What struck me about Bjørn is the quality of his content and his fluid, entertaining and accessible style of writing. Although I can code okay enough, I am not a serious developer by any stretch. But Bjørn’s ability to weave his way through some large, fairly prickly programming topics and at the same time keep a part-timer like me, not only following it all, but really interested from start to finish, is a testament to his skill as a writer and trainer.
So when I found out he had started a series of SharePoint journals, I was very keen to provide a review and asked him nicely if I could :-).
In short, I’m glad I did.
This debut edition starts on a relatively simple premise. “How do we see who is logged into my SharePoint site at any time”? We learn pretty quickly that this is not as simple as it sounds, but Bjørn deftly teases apart this question into the true problem statement, via basic user stories and easy to understand examples. The proposed solution is described at a high level, with a description on what you need to solve the problem and then summarises it with a mission statement, covering the goals of the solution and the “rules of engagement”
The “rules of engagement” are clear and have a strong governance/assurance affinity (brings a tear to my eye). The rules are;
- Use only supportable methods and not harm a single Microsoft-provided file
- Use the least amount of effort as possible
- Utilize SharePoint native techniques as much as possible
I’m sure that “Governance man” would approve…
The final component of the introduction is a preview of the completed project (with screenshots – including one that I have pasted here).
Chapter 2-5 gets right into the think of things. Bjørn doesn’t assume too much (he skips programming 101 stuff like SharePoint features), but takes the time to explain setting up your project in Visual Studio for each component of this solution. He balances the theory with the practical extremely well, and manages to pack in a whole bunch of really important tools and key concepts such as:
- DelegateControl (I love DelegateControl and I‘m not even a developer 🙂 )
- List creation via feature (and code)
- SharePoint Manager 2007
- Feature scopes and dependencies (via the object model)
- Custom application pages
- CustomAction methods
All chapters come with review questions to ensure key concepts have been learned. Even better still, all code from the journals are posted on codeplex so you can download the complete solutions. Brilliant stuff!
All in all, I have to say that of all of the development oriented authors that I read, Bjørn is one of the best writers out there, If you liked his work on SharePointMagazine and his own blog, then you will love these journals. If you are starting out your career in SharePoint development and want to learn a whole lot of different concepts in a fashion that is underpinned by sustainable development practices, then I strongly suggest that you grab yourself a copy.
Well done mate, great work!