Book of the Day: Discover Meteor

 Book of the Day: Discover Meteor

by Tom Coleman & Sacha Greif

 The Long Introduction

Back in June, I wrote a quick blurb about using Express.js and Node.js as a prototyping medium for web apps and data architecture. I quickly received a handful of tweets saying: “Yes, but why don’t you use Meteor?”.

My curiosity was piqued and as I had no experience with Meteor, I decided to do a little exploring.

Meteor is an ultra-simple environment for building modern websites. What once took weeks, even with the best tools, now takes hours with Meteor.

— Meteor Docs

The documentation is a great place to start. However learning a new framework through it’s docs is not always the quickest path for getting started. Not to mention that the challenge often increases proportionally to the youth of the framework because of the lack of readily available resources and answers online.

Unless it’s for the purpose of doing it better, I don’t like wasting time solving problems that others have already solved. I also appreciate learning about pitfalls before I encounter them and knowing best practices from the beginning. This allows me to make informed decisions later when I choose to deviate from the beaten path.

With that in mind I went looking for a Meteor book. I found

Discover Meteor and

Getting Started with Meteor.js JavaScript Framework.

After reading the samples chapters available for both books, I decided to go with the first book. It also helps that the book has gotten some rave reviews from the founder of Meteor, Matt Debergalis as well as Alex Young from [dailyjs.com](dailyjs.com).

 The book

Discover Meteor: Building real-time JavaScript Web Applications is a great introduction to the world of real-time JavaScript web application development with Meteor. It aims to make learning Meteor easy in the same way that Meteor aims to make developing a real-time JavaScript web application easy.

Discover Meteor is written as a tutorial. It walks through the process of building a real-time JavaScript web application — a Hacker News clone. Each chapter starts with a short list of objectives and progresses through adding a new feature to the web application. It’s a really nice touch that all of the code examples are available online via Github and are linked to a live demo of the app at the stage you are currently working on. Along the way the authors take the time to explain the magic — the abstractions that make everything a little bit easier.

The development of Meteor is actively progressing and as a result it’s easy for a book about it to quickly be behind the times. Luckily, Tom and Sacha are active in the Meteor community and keep the contents in the book up-to-date with the development of Meteor and its ecosystem (at no additional cost to purchasers thus far).

My only real complaint with the book is the brevity of the coverage of the testing and the process of deploying a JavaScript web application as getting these processes setup can be a time consuming process.

The Verdict

I can confidently echo this praise from the Meteor website: This book is one of the gems of the Meteor community and widely agreed to be the best way to learn Meteor.

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