Book Review

Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Enterprise Applications on Windows Phone 7 by Todd Spatafore
My rating:
3 of 5 stars

I must preface this review by firstly saying that a copy of this book was provided to me free of charge to review and secondly I am not a developer. I would also say that in many respects the demand for such a book would be limited given the current poor penetration of Windows Phone 7.

That said the book does achieve what it sets out to achieve, basically. I view this book as more of an introduction of what is possible rather than a deep dive into creating Windows Phone 7 SharePoint applications. My expectation was that the book would focus more heavily on the Windows Phone 7 application development but it was disappointed that it spent a significant amount of time running over the basics, especially of SharePoint.

As a general introduction to both Sharepoint and Windows Phone 7 I think the book really hits the mark, especially when it comes to Windows Phone 7. However, I felt that it should go deeper, which may be an incorrect assumption on my part. I am left feeling that there is so much more that could be achieved but this book doesn’t quite take me there.

I would certainly commend the book as a great introduction to Windows Phone 7 and what is possible when combined with SharePoint. However, I’m puzzled by which audience it is aimed at. If it is developers then the book probably doesn’t go deep enough. If it is for SharePoint users then the Windows Phone 7 parts add a distraction.

In summary, the book is an excellent introduction to the world Windows Phone 7 and the integration possibilities with SharePoint. However, it is not something designed for the hard core developer looking for a deep drive technical reference.
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Office365 doesn’t replace SBS

I am always amazed at how many people are under the mistaken impression that something like Office365 (or Google Apps) can replace an on site network system (like Microsoft Small Business Server). In short the answer is no. Yet.

Office365 is designed to remove some of the ‘heavy lifting’ from on site networks by moving complex and hard to maintain applications like Exchange and SharePoint into a place where they can be managed by the people who designed and developed that software. However, even with those applications removed, local systems are still performing a lot of functions that the cloud cannot do well presently.

A good example is Windows Update Services (WSUS) which provide patch management for local machines. Microsoft does have a cloud product (Windows InTune) that does something similar but it is still in the early stages of development so it currently doesn’t have all the features the onsite equivalent has.

An very important phrase here is ‘currently’. The plan seems to be that Windows InTune will one day rival any onsite solutions (especially for small business), however it still has a way to go to reach parity. What many also overlook is the fact that cloud solutions like Windows InTune will improve far more rapidly than traditional on site software.

So even with Office365 and Windows InTune many small business have third party applications that depend on onsite solutions and infra structure. Those that use things like SQL will also eventually move to the cloud under something like Windows Azure but they won’t until developers rewrite their software to take advantage of the cloud offerings. Until they do, businesses will have to retain on site infrastructure.

Rather than believing that the cloud replaces everything currently on site you need to look at cloud technologies as reducing the requirements for on site equipment. With Office365 many business probably only need something like SBS 2011 Essentials, rather than the full blown SBS 2011 Standard. Think downsizing, not elimination. Yet.

As any business moves to the cloud they also need to carefully consider their connection to the Internet. Generally, most businesses have been able to get away with ‘consumer grade’ broadband. As they move to the cloud they must step this up to faster and more reliable pipes with redundancy. Most modern internal networks run at a speed of 1,000 Mb, while broadband typically only delivers 3 Mb consistently. Currently, you’ll never get the same performance but broadband speeds are always improving but they are not yet equivalent to on site speeds. Yet.

Finally, in all this talk of moving to the cloud, traditional things such as backup and security don’t magically disappear, they simply need to be re-thought and re-engineered. Just because your email moves to the cloud and Office365 does that mean you shouldn’t back it up? Certainly for me it doesn’t. I know that it is backed up at the data centre but since it is ‘my’ data I still backup regularly. Admittedly, this is still cumbersome and not totally automated as it is with on site situations. However, the key term again here is ‘yet’. It will come as demand increases.

So, in summary, can the cloud totally replace what you have with the your on site network? Almost certainly no. Will it? Almost certainly yes. The only question is when. In the meantime rather than thinking of eliminating think down-sizing locally when it comes to the cloud.

Staying up to date

One of the most causes of security breeches is out-dated software. However, in a world where you can have hundreds of different applications installed?

 

There is a free solution to keep you informed about the update status of many common applications – Secunai PSI. It is designed to be installed on personal machines and then inform on what applications are installed and how up to date they are.

 

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After installing and running a scan you will be able to view a report of the applications installed on your machine. You’ll also see whether any require updating and in most cases you’ll also be given a link to take you to the update page for the software.

 

Once installed the Secunia software will also sit in the background and inform you when new updates become available. This really makes it an easy way to ensure you system is not only up to date but also more secure.