against me.
I give that background because when I bought this book I didn’t think I, of all people, would get much out of it. It was going to be another trophy on my shelf, a book read, a subject I thought I knew well enough to make this what I would consider a ‘light read’.
I was in for a shock. A refreshing one. This book taught me something new, or closed a gap in my knowledge base, on just about every page. While I had worked with Windows Azure, it was in the context of delivering a specific product, and my focus was on using Windows Azure as a tool to allow the product to launch, and a lot of the details had be bypassed.
This is a great book – one of the top 3 or 4 technical books I’ve read in the past 3 years. Every developer working on Azure must read this book. Must. Nothing beats the experience of working on a new platform, but this book will sure make it easier, and teach you the benefits and the pitfalls of this environment.
The biggest downfall of this book is that Chapters 1 (Cloud Computing) and 2 (Under The Hood) will lose a lot of developers who have no interest in the internals of Azure or the history of cloud computing. These are both necessary and interesting chapters, but for the non-architect or truly technical geek, most will skim them or skip them.
Also, the scope of the book is limited to the Azure Platform itself, and it does not cover things like the AppFabric or the role of Windows Identity Foundation in Azure. I’m looking for a good book on those as well, since I have yet to deep dive into the Service Bus, and haven’t worked with WIF since it was still called Geneva.
The rest of the book is superb, and like I said, I learned something on every page. Every Azure developer should have this trophy on their shelf.