Monday, March 24, 2008

Who is a SharePoint Developer and What is SharePoint ?

I recently had a conversion with one of my developer friend (Dilbert) which was something like this:

Prashanth: Hey Dilbert! How r u?

Dilbert: I am fine Prashanth. How r u doing?

Prashanth: Never been so great. So what r u working on these days?

Dilbert: I have been developing .NET applications. What’s up with you?

Prashanth: I am working on SharePoint. I build and maintain SharePoint applications.

Dilbert: So you basically take care of document libraries. I heard that that SharePoint is a document repository.

Prashanth (fuming with rage...): I do little more than that and SharePoint is a LOT more than a document repository. It is one of the many, many features provided by SharePoint.

Dilbert: Oh is it? All this time, I was thinking of SharePoint as a SourceSafe. BTW, Do you get to work on .NET applications?

Prashanth(trying to control himself to not hit Dilbert...): SharePoint is built on the .NET platform. Microsoft Office Server 2007 is built on ASP.NET 2.0 and you can basically do whatever you do when developing your .NET applications. SharePoint provides you with a lot of click-create websites based on templates, which may otherwise take days to build. As a developer, SharePoint provides you a great object model which enables you do anything that can be done by the wizards/user interface. This helps in developing rich business applications.

Dilbert: So you basically create websites with a click. Where is the development then?

Prashanth: It’s true that most of the times, I use the built-in wizards to create the sites. But, lot of customizations also needs to be done depending on the business requirements. It involves developing web parts, master pages, user controls and basically everything a normal ASP.NET developer does. It also involves using XML to create/modify site definitions and site templates which is a major part of SharePoint Development. SharePoint provides tight integration with InfoPath and Excel services providing you with a great development environment. Just imagine the kind of development you can do with these tightly-coupled technologies !

Dilbert: What else is part of SharePoint?

Prashanth: SharePoint has a lot more features aimed at Collaboration, Business Intelligence, Content Management, Search for improving Productivity, Communication and for finding information very easily. To summarize:

  • Provides a simple, familiar, and consistent user experience -By tightly integrating with familiar client desktop applications, e-mail, and Web browsers
  • Boosts employee productivity by simplifying everyday business activities - By providing out-of-the-box workflows for initiating, tracking, and reporting common business activities such as document review and approval, issue tracking, and signature collection
  • Helps meet regulatory requirements through comprehensive control over content - By specifying security settings, storage policies, auditing policies, and expiration actions for business records
  • Effectively manage and re-purpose content to gain increased business value - By being able to submit documents for approvals and schedule deployments for intranet and internet
  • Simplifies organization-wide access to both structured and unstructured information across disparate systems - By giving users access to line of business data like SAP, Siebel and many other disparate content sources
  • Connects people with information and expertise -By providing enterprise search which is capable of returning back web pages, people information and documents
  • Accelerates shared business processes across organizational boundaries - By providing great smart electronic forms out of the box
  • Helps in sharing business data without divulging sensitive information
  • Provides a single, integrated platform to manage intranet, extranet, and Internet applications across the enterprise
Though I am not a SharePoint eulogist,working on it for sometime now has given me a better understanding and also the made me understand the essence of it. I hope Dilbert has a better understanding of it now.


Jag said...

Very well written Prashanth. I am also a SharePoint Consultant and often find mself in the same position as you. If you permit I like to make a reference to this post on my blog

By the way I hail for Andhra Pradesh as u do(guess based on your name!). I am working as SharePoint Consultant in Adelaide, Australia.

All the best,

Prashanth Palakollu said...

Thanks Jag ! Please go ahead and reference the article.....


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