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Building web applications with Visual Studio 2017 : using .NET core and modern JavaScript frameworks
Japikse P., Grossnicklaus K., Dewey B., Apress, New York, NY, 2017. 393 pp.  Type: Book
Date Reviewed: May 4 2018

In recent times, the .NET ecosystem has witnessed a rapid transformation in many services it offers. It includes a completely rewritten Entity Framework Core that is designed not only to support multiple platforms, but also to offer features such as nonrelational data stores and in-memory databases. At the same time, the popularity of the JavaScript framework has grown exponentially. This book provides the latest knowledge concerning these two aspects of web development.

The purpose of this book is twofold: first, to update a .NET developer with the features of Visual Studio 2017 and .NET Core. It also includes an in-depth introduction to Entity Framework Core and Core MVC services. The second purpose of the book is to cover JavaScript frameworks, TypeScript, and some client-side build tools.

The book encapsulates the vast experience of the authors. The authors list out many interesting, small but subtle details that are immensely relevant for beginners. Their attention to nitty-gritty details is commendable.

Part 1 starts with an introduction to Entity Framework (EF) Core. The authors take an example application of SpyStore and build an end-to-end data access layer starting from scratch. The authors describe each step in fine detail with screenshots and source code so that even the most novice reader can follow the steps. The theoretical aspects of creating a database such as navigation mechanisms (primary and foreign keys) are covered, and their representation in the source code is shown. The essentials of EF Core such as migrations and create, read, update, and delete (CRUD) operations are well covered.

After the foundation of the SpyStore application has been built using EF Core services, the authors discuss MVC Core services and web applications that utilize the database. Essential concepts such as the anatomy of an MVC project and files as well as building controllers in the MVC application are elaborated. The authors also discuss aspects concerning bundling the application.

The second part of the book is dedicated to client-side tools and JavaScript frameworks. The authors introduce Node.js and NPM. They reveal the need for a tool such as Bower by showing the shortcomings of NPM when it comes to maintaining client-side dependencies. The authors provide an overview of TypeScript: it is a relatively easier way for a C# developer to work with JavaScript. Plus, TypeScript allows developers to use ECMAScript features that are not yet supported by modern browsers. The introduction to Angular 2 and React includes coverage of topics such as application initialization, templates and binding, and routing. An appreciable aspect to mention is that the authors discuss various JavaScript frameworks and client-side build tools in the context of Visual Studio: it is vital for a beginner to use the frameworks within the Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE).

The authors do provide links for further reading; however, a compilation of further reading in the form of an appendix would have added more value to the book.

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Reviewer:  Tushar Sharma Review #: CR146019 (1807-0368)
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