Book Review: NHibernate in Action
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Published: 14 Jul 2009
Manning's NHibernate in Action is now available in stands if you want to learn about the tool. But will this book serve any purpose? Does it contain useful information? Anand examines all aspects of the book in detail and after reading it you will be in a position to judge whether or not the book will be of any worth to you.
by Anand Narayanaswamy
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Manning is famous for its branded "in Action" series of books. Their latest product NHibernate in Action is packed with plenty of useful information for .NET developers using NHibernate for their development work. The book consists of 10 chapters spread across three parts. Chapter 1 examines the concept of object and relational persistence in detail. Chapter 2 provides the complete coverage of developing a Hello World application with the help of relevant steps and source codes. Instead of a simple program, the authors have straight away used databases to illustrate the concept which I hope will be useful for advanced developers.

The chapters in part 2 examine the concept of writing and mapping classes, transactions, concurrency and caching. Moreover, the authors have provided detailed coverage of the usage of persistent objects, and advanced mapping concepts including the steps required to retrieve objects effectively.

The last part helps you to build a real world application using NHibernate and the procedure to be followed to write real world domain models. Chapter 10 examines the usage of architectural patterns including the implementation of conversations and Enterprise Services transactions. I must say that the authors have done a wonderful job by providing very detailed explanation and comprehensive analysis of source codes in each chapter. I would suggest the authors provide a list of possible error messages which may occur while programming with NHibernate along with the solution in the next edition of the book.

The book also includes two appendixes which provide a brief overview of SQL and relevant links from which you can learn more about NHibernate. The programming field is fast changing and these links will help a developer update his or her knowledge. The complete source code of all the examples and few sample chapters are available for download from the official website located at

Even though there are few chapters in this book, the authors have covered the concepts in an elaborate way. The book is mainly oriented for those developers who are well versed with .NET. I do not think a beginner will be able to grasp the advanced content detailed on the book. I feel that only few advanced developers currently make use of NHibernate, but still the book is a great asset for intermediate level programmers who wish to learn the nuances of it.

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