My Book reviews /

Host Your Web Site In The Cloud: Amazon Web Services Made Easy: Amazon EC2 Made Easy

Title Host Your Web Site In The Cloud: Amazon Web Services Made Easy: Amazon EC2 Made Easy
Authors Jeff Barr
Publisher SitePoint
Date 2010-09-28
Pages 300
ISBN 0980576830

I bought this book because I thought it is about web site building. There are many frameworks that facilitate this process and I like reading books about them. But this book is not about web site building, despite what the title says. So, I totally agree with one Amazon reviewer who mentioned that the title is misleading.

So what is this book about? It is about Amazon web services. It is a good introductory book, with each service explained in a great detali: how to set it up, how much it will cost, how to start using it. There are lots of examples written in PHP, and they are easy to follow. So, in general it is a rather useful book if you want to learn how to build web apps. The problem is that nobody is actually building the apps the way this book teaches. The code snipptets in this book use some low-level API. It is a good way to demonstrate all the features of Amazon web services, but when it comes to building a web app, it is more about architecting the app, picking the right libraries and frameworks, etc. I have not investigated this question, but I am pretty sure there are dozens of higher-level libraries for AWS that make building apps a whole lot easier than this book explains. For example, nobody is going to code a data input form by using pure HTML/PHP these days. In modern frameworks such as Drupal and Django people only have to provide data model, and the framework takes care of the rest, i.e. how to input data according to the model, how to present it to the user.

Still, this book is probably a good start for people who contemplate buidling web apps. I know there are many people who succsefully migrated their web sites from traditional hosting companies to more flexible Amazon cloud hosting. Even though the book does not explain how to do this, it exaplains how the basic blocks work, and then it is only the matter of connecting the dots.