Title : Getting Started with SharePoint 2013
Author : Robert Crane
This book explores the very first steps of SharePoint 2013, using a standard team site. It starts with an explanation of how to use document libraries, calendars and some other type of libraries or lists. Then, it finishes with the search and the recycle bin.
Book Review :
For the price of the book, there was not risk in having a look and reading the book. Unfortunately, it stays at the very basic level of the usage of only some of the library and list types. Yes, it explains how to upload a file, how to recover a file from the recycle bin, but, from my point of view, most of the things described in this book can be discovered by a user exploring the platform. Moreover, it stays explaining some of a team site features. In my opinion, this book can be skipped, and a reader that wants to explore SharePoint 2013 should rather go directly with a book like SharePoint 2013 for Dummies (which I haven't read yet) that will go beyond what Getting Started with SharePoint 2013 goes.
Title : SharePoint 2013 – Planet of the Apps 2.0
Author : Sahil Malik
SharePoint 2013 comes with a new development model, based on Apps. This book goes through the different kind of Apps, giving examples of each of them, explaining what Apps are and building the next examples on top of the previous App. It is an introductory book and it is not intended to be an in-depth one, going in all the details of Apps development. This is understandable looking at the topic and how vast it is.
Book Review :
The very good thing is that the book is written in such a way that you read it fast. It is not a 600 pages paving stone and to give an overview of SharePoint 2013 Apps, it is perfect. It starts with a really simple App, a SharePoint hosted, and going further, adds complexities and ends with Server-to-Server type of App, talking about permissions, Azure ACS and many aspects that a developer starting putting his hands in Apps development should know. That said, as some subjects are complex, some parts of the book should be read carefully and some time should be spent to really understand some notions before going forward to the next example or chapter. Additionally, the writing style is nice and Sahil uses a good humor to help digesting some topics.
For me, this is the book to start with (well, at the same time, I haven’t read many of Apps development book so far; it is coming…), giving the first steps to develop SharePoint 2013 Apps. It is short and long enough to get a nice understanding, and finally, it is fun. And remember, “Hash is legal in Amsterdam (almost)” (ref. to the first version of the book).
Title : Professional SharePoint 2010 Branding and User Interface Design
Author : Randy Drisgill, John Ross, Jacob J. Stanford, Paul Stubbs, Larry Riemann
Almost end of last year, I started a SharePoint 2010 web site project and I was wondering if there was interesting resources about SharePoint 2010 branding. I had already some experience on both SharePoint 2007 and 2010 branding, but it is always good to see if one follows the correct way when implementing a public-faced site. At that time, my main source of information was the blog and the site of Andrew Connell, then I found this book, “Professional SharePoint 2010 Branding and User Interface Design”. Excellent coincidence as my primary focus at the SharePoint Conference 2011 (#SPC11) was branding and the authors (Randy Drisgill and John Ross) of this book had several sessions on the topic; sessions that were of a great quality.
This book starts with the basics, explaining the different types of branding, before giving an overview of the Cascading Style Sheets. Even if they use the word “overview”, the level of details is already good enough to start a good work. Then, Master Pages, Page Layouts and web parts are each of them explained in detail. Here, I would never enough recommend to use the Starter Master Pages for SharePoint 2010 as they are a great accelerators when starting a layout. The fourth part ends with the branding deployment. The last part focuses on the ribbon, the Client Object Model, jQuery and Silverlight.
Book Review :
Let’s be short, this book is a must-have for all the people that want to start branding SharePoint 2010. The way the authors explain how the different part of SharePoint take place in the graphical design is very well explained. There are a lot of examples and code samples. The code presented is not too long to be followed when reading the book, meaning that you don’t absolutely have to download the samples to understand, which I appreciate a lot. Moreover, the examples the reader goes through in the book make sense and we could imagine that the Randy’s Waffles site is a real project (by the way, have a look at the SYRP/BACN site, used during the SPC11 conference’s sessions).
Finally, even if the book’s primary focus is the publishing functionality of SharePoint, most of what it contains can also be applied to non-publishing sites.
And, yes, again, in my opinion, this book was missing in the SharePoint 2010 book offering.
Title : Delivering Happiness – A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
Author : Tony Hsieh
This is the first time since a long time that I did not read anything else than SharePoint books. Tony Hsieh is the CEO of Zappos.com, a e-Commerce platform for shoes, clothes, bags and a lot of other things. In his book, Tony traces his path from his boyhood and his first motivations, through the current state his flagship company. Going into several details or anecdotes of the building of first LinkExchange, then Zappos.
The book is split in three sections, the first setting the stage, describing his first attempts for businesses during his childhood, then at college and at university, finishing with the funding of Zappos through a self-made incubator. The second section focus on how he and his team built the culture of the company, some tricks to be better than some competitors and how they made Zappos the number one of the customer service (some other companies should take some examples…). The third section talks more about the public communications and marketing of the brand before selling Zappos to Amazon.
Book Review :
Wow ! I read this book like a novel. When you start, you want to continue reading.
Reading how an entrepreneur starts, fails then starts again and fights against external factors like logistics issues or economic crisis is really interesting. Seeing also how he changed his focus from just making money to make everyone happy with all the way to this end is very exciting. Definitely, some ideas or variations of them can be taken from him, even if I think that most of them can (only) apply to start-ups. Some others are more applicable to retail companies than other sectors. It is a very stimulating book. I don’t want to emphasize too much on the only one less-positive point I found : one cannot let me think that at the end, writing such book was not with some marketing or sales improvements in mind, which I would totally accept.
Finally, the concept of “delivering happiness” worth on itself to be spread and tried to be applied. A book to read for all enterpreneurs.
Title : SharePoint 2010 User's Guide: Learning Microsoft's Collaboration and Productivity Platform
Authors : Seth Bates, Tony Smith
Starting from the basics of the use of SharePoint 2010, this book starts with a description of sites and workspaces in SharePoint Foundation 2010 before going in some details of SharePoint Server 2010. After that, it goes to the lists and libraries and how to use and configure them, before addressing the workflows, pages and web parts. Two chapters are respectively dedicated to the personalization features and to the Office Services of SharePoint. The book ends with 3 cases of usage of the before-mentioned functionalities of SharePoint, with document management, project collaboration and finally dashboards and reports.
Book Review :
If you want a step-by-step guide to SharePoint 2010, it is definitely the one you need. It is the 2010 version of the book I reviewed one year and half ago. Nevertheless, it is efficient and guides the reader through all the steps of configuring your SharePoint environment, as a power user or as a regular user. Even if I can say that I am a quite advanced user and that I know pretty well the platform, it is a good thing to make a stop on this book. You always learn some little tricks here and there that your users will see and not you, because you always have the head down to the difficult things. On the other side, it is not a book for administrators. As the title mentions it, it is a user’s guide. Finally, I was looking for a good resources to help consultants starting on SharePoint and with this book I think I found the right tool.
Title : Pro SharePoint 2010 Solution Development
Authors : Ed Hild, Chad Wach
After a quick introduction to the new features of SharePoint 2010 and how to develop solutions using Visual Studio, the authors continue with an overview of what Office development can offer to the users. Then, they continue by explaining how to integrate Excel workbooks with an interesting collaboration between Excel, InfoPath and SharePoint. After Excel, it is the turn to Word and how to get SharePoint list data in a document or creating a PowerPoint presentation to build reports automatically. The way external data are consumed is presented with an example of integration of LOB data into Outlook, before an interesting example of a site provisioning using a workflow designed in Visio. The last chapters go through the use of Access, Visio Services and the use of external services like Bing Map in a SharePoint application.
Book Review :
At first glance, I was surprised, given the title of the book, that not a lot of SharePoint development was explained. In fact, the complete title of the book “Pro SharePoint 2010 Solution Development – Combining .NET, SharePoint, and Office 2010” should be read to understand what is inside. Not a big deal, as nowadays, integrating an enterprise solution like SharePoint with the Office applications is almost a daily job. And for that, this book is really good. Rather than trying to absolutely have standalone SharePoint applications, it is pragmatic and proposes business solutions to help people working in their familiar environments (Excel, Word or PowerPoint). This book proposes a lot of practical examples with possible improvements that at least can give ideas when the need for solution for your information worker appears. Nice examples, many samples, if you want a good Office / SharePoint development book, it is a good one.
Title : Microsoft SharePoint 2010 – Building Solutions for SharePoint 2010
Author : Sahil Malik
This book explores different areas of the SharePoint 2010 developments starting from the beginning namely the deployment using the feature and solution framework and the development of webparts.
It then continues with the different aspects of accessing data stored in SharePoint, ADO.NET Data Servers, the REST API, writing custom WCF services and also the Client Object Model.
Two chapters focus on the SharePoint data management, talking, among other things, about scalability, list throttling, CAML and LINQ queries.
The last chapters describes the BCS, the workflows and the Business Intelligence features of SharePoint 2010.
Book Review :
I don’t think there is a need to present Sahil Malik, the famous MVP. The book is taking practical examples, and what I really liked is the first chapters about the build of the SharePoint development box along with the other environments needed. Moreover, whenever it was possible, he used Sandboxed solutions to illustrate the concepts and the code presented is clear and easy to follow.
The only thing I might say is that he could have gone more deeply in some concepts, but that is likely because with some experience you expect more in-depth content.
But, at the end, it is an excellent book and with the previous book I read, you have a quite complete reference on SharePoint 2010 development.
Title : Professional SharePoint 2010 Development
Authors : Tom Rizzo, Reza Alirezaei, Paul J. Swider, Scot Hillier, Jeff Fried, Kenneth Schaefer
This book was the first one available talking about SharePoint 2010 development. Therefore, as it was available soon after the RTM version of SharePoint, we could expect that some points would not have been perfectly addressed.
Nevertheless, it covers almost the whole range of topics that a developer may face.
It starts by, of course, an introduction to the new platform, an overview of the developer tools and the list of enhancements for the IT Pros. After that, collaboration, social computing, search, ECM, through workflows and business intelligence are described. One of the last topic is about the promising SharePoint Online.
Book Review :
Very honestly, the whole introduction can be skipped. It means the first 4 chapters as they are too high level. I found them also too long.
After these chapters, it goes well in the details, with many examples besides code illustrating the notions explained. On the other side, and with the experience of the platform, I found two points where the book is not going enough in the subject. The first one, even if packaging and deployment is explained, after a bit along the book, this is no longer addressed and sometimes leave the reader at "how can I deploy this ?".
The second point is in regards to SharePoint Online which is not covered enough. Maybe because the platform was not ready, but this topic deserves to be more developed.
Overall, this book is a very good one and will be very useful for the developers.
Title : Microsoft Visio 2010 - Business Process Diagramming and Validation
Author : David J. Parker
Microsoft Visio 2010, Business Process Diagramming and Validation, written by the Visio MVP David Parker focuses on Visio 2010 and its use for validating diagrams. Moreover, the edition that is the subject of the book is the Premium one. The reason for that is because only the Premium Edition has the diagram validation feature.
It starts by a description of the new features of Visio 2010. It continues with the description of the Microsoft Visio Object Model and the Connectivity API used to run through the diagram, its shapes and their connections. After this, the necessary ShapeSheet is explained, before going through the validation API.
After all that theory, some practice with the development of a Visio Add-In in WPF to explore the ShapeSheets and the validation rules. This Add-in is then used in all the next chapters to create validation rules.
A complete chapter is dedicated to the publishing and packaging of Visio templates, including validation rules.
Book Review :
The book leads the reader from the beginning, exploring the Visio Object model to a completely packaged Visio template containing validation rules, which is very interesting and easy to follow. The explanations and examples are clear and illustrated with comprehensive piece of code. Especially, the packaging part that I found particularly well explained.
On the other side, some part of the book have big pieces of code, which is good because you don't have to be online to get the source code on a web site (even if the complete solution described in the book is available on a dedicated site). But, this makes sometimes these part more difficult to follow and a bit heavy.
Finally, a good book for developers and power users that want to start implementing diagram validation.
For the people that want a free sample chapter of the book (Understanding the Microsoft Visio Object Model), they can follow this link.
Title : SharePoint 2010 for dummies
Author : Vanessa L. Williams
This book places the readers at the place of a user or a power user of the SharePoint 2010 platform. It describes the functionnalities or feature of the lists, document libraries and goes through the different aspects of SharePoint 2010. But it does not stop at the end-user level and goes beyond, by explaining some tricks or some administrator functions.
Several advanced features are demonstrated, like the Excel Services, the Business Connectivity Services, just to name a few.
Book Review :
Ok, colleagues were wondering why I was reading such kind of book. That is true, if you want a developer or a complete guide to SharePoint 2010, pass your way, this book is definitely not for you. Anyway, when all the day-long you work either as a developer or working at the implementation of a SharePoint 2010 solution, there is a tendancy to forget the basics, or just how users are approaching the product. Not only that. It is the kind of book that your users or your clients will read most likely. It is always good to put yourself in their shoes and see SharePoint from their viewpoint, just to see how they understand the product.
For someone that has already some notions of SharePoint, this book is easy to go through. It has a good level for end-users and power users (not administrators !). Finally, it is interesting to see it as a starting point for other books going more deeper in SharePoint 2010 and definitely, a book that SharePoint users should have.
Title : Mastering Your Organization's Processes
Authors : John O'Connell, Jon Pyke, Roger Whitehead
In another post I mentioned why BPM is important today for the companies. Mastering the processes and the change is primordial for the managers in an enterprise. This book explains what is a business processes and their management, then describes the different systems of an organization. It also defines the actors involved in business processes, such as the ones outside the organization, the people and other systems. Finally, it gives some strategies for BPM and also some guidance to choose a BPM product.
I found this book difficult to read, most likely because I am not in the targeted audience for this kind of book. For me, it was too high-level and too conceptual. It seems, for me, that to apply the concept, there will be a missing pieces between the book and the reality of the field. One great positive point : every chapter ends with a case study that is very well explained.
Title : Business Process Change - A Manager's Guide to Improving, Redesigning, and Automating
Authors : Paul Harmon
In the software industry, BPM or Business Process Management is present since the mid-90's. Even earlier according to different sources. But nothing is really new and nothing has really changed since Henry Ford in 1903 when he started Ford Motor to design and build a high-quality but easy to assemble car. What is done since ages in the manufactory industries tried to be applied to many other sectors.
Nowadays, having the best product on the market is not enough and companies have to constantly adapt themselves to changing parameters such as new competitors, suppliers, new technologies and so on. Today, it seems that the only way for a company to survive is its business processes and its ability to change them quickly (others would put the word "agile" here, but I keep myself making this shortcut).
The book starts by explaining the value chain and what is process management. A whole part is dedicated to the modelisation of the processes before going into BPM, including Six Sigma. In the middle of the book, some technologies are explored, such as XML and some ERP systems without forgetting UML.
Really good book, with excellent explanation. What I liked was also the level of details and the numerous examples and case studies. Nevertheless, if requires a little knowledge of what is BPM and is definitely not a technical book (I knew this before reading it, but it is more for clarification as most of the posts I do on this blog are technical). In addition, there are a lot of diagrams that help to understand the concepts explained throughout the book.
Title : Essential SharePoint 2007 - Delivering High-Impact Collaboration
Authors : Scott Jamison, Mauro Cardarelli, Susan Hanley
Deploying SharePoint and leaving it to the users and not monitoring it is the best way for failure. This is known and true also for non-SharePoint projects. But what really lacks with SharePoint is how to demonstrate the management what could bring SharePoint in an organization and how to improve the SharePoint infrastructure during its life. In other words, when deploying SharePoint, governance is one of the important keys to success.
This books not only describes the SharePoint functionalities but also gives some guidance to better know your organization and how to solve its collaboration problems and is the first SharePoint book I read that is talking about "information architecture". It describes the different 2003 to 2007 migration options, what are the possible backup, restore and disaster recovery scenarios. Then it goes through Records Management, workflows, Search and finally Business Intelligence, providing plenty of step-by-step examples and screenshots
Onthe other side, I had the chance to attend the SharePoint Conference 2009 in Las Vegas session of Scott and Susan that was very interesting and a source of inspiration to make a SharePoint deployment a success not only from a provider point of view, but also a success for the users.
This book is not for developer or technical people, but more for people that need to sell SharePoint as a collaboration platform. For me, it is not for end-users as well. We can feel that the book is not relying only on the functional expertise of SharePoint but also on the way information workers are working with IT and their habits. Excellent examples can be taken to put in front the business value or the benefits of the platform. Finally, I think this book is a good starter for talking about SharePoint governance.
Title : SharePoint 2007 User's Guide: Learning Microsoft's Collaboration and Productivity Platform
Author : Seth Bates, Tony Smith
This book described the different functionality of SharePoint 2007 from a users and power users point of view. Therefore, this book is not technical and is not showing any code.
First, the notion of sites, lists and document libraries are described with a lot of screenshots. Then, the book is going through workflows, policies and the different way of page personalization, finishing by two case studies or solutions solving document management and project collaboration in few steps.
Definitely, this book is not for techies or advanced users. Nevertheless, as the book is really user oriented, you can learn some functionalities that are less exposed or used but nevertheless very useful. It means that if people know already SharePoint or working with the product on a daily basis, it can be read quickly.
The two solutions presented at the end of the book are very good examples of how to address typical collaboration problems quickly and providing a high value without going into an expensive development project.
Title : Foundations of BizTalk Server 2006
Author : Daniel Woolston
BizTalk Server 2006 was until last year, the latest version of the middleware product from Microsoft. Since, the new version, BizTalk Server 2009, has been released. Despite BizTalk Server 2006 is not the first or second version of the product, it really needs documentation on how to use and develop on this platform as it is absolutely difficult or impossible to start on such product like this.
The book is structured around the different component or pieces of BizTalk : Messaging, Schemas, Maps, Ports, Orchestrations. It covers all the aspects of the product even tackling the application deployment.
It is full of useful screenshots and the explanations are clear enough even if you don't have the software at hand.
Working with BizTalk since couple of years, I found the book quite basic. Ok, the title contains "Foundations", so don't expect advanced explanation but rather take it as a first look at BizTalk. A good example is to read it before an intermediate or advanced training. At the end, it gives an excellent overview of what can be done and how can specific problems can be solved with BizTalk Server 2006. Another good point is that it is not a big pad to read and can be absorbed in a week-end
F# is a new language that is coming in the pipe of Microsoft for the Visual Studio platform. It aims to tackle the functional programming paradigm eventhough it is possible to use the imperative or object oriented programming.
Robert Pickering starts his book by explaining the basics of F#, how to get and how to use the tools. Then, the book describes the F# syntax to be used in the three language paradigm, functional programming, imperative programming and finally object oriented programming. Among other things, the notion of type inference is presented. Once the syntax is presented, the book describes the way to develop web, windows or even WPF applications using the .NET framework. Data access is also addressed using the current technologies available, such as ADO.NET or LINQ. Then, a quick look at DSLs, compilation and code generation is given, presenting the lex and yacc tools coming with the language. Finally, a full chapter is dedicated to the interoperability between .NET and F#, because even if F# is based on the CLI, the language introduces several types that are not available in the other .NET languages (C# or VB.NET).
Discovering a new language is really interesting and with F#, it is the occasion to see a new paragigm, functional programming. In really short, with F#, everything is a value, even a function. It means that you can use a function as a function parameter. The concept of type inference is also very attracting. The book is very easy to understand and a lot of little examples are explained in details, making the reading very fast. The first half of the book is dedicated to the language itself. The second half is more on using the .NET framework and I would say that it is the less interesting of the book. Indeed, during the first part, you have came across various examples using types and classes of the framework and user interface development being web or windows, or data access meaning that the second part does not bring a lot a information. Once you know these topics from the .NET documentation or from another book and once you have read how to access the .NET BCL from F#, then this part is pretty straightforward and not really useful. Moreover, the examples used to depict the topics are more explaining how to use the BCL classes than the language itself. Nevertheless, the last parts discussing the interoperability and the possibility of generating DSLs are more interesting.
My final words are that it is a very intersting book if you want to see another land (functional programming). Unfortunately, on my bookshelf, I also have "Expert F#" that I just opened to see what is inside and I saw that it takes the explanations and descriptions of the language from the beginning. If I had knew that before, maybe I would have bought this one instead. So, if the goal is just to scratch the surface of F#, "Foundations of F#" is the best suited, otherwise, if the goal is to go really deeper in the topic, then prefer "Expert F#" (a review of that one will be posted).