I've decided to create a new book review category and tell you what I think of the new books.  As I'm given books to review by publishers, I'll write a review.

Title: First Look at 2007 Microsoft Office system. 

Author: Katherine Murray

Publisher: MS Press

Price: £9.89

What does it cover and who is it for?

A good intro to the new suite, focusing mainly on the client applications.  It covers some general introduction to what is different about the 2007 release, goes over the new user interface briefly and then drills into each application, showing a good range of new capabilities for each one.    Apps covered:
  • Word 2007
  • Excel 2007
  • PowerPoint 2007
  • Publisher 2007
  • OneNote 2007
  • Access 2007
  • Outlook 2007
  • Groove 2007

Good for anyone already pretty familiar with Office 2003 applications who just wants to take advantage of what is new in the 2007 release.

What's good about it

It's a simple structure to follow and so it is an easy book to dip in and out of.  Even though I am very familiar with most of the suite, I still came across little things that I haven't really used yet and it does a good job of highlighting the main advances in each app.  They also have little candid interviews with product managers (some of those from the "heros of IW" post) involved in the products which is a nice touch. 

Criticisms of the book

Although it does mention in places how an app can integrate with the rest of the Office system, this is primarily a book about the client applications and so for me misses the main point of what the 2007 release is fundamentally about - the whole environment.  No section on SharePoint Server 2007 or SharePoint Designer let alone the other servers for example.  The pictures are good throughout but they are in black and white, presumably to keep the cost down.  That said, there are a lot of pictures, summaries and sidebars to make it easy to read.  The other thing missing for me is integration between the applications covered.  For example, there is no mention of the terrific integration between Outlook and OneNote.

Summary

A handy little book for under ten quid to get you into the new 2007 applications and good companion if you are evaluating the beta.  Needs more emphasis on integration so in addition, make sure you read up on the server capabilities too, especially SharePoint 2007.