Wait SharePoint isn’t terrible?

As a developer I like many of you found SharePoint to be an annoying enigma.  It wasn’t perfect as a document repository however it was much better than it was as an Intranet or home page.  It tried to be a jack of all trades and ended up struggling at most.  Web Parts were frustrating to develop and deploy, Home pages required templates that had been hacked by members of the general public, and pages required large amounts of work to get mobile responsive.  Because of these frustrations I walked away happily from SharePoint and kept my engagement with it to a minimum.

However I was recently asked to assist with our migration from SharePoint on premise to SharePoint online which made me look into how we could update our intranet page and the more I investigated the more amazed I became.  I honestly believe if they gave it a new name and didn’t call it SharePoint then developers would be singing its praises.  Expect to see SharePoint back on your radar soon and you no longer need to be disappointed.  Here’s a few reasons why SharePoint is now much better than ever.

No more public sites

SharePoint as a public website always seemed like a poor idea.  The user interface never seemed to be great and the effort involved and hacks required to setup a site always seemed to make it cost and time prohibitive.

When compared to other content management systems it just never stacked up.  Microsoft has now dropped this as a feature which is a good thing for us developers who have dealt with public sites in the past.

 

SPFx Tools

If you’ve watched the SharePoint talks from Build 2017 or read up on the upcoming changes you would have seen the Open Source tooling shown on Microsoft slides.  Even writing that sentence still feels confusing to me (Microsoft and Open Source) however you can now develop with your favourite open source tools, using your favourite JavaScript framework, and using the editor of your choice.  Expect some teething problems with this however its a wonderful step forward.

 

Page Design Interface

Remember how “easy” it was to create pages in SharePoint in the past? It was apparently designed so that end users could make changes easily and while that might have been true for minor changes (spelling updates, pictures changes etc) this was far from the truth.  The more time you spent looking at creating pages the more you found you needed hacks to do so many parts.

SharePoint 2016 provides a rich collection of parts that can be combined to create rich designs.  Some of these components won’t be available until SharePoint 2016 Feature Pack 2 due later in 2017 but when they come expect a large uptake on SharePoint by clients.   

Web Part to Web Part interaction

The release date for this functionality is still a bit unknown so it will hopefully be part of Feature Pack 2 but it might not be.  However the SharePoint team are working hard to allow for connections between Web Parts.  This will be great when implementing rich user experiences such as a detail component for a list for example.

 

Summary

As said by the SharePoint team, up to now there has been so many hacks to get SharePoint how companies want it and SharePoint 2016 has been designed so you no longer need those hacks and has been designed with Modern Web Design in mind.

You can now use your web design skills to create a rich intranet experience and clients are going to love the ease of use.

If SharePoint takes off in the next year or so you heard it here first, otherwise you get your money back on this post.

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