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10 Best Practices For Building SharePoint Solutions

  Shared By: Asia Meyers    Date: Jun 16   Category: Sharepoint    Views: 173772

The challenges facing developers who work with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (WSS) and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS) are as deep and wide as the SharePoint platform itself. If you're new to this platform, the practices we explore in this article will lead you in the right direction. If you're an experienced SharePoint developer, these tips should help reinforce your knowledge, encourage discussion, and ultimately lead to building great SharePoint applications.

Know When to Cross the Divide :
An issue that arises early in a SharePoint development project is how best to interact with other systems. Because SharePoint is a composite application platform, this question is one you will likely have to answer often. Viewing the SharePoint architecture from the Web application level is the easiest way to go about it. An instance of SharePoint contains multiple Web applications. If you are not familiar with SharePoint application architecture, you should review "Architectural Overview of Office SharePoint Server 2007 : http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/bb447580.aspx"

Take Advantage of Native SharePoint Capabilities :
Two situations can lead development teams away from taking full advantage of the native capabilities in SharePoint. First, because SharePoint is such an expansive platform, you might find it easier to build custom solutions rather than spend time to understand what SharePoint provides without custom coding. Second, business owners tend to create detailed requirements, wireframes, and application behaviors that leave you with little flexibility when it comes to using out-of-the-box (OOB) capabilities.

Know Critical SPDev Tasks and Information :
The purpose of this section is to elucidate common tasks that every SharePoint developer might need to complete during software development. This is not a tool review, nor is it intended to promote one tool over another. Instead, we provide suggestions for tools that you can use to complete common SharePoint development tasks.

Develop Solutions Off-Server :
Whenever possible, you should build your solutions free of the dependencies that SharePoint development often imposes. By using the Visual Studio development server, ASP.NET Web Part framework support, SharePoint Web services, and third-party tools, you can complete most of your development on a standard workstation rather than on a computer running SharePoint.

Testing Code and Managing Dependencies :
The widespread adoption of unit test frameworks and related test tools has naturally made its way into SharePoint development. Unit tests and integration tests are two primary test categories. Both test types exhibit different characteristics and require the use of different tools and techniques.

Continuous Integration and Automated Build :
Keeping code in source control, relying on continuous integration, and automating the build process are essential steps to efficient release of high-quality code assets. SharePoint makes the setup of this environment challenging, to say the least. For this tip, the most important starting point is the "Team Development Overview : http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/dd239296.aspx" topic.

Have SharePoint Manage Custom Config Settings :
Like any application, SharePoint solutions rely on configuration settings to operate properly. A custom application with only a few configuration settings may be easy to manage manually. In contrast, when developing enterprise or commercial applications in SharePoint, the number of configuration settings can be considerable.

Know Where Configuration Settings Belong :
The previous tip explored different types of SharePoint configuration settings and how to manage them. As an application is promoted through environments, such as from test to production, changes to the configuration settings, especially those pointing to external systems, can feel like sand shifting under your feet. Knowing where configuration settings belong can put management of environmental settings on more solid ground.

Brand SharePoint for Scale and Maintenance :
Branding your SharePoint site provides users with the most obvious visual indication of your application's purpose. Branding involves working with various artifacts, such as Master Pages, content pages, page layouts, site definitions, and CSS. For a tip on creating custom Master Pages, see the online tip "Creating Custom Master Pages."

Build Deployable Solutions :
You can get your components into a SharePoint Web application in several ways. This section focuses on how to utilize the packaging and deployment frameworks that SharePoint provides, including Web solution packages (Solutions/WSPs), Features, and the SharePoint object model.


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