Review : Write Modern Web Apps with the MEAN Stack by Jeff Dickey

I recently decided to push myself and delve into a new stack to broaden my horizons, having heard a lot from friends about how great JavaScript is and how it’s taking over the world, I decided it was finally time to get to grips with it, and an opportunity to have a play with Visual Studio Code at the same time.  I picked the MEAN stack to look into, for anyone not in the know, MEAN stands for :

  • MongoDB
  • Express
  • Angular
  • Node

Coming predominantly from a .NET background (as you may have guessed) this was obviously quite a shift.

The Book

I bought Write Modern Web Apps with the MEAN Stack by Jeff Dickey.

Mean-Stack-Book.jpg

As mentioned on a previous post, I tend to read mostly technical books (when I’m not on holiday!).  The time I set aside to read tends mostly to be on the train on my commute so I tend to shy away from books that are too heavily dependent on code to really make sense and be of any use.  I found this book to have a good mixture of a strong demo running throughout and the decision making process behind why the code is being written this way, along with architectural decisions and refactorings along the way.

Format

As seems to be the case with a number of these types of books at the moment, the demo follows the creation of a simple ‘twitter-esque’ social media site.  I read the book and have subsequently started working my way through the example code to get a fuller understanding.  I tend to learn well by reading and getting the concepts clear in my head before diving in to the code, I found this book to lend itself well to this approach.

The book covered everything I was interested in off the bat.  From initial Development Environment set up, through Development Experience with Gulp, through configuring the middleware with Express, using Bootstrap to create the UI, and databinding via Angular controllers against a MongoDB data source covering off a number of topics often overlooked during tutorials such as Authentication.

What I found particularly impressive was the fact that at all times there was a working solution which isn’t always the case, with a significant amount of refactoring to get a solution that would be more maintainable and scalable.

Summary

I’d definitely recommend the book.  It’s not that long at ~230 or so pages, which is exactly what I was looking for.  I feel as though I have a reasonable grasp of the concepts and patterns used in the MEAN stack having read it, and am hoping to further my learning in the area in the near future.

What books have you read in this space, any you would recommend?

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