Reading Guide: USP Journal Issues for SharePoint Third Tier Developers

I got an email from an aspiring SharePoint professional that wanted to buy all my journals to learn as much as possible. I certainly appreciate the enthusiasm for learning, but honestly, not all the issues are for everyone so just buying them all and reading randomly probably isn’t going to be the best approach.

As such, I wrote him a reading guide so that he can read up in the order that makes sense. Here’s what I wrote:

I have written a blog post (it’s at as the start of a series that focuses on the path to becoming a SharePoint professional. The first article cover discipline (as in area of skill, not in mental discipline). You may want to read that when it comes out, as it speaks to your aspirations of becoming a subject matter expert.

Based on what you say here, I’m you closest to what we call a third tier developer. A third tier developer is essentially someone who works with Visual Studio to build WSP solutions for SharePoint. I recommend you read up on Marc Anderson’s Middle Tier Manifesto ( which will outline the tiers of SharePoint development.

However, practicing a SharePoint development tier isn’t an exclusive thing; most developers at least dabble in other tiers, such as jQuery, SPD Workflows, and so on. That’s fine too.

To get started with the journals, I would recommend that you start with Beginning SharePoint 2010 Development. This will be a good foundation for your further studies, especially because you are reading the journals.

Next, I would continue with Developing SharePoint Content Types and SharePoint Web Part Development. Both of these cater to intermediate skills in taxonomy and user interface development, two of the three core skill areas you’ll want to understand.

After than, if you want to continue along the content type path, I recommend first reading Content Types for Business Users (to understand their business impact on taxonomy) and then Advanced Content Type Development, to see some very cool ways of extending SharePoint into areas nobody has so far even dreamed (it’s more about understanding how to extend than any specific scenario).

If you want to continue the user interface path, I’d chill out for a while, because there is a new issue coming (time permitting) called Advanced SharePoint Web Part Development. You may also want to pick up (although this isn’t a USP Journal) my book called Building the SharePoint User Experience. Although written for SharePoint 2007, it goes deeper into how SharePoint works under the hood with respect to building great user experiences.

The last of the three core skill areas for third tier developers is behavior, and I’d recommend you start with SharePoint Designer 2010 Workflows (and maybe even SharePoint Designer 2007 Workflows. They are very different in their approach and both are applicable). If you plan to keep working on SP2010, I would then look at Introducing SharePoint Visual Studio Workflows, but keep in mind that this knowledge is deprecated (meaning it’s going away, not gone) in SP2013.

If you want some light reading in between, you can look to the “Explained” issues to see practical examples of SharePoint development. These are SPCurrentUsers Explained (beginner to immediate), SPTags Explained (advanced), as well as SPThemes and SPSampleData Explained (intermediate).

The full recommendation here is for 11 issues,which makes it a perfect candidate for a 13-issue bundle ($149.50). That way, you’ll have a couple of issues to spare for other stuff, for example the upcoming Advanced Web Part Development, Professional SharePoint Development, or Introducing SharePoint 2013.


PS: Oh, and in case nobody knows, I’m the author of these journals, so I’m very much affiliated with them 🙂

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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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