Recently Baeldung announced to increase the price of his REST with Spring's course from $ 249 to $ 299. As I am (or was) a big fan of Baeldung because of his free content about Java & Spring. I purchased the course because I thought I get high-quality and up-to-date content for this amount of money. In this blog post, you get a detailed Baeldung course review. This helps to understand why I am disappointed after working through the whole course and regret buying it.
Update (2022): It seems that I'm not the only one with this kind of review. It is also interesting to see a similar pattern in the refund handling of his course. While the person on Reddit was able to get a refund (after getting a first “no”), I wasn't able to get a refund within 30-days. Make sure to also see the comments of this article for feedback and reviews from other course students.
Baeldung's Online Course Structure
First off, the online course REST with Spring: Master Class is structured into three courses: Starter Class, Intermediate Class, and Master Class. They are built on each other, so you should start with the first one to get in contact with his use case during the whole course. The domain model is about roles and rights (in the style of Spring Security's roles and rights) and is used during most of the videos.
In my opinion, and for a more educational-oriented intention, this is a rather bad model for explaining the concept of REST to new/intermediate developers. Even if I am tired of the sample domain model about students/lecturers, bank/customers, or e-commerce/products you find in other video courses or books, I think they are quite more realistic.
First Review Impression: Outdated Spring Versions and Patterns
I got my first “heart-attack” within one of the first videos where he generates a new project with Spring Boot Version 1.2.5 at start.spring.io, which was released in the mid of the year 2015. In the beginning, he explains a lot about the application configuration and startup with Spring and its rather “old” XML configuration style. You learn how to use the
web.xml to configure your web application and deploy it within Eclipse.
In my 2018-opinion, it's nice to know who you've configured Spring applications in the past and to get a short overview of this, but there is a lot solved right now with the latest Spring Boot versions due to the awesome work at Pivotal. Imagine a greenhorn developer working through this course and trying to develop a Spring Boot 1.2.5 application …
Hard to Follow Online Course Lessons
The whole course is based on a multi-module Maven project. The instructor (Eugen himself) is switching the module from lesson to lesson, and it's sometimes hard to follow and know where he currently works in. In addition, he jumps between modules that are developed with plain Spring and some with Spring Boot, which is, in my opinion, also not optimal.
You also don't get an insight into how the base module with the REST endpoints is developed as he just displays the codebase and doesn't talk about the origin in detail.
Other Good and Bad Parts of the Baeldung Course
The theoretical part about structuring a REST application and the HTTP conventions you should follow is rather good compared to the rest of the course. You also get some best practices for your URIs and their structure.
The next big topic is about OAuth2 and authentication/authorization with the help of Spring Security. The sad part is, that the video is using a Spring Security version before Spring Security 5. So it's impossible to imitate the code locally with one of the latest Spring Security versions, as some API methods have changed drastically. With the help of Google and some extra amount of work, I could get it running, but finding the solution for myself is nothing that I expected for such an expensive course.
He also touches on the testing domain. He showcases contract-based testing for a REST API from scratch while reading a
.json file from the disk. With a more modern approach, for example, Spring Cloud Contract, you could save a lot of time and get an excellent solution for contract testing.
In addition, you get some operations-related content about deploying the
.war to a local Tomcat or a Tomcat running on a virtual machine with Amazon EC2. There is also a section about the correct use of CI/CD with Jenkins and the Maven project. The Jenkins pipeline is configured with the old Maven project steps, which are sequentially connected and build, test, and deploy the application. Here I expected a more modern approach with, e.g., a Jenkinsfile and a more cloud-native direction to Docker and Kubernetes …
There are also some “NEW” sections during the course where he touches WebFlux and the development with Kotlin, but these are rather short and seem to function as gap fillers.
As I haven't watched all lessons with full attention, especially as I got my refund declined (see below), that should be it for technical review of the Bealdung REST with Spring online course.
Questionable Online Course Refund Policy
If you still plan to buy this course and want to make your own experiences, be aware of his refund policy.
While the course landing page offers a 30-days money-back guarantee, which is quite normal for online products, there are strings attached to this policy. Read the terms carefully. You can't get a refund after “watching the majority of the course”.
That's why I was unable to get a refund. After working through the first lessons, I already had the feeling that this won't be a course for me worth spending $299 dollars on. I made the mistake as I didn't contact him directly and decided to jump through all upcoming lessons, hoping it would get better later in the course.
After some email back and forth with Eugen himself, he declined to refund my money. It's sad to see such practices.
So if you enroll for this course, make a quick assessment and then immediately contact his support team and ask for a refund.
Final Baeldung Online Course Review
So, all in all, I can't recommend buying this Baeldung course because I expected a different kind of quality for this amount of money. Most of the videos were recorded in 2016 and haven't been updated to the latest Spring versions. Creating video courses for myself, I know that it's quite an effort to keep the course application up-to-date. However, with such breaking changes and new development patterns for Spring Boot > 2, I would expect more for the price.
For these $299, you can get quite more knowledge from books and courses on Udemy. You get most of the Udemy courses for about $15, and the instructors also update their content for new releases most of the time.
For beginners/intermediate Spring developers, I recommend the following resource list on Spring or testing. With the price of this course, you can buy almost all the resources on the list and get way better and more up-to-date information.
I hope this Baeldung course review helps you decide whether to buy this course or not.
Stay tuned for further reviews on my blog,