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Keywords: SharePoint, portals, document management systems
Title: Essential SharePoint 2007
Author: Jeff Webb
Verdict: An excellent starting point for new SharePoint users and administrators
SharePoint is a complex beastie, and for the first time user or administrator it can definitely be an intimidating piece of software. It promises so much, but then there are the endless layers of menus, the new terminology, the sheer complexity of putting together something that looks good, is functional and aids rather than hinders working. Which is why a book like 'Essential SharePoint 2007' is potentially so useful.
The book is aimed more at users and administrators more than developers, though developers coming to SharePoint 2007 for the first time will find it useful for orienting themselves. Covering both WSS (Windows SharePoint Services) and MOSS (Microsoft Office SharePoint Services), the book takes a very hands-on and pragmatic approach to the subject. The focus is clearly on getting working quickly and efficiently. While it's not a reference book, it does cover a lot of the core material required to create working libraries and sites.
Broadly speaking the author adopts a task-oriented approach, with the earlier parts of the book starting with the basics and helping the reader become familiarised with how SharePoint works. Early chapters provide a basic introduction and then move on to specific tasks: sharing documents with Office, creating sites, creating lists, creating libraries and so on. Later chapters look at wikis, blogs and integrating with email and workflow.
Each chapter includes a number of specific tasks, and where necessary the book clearly differentiates between WSS and MOSS flavours of SharePoint. While this can be a bit of a drag, on the whole it makes the book more useful for those who migrate from WSS to MOSS later on. Most of the chapters end with a 'Best Practices' section, summarising the preceding chapter and offering sage advice. In fact the advice that's offered, much of it backed up with anecdotes or technical explanation, makes this more than a chunky selection of tutorials.
It's also worth pointing out that there's good use of screenshots, so that it's easy to follow along when carrying out some of the tutorial sections.
In all, this is an excellent starting point for new SharePoint users and administrators.