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Archive for October 7th, 2013

I know it’s not the easiest way to get a grip on SharePoint, certainly when you’re just starting to develop solutions on the platform. Having the possibility to do many things interactively is indeed a great way to discover the possibilities of SharePoint. But once you have to build the real stuff – the bigger solutions, the business-critical applications – then there is only one way to do it right: “Using Features and Solutions to Deploy your SharePoint Customizations“.

One of the questions you always have to answer when building a web application, or indeed any application, is ‘How do I deploy my application and any subsequent updates?’. In SharePoint the answer to this question is pretty clear cut, and as black and white as can be. SharePoint is a platform with an accepted methodology of deployment, and that methodology isĀ Features and Solutions. If you’re not using features and solutions to deploy your customizations, you’re not doing it right.

Some of my colleagues continue to prefer the “let’s just whip together a few lists and a bit of jQuery” method, and it’s true that this way of working can deliver a more or less working prototype in very little time. But once the application is running and requires a bit of maintenance, then hacking your way through updates and changes will become harder and harder. Learning about Features, Solutions, Modules, Elements, Sandboxing and Visual Studio is a big job, that is true. And Microsoft could make it easier to handle SharePoint in Visual Studio: not everything is as streamlined as it could (should!) be. But it can be done, and having more details to think through will deliver better solutions in the end as well.

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