Reviewing “Microsoft Windows Azure Development Cookbook” by Neil Mackenzie


A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from Packt Publishing to help on reviewing a book entitiled “Microsoft Windows Azure Development Cookbook” by one of Windows Azure MVP, Neil Mackenzie.

Although never meets Neil face-to-face, I know that Neil is one of the very active contributor in MSDN Forum. Neil is also a great blogger that could be able to share his knowledge comprehensively.


This review is written upon request of the publisher without any incentive provided. It is purely based on my personal opinion: input, suggestion, and recommendation for positive / better improvement. Not meant to criticize, insult, or disrespect any relevant parties including the writer, publisher, editors, or anyone else. You may disagree with my opinions as there is no right or wrong in this case.

Relevant parties including writer, publisher, or editors may consider the following review as reference or suggestion. However, it is eventually up to them to decide how do they want to proceed in future edition.


And here’re the review…

What I like about this book

1. Clear explanation on each walkthrough

Having done explaining the concept of each topic, the book includes the “how to do it” section which guide step-by-step how to achieve the goal and “how it works” which explain how it actually works under the hood.

I would believe reader with Visual Studio could easily follow the walkthrough.

2. This book covers deep topics

This book covers deep enough topics which may not easily found on other book or event web resources. They are such as:

  • Managing Blob Access Policy with Shared Access Signature
  • Optimizing Blob Upload and Download
  • Performing Asynchronous and Parallel Queries
  • Choosing Partition Key and Row Key on Windows Azure Tables
  • Using Service Management API

3. Clear Warning and Tips-and-Tricks Provided

Along the chapters, there’re some warning and tips-and-tricks to provide reader to digest the information better and in more detail. I would say this is very useful approach.

How it could be improved

1. Start with Introduction

This book straight away jump into the topic of “Controlling Access in the Windows Azure Platform” without any introduction.

I am aware that it is clearly written (on the preface) that this book is for experienced Windows Azure developer or architect. However, I would prefer to always start something with a clear introduction or big picture what’s the topic that we will be covering in the rest of the chapter.

This may includes things such as:

  • Brief introduction about cloud computing
  • Brief history on Windows Azure (starting from old-days of Red Dog project)
  • Windows Azure Platform Building Blocks (each component of Windows Azure Platform including Windows Azure, SQL Azure, and Windows Azure AppFabric)

2. Provide Explanation with IMAGES

I completely understand that in writing a book, images are supposed to be included only where necessary. Unlike hands-on-lab or training kit like Windows Azure Platform Training Kit, where every steps are followed by very detail of screenshot.

However, I just find that this book really lack of images. The only image that I found in the book is at the cover Winking smile, please correct me if I am wrong.

I am not saying that it must include bunch of images on each topic or walkthrough-steps. But (Images + explanation) would be a great combination to enable people comprehend more easily on the subject. Something like this may probably bring more sense for the readers.

building block

3. Suggested Topics

As stated clearly that this book is meant for experience developer or architect, I would suggest to also include topic such as:

  • Inside Windows Azure:
    • covering the under-the-hood view of Windows Azure.
    • Mark Russinovich has done bunch of great talk at: TechEd, PDC, and BUILD. It may be used for references
  • Windows Azure AppFabric Access Control Service (ACS)
    • I notice that Chapter 9 which covers about AppFabric did not explain ACS in detail.
  • The future of Windows Azure, that covers upcoming / CTP / beta technologies:
    • SQL Azure Data Sync
    • SQL Azure Reporting
    • AppFabric Service Bus Messaging: Topics and Queues
    • Windows Azure Traffic Manager
    • etc.



As conclusion, I would say that Neil has done a great job on this book. He’s indeed very knowledgeable on the subject. Thus, I would recommend you to check out the book Smile.

Microsoft Windows Azure Development Cookbook


I hope this short review is useful for any relevant parties including writer, publisher, editors, or readers.

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1 Response to Reviewing “Microsoft Windows Azure Development Cookbook” by Neil Mackenzie

  1. Pingback: Singapore MVP reviews “Microsoft Windows Azure Development Cookbook” « SEA MVPs Blog-A-Holic

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