Book Review - Advanced Microsoft Content Management Server Development
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Published: 15 Jun 2006
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In this review Derek provides a succinct overview of the book's content and useful information.
by Derek Strickland
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The book starts out strong with 3 chapters fully devoted to creating a sample application using the Publishing API.  While the code examples are copious, they are (necessarily) somewhat redundant.  The authors chose to create an administration tool as the most effective means of illustrating the Publishing API's capability.  This was an effective technique in that it exposed the core of the API very quickly to the reader, as well as having the added benefit of communicating the purpose of the MCMS Server.  If you are uncertain, as I was, on what problems Microsoft Content Management Server may or may not be the right solution for, this book will take you a long way towards understanding the product and its role in the platform. 

After finishing the baseline administration tool, the book takes a refreshing detour on the topic of search engines.  Rather than going into detail, I will summarize this chapter by saying this, if you need a primer on the basics of Search Engine Optimization give this chapter a shot.  I think you will like it.

Next, the authors spend three chapters on SharePoint integration and configuration.  If you are using SharePoint as a foundation for your product or the enabling technology for your internal portal, you should consider the benefits of integrating with MCMS or possibly using MCMS in lieu of SharePoint.  My experiences with SharePoint have always reminded me of the end of a brewery tour -fraught with bloat.  While SharePoint is remarkably feature-rich, it always seems that the average user either is not interested in the features or is intimidated by them.  The appealing aspect of MCMS, from my perspective, is that the Publishing API is designed to allow you to write your applications/sites your way (with some caveats) and still have the added benefit of a tool that handles the administrative duties (transactional document management).  I quickly got the feeling that if my singular goal was to manage web content across any number of channels then MCMS was a nice lightweight alternative to SharePoint.  In fact, I kept thinking about website design firms and wondering how a product like this could impact the efficiency of their business. 

The refreshing thing to learn, for me at least, was that while MCMS can and does integrate with SharePoint, SharePoint is not required.  In fact, the book does a fine job of illustrating how to avoid using SharePoint altogether. 

With SharePoint fully dealt with, the book moves on from that point to discuss the intricacies of the aforementioned caveats of implementing dynamic content, validating dynamic content and staging static content as well.  Also of note are chapters devoted to integrating InfoPath as an editing tool and integrating RSS feeds into yours site, all with full code samples.

All in all, this book was enjoyable.  With the exception of the unavoidable SharePoint section, the book was devoted to MCMS development and as such had a lot of example code to sift through.  As a testament to this book, I think you could read the code examples alone and get an introduction to the Publishing API.  One disclaimer though, the example applications in this book are intentionally straight forward.  All the sample code is procedural in nature.  Take it for what it is, a readable set of examples.  This book is not intended to address issues of application design, so if you expect that you will be sorely disappointed.

About the Book

Title: Advanced Microsoft Content Management Server Development

Authors: Lim Mei Ying, Stefan Gosner, Andrew Connell, Angus Logan

ISBN: 1904811531 (512 Pages)

Publisher: Packt Publishing

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