Author: Steve Fox
Publisher: Wrox, 2010
Aimed at: ASP.NET developers
Pros: Tackles a complex topic
Cons: Not an easy read
Reviewed by: Alex Armstrong
As it's essentially an ASP.NET application, in principle there shouldn't be much that you need to know that is specific to SharePoint to get to grips with it. However it is a complex system and getting inside isn't easy. This book does a reasonable job of telling you what sorts of things you can do and provides examples of actually doing them.
To get anything from this book you do have to be fairly good at HTML, C# and ASP.NET in general. You will also need to have some idea what a web service is and what ADO.NET is all about. It is sobering to realize the number of skills needed just to approach SharePoint development!
This book divided into four parts, although the final part is just an appendix on where to go next. Part I is also just two chapters that give you an outline of SharePoint 2010. This does read like an advertising blurb for SharePoint but this isn't unreasonable. It is also a bit jargon ridden and tends to use Line Of Business or LOB just a little too often. It does however provide a reasonable introduction to SharePoint's architecture. Chapter 2 is an introduction to SharePoint development and this specifically deals with the SharePoint tools included in Visual Studio 2010 and SharePoint Designer. The chapter is quite long and also covers installing SharePoint and a first project - working with SharePoint Lists and then one on web parts. Not a bad introduction to SharePoint.
Part II is a larger version of Chapter 2. It starts off considering developer tools Visual Studio and the SharePoint designer - again. There are also too many lists of bullet points and overlong listings that don't convey very much. Chapter 4 deals with common developer tasks - creating Web parts, content types, lists, working with data, creating event receivers, creating aspx and master pages. This is possibly the most useful chapter in the book. Chapter 5 carries on the exploration of working with SharePoint with an in depth look at lists. This is basically about getting to know the list object model but it also explains how to use lists via web services. Chapter 6 is a deeper look at web parts.
It may seem odd but it's not until Chapter 7 do we reach "Creating your first SharePoint 2010 Application". This isn't about building small additions to existing sites but is a complete sales dashboard and it focuses not just on the technical details but the entire life cycle of the application.
This brings Part II to a close and moves us on to advanced topics in Part III. Chapter 8 is about integrating LOB data using Business Connectivity Services BCS. This is mostly about inter-working with Office. Chapter 9 is about using Silverlight to create enhanced user pages. Chapter 10 deals with working with web services including Azure services. Chapter 11 is on integrating with Office. The final chapter is on security.
This is not a book I enjoyed reading. It is hard going in places with its change in levels not being clearly signaled and its tendency to repeat ideas without explaining the repetition. There are also lots of very long listings which are great if you are following the work on a machine but not so good to just read and find out how things work. I have a feeling that SharePoint development could be explained in a more direct and clear cut fashion but until I find a book that does this then this one is the one to put on your shelf.