Thursday, April 04, 2013

Instant Lift web application how to (PACKT-PUB book) review

I would categorize myself as advanced beginner as I know about liftweb/scala and have built applications for my company. I am not a advanced user and not an expert who has gone through the source of the liftweb. I state this because this allows you to gauge my level before deciding to buy the book. I rate the book as excellent for a beginner. The book starts with advantage of liftweb, setting up scala, setting up sbt along with using sbt basics, setting up eclipse environment, boot.scala and so on and on. The author intends the book for a beginner as he even explains for example what is a servlet container, and how JNDI works. Lift snippets, CSS selector bindings, embed tags, sitemap, and so many more concepts are explained in simple words. Let me be honest and say that I have gone through around 70 pages of the 96 page book. I like the book as it provides a very good starting point for everyone to start learning lift. So, back to my criteria for the review:

1. It should be easily understandable for the beginners and must be useful for advanced users as quick reference.

The author is really good in explaining the concepts in very simple words. The book can be used by advanced users as quick reference like google. I would provide a score of 4/5 for this.

2. Must be more than the many available tutorials you find on the web about scala/lift technologies.

Definitely this is true since there is flow through the topics introduced and you are never overwhelmed. The author covers a lot of concepts needed to build an application E2E. 5/5.

3. Should not beat around the bush and get to the point quickly, which is develop a application using scala and liftweb.

You will be up and running in no time. 5/5

4. The most important thing would be, I should be able to build a simple yet useful application from end to end using the knowledge in the book and by expanding on it.

I did not have time to build an application based only on the knowledge in this book. But, I feel the book covers many topics that I have used in my app development. This book definitely will help to build application E2E. Always remember that a book can spoon feed you only to a certain level after which you need to pickup by reading api docs, forums etc.

5. Last but not least, it should encourage the users to proceed with using Liftweb and learn more about the awesome framework and the unique design approach taken by that framework at more depth and by themselves.

The book provides relevant links when appropriate. It is simple enough to encourage anyone scared of entering the world of liftweb. Do note that I feel it is more easy to understand the book and concepts if you are well versed in scala. 4/5

In summary, I like the book and would thank Pack Pub for giving me an opportunity to read and comment on it.