harbar.net component based software & platform hygiene

SharePoint related books

Print | posted on Saturday, February 24, 2007 11:16 AM

I'm often asked about which books I'd recommend, especially when it comes to SharePoint development and the wide variance in quality of a lot of the web resources out there in this realm. To avoid repeating this stuff over and over again I'm going to post reasonably regularly here my thoughts - mini reviews if you like. Please bear in mind I will focus the reviews from a corporate development perspective - i.e. building for real solutions, deployed in real environments with proper topologies, security policies and so forth - rather than simply hacking things out that work, but could never be deployed in the enterprise.

First up the "legacy" ones. Many organizations have heavily invested in the 2003 version of the platform and are not in a position to upgrade or migrate just yet.

Creating Client Extranets with SharePoint 2003 by Mark E Gerow (Apress).
This is a topic close to my heart as an ex-infosec dude, and seemingly one of the few people about who actually gets how Windows Authentication works and is licensed! This book is a reasonable read with respect to deploying SharePoint for extranet purposes. However it is fundamentally flawed in many respects. Firstly the author barely spends any time on the configuration - no where near enough time and completely fails to explain requirements such as Basic Authentication and the reasons behind it. The title is misleading - as it is primarily a developer book. Basically only one deployment scenario is covered and it's not a good one. There is no mention of the various ISA options (only covers one), nor ADFS - which is THE way to do this with 2003. The development aspects are pretty useful however. It provides good samples for doing extranet style tasks with just WSS. Some of the code samples are not great practices, but they do a good job of showing approaches to common problems. As is often stated there is one thing which can tank SharePoint, and that is badly written/performing custom web parts. Bear this in mind and augment the samples and you'll be good to go. So from a dev perspective, reasonable. But from the topology perspective extremely weak. Get yourself a good book on ISA instead!

Pro SharePoint 2003 Development Techniques by Nikander and Margriet Bruggeman (Apress).

Firstly, this couple are awesome! Oh, and great technical writers. This book does a great job of detailing using "new" technologies such as ASP.NET 2.0, SQL Reporting, Workflow etc with 2003. This is a great resource for those looking to extend their existing solutions whilst remaining more current/compatible with their other development activities and standards. Unfortunately the AJAX coverage has to a certain degree been superseded, but it's still good background. It was great to see this title come to market and it definitely fills a gap. This should be part of your library if you are developing for 2003, alongside Scot Hillier's excellent titles. The later chapters on Factories, WSRP, Infopath are somewhat lightweight, but the one on impersonation should be required reading for Web Part developers. Get this book!

Next up will be a few of the newly released SharePoint 2007 focused titles, along with related technologies.