Kirk Evans is a Microsoft Architect for the Azure Center of Excellence.
Introduction to SharePoint and Azure IaaS
Building SharePoint Apps with Windows Azure Platform as a Service
SharePoint Solutions and Architectures on Windows Azure Infrastructure Services
Understanding Authentication and Permissions with Apps for SharePoint and Office
Laura Rogers has posted some great screencasts to introduce you to the Data View Web Part, showing how easy it is use SharePoint Designer to consume data from a data source and provide a UI to insert, update, and delete items… all with no code. Check out the bottom section of her article that points to more articles in this series.
I’ve got to admit, I am a developer who approaches SharePoint by looking for the things that I can extend using Visual Studio. What I have found is that many of the things that I want to build I could instead create using tools like Access, Excel, SharePoint Designer, and InfoPath. The lesson here is to spend the time researching what SharePoint provides out of the box (it’s quite a large surface area) to see if that is already implemented for you.
A great example of this is building custom web parts. I can’t tell you how many times I have created a web part with an SPGridView in it that does exactly what Laura shows in her screencast. Using the out of box functionality not only empowers end users, but also greatly reduces the amount of code that you need to maintain.