Building the SharePoint User Experience

Posted on 12/27/2008 @ 5:37 PM in #Books Reviewed by | Feedback | 3429 views

I have been heads down reviewing -



The book even has it’s own website at  (Also, link)

I had a chance to meet Bjørn on my last trip to Norway. In fact, he almost killed us both driving up a steep narrow road, with potholes bigger than the pockmarks on Jupiter, and a steep precipice on the left with a jungle full of hungry bears with sharp claws, in a little Toyota that barely fit on the road. But we survived, and continued our talk on content types soon as we managed to slide back off the hill, and skillfully navigated to the wooden plank bridge, while missing hitting the house whose backyard we had to drive through to get up on the hill in the first place. Okay y’know content types can get *very* engaging.

Let me first clarify one thing about this book – If you are a photoshop guy, looking to advance your CSS/Master page/html skills – DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK! Perhaps that is my only, and my biggest criticisms of this book .. is it’s title. The audience for this book is not your turtle-neck designer, it’s your pocket protector developer.

Other than the title, this book is simply fantastic.

Here is why -

  • First of all, the author has a great sense of humor. Earlier I had reviewed David Mann’s workflow book, and let me say folks, Bjørn and David’s books are the only ones I have felt sad finishing reading .. because there is no more funny stuff after the last page. Seriously, why isn’t every technical book like this. Why do technical books have to be made boring to look serious. C’mon folks, why do we techies need to be so full of goat cheese!
  • Secondly, this book is honest. It has no problems saying “The MSDN Documentation is wrong about this”, which (shudder), when working with SharePoint .. is plenty. This book has no problems popping open or heck even advising you to open reflector, and find the real truth yourself.
  • Thirdly, in addition to it’s honesty, this book is quite advanced and covers some of the most difficult topics and problem areas in SharePoint. Some examples include an in depth coverage of content types, including their management and inheritance. A step by step walkthrough of authoring custom views, on custom list definitions. Rarely have I seen books devote that much effort to some of the most difficult parts of SharePoint.
  • Finally, this book is practical. It doesn’t push VSeWSS on you, it offers it as a choice. It shows the examples using well accepted community tools such as WSPBuilder, and leaves the choice upto you. It talks of the practical issues you will run into when working on real projects, and it talks of the common potholes you will fall into, along with their workarounds. Good stuff.

Overall, this is a fantastic book, worth every 350 pages of it. Especially, if you are a developer.

5 stars.

Disclosure: I was on the review team of this book.

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Older comments..

On 1/19/2009 2:21:58 PM Wef said ..
Will it help me in my migration from turtle-neck to pocket protector developer?

On 2/23/2009 2:23:07 AM Bjørn Furuknap said ..
Hehe, I'm not sure why anyone would want to develop pocket protectors, but if you're looking to learn the architecture of SharePoint, bringing your turtleneck experience with you, then yes, the book will definitely help you transition.