Ever since I first read about the book “Creating and Implementing Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Real-World Projects” by Jennifer Mason, Christian Buckley, Brian T. Jackett, and Wes Preston, I was eagerly expecting its release as I was hoping for it to keep its title’s promise – describing how to implement SharePoint solutions that have a practical use.

After seeing the Table of Contents on Safari Online, I just had to purchase the Rough Cuts version (so basically the current Work in Progress). I created the PDF version of it on Safari Online, transferred it to my Touchpad, and started reading (well, browsing is more accurate, as I skipped most of the sections that describe how to do things such as create a library, or add a column).

I wasn’t disappointed. Here’s why:

The 10 chapters included in this book are:

  1. Building a Project Management Solution Within SharePoint
  2. Building a Training Registration Management System Using SharePoint Enterprise
  3. Building a Basic FAQ Solution Using SharePoint Foundation
  4. Building a Learning Center Using SharePoint Foundation
  5. Building a Help Desk Solution Using SharePoint Server Standard
  6. Building a Remote Teams Activity Site
  7. Building a Team Blog Platform using SharePoint Enterprise
  8. Building a RFP Response Solution
  9. Building a Contact Management Solution
  10. Building a Resource Scheduling Solution

As you can see, they cover an interesting range of business problems, many of them which are common to most companies (I myself worked on at least half of these solutions before, though with different scopes). The “Real-World” from the title definitely applies!

I also like the approach the authors take by standardising each chapter’s structure, which allows you to quickly understand the what, why, and how of each solution:

  1. Identifying the Business Problem
    Explanation of the business problem to be solved
  2. Gathering Information
    What are the requirements from the business side
  3. Designing the Solution
    How is the solution going to be implemented, which SharePoint features are going to be used
  4. Building the Solution
    How is the solution created (with lots of screenshots!)
  5. Managing the Solution
    What else can/should be done, but isn’t part of the book’s building process (mostly things that are driven by the individual company’s requirements, such as managing permissions)
  6. Reviewing the Platform
    Can this solution be implemented in SharePoint Foundation, SharePoint Server Standard, SharePoint Server Enterprise, and Office 365 (SharePoint Online)

The authors do not only explain how to do things (create a library, add columns, add a web part to a page), but if required also explain drawbacks of a particular approach, or also explain best practices (for example, when creating a columns, use a friendly name first). Definitely another big plus from my side.

The way I see it, this book is perfect for anyone working with SharePoint and implementing solutions with Out of the box features only. You’ll get to learn how to leverage simple things such as lists, libraries, and columns, and how to integrate them and create valuable solutions, often also with the “intermediate” tools such as InfoPath or SharePoint Designer Workflows.

While I didn’t read the final version of the book, the majority of changes that can be expected are more of a cosmetic nature (I saw several spacing issues, references to image file names, etc.), and the content should pretty much stay the same (have to mention that there wasn’t an introductory chapter in my Rough Cuts). The final version of the book should be available in March, but can already be preordered now on O’Reilly.

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