I love long breaks from work! Don’t get me wrong, I also love being a software developer and I am very passionate about creating software. However, long breaks give me an opportunity to spend more time exploring technologies which I don’t use day-to-day at my current job. Long breaks also offer a chance to read a little more than usual. This Thanksgiving break was no different. When I wasn’t preoccupied with the family and other holiday activities, I sat down and read Uncle Bob’sThe Clean Coder: A Code of Conduct for Professional Programmers.
It really was refreshing reading another person’s thoughts on what makes a software programmer a professional. In many ways, this topic is tough as it is very subjective. Several published books tackle the topic of software craftsmanship, but not many really dive into professionalism. Throughout the chapters, there is discussion about responsible communication, estimation, and making commitments. Important topics such as practicing, learning, and personal commitments for self-improvement are also covered. Overall, the book is pleasing and easy to read as the author shares plenty of his life experience to illustrate his points.
I think there are some areas where the book falls short. For example, the chapter of estimation discusses our responsibility to communicate honest estimates and suggests including confidence factors to allow the product folk and project managers to do their duties. However, you won’t find detailed discourse on estimation techniques. In the books defense, it is not a book about estimation techniques and perhaps detailed discourse on such techniques is out of scope. In my opinion, the author would have overcome this by including more references to material where the reader can acquire or develop those skills.
On the other hand, other chapters (like the one on practicing) did give enough reference material to satisfy my wish for more information. I also found the Appendix filled with lots of goodies to help expand your exposure to reading material and tools.
Bottom line – I recommend this book to any software programmer who is passionate about self-improvement in the professional sense.
A colleague recently asked me for tips on how to prepare for the 70-630 exam (TS: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, Configuration) and asked me to look at some sites with sample questions. Frankly sample questions are great to prepare you for an exam, but they only really help if you have already studied necessary material first. I highly recommend and enjoy getting solid hands on instructor lead classroom based training (for example check out the courses offered by the Ted Pattison Group that are actually taught by SharePoint MVPs). I also highly recommend to read, read, and read (yes that includes reading authoritative material on the Internet, however, there is something about reading an old fashioned paper and ink book that I enjoy so much more). With that said, I want to share my existing SharePoint library as well as books on my shopping list.
Inside Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 by Ted Pattison and Daniel Larson – This is a must read for all SharePoint developers. If you are working with WSS 3.0 and/or MOSS 2007, then you have to read this book. Personally, I have read it cover to cover three times and refer to it on a regular basis. The book is organized very well and cover the fundamental topics for developing anything SharePoint. It also includes download-able examples that are easy use and help to expose you to best development practices and the object model rapidly without overwhelming you. Highly recommended for developers.
Inside Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 by Patrick Tisseghem – Another solid read. This book covers development with the added value features of MOSS 2007 that were not covered in the Pattison/Larson book (look at #1 above). I don’t use this book as much as I use the Pattison/Larson book since I find that most of my projects really only require use of the WSS 3.0 framework, but when I do need to develop against the BDC and Search (or other MOSS 2007 features) this is my reference of choice. Recommended for developers.
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Administrator’s Companion by Bill English – As a developer, this 1200 page monster-sized book was not my typical read. It’s target audience is the system administrators, network infrastructure, and other non-developer type IT professionals that need to manage and administrate MOSS 2007. However, this book provided me with a solid foundation for preparing for the 70-630 exam. Not to mention, I believe that developers really need to understand how the platforms we develop operate to get clear insight as to how power users use the solutions and software we build (this is another topic that I need to blog about some day, great progress has been done in software engineering to consider end user interface design but the smaller audience of power users and administrators, who are also end users, get left out). Highly recommended for administrators. Recommended for developers.
That’s it. Three books. You take those three books plus the documentation and white papers on MSDN and TechNet and the great blogs (not the junk blogs which are way too abundant) that are on the Internet and you have enough resources to prepare for the 70-630 exam.
There have been some recent announcements of upcoming titles that I want to pick up and add to my library. Here is a quick list:
I know that most of these books are from Microsoft Press and that is not because I am partial to them. There are some other great books out there from Wrox other technical references. However, the books listed up there have been authored by (or with) SharePoint MVPs whose work I professionally admire and respect.