Thursday, May 23, 2013

Book Review: Learning Play Framework!

This is the book review of learning play framework2 by Andy Petrella.
The book focuses on scala based development on play framework. While the
book focuses on existing users of play, it gives a fast paced
introduction to scala and the level of complexity of the book is
slightly above the developer documentation, but not all the way high up
for serious deployment. There is a chapter for the uninitiated in scala,
which I feel is redundant as a section alone will do, given the
proliferation scala has made in java community. Also, it is easy to get
lost while following the samples, so I'd recommend that you keep the
sample questions handy while using this book.

The book starts with setup of play and a bit about its ecosystem, which is redundant. Next, it gives a fast-paced review of scala(it is not complete and I'd recommend the freely available 'scala for the impatient' book as a learning point). The book then demonstrates scala based templating mechanism in play and also plays with css configuration using LESS. It then delves into data management where data related views and routes are explained. This chapter also provides with the changes made in scala 2.1.1 and provides information about ebeans. The next couple of chapters  cover some of the exciting new features that were not present earlier and it deals with multipart content types as well as realtime client interactions through websocket.
A chat application is demonstrated and usage of Akka is shown to create non blocking multi-threaded access for clients, which is quite neat.

Interacting with web services is dealt next with a twitter integration into an existing web application is displayed. and the book caps off with chapters on testing and deployment. While testing is a chapter that I feel should have come before to further bring the TDD into development, the deployment chapter is totally updated. I was expecting to see the likes of jenkins and metrics tool in CI deployment, but there was various cloud vendors and their offerings that were waiting to be demonstrated.
Overall, this book is a great book to start with Play Framework2 and also does not disappoints with the ecosystem surrounding play.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book through Packt Publishing.
You can check out more about the book via

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