I’ve been catching up on some reading and research lately. The blogs, articles, and books just seem to pile up, don’t they? The latest book I knocked off my reading list is Pro ADO.NET Data Services. I was really excited to read this book given my interest in Astoria (yes, I know its ADO.NET Data Services, but I like calling it Astoria still). In fact, I wrote an entire chapter in my book on a subset of Astoria … specifically in how it works with Silverlight 2. I was pretty thrilled to be able to read a book that dives into Astoria over the course of 300 pages.
The book starts off with a very good discussion of RESTful services and Astoria. The foundations are laid out quite well and I highly recommend reading this material even as a refresher. Chapters 1 and 2 are excellent at describing the fundamentals.
Chapter 3 has a lot of good material and topics, however I found it laid out in a very confusing manner. It just did not flow well for me. But I do stress that it is worth reading as there is a lot of good material in it. Still a very good chapter. One specific topic I liked was the discussion of the $value command. I admit, I was unaware of that (always nice to learn something new!)
Chapter 4 covers WCF services and APIs with Astoria. More good material here.
The remaining chapters lost a lot of steam for me. They cover the role of Astoria with AJAX, Mashups, Silverlight and BizTalk. The information is OK, but the flow and the coverage of the topics just seemed haphazard to me. Again, let me be clear …. it i all GOOD material but I found myself scratching my head on where we were going next.I also would have liked to have seen some full examples of building applications with Astoria to tie together a lot of the earlier topics.
One disclaimer … I did not read the chapter on BizTalk so my review has nothing to do with that chapter. I 'can’t comment one way or the other on it.
Chapter 9 sums up with a nice discussion of the future of Astoria.
The book started out very strong for me (5/5 stars) and covered a lot of the basics of Astoria, but the flow and minimal coverage on some topics made me less content with the second half of the book. Ultimately, I do recommend buying this book if you want to learn Astoria. I rate this book with 3.5/5 stars.