[Review] Meteor Cookbook by Isaac Strack

I am a sucker for books and in this case programming books. In terms of learning how to program, I have been very dependent on instructional videos like those over at Codeschool, EventedMind and LevelUpTuts. Nevertheless, I do love being able to reference books every so often and in this case that book is Meteor Cookbook by Isaac Strack.

You know the feeling, when you get gawked at by your family for sitting behind your laptop on the couch when they are watching television or talking? Well, for some reason, books are accepted. Lately I have been making great use of this social flaw and spending my time reading Isaac Strack’s Meteor Cookbook, published by Packt.

I didn’t even skim the book

So, since I am in the middle of learning Meteor.js and after having followed several different Meteor video courses and recommending some Meteor books... I thought I would buy one, too. Although I have ordered Meteor in Action, the release date was set at end of August 2015. Me being me, impatient at times, I went ahead and ordered Meteor Cookbook by Isaac Strack.

Isaac Strack’s Meteor Cookbook hit the right spot. Meteor Cookbook is my first book from Packt Publishing and the printing quality did not disappoint. Do we really care about the printing quality? Maybe just a little, but what we really want to know more about is its contents.

Meteor Cookbook does dedicate several chapters to getting up and running with Meteor itself, but adds a little more insights, easier to understand insights I should say, than can currently be found online.

It was this level of depth that kept my attention throughout the book. Sitting on the couch in the evenings, I couldn’t put any of the code to the test, but the structure of the chapters and the tone and level the book is written in is very appealing to myself, a junior Meteor developer (at almost 40 years of age… oh and not my day job).

Meteor Cookbook has got you covered!

With such a vast array of topics in a 330+ page book it is obvious that some corners were cut. If you are curious by nature then that won’t matter since the extent into which Isaac describes the various topics of Meteor should at least get you on the right path to learning (finding) more.

Thanks to Isaac’s Meteor Cookbook I quickly got a better understanding, although anything can be considered ‘better’ if you start from scratch, on topics like DDP, Reactivity, Polymer and Chris Mather’s Meteor package Iron Router.

Oh you Iron Router, how lovely thy are 🙂

Iron Router for Dummies or Dads

Yes, so out of all the chapters in the book, I have to admit I found the Iron Router related chapters in Meteor Cookbook the most fun and resourceful. Why? Well, the main reason is the hands on project you get to do.

In Meteor Cookbook, the author Isaac Strack guides you through learning the basics of Iron Router in 2 (sub)chapters and then deploying the project application to iOS:

  • Creating a multipage application with Iron Router
  • Creating a complete app with Iron Router
  • Deploying apps to mobile devices

The first chapter talks about the basics of Iron Router and will help you understand the code a bit more. It will guide you through setting up a 2 page application. When you start to build the complete app using Iron Router Meteor Cookbook really does walk you through building an entire app.

When building the complete app, a Quotes app, everything is discussed. From CSS to user accounts and from templating and routing with Iron Router. Awesome! When your finished, you have a great app to hack away in and to build something yourself, maybe even add data from an API. Meteor Galore!

Finally, Meteor Cookbook briefly describes the steps you need to take to prepare you Meteor application for deployment in the App Store as a full fledged iOS app. This final chapter again cut some corners with regards to learning more about Apple’s requirements for submitting an app, but that is understandable since that in itself may need a 300+ page book *wink*

Meteor Cookbook Book Review

So, do I recommend Meteor Cookbook? I do. Wow, that was easy. Meteor Cookbook is an easy recommendation for anyone with a (very) basic understanding of Meteor.js and who wants to leverage their knowledge a bit more.

The book is very well written. Concise and to the point one might say. I will personally be referencing this book a lot when working with Meteor and I will definitely be making use of several of the examples and recommendations given in the book.

@Isaac: thanks for the Postman tip!


Meteor Cookbook does cover many important topics. Isaac Strack, the author, offers the reader some fun and extensive projects to work on that are well explained.

In Meteor Cookbook I like it that the basics are covered, but also the more advanced topics such as iOS deployment, Iron Router, Polymer, building graphs with D3 and even a short piece on integrating EJSON.

Last but not least. Throughout Meteor Cookbook, Isaac Strack mentions some great packages that I had not even heard of before. This in itself is already valuable as it is easy to get lost in Meteor’s package repository Atmosphere.


I need to be tough and also accept the fact that there were a few cons. Not that I would explicitly blame the author for this, but probably the time/print/profit ratio of the publisher.

In essence, with all the high-fives and ass slapping about Polymer in the book, I found the chapter to be a little on the short side. A little to concise. Again, this did awaken the curiosity side of Dad… and I have put ‘Learn more about Polymer‘ on my to do list. Luckily Scott Tolinski over at LevelUpTuts has a great tutorial series on Polymer on Youtube… for free.


Last but not least, since I work in the field of Web Analytics, I was enthralled to find chapters on setting up charts/graphs in Meteor. To my dismay Mr. Concise came hacking and slashing and left a little to be desired in the attention these chapters got. So if anyone has some tips for me on where to learn more on integrating Meteor with the likes of D3, or other charts/graphs plugins, the please tell me in the comments below.

Get your copy of Meteor Cookbook today!

2 comments: On [Review] Meteor Cookbook by Isaac Strack

  • Avatar

    Thanks for this review, I’ve been wondering about the state of good books for Meteor. How well, would you say, does the book go into more advanced topics on code organization, separation of concerns, using Meteor methods vs allow/deny, things like that? Do you feel like it prepared you for building an advanced application?

    • Dad

      Hi Timothy, in all honesty I don’t think this book will help you build more advanced applications. The topics you mentioned are discussed but not in great detail. Allow/Deny is 3,5 pages on using the accounts-ui and accouts-password packages. As for code organisation, MDG (Meteor Development Group) has more thorough tips on this on their site. Meteor Cookbook still remains a super reference though even as the root for your next advanced application. My advice, keep an eye on LevelUpTuts, the said that they would soon start work on an Intermediate Meteor course… for free: http://www.leveluptuts.com

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I am a dad of 4 great kids. I want my kids to grow up and learn how to code because I know that it will give them an advantage later on in life. In order to motivate them to learn how to code I need to lead by example. So, now I am learning how to code and this is my journey.

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