SharePoint 2013 Unleashed

Authors: Michael Noel & Colin Spence
Publisher: Sams
Pages: 1008
ISBN: 978-0672337338
Aimed at: SharePoint administrators
Rating: 4
Reviewed by: Kay Ewbank

This is a brick of a book, coming in at over a thousand pages in length, and the list of topics covered is extensive, but SharePoint is such a large product that many topics could still benefit from a more in-depth coverage.

There is some material that’s useful to developers, but the general coverage means there’s a lot of material that is aimed at SharePoint administrators rather than developers.

The book is divided into six parts, starting with planning for and deploying SharePoint Server. Individual chapters show how to set up a simple SharePoint farm, advanced SharePoint 2013 Installation and Scalability, and migrating from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013.




Part 2 covers SharePoint administration and maintenance. There are useful chapters on making SharePoint Search work well, and on managing and maintaining SQL Server alongside SharePoint. There’s also a good introduction to the updated SharePoint 2013 monitoring tools, and of using System Center Operations Manager to keep tabs on SharePoint.

Part 3 is titled “Securing, protecting, and optimizing SharePoint architectures”, though it opens with a chapter on virtualizing SharePoint components. The chapters in this section seemed clear and to have useful tips and advice, though of course I was reading the material without trying to actually follow the instructions. The chapter on deploying SharePoint for Extranets and alternative authentication scenarios looked at using Google and Facebook for ID authentication with Azure Control Services, for instance. One problem faced by SharePoint administrators is that of exploits using HTTP to attack SharePoint services, and there was a good chapter on hiding SharePoint behind Microsoft’s ForeFront Threat Management Gateway or Unified Access Gateways. Other chapters in this section cover implementing SharePoint security, configuring email-enabled content, and safeguarding confidential data in SharePoint using SQL Transparent Data Encryption and AD Rights Management.



By Part 4 of the book we’re on to collaboration and document management. There’s a useful comparison of the facilities in SharePoint Foundation and SharePoint Server 2013, after which the authors move on to libraries and lists, pages and sites, metadata, and social networking tools. Part five looks at how you can use the Office apps and SharePoint together, with reference to SkyDrive tools, collaborative documents, Excel services, and the workflows that come with SharePoint.

The final part of the book is the only one specifically relevant to SharePoint developers. It has three chapters on extending the SharePoint environment, starting with a look at how you can develop apps using SharePoint Designer 2013 and Visual Studio 2012. The chapter works through the creation of a workflow that interacts with some SharePoint lists, then goes on to show using VS to develop a web part. There’s a chapter on Business Intelligence in SharePoint 2013 with PerformancePoint Services that discusses what PerformancePoint Services is and the use of the Dashboard designer, and the book closes with a chapter on Business Connectivity Services and how you can use it to work with external data. Overall, the three chapters are best thought of as showing you the tools you might use to develop with SharePoint rather than teaching you how to do it.

Having read the book, my conclusion was that there is just too much in SharePoint for a single book to provide in-depth coverage of the whole of it. This book would be useful if you need to have a good overview of SharePoint and what it can do; if you need to get to grips with developing for SharePoint, it doesn’t go far enough.

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