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Book Review – Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Power User Cookbook

The Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Power User Cookbook is the kind of book to give to the people in the business that use SharePoint to get their work done.

This book does not start with a background history of SharePoint, doesn’t fill out pages with sales figures, and doesn’t confuse the target audience with discussions on technical topics such as the hierarchical way SharePoint works.

Instead, this book goes straight into getting things done. The first chapter delves straight into using SharePoint to learn the very fundamentals in a couple of lessons, then continuing on to provide a total of 70 easy to follow ‘recipes’ which walk you through solving every day business problems.

Each recipe is well structured in the same format, starting with what environment or software the recipe has been tested on, followed by a step by step guide on performing that task, complete with a well balanced number of relevant screenshots. There is then a brief discussion explaining what is happening, or what SharePoint is doing as that recipe is carried out, written in the context of SharePoint terminology to familiarise yourself with the workings such that you can apply that learning to more scenarios. Finally there’s an expansion on what else SharePoint can do related to that recipe, and a selection of recipes that are related in some way to the current recipe.

This formula is repeated for every one of the 70 recipes, allowing the reader to simply skip to the recipe that they want to try out at any time.

The writing style throughout is simple to read, with a distinct absence of lengthy paragraphs. This allows the content to be quickly read and absorbed by the user, without being drawn in to technical and thoughtful discussions about a particular topic.

The book is complemented at the end with a chapter entitled ‘Joining the Dots’. This is an excellent addition, which explores the idea of building applications with SharePoint, and introduces three ‘composite’ application scenarios. These scenarios require a combination of select recipes from the book to build up a working application.

The chapter opens with a discussion on how to build a composite application in SharePoint, and the design consideration points that should be made every time. The three scenarios are then introduced, and again follow a set format, each describing a problem, an intended solution, and then step-by-step details on how to accomplish the solution. After each there is some detail on what skills and technologies have been looked at in building that solution, as well as a list of all the recipes that were used to create that application.

This book is an ideal introduction to the Microsoft SharePoint platform for the end user, written in the context of business problems in a way that gets things done. With a lack of technical detail usually intended for the system administrator or application programmer, the content is targeted directly to those who use SharePoint.

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