Recently I had the opportunity of reviewing a brand new book for SharePoint developers – the Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Development Cookbook written by fellow SharePoint MVP Ed Musters.
What I expected
Following the title I expected a cookbook: a collection of recipes that illustrate common good practices in developing SharePoint solutions. There are many books about development on the SharePoint platform so I expected this cookbook to be different and offer the reader some added value. An idea of having recipes that you can browse whenever you don’t need all the explanation but just need an overview of steps to follow to get things done seems very appealing to me.
Considered the audience (experienced ASP.NET developers) I expected to see a mix of basic and complex recipes that demonstrate how different things can be achieved in SharePoint.
What I got
The first recipe in Ed’s book presents how to create a development environment. If you’ve been working with SharePoint already, it might not be the most interesting part of the book, but you should definitely read it, if you are new to developing on the SharePoint platform and look for guidance on how to start.
Following recipes present common tasks in SharePoint development as step-by-step guides. The good thing about how the book is structured is that every chapter starts from the beginning so you’re not required to read the whole book. Instead you can skip directly to the part that you are interested in. Although not every recipe clearly describes its goal at the beginning, they are still easy to follow because they are brief and focus on one topic only. Creating List Forms with InfoPath and using the Data Form Web Part to display external data are just two examples of recipes that Ed presents in his book.
Development on the SharePoint platform is very different depending on which workload you are working with and whether your projects require structured and repeatable deployment or if you can customize things using SharePoint Designer. Ed doesn’t go very deeply into Application Lifecycle Management of SharePoint Solutions but he does present recipes that require Visual Studio as well as recipe that can be done using SharePoint Designer.
Ed closes his book with, in my opinion, somewhat misplaced chapter presenting non-developer overview of Web Content Management capabilities of the SharePoint 2010 platform. Although the chapter sticks with the recipe format, considering the audience, the recipes should be developer-oriented instead only presenting WCM configuration capabilities of the SharePoint 2010 platform.
The book is written with experienced ASP.NET developers in mind. Because it’s a cookbook, the book consists of short recipes rather than explaining every aspect of development on the SharePoint platform in depth. Depending whether you learn through theory or if you prefer hands-on experience, you might prefer some additional reading before picking Ed’s book to get more understanding of how the different pieces of the SharePoint platform fit into each other. Ed’s book is a valuable resource if you have not that much experience with SharePoint and are looking for a proven approach to accomplish specific tasks.