Review of “SharePoint 2010 Six-In-One”

In this post I review “SharePoint 2010 Six-In-One” by Chris Geier, Becky Bertram, Andrew Clark, Cathy Dew, Ray Mitchell, Wes Preston, and Ken Schaefer.

I read a lot.  Honestly, I assume that most people who work with technology spend a fair bit of their time reading.  Maybe it’s books, maybe it’s blogs – whatever.  There’s simply too much knowledge out there, and the human brain is only so big, to not be brushing-up on the ol’ technical skill set on a fairly regular basis.

When free books are dangled in front of me, naturally I jump.  I jump even higher when they’re books that I probably would have ended up buying had they not been given to me gratis.

The Opportunity

Several months ago, I received an e-mail from Becky Bertram.  Becky is an exceptionally knowledgeable SharePoint MVP and all-around wonderful woman.  Becky and I first met (albeit briefly) at the MS SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas (2009), and since that time we’ve spoken at a couple of the same events.

In my conversations with Becky and through Twitter, I knew that she was part of a team that was working to assemble a book on SharePoint 2010.  In her e-mail to me, she asked if I’d be interested in a copy of it.  Given what I’ve said about reading, it should come as no surprise to see me say that I jumped at her offer.

Fast forward a bit.  I’ve had SharePoint 2010 Six-In-One for a couple of months now, and I’ve managed to read a solid 80% of its 500+ pages thus far.  Unfortunately, I’m a very slow reader.  I always have been, and I probably always will be.  I probably should have told Becky that before she agreed to send me a copy of the book …

Top-Level Assessment

SharePoint 2010 Six-In-One CoverLet me start by saying that simply put, I think this book is an excellent SharePoint resource.  The reasons that one would find the book useful will likely vary based on their existing knowledge of SharePoint, but I believe that everyone from across the spectrum, newcomer to SharePoint journeyman, will find the book helpful in some way. 

The rest of this post/review explains the book, its intended audience, what it conveys, and some of my additional thoughts.

The Authors

First, let me start by giving credit where it was due.  The SharePoint 2010 Six-In-One is the collaborative effort of seven different and active members of the larger SharePoint community.

    I know several of these folks personally, and that’s one of the reasons why I was so excited to review the book.  Most of the authors are active in user groups.  Nearly all contribute socially through Twitter and other channels.  Many speak at SharePoint Saturdays and other events.  Some are designated Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) by Microsoft.  All are darn good at what they do.

Target Audience

This book was written primarily for relative newcomers to SharePoint 2010, and this demographic is the one that will undoubtedly get the most value out of the book.  As the title of the book indicates, the authors covered six of the core SharePoint areas that anyone wrangling with SharePoint 2010 would need information on:

  • Branding
  • Business Connectivity Services
  • Development
  • Search
  • Social Networking
  • Workflow
    The book devotes a few chapters to each topic, and each topic is covered solidly from an introductory perspective.  Many of the common questions and concerns associated with each topic are also addressed in some way, and particulars for some of the topics (like development) are actually covered at a significantly deeper level.

Although it might get glossed-over by some, I want to call attention to a particularly valuable inclusion; specifically, the first three chapters.  These chapters do a fantastic job of explaining the essence of SharePoint, what it is, how to plan for it, concerns that implementers should have, and more.  Given SharePoint’s complexity and “tough to define” nature, I have to applaud the authors on managing to sum-up SharePoint so well in only 60 pages.  Anyone getting started with SharePoint will find these chapters to be excellent on-ramp and starting point for SharePoint.

Contents

The following is the per-chapter breakdown for the book’s content:

  • Chapter 1: SharePoint Overview
  • Chapter 2: Planning for SharePoint
  • Chapter 3: Getting Started with SharePoint
  • Chapter 4: Master Pages
  • Chapter 5: SharePoint Themes
  • Chapter 6: Cascading Style Sheets and SharePoint
  • Chapter 7: Features and Solutions
  • Chapter 8: Introducing SharePoint Development
  • Chapter 9: Publishing in SharePoint Server 2010
  • Chapter 10: Introducing Business Connectivity Services
  • Chapter 11: Building Solutions Using Business Connectivity Services
  • Chapter 12: Why Social Networking Is Important in SharePoint 2010
  • Chapter 13: Tagging and Ratings
  • Chapter 14: My Site
  • Chapter 15: Workflow Introduction and Background
  • Chapter 16: Building and Using Workflow in SharePoint 2010
  • Chapter 17: Visual Studio: When SharePoint Designer Is Not Enough
  • Chapter 18: Introduction to Enterprise Search
  • Chapter 19: Administering and Customizing
  • Chapter 20: FAST Search
  • Chapter 21: Wrapping It All Up

The Experienced SharePoint Reader

So, what if you happen to know a bit about SharePoint and/or have been working with SharePoint 2010 for some time?  I’m in this particular boat, and I have good news: this book strikes just the right balance of breadth and depth so as to be useful as a reference source.  Although the book doesn’t provide really deep dives into its topic areas (not its intent), I found myself reaching for it on a handful of occasions to get myself going on some SharePoint tasks I had to accomplish.  A quick review of Cathy’s chapters on branding, for instance, gave me just the right amount of information needed to get started on a small side project of my own.

Summary

Bottom line: SharePoint 2010 Six-In-One contains just the right mix of breadth and depth so as to be immediately informative to newcomers but also useful as a reference source in the longer term.   I’d recommend this book for anyone working with SharePoint, and I’d especially recommend it to those who are new to SharePoint 2010 and/or seeking to get a grasp on its core aspects. 

Additional Reading and References

  1. People: Becky Bertram
  2. Book: SharePoint 2010 Six-In-One
  3. Author (Twitter): Chris Geier
  4. Author (blog): Cathy Dew
  5. Author (blog): Wes Preston
  6. Author (blog): Raymond Mitchell
  7. Author (blog): Becky Bertram
  8. Author (blog): Ken Schaefer
  9. Author (Twitter): Andrew Clark
  10. Events: SharePoint Saturday
  11. Designation: Most Valuable Professional (MVP)

Recent and Upcoming SharePoint Activities

In this post I talk about the recent SharePoint Cincy event. I also cover some of my upcoming activities for the next month, including a trip to Denver and SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities.

There have been some great SharePoint events recently, and quite a few more are coming up.  Here are some of the events I have been (or will be) involved in recently/soon:

SharePoint Cincy

SharePoint Cincy EventOn March 18th, Cincinnati saw it’s first (arguably) “major” SharePoint event.  SharePoint Cincy was put together by Geoff Smith, the Cincinnati CIO Roundtable, and MAX Training … and it was a huge success by any measure.  I took the picture on the right during the introductory speech by Geoff Smith, and it should give you an idea of well-attended the event was.

I was fortunate enough to deliver a talk on disaster recovery during the day, and I also helped Geoff and the organizing committee in advance of the event with some of the speaker round-up for the IT professional / administrator track.

I enjoyed the event because the audience composition was different than one would typically find at a SharePoint Saturday event.  Many of those in attendance were IT decision makers and managers rather than implementers and developers.  I attribute the high numbers in my DR session (typically not a big pull with technical crowds) to that demographic difference.

The next SharePoint Cincy event is already planned for next year (on March 12th, I believe), so keep your eyes peeled at the beginning of next year!

SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities

SharePoint Saturday Twin CitiesSome fine folks in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area (Jim Ferguson, Sarah Haase, and Wes Preston)  have worked to assemble the upcoming SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities on April 9, 2011.  Like all SharePoint Saturdays, the event is free for attendees.  There’s plenty of good education and giveaways to make it worth your while to spend a Saturday with other SharePoint enthusiasts.

I’ll be heading out to the event to deliver my IT pro caching talk titled “’Caching-In’ for SharePoint Performance”  The abstract for the session appears below

Caching is a critical variable in the SharePoint scalability and performance equation, but it’s one that’s oftentimes misunderstood or dismissed as being needed only in Internet-facing scenarios.  In this session, we’ll build an understanding of the caching options that exist within the SharePoint platform and how they can be leveraged to inject some pep into most SharePoint sites.  We’ll also cover some sample scenarios, caching pitfalls, and watch-outs that every administrator should know.

If you’re in the Twin Cities area and available on Saturday April 9th, come on by the following address …

Normandale Community College
9700 France Avenue South
Bloomington, MN 55431

… for a day of high-quality and free training.  You can register here on Eventbrite!

Lunch and Learn with Prinomic

Idera partners with a number of different companies in order to make its software more available, and one of those companies is Prinomic Technologies.  Prinomic is a consulting company based out of Denver, Colorado, and they focus on the creation of solutions that employ and target SharePoint.  They are somewhat unique in that they offer a combination of both services and products, and it affords them a great deal of flexibility when addressing customer needs.

I’ll actually be traveling out to Denver to deliver a lunch-and-learn in conjunction with Prinomic titled “SharePoint Disaster Recovery Options” on Wednesday, April 13th, 2011.  The lunch and learn is open to the public; simply follow the link (above) to register if you’re interested.

Prinomic is located at the following address:

4600 S Syracuse
9th floor
Denver, CO 80237

Colorado Springs SharePoint User Group

Knowing that I’d be out in the Denver area on April 13th, I reached out to some of the folks I know there to see if I might coordinate something with one of the local user groups.  I love speaking, and it was my hope that someone would actually grant me some more time with additional SharePoint geeks!

I was very fortunate to get a reply back from Dave Milner.  Dave and Gary Lapointe run the Colorado Springs SharePoint User Group, and they mentioned that it would be okay for me to come by and present to their group on the evening of the 13th.  So, it looks like I’ll be heading down to Colorado Springs after the lunch and learn with Prinomic!

I’ll be presenting my 2010 DR talk titled “SharePoint 2010 and Your DR Plan: New Capabilities, New Possibilities!”

Disaster recovery planning for a SharePoint 2010 environment is something that must be performed to insure your data and the continuity of business operations. Microsoft made significant enhancements to the disaster recovery landscape with SharePoint 2010, and we’ll be taking a good look at how the platform has evolved in this session. We’ll dive inside the improvements to the native backup and restore capabilities that are present in the SharePoint 2007 platform to see what has been changed and enhanced. We’ll also look at the array of exciting new capabilities that have been integrated into the SharePoint 2010 platform, such as unattended content database recovery, SQL Server snapshot integration, and configuration-only backup and restore. By the time we’re done, you will possess a solid understanding of how the disaster recovery landscape has changed with SharePoint 2010.

If you’re in the Colorado Springs area on Wednesday, April 13th, come on by the user group!  The user group meets at the following address:

Cobham Analytics
985 Space Center Drive
Suite 100
Colorado Springs, CO

Meet-and-greet activities are from 5:30pm until 6pm, and the session begins at 6pm!

TechNet Events: Transforming IT from Virtualization to the Cloud

Finally, I wanted to mention a series of events that are both going on right now and coming soon.  My good friend Matt Hester, our region’s IT Pro Evangelist with Microsoft, is traveling around putting on a series of Technet events titled “Transforming IT from Virtualization to the Cloud.”  These events are free training and center on cloud computing, why it is important, private vs. public cloud options, etc.

The event looks really cool, and it’s being offered in a number of different cities in the region.  I’ve already signed up for the Cincinnati event on April 6th (a Wednesday).  Check out Matt’s blog post (linked above) for additional details.  If you want to sign up for the Cincinnati event on April 6th, you can use this link directly.

Additional Reading and References

  1. Event: SharePoint Cincy
  2. People: Geoff Smith
  3. Blog: Jim Ferguson
  4. Twitter: Sarah Haase
  5. Blog: Wes Preston
  6. Event: SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities
  7. Registration: SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities on Eventbrite
  8. Company: Idera
  9. Company: Prinomic Technologies
  10. Lunch and Learn: “SharePoint Disaster Recovery Options”
  11. LinkedIn: Dave Milner
  12. LinkedIn: Gary Lapointe
  13. Technet Event: “Transforming IT from Virtualization to the Cloud”
  14. Technet Event: Cincinnati cloud event