As a SharePoint developer, I’m in constant need of knowledge. Every SharePoint program or configuration has caveats and exceptions with strange error messages combined with inscrutable logs. Nothing is ever simple—yet it kind of works—and, stranger still, I love it. Without Google, SharePoint would curl up and die.
Recently I’ve been working on an article comparing educational sites such as Pluralsight.com and LearnDevNow.com from the perspective of a SharePoint developer. While researching these paid educational offerings, I came across a treasure trove of free, first-rate SharePoint videos from YouTube, and, believe it or not, from Microsoft.
They're not totally hidden--you hit them intermittently on Google searches--but there are systematic ways of locating these critters. Let's explore how to find them.
Free YouTube Offerings
YouTube has come of age technically. Yes it still has all the junk and more—everything you despise, in spades. But it has another side-- millions of first-rate technical videos on almost any subject you can name and some you can’t name.
Just because there is so much online, locating technical content relevant to your enquiry is a problem. Just “Googling” (check out Atrix Marketing's tips on Google Searches) isn't enough; You need some systematic way to delve into the structure of an entity such as YouTube and to weed out the noise. You know the videos that tank: one-time authors, experts you can’t understand, videos with volume problems.
Speaking of weeding out noise, I find it expedient to log into YouTube with a Gmail account and adjust the settings. One thing I set on each browser is the Safety option–-I want it set to On (see screen shot below). I want to concentrate on my technical search and not be distracted by flashy or lewd results.
Lately as I’ve been researching this article, I’ve found some gems in the search category. One of the biggest bonanzas involves doing a search for “channel," which enables you to acquire lists that individuals or organizations have put together. For example, this is a search string that I typed in today: “SharePoint 2010, channel."
Below is the search result (not fully shown for space). Not only do I have at least seven more full pages to look through for the results, but each of the selections gives me several videos. By clicking on some of the playlists, I can subscribe to that list and have the playlist copied to my account, for use at my leisure.
For example, I can click on this hyperlink (see screen shot below).
Here I can click on the tabs, find the playlists or subscribe to an RSS feed (see screen shot below).
Instead of one video, I have a series of videos. (Oh Happy Day!)
Another aspect that might not be immediately obvious in YouTube are filter options in a search. Until you actually enter search data and click the search icon or “Enter,” it’s not available. Once you have entered, it appears in a compressed form (see screen shot below).
After it appears, click the filter or the drop-down arrow beside it to expand the search and sort parameters. The filter has parameters that you can use to adjust your search and sort the results. For example, I generally don’t want to look at videos less than 20 minutes—so you see I have the option selected (see screen shot below). Also you can adjust how you want your search results sorted.
The Sort by setting in the screen shot below is adjusted to "View count"—but "Relevance," "Upload date," or "Rating" (to get what users considered the best—and hopefully, eliminate “weeds”) could have been chosen as well.
You can make your own query string for YouTube video searches. Take a look at the box below.
Videos Hidden in the Sleeping Giant
Don’t be amazed: Microsoft, “the mother ship” has some good stuff. (A billion here and a billion there and pretty soon you’ve got some power--if not at least potential for fun.)
Microsoft, inventor of unhelpful Help files which have been perfected to unhelpful online command Help, actually has some superb content. Let’s start with a simple Google Search “SharePoint 2010 videos." From this I selected “SharePoint 2010 videos Microsoft.” I chose the first option beyond the paid ads, “Video demos and training for SharePoint Server 2010” (see screen shot below).
Next we are taken to a lack-luster (wearisome) and understated Microsoft Data Presentation (see screen shot below).
Just clicking the first link, a panorama explodes (see screen shot below).
The sidebar items themselves lead to complete video presentations of complex SharePoint 2010 topics. For example, “Get started developing on SharePoint 2010” offers multiple videos with every basic developer topic (see screen shot below).
Remember, I just selected the first option on the Microsoft lackluster listing and drilled down to see the offerings. I didn’t explore the other videos categories: Planning, Deployment, Operations, Solutions or Inline Videos—or even the rest of the entries under “Getting Started.”
A consolidated resource for finding Microsoft SharePoint Sites and Training is in an article by Nik Patel "SharePoint 2010 Training Resources for Developers, IT Pros, and End Users « Nik Patel's SharePoint World." Although this resource was written in 2010, it gives a basic structure to navigate Microsoft and find good things.
Additional SharePoint Videos
Just in passing, let me mention another source of free SharePoint Videos: SharePoint-Videos.com. The site is commercial but there are some free videos that can be viewed. I have found Asif Rehmani to be quite thorough in some of his video coverage. As I allocate my funds for the next year, I would strongly consider subscribing to this site to take some of the in-depth coverage.
One other offering that is too good to pass up is Dan Holme's Training at the University of Florida—a four-part recording (12 hours introducing SharePoint 2010 for free) at Training - University of Florida Information Technology. I have recommended this to our QA folks.
Obviously I haven’t covered all the free videos on the internet for SharePoint 2010, but hopefully, with YouTube channel searches, key Microsoft sites, SharePoint-Videos.com, and the power of Google (regarding Bing—Microsoft and search engines? get real,) you should be able to get some of what you need to further your education.
About the author: Stephan Onisick, MCSD, MCDBA, MCTS, CTT+, is a SharePoint developer specializing in jQuery Web Parts, workflows, and InfoPath solutions. He works as a government contractor for the Missile Defense Agency, working for Phacil. Stephan lives in Huntsville with his lovely wife, who is also the singer of their “Satin and Suede” duo. He is totally owned by a 12.1-lb. adorable Shi Tzu.