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December 01, 2014

Review: Redis Applied Design Patterns

Redis is one of the most popular NoSQL databases, and for good reason. Even though you wouldn't want to use it as your primary datastore, Redis is a high-performance complement for caching frequently used data and running certain types of calculations such as leaderboards. I'm far from a master of Redis, but my presentations about Redis are some of my most popular online content, getting thousands of views every month.

In the Packt Publishing book, Redis Applied Design Patterns, author Arun Chinnachamy provides a concise guide to Redis for experienced developers wondering what Redis can do for them. The book opens with a crash-course 3-chapter primer on NoSQL for those coming from a background in relational databases. After that, the rest of the book focuses features unique to REDIS within the context of application use cases such as caching and auto-suggest features.

The initial chapters feel a bit rushed and amateur, featuring statements like this one that are likely to provoke anger or amusement in experienced developers (bold emphasis mine):

The main advantage of NoSQL is that there is no concept of normalization. This is the reason why you get more performance from a NoSQL database when seen against a normalized SQL database. There is a trade-off in that you are sacrificing data consistency in the NoSQL database, but the benefits achieved in doing so are higher.

Despite that, I'm still a fan of having a central point of reference for each major technology that I employ in my stack, which is one of the main reasons why I maintain that my Rails Way series is still valuable after all these years. Otherwise you're reduced to bouncing around a myriad of online sources, an effort that can be frustrating and overly time consuming. This case is no different, the Packt book is a good central point of reference to Redis, although I would advise ignoring the more subjective parts of the book and making use of it purely as a reference tool.

Overall the author employs a concise, direct style that makes it easy to read and digest. It is also chock full of pointers to external resources, making it a good all-around guide to have around when working with Redis on a day-to-day basis. It's only $11 for the ebook version, which makes it easy to recommend.

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