Microsoft Silverlight 5 and Windows Azure Enterprise Integration
Microsoft Silverlight 5 and Windows Azure Enterprise Integration
Microsoft Silverlight 5 and Windows Azure Enterprise Integration
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Price: $53.53 FREE for Members
Type: eBook
Publisher: Packt Publishing
Page Count: 304
Format: epub
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1849683123
ISBN-13: 9781849683128
User Rating: 4.3333 out of 5 Stars! (3 Votes)

Microsoft Silverlight 5 and Windows Azure Enterprise Integration free

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| 4 out of 5 Stars!

I found the book very useful to start using Azure.
It gives a very good list of required components and tools and where to get them from.
It also has a good review of Azure features and how to use them from Silverlight.
What I missed, is more material about how to deploy and update the projects on the cloud, there are only a few pages about this, and only from Visual Studio.
Also nothing was said about the old and new Azure portals and how to use them, which I think could save time for the beginner.

| 4 out of 5 Stars!

Late last year I was looking for information on Silverlight and Windows Azure and came across a RAW (preview) eBook named Microsoft Silverlight 4 and Windows Azure Enterprise Integration written by David Burela. The eBook looked to be just what I needed so I bought it and found it to be helpful. David has now finished the book which Packt has released as Microsoft Silverlight 5 and Windows Azure Enterprise Integration.

There are a lot of books that go deep into Windows Azure technology, such as my Microsoft Windows Azure Development Cookbook. Going forward I think we will see more books like David's that show how to integrate Windows Azure with other technologies such as, in this case, Silverlight. The book is targeted at Silverlight developers who want to use Windows Azure to provide back-end services such as scalable storage with the Windows Azure Storage Service and relational storage in SQL Azure.

The primary issue with using client-side technologies to access data stored in Windows Azure is authentication. Both the Windows Azure Storage Service and SQL Azure require that the caller be authenticated using either an authentication token or a password. It is not safe to expose these credentials in client-side code where they could be accessed by a malicious user. This book primarily focuses on how to use Windows Azure compute services to proxy access to secured Windows Azure features from Silverlight.

The book begins with a chapter describing how to get started with Silverlight and Windows Azure and provides information on additional tools that can facilitate development. The next chapter provides an overview of Windows Azure. Chapter 3 brings the introductory material to a conclusion by showing how to host a Silverlight application in Windows Azure.

The book continues with a sequence of chapters describing the queue, blob and table features of the Windows Azure Storage Service. Each chapter describes the feature and then provides a fully worked out sample showing how to access it from Silverlight. Several chapters provide various ways to access SQL Azure data from Silverlight and, again, come with fully worked out samples. Techniques covered include Entity Framework, RIA Services and OData. Finally the book closes with a few chapters discussing: how to scale-out the Windows Azure service (CQRS); authentication; and the Windows Azure Caching Service.

The coverage of Windows Azure is not as detailed as would be found in a book focused exclusively on Windows Azure. However, I like that the book provides a convenient reference for various ways of accessing secured Windows Azure resources from Silverlight. Indeed, the techniques are general enough to be applicable to any client accessing secured Windows Azure resources.

(Full disclosure) Packt asked if I would be willing to review the book on my blog and provided an eBook to allow me to do so. However, as I pointed out earlier, I actually bought my own copy of the book last year. You can never have too many copies of an eBook.

| 5 out of 5 Stars!

I think this book is an outstanding read and resource for developers and architects who are getting started with Windows Azure and what is involved in building cloud-based solutions. It does a great job of covering most of the capabilities exposed by the Windows Azure platform, and tying them into a Silverlight application context through the samples presented throughout the chapters. You do not have to be a Silverlight client developer to benefit from this book - any .NET developer who wants to start building applications leveraging the Windows Azure cloud can start with this book to get a great sense of what the individual features of Windows Azure are and how they can tie into either a web-based front end client like Silverlight or ASP.NET or even how to tie them in with back-end services that support something like a WPF or Metro client app (even though those are not explicitly covered in the book).

I won't do a chapter-by-chapter break down of the book, a quick look at the TOC will give a good sense of what is covered. One of the main downsides to this book I think is the title. It is less about Silverlight than it is about Windows Azure (and as mentioned, you definitely don't need to be a Silverlight developer to get a lot out of the book if you are new to Azure), and the "Enterprise Integration" part of the title is kind of vague and misleading. The "integration" part is one of the strong aspects of the book, it does a good job of first educating you on what each of the Windows Azure services is, and then shows how to build applications that leverage one or more of those services in an integrated fashion.

You are not going to learn how to build Silverlight applications from this book, or even become an expert in Windows Azure. Each feature of Azure really needs a book unto itself to achieve expert level knowledge in it. But this book is great for building the big picture of what each Windows Azure capability is, what it does for your architecture, how to use it from a basics perspective, and also how to tie it in with other Azure services and your application architecture.

Some of the things you get expose to in the book are:

- How to get your development environment set up to do Azure development, as well as a good survey of related and useful tools for building Silverlight and web client application on Azure

- A good survey of all the Windows Azure features

- How to get web client and Silverlight client applications and services hosted in Windows Azure web roles

- Working with Azure queues, blob storage, and tables

- Working with SQL Azure, Entity Framework, WCF RIA Services, and OData (very light coverage on the latter three, but enough to see how they fit into an Azure deployment scenario on top of SQL Azure)

- Basics of securing your Azure hosted applications

- Scaling and using AppFabric Cache

Bottom line, think it is definitely a good read for someone wanting to get their hands dirty for the first time doing some cloud Azure development, especially (but not only) if you are a Silverlight developer.

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