Book review: Professional SharePoint 2007 Development

I always have mixed emotions about books written by more than one author, especially when each writes their own chapter. This is one of those... Professional SharePoint 2007 Development (Programmer to Programmer) WROX ISBN: 978-0470117569 To start with, the title of the book includes the word "Development" and "Programmer to Programmer". To me that usually means coding. Several of the chapters have no or little code and are really an introduction to selected SharePoint features. That said, the chapters with code do make the book worth the price. Keep in mind that this book is not a "how to write code for SharePoint" book. It is a collection of articles from eight different authors. There is no obvious starting place to learn how to write SharePoint code. For that matter almost half of the book is really "Introduction to SharePoint". Other the other hand, the other half of the book is quite good, and I think justifies it's purchase. If you think I'm a bit negative in the review below, just remember I was looking for hardcore coding bookand was disappointed to find so much overview material. (If you want good detailed and very complete overview and admin material you should be looking at "Microsoft® Office SharePoint® Server 2007 Administrator's Companion" by Bill English) Do I recommend the book? Will I keep it in my library? Yes. Especially for the chapters written by John Holiday (11, 12, 13, 14, 15) and the last half of chapter 2. Those justify the cost of the book, and the rest is ok as filler. (my applogies to those other authors) As each chapter was written independently of the others, I guess I will need to review each chapter! (scored on a 1=bad to 5=good scale) Chapter 1: The Microsoft Application Platform and SharePoint This is just an overview of SharePoint and positioning with other Microsoft products. Coding Value? 0 General Info Value? 3 Chapter 2: MOSS 2007 Overview for Developers The first 10 some pages is just an overview, again. But, the next 20 pages are execelent! And these 20 pages have nothing to do with the title of the chapter. What are they about? Building a Virtual PC development environment! Combine this with the "Whole 9 Yards" blog article and you have everything you need to build SharePoint VPCs. Coding Value? 0 for code, but 5 for building VPCs General Info Value? 3 for the first 10 pages and 5 for the rest Chapter 3: The SharePoint User Experience An introduction to SharePoint with a small detour into coding "cross-list queries" and an introduction to using SharePoint with mobile devices. The one coding example is kind of out of place in that this is the first sample of code in the book and none of the objects have been explained yet. For that mater the author does not even mention how the code might be used or tested. I.e. custom page, web part, or whatever... Coding Value? 2 General Info Value? 3 Chapter 4: WSS v3 Platform Services This is one of the larger chapters and introduces Site Definitions, Custom Field Types, Features, Solutions and Web Parts. All of these are very important to the developer. The only complaint that I have is the large number of tables of XML elements, most likely copied from Microsoft online content. Coding Value? 1 (very little code) General Info Value? 5 (all very important topics around deployment) Chapter 5: Programming Windows SharePoint Services An decent introduction to the SharePoint object model and some Visual Studio basics. Again, way too many lists copied from Microsoft content with no additional value. Coding Value? 3 General Info Value? 3 Chapter 6: A Sample Collaboration Solution A step by step on how to create a site and lists??? The one good thing in this section is how to create a SharePoint event receiver. A better title for this chapter might have been "Creating an Event Receiver (and testing in a sample site)" Coding Value? 4 General Info Value? 3 Chapter 7: RSS, Blogs, and Wikis Yet another "Introduction to SharePoint" chapter! No code at all (except for a sample RSS XML file). Coding Value? 0 General Info Value? 1 Chapter 8: Building Personalized Solutions If you are just starting development work with SharePoint then save this chapter for later. It covers Profiles, MySites and Audiences. Coding Value? 4 General Info Value? 3 Chapter 9: Using Enterprise Search Another intro chapter with a mix of administration and development stuff. A real opportunity was missed by not spending a good amount of time on creating custom search pages. Coding Value? 0 General Info Value? 2 Chapter 10: Using the Business Data Catalog Another overview chapter. But 29 pages of raw XML listings of BDC files is a joke. (WROX must have demanded at least 700 pages for this book. It has 715.) The only real code example dumps the info from the BDC XML file. I would have like to have seen an example of a web part or ASPX page using data delivered via the BDC. Coding Value? 0 General Info Value? 1 Sounds pretty bad so far? Hang on, we are getting to the good stuff! Chapter 11: Building Document Management Solutions Chapter 12: Building Records Management Solutions Chapter 13: Building Web Content Management Solutions I listed all three of these together as they are all written by the same author and all have great content and examples. Coding Value? 5 General Info Value? 5 Chapter 14: Electronic Forms in MOSS 2007 Oops, back to basics. Almost no coding here. But as far as "basics" chapters go, this is one of the better ones and may give you some ideas (but no code to get them done). Coding Value? 0 General Info Value? 4 Chapter 15: Building Workflow Solutions This pretty decent coverage of workflows! And it's one of the larger chapters at 70 pages or so. Coding Value? 5 General Info Value? 5 Chapter 16: Business Intelligence and SharePoint Server 2007 Another overview chapter. The only code here is straight from an MSDN article. If you have not looked into Excel services, there is some good info here on what can and cannot be done with Excel. Coding Value? 0 General Info Value? 3 Appendix A: Using the Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Extension One of the more useful chapters in the book! You may want to start with this one. If you've gotten this far... Yes, I would by the book just for the chapters written by John Holiday (11, 12, 13, 14, 15) and the last half of chapter 2.

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