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Microsoft Cloud: Book Review

Book Review: SharePoint 2010 Development with Silverlight

Microsoft .NET Development Series

I have done a lot of SharePoint custom development and I see Silverlight as the answer to the horrible web part programming model Microsoft has made available in SharePoint. I have yet to see anyone write SharePoint web parts that aren't spaghetti code. Every major web part implementation I have seen has been a big ball of mud, and I have seen a lot. I moved to Silverlight for web parts as soon as I could. It is a great programming model.

Microsoft continues to play the top secret game with regards to Silverlight so rumors of lack of browser support in the next year or two are being allowed to flourish. I am not willing to tell customers they should spend a year or two investing in Silverlight just so they can start over when they finally start reaching maturity. So for now, because of Silverlight, SharePoint custom development is off my future list of recommendations as well.

So then, why read and recommend this book? The current enterprise I am working in uses Silverlight for web part development. There is no plan to change that. If for some reason I end up in another enterprise that wants custom web parts developed and they want me to do it, it will be in Silverlight or nothing. Although it appears Microsoft has abandoned Silverlight, until they offer something along the same lines for SharePoint web part development I am sticking with Silverlight.

Because of that, I decided to purchase this book. I am now really glad I did. It is a great book.

The book is broken down into three parts. I have listed them and the chapters they contain below.

Part 1 Getting Started - Getting Started with SharePoint and Silverlight, Introduction to SharePoint Development, and Introduction to Silverlight Development.

Part 2 SharePoint and Silverlight Development - A First Look at Silverlight in SharePoint, Web Part Development, Expression Blend, Data Binding, and Sample Data, Accessing SharePoint Using the HTML Bridge, Accessing SharePoint Data with the Client Object Model, Accessing SharePoint Data with WCF Data Services, Accessing SharePoint with Web Services, and Accessing External Data.

Part 3 Building Solutions - Windows Phone 7 SharePoint Applications, Creating Silverlight Navigation, SharePoint and Silverlight in the Cloud, and Creating a Silverlight Field Control.

The author has a really nice writing style which makes the book an easy cover to cover read. It will also make a nice reference.

The downloadable code is very well organized and usable except for the Chapter 2 folder. That folder is missing some of the examples.

One of the things I like about this book is how current it is. The author provides Silverlight 5 examples as well as Silverlight 4 examples. He makes a point to cover several new features including debugging data binding, binding data to style setters, implicit data templates, and using the browser control.

Another thing I like is that the author makes use of Expression Blend. If you are developing with XAML, Blend needs to be part of the toolkit you master.

The book also shows you how to get started with Bing Maps, Azure, SketchFlow, and Windows Phone. Overall I found the book to be just down right cool.

I have been developing Silverlight web parts for a while now. There has not been very much information published that shows you how to get the most out of the tools and features available. That is until now. This book will take you to the next level of using SharePoint and Silverlight together. I can say that it did that for me.

All in all I highly recommend this book to Silverlight and SharePoint developers and architects. It is a must have!!!


SharePoint 2010 Development with Silverlight

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