Book Review: Community Server Quickly
(Click to purchase)
- Title: Community Server Quickly
- Author: Anand Narayanaswamy
- Level: Beginner
- Publisher: Packt Publishing
- Pages: 283
- Rating: 4 of 5
Few years back when I downloaded Community Server for the first time, one
thing I strongly desired was proper documentation. Over the period of time
Community Server is becoming more and more popular, mature and feature rich.
Anand Narayanaswamy's Community Server Quickly is here to teach you to install,
administer and customize this suite of collaboration tools.
The book is divided into 11 chapters. Chapter 1 to 6 introduce you to the
basic feature set of Community Server whereas Chapters 7 to 11 discuss
administration and customization.
Chapter 1 introduces you with the Community Server product including its
editions and future releases. It also includes a brief comparison with
Chapter 2 talks about system requirements, downloading and installing the
Community Server 2.0. Community Server can be installed using two options viz.
MSI based installer and Web installer. Both of these options are discussed
in this chapter. Many people will be installing it on remote servers provided by
ISPs or central server room. It would have been better if remote installation
issues or steps have been discussed in detail.
Chapter 3 discusses Community Server based Blogs. It covers topics such as
creating a blog, managing comments, applying blog settings, RSS and so on. This
chapter should make you comfortable with all the frequently needed blog
Community is becoming a key word for companies. To that end a feature rich
discussion forum plays an important role in building a successful community.
Chapter 4 takes you through all the intricacies of creating and managing
A photo speaks for thousand words. Photo albums are common place to share fun
events and happenings. Community Server allows you to create albums (formally
called as galleries in CS) of photos as well as files. Working of these albums
is the subject matter of Chapter 5.
Community Server comes with an inbuilt RSS feed aggregator and Blog roller.
These small but useful tools are discussed in Chapter 6.
Any community will have its own users and any user oriented web site calls
for membership and role based security. Chapter 7 talks about user registration,
role management, moderating user activity and profiles. I would have expected
some "words of wisdom" explaining good practices for user management as a whole.
Community Server is a highly customizable product. To begin with Chapter 8
covers basic customization tasks such as changing themes, home page and working
with modules. It also explains use of FreeTextBoxWrapper control as a rich text
Continuing customization further Chapter 9 deals with all sorts of settings.
The settings include general site settings such as description, time zone to
contact information to RSS syndication to email settings. There are dozens of
settings involved and an example demonstrating use of typical settings would
have been useful.
Tracking errors in the system and user activity are important jobs of an
administrator. Community Server provides extensive reporting on exceptions and
site activity. These features are covered in Chapter 10.
You may wish to implement licensing, SPAM protection and Censorship rules for
your web site. These features are tedious to implement manually. Thankfully CS
comes with many such features and they are covered in Chapter 11. Disallowing
certain names, ad management, censored words, blocking SPAM messages, banning an
IP address and more are covered here.
Appendix A discusses in brief about deploying Community Server. In my opinion
it could have been made more useful by pointing out common mistakes, hosting
issues and recommendations.
Overall I would call this book as a very good introduction to administrating
Community Server based web sites. If you are an administrator looking to become
up and running with this product suite quickly then this book can
certainly help you.