Book review: Inside Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (Ted Pattison, Daniel Larson)

Just another review of a great book. Check out the other reviews here.

Inside Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 is considered a classic. Often people talk about instant classics, but I think this is a case where the book was a classic long before it was even written.

If you have no idea who Ted Pattison is you should do a Google right away. Ted is the founder of Ted Pattison Group, the leading SharePoint training company in the world. With instructors such as Andrew Connell, Scot Hillier, and John Holliday on their payroll, TPG has become legendary for providing great training from some of the best SharePoint minds in the world.

Other SharePoint books you might want…

A long, long time ago, when I took the Windows SharePoint Services 3.0: Application Development (70-541) exam, I researched what to read by Googling. Close to every serious suggestion recommended learning what was in Inside Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. I had the book in my shelf at that time, so I did, and I passed, with flying colors.

So, let’s break down the good parts and the bad parts.

If you have read my last review of Todd Bleeker’s "Developer’s Guide to Windows SharePoint Services", you know I complained that the book was not comprehensive enough. Inside Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 suffers a bit of the same problem, and you would think that, having fewer pages, it would be less comprehensive. That may be the case on some topics such as web parts, but at the same time Ted covers fewer topics in total, meaning there is more time to go deeper into other topics.

That being said; this is also an overview book, covering wide areas of development. For starting out with SharePoint development this is good, but if you are looking for deeper dives into a particular subject you may not find what you are looking for here.

Another thing I like about the book is the writing style itself. Both authors write in a natural and flowing style, meaning reading is a lot easier, especially for someone who is not fond of reading at all. Like me. I realize a lot of other reviewers critique the writing style; perhaps it is different for someone who does not have English as their native language.

And let’s get this straight right away; this is a developer’s book. I am a developer so I appreciate that, but there is little here to offer information to administrator, information workers, or executive. That is a good thing. I am biased.

Added kudos for including information about the site provisioning provider, by the way.

Any downright bad stuff? Well, I know Ajax is popular as an interface enhancer, and the book includes a chapter on learning Ajax. Listen, I buy a SharePoint book to learn SharePoint; not SQL, not Ajax, not Silverlight, not Photoshop. Stick to the topic! The Ajax chapter was more on Ajax than Ajax in SharePoint even, and lacking completely in both camps.

Another thing that I did not appreciate was pages long code. Code is good, especially snippets that show how a feature is implemented, but I do not need to see three pages worth at a time. Put the code online and reference it instead.


Great, great book. Let me a bit down on the depth in some areas, but the writing style, coverage, and selection of topics covered makes up for that. Paying 32 bucks for this on Amazon is a steal, you’ll save that in a week from the added knowledge you will have gained.

Good Bad
Comprehensive coverage… …but not deep enough
Good writing style and flow Worthless Ajax chapter
Wise choice of topics Too much code in some chapters
Pure developer book Perhaps not as advanced as advertised

I also have a complete list of my recommended SharePoint books, conveniently gathered in a single store. These will be reviewed as time permits, but if you have specific requests, let me know, either by comment or by email to furuknap<[at]>

As you may or may not know, I am not particularly interested in certifications and titles, I take them only when a customer requests a certain certification. I am not recommending you take the 70-541 certification, I am just saying that if you do, get Ted’s book.

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Bjørn Furuknap

I previously did SharePoint. These days, I try new things to see where I can find the passion. If you have great ideas, cool projects, or is in general an awesome person, get in touch and we might find out together.

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