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Benefits ofSharePoint 2010 as aProduct PlatformFor Independent Software Vendors and EnterprisesDate published: June 2010Au...
ContentsWhy This White Paper...............................................................3                              ...
Why This White PaperAs with any evolving product, there are false ceilings set due to people’s experiences with previous v...
SharePoint BackgroundSharePoint is now in its fourth version. It has matured over the past decade since its first versions...
SharePoint capabilities.      capabilitie                                                                                 ...
Audience for this PaperThe audience for this white paper is software product                                              ...
Making the Case for SharePoint                            2010       • Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010       • Micros...
Making the Case for SharePointMaking the CaseGetting the most out SharePoint as a basis for ISV offerings comes from under...
Se                                                Windows ServerSharePoint Platform StrategiesThere are three primary stra...
SharePoint Platform StrategiesProducts can be connected to SharePoint using existing or                     A clear exampl...
SharePoint Platform StrategiesExtendThere are many products that take SharePoint to the next level. Some provide services ...
SharePoint Platform StrategiesBuild OnProducts designed and built from the ground up for SharePoint can take advantage of ...
Platform Capabilities                                          Silverlight           JavaScript         Windows AppSharePo...
Platform CapabilitiesApplication Security                                                     Packaging and DeploymentAnot...
Platform CapabilitiesContent ManagementSharePoint 2010 provides plenty of out-of-the-box capabilities to meet many ECM req...
Platform CapabilitiesBusiness Intelligence                                                      SearchData analysis is bec...
Platform CapabilitiesWorkflow                                                                And More...Developers can fur...
• Offline Data                                       Functions                                                            ...
Server ControlPlatform Capabilities    User Control                             Server ControlSharePoint 2010 provides for...
Barriers to Adoption as a Development PlatformWe have described some of the ways SharePoint has matured just within the la...
Benefits of share_point_2010_as_a_product_platform
Benefits of share_point_2010_as_a_product_platform
Benefits of share_point_2010_as_a_product_platform
Benefits of share_point_2010_as_a_product_platform
Benefits of share_point_2010_as_a_product_platform
Benefits of share_point_2010_as_a_product_platform
Benefits of share_point_2010_as_a_product_platform
Benefits of share_point_2010_as_a_product_platform
Benefits of share_point_2010_as_a_product_platform
Benefits of share_point_2010_as_a_product_platform
Benefits of share_point_2010_as_a_product_platform
Benefits of share_point_2010_as_a_product_platform
Benefits of share_point_2010_as_a_product_platform
Benefits of share_point_2010_as_a_product_platform
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  1. 1. Benefits ofSharePoint 2010 as aProduct PlatformFor Independent Software Vendors and EnterprisesDate published: June 2010Authors:Owen Allen – Senior Product Manager for SharePoint ISV Partners, Microsoft CorporationEric Bowden – Senior Consultant, ThreeWillKirk Liemohn – Principal Software Engineer, ThreeWillDanny Ryan – Principal, ThreeWillTommy Ryan – Principal, ThreeWillPete Skelly – Principal Consultant, ThreeWillContributors:Geoffrey Edge – Senior Technology Specialist, Microsoft CorporationKirk Evans – Developer and Platform Evangelism for Communications Sector, Microsoft CorporationChris Mitchell – Technology Architect for Microsoft Technology Center, Microsoft CorporationReviewers:Bill Arconati – Product Marketing Manager, Atlassian Software SystemsTony Clark – Director, Enterprise Architecture, Cox EnterprisesGeoffrey Edge – Senior Technology Specialist, Microsoft CorporationBo George – Senior Application Developer, Aflac Murray Gordon – ISV Architect Evangelist, Microsoft CorporationAaron Rafus – Technology Evangelist, McKesson CorporationWilliam Rogers – Chief Workplace Architect, CorasWorks CorporationBrendon Schwartz – Senior Platform Engineer, JackBe CorporationCole Shiflett – Solutions Architect, EquifaxDr. Todd Stephens – Senior Technical Architect, AT&TMatt Waltz – Chief Technology Officer, NextDocsMichael Wilson – Solution Specialist for Office and SharePoint, Microsoft CorporationSummaryDuring the 2009 SharePoint Conference, Christian Finn, Director of SharePoint Products for Microsoft,commented that given current trends, building products on the SharePoint Platform is the “new black.” Tomake his case, he cited the momentum of the SharePoint platform along with significant announcements fromcompanies building integration with SharePoint into their products and services. This white paper, designedfor Independent Software Vendors, software architects, CIOs, and other enterprise technology leaders picks upthis discussion by addressing the perceived limitations that may cause development companies to discountSharePoint as a development platform when drawing up a technology roadmap – and illustrating the value ofleveraging SharePoint as a Web Application Development Platform for those organizations.
  2. 2. ContentsWhy This White Paper...............................................................3 Perceived Barrier 3 - Lack of Integration with External or Relational Data.........21SharePoint Background............................................................4 Perceived Barrier 4 -Audience for this Paper............................................................6 Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and Code Isolation..................................................................................21 .Making the Case for SharePoint.............................................7 . Is Perception Reality?.....................................................................22 Does SharePoint Fit..........................................................................7 Misconceptions of SharePoint as an Making the Case................................................................................8 Application Platform...............................................................23 Leveraging the Platform............................................................8 . Misconception 1 - Understand Your Value Proposition.......................................8 A SharePoint Dependency Means Closed Architecture........................................................................23SharePoint Platform Strategies...............................................9 Misconception 2 - Connect................................................................................................9 . SharePoint Applications Are Too Restrictive.........................23 Extend.................................................................................................11 . Misconception 3 - SharePoint Is Only a Document Repository..........................24 Build On..............................................................................................12 Misconception 4 -Platform Capabilities...............................................................13 SharePoint Cannot Be Used to Run Line of Business Applications...............................................................25 Infrastructure....................................................................................13 Community Support and Tooling.........................................26 ASP.NET HTTP Pipeline.................................................................. 13 Community.......................................................................................26 . Application Security........................................................................ 14 Visual Studio.....................................................................................26 Service Applications........................................................................ 14 Debugging........................................................................................26 . Packaging and Deployment........................................................ 14 SharePoint Designer......................................................................27 . Content Management...................................................................15 Third Party Tools..............................................................................27 External Data..................................................................................... 15 . Next Steps. ................................................................................28 . Business Intelligence...................................................................... 16 . Feature Mapping.............................................................................28 Search................................................................................................... 16 Market Analysis...............................................................................28 . Workflow............................................................................................. 17 Bake Off..............................................................................................28 Data Model User Interface........................................................... 17 Pilot Project.......................................................................................28 And More............................................................................................ 17 Consult with Others.......................................................................28 . User Interface...................................................................................18 . ISV Ecosystem Map........................................................................29 . Platform Capabilities Summary.................................................19 Key Resources...................................................................................30Barriers to Adoption as a Development Platform. ...........20 . References.........................................................................................30 . Perceived Barrier 1 - Unique Developer Skill Set..........................................................20 Glossary of Terms............................................................................31 Perceived Barrier 2 - Footnotes...........................................................................................34 Closed or Restrictive Platform Services...................................20 2
  3. 3. Why This White PaperAs with any evolving product, there are false ceilings set due to people’s experiences with previous versions. The initial corefeatures/capabilities for SharePoint were targeted to provide out-of-the-box features that made the product easy to useand administer for team sites and portals. The product was extensible from the beginning, but it was not architected for themainstream developer. This focus has changed over the years and there are very compelling reasons that product companiesshould consider SharePoint in their technology roadmaps.The ability to leverage the rich features of SharePoint technologies is reason enough to consider SharePoint as a webdevelopment platform. Another key reason to consider either building on top of SharePoint or having a connection strategywith SharePoint is market opportunities that come from being associated with this popular platform (over 100 million licenses ofSharePoint have been sold). The purpose of this white paper is to address the perceived limitations that typically cause productcompanies to discount SharePoint when determining a technology roadmap for their products.This white paper will dive into some of the features of the platform, including how a company could build a better product fasterand take advantage of the rapid adoption and increased market interest in SharePoint as a platform. Also described in this paperare the Connect, Extend, and Build On strategies and the advantages of each approach. 3
  4. 4. SharePoint BackgroundSharePoint is now in its fourth version. It has matured over the past decade since its first versions of SharePoint Team Services(STS) and SharePoint Portal Server (SPS) 2001.It is amazing to see the vision that the early SharePoint team had and how they have come through to deliver on that vision1.SharePoint, in the early days of its product lifecycle, provided an application for team and portal implementations. Truecustomization was limited. Unlike subsequent versions of SharePoint, the two collections of services in its first version, SharePointTeam Services (STS) and SharePoint Portal Server (SPS), did not completely share a common framework.With the second version, Windows SharePoint Services With the release of WSS version 3 and Microsoft Office(WSS) 2.0 and SPS 2003, a third-party developer community SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007, a developer community forbegan to form. This community was primarily focused on in-house developers and consultants started to form, whilethe gap between SharePoint features and the typical needs the third-party developer community continued to expandfor team sites and portals. These products often took form rapidly. The extensibility story became richer and the viabilityas components (such as a web part) that would empower of SharePoint as a web application development platformend users to put together lightweight applications. Also, the emerged. The services available to build upon in SharePointconcept of mashing up data from sources inside and outside of allowed for enhanced custom solution scenarios that couldSharePoint started to take shape. Outside of the development leverage Windows Workflow Foundation, web contentof third-party products, the developer community shied away management (via the incorporation of the Microsoft Contentfrom SharePoint customization because the techniques were Management Server product), a rich event model and searchoften fragile. For example, the ONET.XML had to be changed to capabilities, to name just a few areas.make branding changes; yet this SharePoint system file has alsohad the potential to be changed in subsequent service packupdates, overwriting the customizations. Also, the SharePointtechnology stack was executing in parallel to ASP.NET runtimeinstead of being built directly on top of it: SharePoint had aseparate ISAPI filter and did not run through the ASP.NET ISAPIfilter. As a result, SharePoint could not take advantage of theextensive features offered by ASP.NET.SharePoint HistoryTo get a good glimpse of the product history read Jeff Teper’s poston SharePoint History. Jeff is the Corporate VP of SharePoint andprovides a good perspective on how an early vision of SharePointhas prevailed over the years. As stated in the blog post, the strategyfrom the beginning has been: Great Integrated Solution Out-of-Box Web Workspace Compelling Office Integration Easy & Flexible Deployment 4
  5. 5. SharePoint capabilities. capabilitie by the SharePSharePoint BackgroundWith SharePoint 2010, the names of the componentproducts have changed. The successor to WindowsSharePoint Services 3.0 is named Microsoft SharePoint 2001Foundation 2010 and the next version of Microsoft Office • SharePoint Team ServicesSharePoint Server 2007 is named Microsoft SharePoint • SharePoint Portal ServerServer 2010. The term “SharePoint 2010” is often used asan umbrella term to refer to SharePoint services generically,without being specific to SharePoint Foundation or 2003SharePoint Server. The developer story has also greatly • Windows SharePoint Services v2improved in SharePoint 2010. Whether building composite • SharePoint Portal Server2003applications without code or getting into Visual Studio andbuilding a packaged solution, there are many tools andfeatures available. In addition, the platform story has only 2007gotten better in 2010 and is becoming a key strategy forthe SharePoint product. This paper will dive into a few key • Windows SharePoint Services v3platform capabilities and reveal why they could be important • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007to your product development technology roadmap.The SharePoint Team has done an excellent job of 2010establishing SharePoint as an “Application” and has made • Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010major strides toward SharePoint being a “Platform”. • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010From developer tools to open-source communities todevelopment APIs, it is clear that the SharePoint ProductTeam does not intend SharePoint to be a “sealed” application.To the contrary, SharePoint has evolved into a webapplication development and integration framework forMicrosoft Developers to connect, extend, and build on.Terminology SitesThroughout this white paper we will use the terms SharePoint 2003, SharePoint 2007, etc. when we need to differentiate betweenreleases of SharePoint. If necessary, we will use the license names/abbreviations (e.g., WSS v3, MOSS 2007), will be used. Composites Communities Insights Content Search 5
  6. 6. Audience for this PaperThe audience for this white paper is software product Note that Enterprises also have internal development efforts thatcompanies, which we will refer to as ISVs (Independent are very similar to product development that is performed with ISVs.Software Vendors), as well as software architects, CIOs, and Enterprises will connect, extend, or build on SharePoint to provideother enterprise technology leaders. The information in this solutions such as:paper is technical in nature so technical decision makers willbest connect with the content. • Connect SharePoint to proprietary or legacy systems to share data among systems or to provide an improved usability orFor SharePoint, Microsoft groups ISVs (see “Appendix A: accessibility experience to employees or client/customersSharePoint ISV Partner Ecosystem Map” for examples) into: • Extend SharePoints team site and collaboration templates and • Technology Solutions – ISVs that extend the functional capabilities to include standard features that are specific to the areas of SharePoint companies’ collaboration disciplines • Horizontal Business Solutions – ISVs that create broad • Build On SharePoint through the development of custom line- solutions that can apply to most companies’ needs of-business applications that automate processes based on the regardless of their industry; this paper refers to them as companies’ intellectual properties and business requirements Horizontal ISVs That being said, Enterprises should also consider in their • Vertical Business Solutions – ISVs that create industry- technology roadmaps and architects, CIOs, and other technology specific solutions; this paper refers to them as Vertical ISVs leaders can benefit from reading this white paper. 6
  7. 7. Making the Case for SharePoint 2010 • Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010Does SharePoint FitSharePoint can fit many product scenarios. Understanding if there is any alignment of SharePoint product features to yourproduct’s features is key to determining a fit. A good place to start is exploring the six high-level product capabilities of SharePoint 2010 found in the diagram below (these descriptions can also be found on the SharePoint 2010 Capabilities2 page). Sites - SharePoint Sites deliver a single infrastructure to provide portal and collaboration capabilities across intranet, extranet, Sites and internet sites. SharePoint Sites bring users together to share information, data, and expertise across organizations. Communities - SharePoint Communities empower people to Composites Communities work together in ways that are most effective for them. SharePoint Communities make it possible for people to collaborate in groups, share knowledge and ideas, connect with colleagues, and find information and experts easily. Insights Content Content - SharePoint Content enables all users to participate in a governed, compliant content management lifecycle. SharePoint Content makes it possible to expertly balance user experience with Search policy and process. Search - SharePoint Search gives users the ability to find the content, information, and people they need by combining an integrated, easy-to-manage platform with best-of-breed enterprise search technology.Insights - SharePoint Insights enables users to access and interact with information across unstructured and structured datasources. SharePoint Insights empower users to discover the right people and expertise to make better and more agile businessdecisions.Composites - SharePoint Composites empower users to rapidly respond to business needs by creating their own no-codesolutions, on premises or in the cloud, through a rich set of building blocks, tools, and self-service capabilities.These product capabilities have considerable depth. This paper • Provisioning – The ability to allow users to easily provisionwill not cover each one in detail, but will provide descriptions new sites and lists as their business needs dictate.that could be helpful to those considering whether to build • Security – A comprehensive authentication and granularsimilar capabilities into their product(s) from the ground up. authorization system are built in and govern access to allFor more detail, please read this post from the SharePoint aspects of SharePoint.Product Team Blog3 . It provides 40 examples of investmentsin the six functional categories of SharePoint 2010 mentioned • User Interface – “Web Parts,” wiki style editing, a “Fluent”above along with Administration and Development areas of ribbon-based menu system, AJAX- style dialog boxesthe platform. and more are all provided. These features not only save development effort, they provide a strong level ofIn addition to these high-level solution areas, SharePoint consistency that aids in usability and adoption.provides a number of built-in features required by many websolutions. Thus by adopting SharePoint, an ISV can reuse rather • Forms and Workflows – Tools such as InfoPath andthan reinvent them. These capabilities include: SharePoint Designer allow business analysts and power users to construct workflow-oriented business applications.• List and Library Management – The ability to store ISV’s can easily add to the capabilities available in such information in lists which can be created by users or solutions, and can also provide pre-built forms and programmatically, and which have rich built-in capabilities workflows oriented to specific horizontal or vertical such as check-in and check-out, versioning, approvals, business scenarios. folder hierarchies, data validation, user-configurable views, calculated fields and more. Input forms, item and list level The reuse of these capabilities allows ISV’s to focus on their views, grid-based editing, RSS rendering and more are also core values rather than reinventing yet another security system built into all lists. Libraries build on lists by including binary or UI. They also allow business users to combine SharePoint objects such as documents, images, and digital media. and ISV features to build solutions that uniquely address their business needs. 7
  8. 8. Making the Case for SharePointMaking the CaseGetting the most out SharePoint as a basis for ISV offerings comes from understanding the platform and the value of having aproduct associated with SharePoint in the marketplace. Let’s explore this idea further.Leveraging the Platform Understand Your Value PropositionTo get the most from leveraging SharePoint as a platform, When building a roadmap, it is important to understandbegin by considering its built-in features and which of SharePoint’s strengths and weaknesses along with those ofits capabilities are relevant to your solution space. Most other SharePoint ISVs. A significant part of the product valueorganizations typically deploy one to two key workloads or is usually based on the feature gap between SharePoint andcapabilities at a time. For the best ROI (return on investment) what the current users and administrators need from theirand TCO (total cost of ownership), incorporate as many of the SharePoint environment.SharePoint built-in features as possible and follow common With Vertical ISVs, it is easier to determine the valueSharePoint best practices. This will allow faster time to market proposition. The vertical markets have their own ecosystemand lead to a product that will benefit from new releases of of products that have established pricing and licensingSharePoint. models. If determining what features are needed in a verticalOne simple example of leveraging the SharePoint platform market, perform a gap analysis of what features exist in theis document management. For instance, with the check in products of a vertical market. Based on that gap analysis, itand check out of documents, you can embrace the built-in can be determined how SharePoint can help penetrate thatdocument management features of SharePoint that provides market with built-in features (including what is configurablethis capability. Taking this approach will save money by within SharePoint). Understanding what it takes to connect,not having to build the feature from scratch, and will avoid extend, and build on SharePoint will help you understandconfusing users by providing a consistent way to perform this the incremental investment to turn SharePoint into a verticaltask. In addition, the product will benefit from future upgrades solution that fills a market need.to the SharePoint feature. Thinking of SharePoint as a web application development platform? Explore the rest of this paper to get some furtherBecause SharePoint is a platform built on top of ASP.NET, many insight on the value of the platform.development skills are readily transferable. Understanding howto build ASP.NET applications with .NET framework languages isan extremely sound foundation for leveraging SharePoint as adevelopment platform. The SharePoint tooling in Visual Studio Keep in mind that some horizontal ISVs are creating solutions that2010 is quite mature, and there is a well-established SharePoint fit in vertical markets. They are typically not fully featured, but withcommunity to help in the learning process of your team. customizations they can compete in certain verticals. 8
  9. 9. Se Windows ServerSharePoint Platform StrategiesThere are three primary strategies for using SharePoint as your product platform. These strategies were described by Owen Allen,Senior Product Manager for SharePoint ISV Partners at Microsoft, during the SharePoint Conference in October 2009. Connect Extend Build On Integrate an existing Create integrated solutions Create solutions on top product with SharePoint to that extend SharePoint of the SharePoint enable the two products to feature offerings - or that infrastructure that leverage work together. leverage or include the breadth of SharePoint capabilities. capabilities provided by the SharePoint platform.These strategies, for the most part, progress in the order of Connect, Extend, and Build On; advancing through them increasesa dependency on either SharePoint Foundation or SharePoint Server. Most product companies that accept a dependency onSharePoint will provide the option to run on SharePoint Foundation or Server, sometimes with a more comprehensive feature setenabled if a customer’s environment includes SharePoint Server.For example, many medium to large enterprises have SharePoint Server deployed. A product that builds on that that dependencycan save development costs by leveraging Server features that otherwise need to be created (i.e., Form Services orWeb Content Management). 2001 • SharePoint Team ServicesLet’s explore these strategies of Connect, Extend, and Build On in more depth. • SharePoint Portal ServerConnectExisting products can be connected to SharePoint by providing integration points such as content embedding, cross-productsearch, and single sign-on. The goal is to give users a seamless experience and allow them to work in their product of choice 2003without having to spend time switching contexts between various products. This connection/integration can be unidirectional orbidirectional. • Windows SharePoint Services v2Here are more details on some of these integration points. • SharePoint Portal Server2003• Content Embedding - Content embedding may Connect strategies are common when a product does not share involve SharePoint content being viewed or used within the same platform or technologies as SharePoint (e.g., Java-based your product and vice-versa. This approach allows the instead of .Net-based). SharePoint and the connected product product’s data to be used in new ways. Maybe the can also execute on separate servers in the same network or in a 2007 data could be seen via a custom web part, referenced completely different network (e.g., one could be in the cloud). through some SharePoint list data, be part of a SharePoint • Windows SharePoint Services v3 workflow, and/or simply be easier to collaborate on using • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 a SharePoint team site. Think of this type of connection when the product is sharing data from SharePoint or sharing data to SharePoint.• Search - Cross-product search allows users to work in the product most pertinent to their task, but to also find relevant data from the connected product. This approach can be integrated using a federated query search or a common search index with 2010 either a common search results UI or simply a shared search query API.• • Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 Single Sign-On - This approach simply ensures that users can easily move from a product to SharePoint and vice-versa without having to enter credentials more than once. In addition, any content embedding and search results should be • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 relevant for the current user (e.g, security trimmed appropriately). This may involve delegation (e.g., Kerberos), custom services that do impersonation, or utilization of claims-based authentication. 9
  10. 10. SharePoint Platform StrategiesProducts can be connected to SharePoint using existing or A clear example of a connect scenario for an ISV is thecustom web services regardless of whether they are built SharePoint Connector for Confluence4. You can read aboutin .NET, Java, or another technology. The integration points the technologies involved in a How We Did It Article onare more compelling in SharePoint 2010 with its richer web SharePoint Product Team Blog5. You can also read more aboutservices infrastructure (WCF), richer UI capabilities (AJAX, an enterprise example that involved unique requirement toSilverlight, and Client OM), improved search architecture, and connect SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) and SharePointnew claims based authentication capability (including SAML). beyond what was provided by SharePoint out of the box - Allowing Connections to Multiple SSRS Servers with Report Viewer and Explorer Web Parts6“From a strategic standpoint, connecting to SharePoint provides a number of benefits to both ISVs and customers: 1. Bridging teams – When it comes to collaboration software, teams within an organization tend to select the tools that suit their style of work. For example, the marketing team may use SharePoint for collaborating on documents while the engineering team may use a wiki for this. Connecting your applications to SharePoint allows individuals to collaborate across team boundaries while giving teams the flexibility to choose the tool best suited for them. 2. Eliminating content silos – the “Holy Grail” of knowledge management for any organization is to attain a unified, organized and searchable knowledge repository for all employees to access. Connecting your applications to SharePoint through content embedding, search and single sign-on brings you closer to achieving a “shared brain” within your organization. 3. SharePoint as a corporate standard – For many large organizations, SharePoint is becoming the corporate standard for collaboration, document management and content management. Any ISV’s looking to sell into these organizations should consider a “plays well with SharePoint” strategy in order to satisfy your customers’ requirements. ISV’s without this strategy may find themselves eliminated from sales opportunities they’re otherwise qualified to win.”Bill Arconati, Product Marketing Manager at Atlassian 10
  11. 11. SharePoint Platform StrategiesExtendThere are many products that take SharePoint to the next level. Some provide services that extend existing SharePoint capabilities.Others incorporate SharePoint services and capabilities in such a way as to extend the product value proposition.This Extend strategy, in many cases, creates a dependency among such products on particular SharePoint features. In some cases,the product could still function without SharePoint, but its features would be limited without the presence of SharePoint. Withmost Extend solutions, the SharePoint interface is not abstracted from the user and the focus is enabling the customer to speedup the process of building business value-added solutions that involve SharePoint.Many Technology Solution ISVs are examples of product companies taking the Extend strategy (i.e., Nintex Workflow and Colligo).They are providing solutions for the SharePoint community that have incremental value above those that are included as standardwith SharePoint. For example, Nintex provides WYSIWYGworkflow editors in the browser and Colligo provides a rich, Extend strategies are common for products that provide integratedoffline synchronization experience with SharePoint Lists and building blocks from which others can build a final solution.Libraries. Note that enterprises often take an Extend strategywith their SharePoint application development. A goodexample of this strategy is the extension of InfoPath andForms Services to provide a canned service request template/site definition with custom InfoPath consumable web services particular to the enterprise. With this type of solution, individualdepartments can implement custom service-request sites yet still have access to common services within the enterprise. Readabout this enterprise example in the following article- Automating Service Requests using InfoPath Forms Services7.The list of ways to extend SharePoint is large, but some include:• Custom web parts that can be used for mash-ups and composite applications• Custom workflow actions for use in SharePoint Designer• Custom out-of-the-box list or site workflows that can be used as part of an overall solution• Custom field types for use in any SharePoint list or library• Custom event receivers for programmatic action upon item submission• Custom content types specific to a particular need• Custom information-management policies for placing custom policies around content• Custom search indexing pipeline stages for us in FAST Search for SharePoint• Custom user-defined functions for use in Excel Services 11
  12. 12. SharePoint Platform StrategiesBuild OnProducts designed and built from the ground up for SharePoint can take advantage of its broad feature set. Out-of-the-boxSharePoint provides the plumbing for authentication, authorization, provisioning, data viewing and editing, workflows, events,versioning, scaling to multiple servers, deployment, administration, auditing, Office integration, and more. This Build On strategycreates SharePoint dependencies and would not exist without having SharePoint installed. With these dependencies, the product-development effort can focus primarily on business functions and leverage SharePoint for common framework services. Note thatproducts using the Build On strategy might abstract the user from the SharePoint interface (leveraging the SharePoint Services butcreating a totally different user experience than what is provided by the SharePoint interface).Using the Build On strategy does not preclude some external Build On strategies are common when a product uses the samecomponent from existing: call it a hybrid Build On/Connect platform and technologies as SharePoint. Products built on ASP.NETstrategy. For example, a back-end component from a product and SQL Server should consider the Build strategy and would use allsuch as a processing server or database may be completely or most of the SharePoint infrastructure (front end servers, applicationexternal from SharePoint. Alternatively, a custom UI such as a servers, content databases, IIS web sites, list infrastructure, webClickOnce WPF application may be part of the solution as well. services architecture, etc.).Before deciding how certain components may live completelywithin or outside of the SharePoint infrastructure, invest inunderstanding the new Services Architecture, vastly improved As an example, CorasWorks and its application publishersBusiness Connectivity Services (BCS), the new SharePoint provide a broad line of off-the-shelf departmental businessWorkspace features, and the benefits that SharePoint’s applications through a Build On SharePoint strategy. Fordeployment model can provide (e.g., managing web.config reference see the CorasWorks App Store8.changes across multiple web front ends).“Over the last 3 cycles of SharePoint CorasWorks has been transitioningits products from technology solutions to horizontal and verticalbusiness solutions. Using a strategy of Building On SharePoint 2010,CorasWorks and our application publishers are able to focus on thebusiness solution vs. technology extensions – thereby addressing thecritical last mile to unleash business value”William Rogers, Chief Workplace Architect at CorasWorks 12
  13. 13. Platform Capabilities Silverlight JavaScript Windows AppSharePoint provides a great foundation for application development at all levels of the software development stack. Thecapabilities extend outward to include search, workflow, scalable and extensible services architecture, and administrative features. Client OM Client OM Client OMBeing built upon ASP.NET and Windows Server platforms allows SharePoint to expose infrastructure features and inherent SvcProxy AJAX AJAXpoints of extensibility to application developers. ISVs who choose to build upon SharePoint will find that they inherit a rich setof platform capabilities, letting them put more time and effort into developing unique product features vs. generic features.Applications that connect to SharePoint can reveal application data and features either in the SharePoint UI, Business ConnectivityServices (BCS), or via one of the many options for extensibility provided by SharePoint.Let’s explore the platform capabilities using more developer-centric categories of Infrastructure, Content Management, and SharePoint Web ServicesUser Interface similar to n-tier architecture models. This is a departure from the SharePoint wheel shown earlier. This SharePoint Server-Side UIwheel works well from an end-user point of view, but the below diagram is more useful when looking to understand SharePointas a developer platform. SharePoint SharePoint APIInfrastructureSharePoint is now at version4 and has become a well- Request Membership Service Applicationtested and trusted platform Authorization Provisioning Pipeline Providerfor securing content and Architecture Deployment Scalabilityallowing ISVs to move forward ASP.NETinto adding application value.Its infrastructure starts with Authentication Content & Configuration DatabasesWindows Server and the IIS SQL Server.NET Framework and heavilyrelies on IIS, ASP.NET and Windows ServerSQL Server. Out-of-the-boxauthentication includes WindowsNTLM or Kerberos whileSharePoint and ASP.NET extensibility allow for developers to provide custom forms and web single sign-on options. SharePointresource authorization can be managed at site collection, site, page, item, and custom action levels; security permissions can alsobe applied in custom code. Role membership can be defined individually or by using SharePoint or Active Directory groups. Connect Extend Build OnASP.NET HTTP Pipeline an existing Integrate Create integrated solutions Create solutions on top product with SharePoint to that extend SharePoint of the SharePointASP.NET extensibility goes further by allowing developers to add in HttpHandlers and HttpModules for custom request enable the two products to feature offerings - or that infrastructure that leveragehandling. Developers can use this handling to support features such as global changes to the SharePoint interface, custom work together. leverage or include the breadth offile-type processing, custom authentication, and more. For example, an HttpHandler could be created to prevent cross-site SharePoint capabilities. capabilities providedscripting errors when processing requests for file types stored in an external system. The HttpHandler could accept a request by the SharePoint platform.for the custom file type, forward the request to the external system, and then return the results to the requesting browser (note:credentials delegation may be required). This would allow the file that resides on an external server to be requested directly fromSharePoint. The SharePoint API, including site and user context, are available from within the handler. Because SharePoint is builtupon ASP.NET, application developers have available both the ASP.NET customization options as well as SharePoint context andconfiguration. 2001 • SharePoint Team Services • SharePoint Portal Server 2003 • Windows SharePoint Services v2 • SharePoint Portal Server2003 13 2007
  14. 14. Platform CapabilitiesApplication Security Packaging and DeploymentAnother example of extensibility provided by ASP.NET includes The deployment capabilities of SharePoint cannot becreating custom membership providers that enable login overstated either. Custom functions are packaged into acredentials to be retrieved from a custom store. Membership solution package file (WSP) and may contain one or moreproviders supplied by SharePoint allow connecting to features scoped to the farm, a web application, site collection,membership stores created using SQL, LDAP, or Active or site. SharePoint handles the deployment of files to theDirectory. The base MembershipProvider, like many ASP.NET GAC, bin, and virtual directories within the web site onand SharePoint classes, can be extended, allowing developers the front end web servers. It also handles deployment ofto create custom implementations. The membership provider content to the content databases. After files are deployed tois configured in the site web.config file allowing, among other the web front ends (WFEs), additional WFEs can be addedthings, a custom login page to be supplied. and SharePoint handles updating the new WFEs, including web.config file updates. SharePoint 2010 adds additionalClaims-based authentication is a significant infrastructure deployment capabilities with its versioning support andfeature new to SharePoint 2010. With claims, user Sandboxed Solutions. With Sandboxed Solutions, WSPs areauthentication is provided by an “identity system” that deployed to a content database and farm administrators aremay include corporate credential providers such as Active given more control by isolating the execution environment ofDirectory, LDAP, or credentials stored in databases. Credentials the features within the package. This enables administratorsauthentication may also be provided by web sign-on providers to upload solutions only once that are automatically deployedsuch as LiveID and OpenID. Claims-based authentication will to all web front ends, increasing predictability and reducingmake it easier for additional identity systems to integrate with maintenance cost.SharePoint, thus opening up another point of extensibility. Service Applications OOTB Content Extension PointThe service application architecture, new in SharePoint Management Highlights2010, provides another point of extensibility and enterprisescalability. Services developed on the new platform can • Content Versioning • Event Receiversbe scaled across one or more servers and can cross the • Check-in/Check-out • Custom Field Typesfarm boundary to provide services for multiple SharePoint • Content Approval • Rendered Columnsinstallations. SharePoint services support additional scalability • Records Routing • Custom View Typesby providing “services in the cloud,” delivering new ways that • Information • External DataISVs can extend SharePoint. The services architecture includes Management Policies • Custom Actionsa configuration store for application settings, a common • CRUD UI • Custom InformationSQL database provisioning infrastructure, support for storing • Social Content Management Policiescustom data in databases that are managed by SharePoint, • Workflow • Custom Workflows • Content Types • Custom Workflow Actionsa location to host middle-tier web services, a provisioning • Field Types • Custom Content Typesmechanism for web services, and a service-scoped timer • Office Integration • Custom User Definedjob infrastructure to support scheduled operations. This is Functions • Offline Dataprobably the largest investment Microsoft has made • Web Services • Custom Web Servicestoward using SharePoint as a platform in 2010. • Search • Custom CRUD UI • Custom Search Content Sources Web Pages (ASPX Master Page Site Pages Customized Ribbon Custom Action Web Part Server Control User Control 14
  15. 15. Platform CapabilitiesContent ManagementSharePoint 2010 provides plenty of out-of-the-box capabilities to meet many ECM requirements. This is an advantage for ISVs.Content- management features provided by SharePoint include content versioning, check-in/check-out, content approval anddisposition, records routing, and information-management policies such as content expiration. In addition, there is opportunity toextend the SharePoint ECM capabilities at all levels. To cover all of them would take several books, so just a few will be highlighted.Enterprise PerspectiveSharePoint can also be used as an underlying CMS to feed into other portal technologies.  At McKesson, we use Vignette as our portal today andSharePoint as our collaboration platform.  RSS and other technologies have allowed us to start taking advantage of the easy SharePoint CMScapabilities but the content is available in the company wide portal.Our SharePoint CMS strategy in the initial phase was to use out of the box capabilities.  Now that users understand the product and the needs oftheir Team/Department/Business Units they are taking SharePoint to the next level with data integration, creative redesigns and heavy processautomation projects.Aaron Rafus, Technology Evangelist, McKesson CorporationExternal DataApplication developers can choose to use SharePoint as a Another key advantage for using BCS is that SharePointdata store or use a separate, external data store such as one automatically provides a customizable UI that supports read/provided by a relational database, abstracted by web services, write as well as view/sort/filter capabilities. Standard ASP.NETor provided by custom code. Using the SharePoint data store, forms are created for external data connected to SharePoint.in the form of SharePoint lists, allows for the full utilization Using SharePoint Designer or InfoPath Designer, developersof SharePoint content-management features, including the can create a richer interface for external data by generatingability of users to configure and extend the schema. However, InfoPath forms. InfoPath forms also allow for a richerSharePoint lists are not fully relational data stores. Application experience, including a deep set of form rules that can, amongdevelopers in need of a more relational or custom data store other things, connect to external data sources to fill user choicecan instead choose to connect to an external data source by fields and perform field-level validation.using external content types provided by Business Connectivity There are also external-data innovations outside of BCSServices (BCS). A hybrid approach involves connecting within Microsoft and the ISV community. For example, thereSharePoint list data to external data by using external data are several ISV products that expose external data withincolumns. An external data column is a field in a SharePoint list SharePoint. The Data Integration Toolset9 from CorasWorks andwhich is a look-up to an external data source. The external data MashPoint10 from Bamboo, for example, provide external datacolumn can select one or more fields from an external record connections to easily surface data into their web part suites.to be included in a SharePoint list item. Furthermore, standards such as OData (Open Data Protocol)BCS allows external data to participate in SharePoint content- are emerging. Similar to Microsoft ODBC efforts, OData is anmanagement features such as enterprise search, offline data open protocol for sharing data across various data consumersaccess, and integration into Office client applications including and data providers. OData is based on web standard such asOutlook, Word, and Access. External data can also participate HTTP and AtomPub (Atom Publishing Protocol) using JSONin content-management features such as tagging, workflow, notation. To learn more about this emerging data protocol,check-in/check-out, versioning, information management see Mike Flasko’s “Breaking Down ‘Data Silos’ – The Open Datapolicies, and permissions by using proxy records in SharePoint. Protocol (OData)”11 on the WCF Data Services Team Blog.External data columns in SharePoint allow SharePoint list itemsto relate directly to external data (e.g., proxy record). Customcode in workflows, event receivers, and custom informationrights management policies can then propagate activities thatoccur on the proxy records such as the application of tags orcheck-in/check-out to the external data records. 15
  16. 16. Platform CapabilitiesBusiness Intelligence SearchData analysis is becoming a more frequent demand of any Search is a key capability for applications. Enterprise searchapplication, and this demand is rapidly expanding beyond supports searching data stored in SharePoint lists as wellthe need for basic operational reporting. SharePoint 2010 external data. In SharePoint 2010, the BCS indexes externalprovides a rich suite of offerings that application developers content and can involve no-code solutions for simple modelscan leverage to accomplish this goal. They include native or custom-managed code for more complex scenarios (e.g.,Charts and Data Indicator web parts, Performance Point nested/hierarchical data). Developers can customize the searchServices, Excel Services, Visio Services, and Reporting Services, experience by creating search scopes that limit a user’s search,and more. Each is designed for a unique business case. For for example, to application records or by generating a set ofexample, Performance Point Services supports business search refiners, allowing the search to be filtered and exploredscorecards, charts, and analytic dashboards. Using this feature by metadata at query time. Additionally, the search UI includesof SharePoint 2010, an ISV could provide a dashboard that points of extensibility such as the ability to configure the searchleverages Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to give users results page and extending out-of-the-box search web parts.a quick view of operational health. The real purpose of a This is a very simple way to surface your existing solution’sdashboard is to direct users to highlighted areas that need data into SharePoint search through configuration rather thanattention. through programming. ISVs who choose the Connect strategy may want to use queryBusiness Intelligence federation to enable SharePoint and an external applicationNote that business intelligence features are extremely powerful in to maintain their own search indexes. Or they may choose toSharePoint 2010 and are a big part of exposing external data inside use SharePoint’s enterprise search Connector Framework12 toSharePoint. Since business intelligence features are in such high maintain a single index across applications. In SharePoint 2010,demand for enterprises today, this is an area of SharePoint that federated search is a core component in the search API and isshould not be ignored. even used by the Core Search Results web part. In SharePoint 2010, the Connector Framework no longerOne of the most exciting new features in Performance Point requires writing unmanaged protocol handlers for crawlingServices is the Decomposition Tree visualization. Visualizing custom content. The Connector Framework, and even BCSdata has many challenges, and each visualization strategy search, provides security descriptors (ACLs) at index timehas pros and cons. Grids show numbers but don’t highlight if the information is available. This allows for trimming therelative values, charts highlight relative values but don’t do a search results to only those items available to the individualgood job of showing actual values, and neither charts nor grids performing the search.do a great job of visualizing hierarchical relationships in data. The Connector Framework is common across SharePoint ServerThe decomposition tree highlights hierarchical relationships, 2010 Search as well as FAST Search for SharePoint 2010, soshows raw numbers, and includes a graphing component that ISVs who build upon it will find their solution works with bothprovides the best of each of these worlds. This visualization can enterprise search options. On the other hand, ISVs who needbe selected by users on demand and offers a great alternative more search capabilities can build upon FAST and have evenfor users to perform ad-hoc analysis. more flexibility with its indexing and query pipelines as well as itsISVs looking to add analytics to their applications can leverage entity-extraction capabilities. The ability of FAST to automaticallyPerformance Point Services in both the Connect to and Build create and categorize metadata introduces options forOn scenarios as it provides a rich set of database connectors for developers looking to create search-driven applications orquerying application data, and can leverage existing reporting to aggregate structured and/or unstructured content frominvestments in its dashboard technology. Using this approach, disparate repositories while pivoting off common fields.Performance Point dashboards and scorecards can be builtto consume data from an existing application database and Strategy: Connect or Extendleverage existing custom reports. By using these features, users ISV’s looking to Connect or Extend SharePoint may find amplecan perform ad-hoc analysis of application data, and correlate opportunity within the SharePoint search infrastructure to providethat information with other business data. Furthermore, as custom indexing or federated search connectors to third-party datawith any good reporting solution, users are shielded from the sources. One can even imagine a federated search web part thatunderlying complexities of source system data models and aggregates similar data sources such as news feeds and organizes thequery languages. data in a meaningful way. 16
  17. 17. Platform CapabilitiesWorkflow And More...Developers can further use content-management features Application developers can also dive deep into the SharePointthrough out-of-the-box SharePoint workflows such as data-management structure by adding event receivers. Eventthe “Approval Workflow” or by writing custom SharePoint receivers allow custom code to be executed when a changeworkflows to control features such as content approval or occurs to a site collection, site, feature, workflow, list, or listrecords routing. SharePoint provides the workflow execution item. Typical events that are handled include when a list orenvironment and Windows Workflow Foundation provides library item is added, updated, or deleted.the building blocks. In addition to custom workflows, ISVs SharePoint provides out-of-the-box information-can provide their own extension points by creating reusable management policies that govern the data life cycle within it.workflow activities for power users with SharePoint Designer or Examples include expiration, bar code, and auditing policies.for developers with Visual Studio. ISVs can create custom information-management policies soIn SharePoint 2007, workflows are associated with a list/library that SharePoint can manage their data but have it governedand workflow instances are tied to a list item. SharePoint by their specific rules.2010 provides for this association and also adds the ability for SharePoint’s latest social features around contentworkflows to be independent of lists so they can be reused management are also available to applications that store dataacross lists and content types. This capability opens up a whole in SharePoint lists or connect external data using externalnew world of possibilities for Workflow and SharePoint. data columns. Users can choose to tag application data using either a managed, hierarchical term store (taxonomy) or community-generated tags (folksonomy), with both types ofData Model User Interface metadata residing in a unified, centrally-managed location. Users can also rate “favorites” and bookmark data recordsUsing SharePoint content management features also provides to share and re-retrieve content they deem interesting.a functional UI around the data model. By default, SharePoint Additionally, items in document libraries can appear in thewill create the CRUD (Create, Read, Update and Delete) forms SharePoint Documents web part of a user’s My Site (theiraround application data. The forms may be replaced and personal web site) to display documents which the user hasdeveloped as ASP.NET application pages, or may optionally be recently modified. Documents can also appear in the Relevantdeveloped as InfoPath forms. InfoPath forms then bring in a Documents web part which displays recent changes for thelarge set of customization capabilities such as a form designer current user on the site.and a rich set of built-in form rules. SharePoint Workspace, formerly Groove, allows users to easilyUsers can customize the presentation of data in SharePoint by take the application data offline. SharePoint Workspace is acreating custom views. Custom views in SharePoint allow users windows desktop collaboration environment allowing usersto customize which columns are viewed, as well as add sorting, to interact with content and other team members. Usersfiltering, paging, sub-totals, and more. ISVs can further extend can work with application data offline and then synchronizethe behaviors of data in SharePoint views through custom with the SharePoint server when a connection is available.actions that can appear in the Actions menu of the view or on Offline mode is available for applications that store data inthe list item drop-down menu (e.g., Edit Control Block). ISVs SharePoint lists as well as to those that connect to SharePointcan also extend SharePoint out-of-the-box views by creating using Business Connectivity Services.rendered columns, custom view types, and custom field types.Custom field types provide custom storage and presentation ofdata types that are not native to SharePoint. Custom field typescan also be used to connect external data to native SharePointlists through custom controls for editing and rendering data. 17
  18. 18. • Offline Data Functions • Web Services • Custom Web ServicesPlatform Capabilities • Search • Custom CRUD UI • Custom Search Content SourcesUser Interface Web Pages (ASPX) Master PageBeing built upon ASP.NET also allows forpoints of extensibility in the SharePoint UI. The Site Pagesinterface uses master pages, web parts, server Customized Ribboncontrols, and user controls developed using CustomASP.NET. This means that ASP.NET application Actiondevelopers can use familiar skills to build customUI components and then integrate those Web Partsolutions into the SharePoint UI. Server ControlCustom Actions provide additional optionsfor UI enhancement. Custom actions include User Controlcontent drop downs, “Site Actions” menu items,and links placed on administrative pages.As a result, it is very easy to create customadministrative pages and provide links to these Server Controlpages such that they look completely integratedwith the rest of the SharePoint administrationpages. SharePoint 2010 goes a step further withthe introduction of the SharePoint “Ribbon”. Thenew ribbon can be customized and extended bySharePoint developers to include content-sensitive menu options alongside the standard menu options that are provided. Silverlight JavaScript Windows AppWeb parts are a key UI component for ISVs, regardless of Strategy: Connectwhether they use the Connect, Extend, or Build On strategy. Client OM Client OM Client OM SvcProxy Connecting at the user interface layer allows users to view and interactWeb parts are an ASP.NET concept (and base class) and are AJAX AJAX with external data from within SharePoint while keeping the data andhosted by SharePoint. SharePoint also manages the storage data access code external to SharePoint. This is typically achieved byof web part properties, including shared property values and developing custom web parts or application pages which use customper-user property values. Web parts give users the ability to code libraries to directly access external data. Developing custom UIdesign and configure site pages. They can configure custom components is a lightweight strategy for connecting to SharePoint;web parts to connect to one another such as in a master/detail SharePoint Web Servicesarrangement. Standard web part connection interfaces, such as this approach from the consistent SharePoint user interface Server-Side Uthose provided by SharePoint filter web parts, allow out-of-the- paradigm and the ability to be used in SharePoint configuration and deployment scenarios.box web parts to connect with custom web parts. For example, SharePoint SharePoint APIthe Choice Filter web part can be connected with web partswhich implement the IFilterValues connection interface. Thereare nine filter web parts available from SharePoint Server,providing several options for connecting to a custom web partthat implements IFilterValues. Request Membership Service Application Authorization Provisioning Pipeline Provider Architecture Scalability ASP.NET Authentication Content & Configuration Databases IIS SQL Server Windows Server Connect Extend Build On Integrate an existing 18 Create integrated solutions Create solutions on
  19. 19. Server ControlPlatform Capabilities User Control Server ControlSharePoint 2010 provides for even broader UI customization with the new client object model. This model allows for easyaccess to SharePoint data from client side JavaScript enabled browsers, windows desktop, and Silverlight applications. Thispoint of extensibility makes it much easier for developers to provide rich client- side features and usability when a web basedinterface is not desirable. Silverlight JavaScript Windows App Client OM Client OM Client OM SvcProxy AJAX AJAX SharePoint Web Services Server-Side UI SharePoint SharePoint APIPlatform Capabilities Summary Request Membership Service Application Authorization ProvisioningThe robust and extensible infrastructure, content management, and Provider UI capabilities position SharePoint as a solid choice for Pipelineapplication development. The flexibility built into SharePoint 2010 allows ISV developers to envision ways in which the platform Architecture Deployment Scalabilitycan be extended to provide even greater value. For more details from a developer perspective, see Introduction to SharePoint ASP.NETProducts and Technologies for the Professional .NET Developer13. Authentication Content & Configuration Databases IIS SQL Server Windows Server Connect Extend Build On Integrate an existing Create integrated solutions Create solutions on top product with SharePoint to that extend SharePoint of the SharePoint enable the two products to feature offerings - or that infrastructure that leverage work together. leverage or include the breadth of SharePoint capabilities. capabilities provided by the SharePoint platform. 2001 • SharePoint Team Services • SharePoint Portal Server 19
  20. 20. Barriers to Adoption as a Development PlatformWe have described some of the ways SharePoint has matured just within the last two product cycles. But are there realimpediments to using SharePoint as an application platform? Let’s address four common perceived barriers: a unique developerskill set, a closed or restrictive set of horizontal services, the inability to integrate with external or relational data sources, and ALMand code isolation.Perceived Barrier 1 - Unique Developer Skill SetEarly in SharePoint’s history, ISV integration and extension of the platform was slow to take hold due to product immaturity andthe complexity of platform integration or extension. For example, the lack of a tight integration into the ASP.NET technology stackin SharePoint 2003 required investments in specific skill sets or making risky implementation decisions (e.g., ASP.NET developerscould either decide to not leverage their existing knowledge or make unsupported changes to ONET.XML). Although the skillsneeded were still based on .NET, the ability to have utility players jump in and code different product features would have beendifficult. This presented some decision points about investment in education, skill sets, and more.While some decision points persist, the investments can now be amortized across core .NET technologies with less investment inSharePoint specifics (see Chappell’s Developer Whitepaper14 for a compelling discussion of the technical aspects of the platform).While it is still imperative for architects and senior developers to have a deeper understanding and specific expertise on the APIsand architecture of SharePoint, all good .NET developers have a core .NET framework services expertise that will benefit theirwork on SharePoint applications – and SharePoint will continue to embrace the new .NET framework capabilities that benefit itssolutions, giving them additional and transferrable skills. Making the investment in understanding the SharePoint Frameworkstreamlines solution creation because developers can focus on solving business problem and build fewer framework services fromscratch. For larger development teams, the SharePoint expertise investment can be weighted more toward those involved witharchitecture and design, resulting in a shorter investment time for other developers (e.g., they don’t need to understand the entirefeature set; they can just focus on the SharePoint API they need to use).Perceived Barrier 2 - Closed or Restrictive Platform ServicesAny platform, including hardware, operating systems, gaming, and others, has inherent features and constraints based ondecisions and assumptions made in its development. The test of a platform’s value is the extent to which it:1. Provides rich, standard features and functionality; and2. Enables extensibility and configurationOne could argue that early in SharePoint’s history there were barriers due to preconditions for several of the horizontal services,chief among them the reliance on Active Directory for authentication. The evolution of SharePoint’s platform services has maturedto provide a rich, extensible set of base functions that address most cross-cutting concerns of modern business applications. Aninitial set of services that suited small- to medium-sized teams has been supplanted by one that offer flexibility and extensibilitywhile providing a standards-based approach to large scale implementations.Current core features including authentication, navigation, provisioning, and others support a provider model to enable extensionor replacement of base services. The use of common standards such as XHTML, WCAG, REST, SOAP, JSON, RSS, and XSLT alongwith standard OS platform services such as WCF, WF, LINQ, and PowerShell enables the use of standard, proven developmentprocesses and practices.Our first criteria of a platforms value (rich features) is certainly met by SharePoint 2007, and is vastly improved with SharePoint2010. Access to content and data through a variety of standards and channels provides an infrastructure upon which valuableapplications can be developed. The new Client Object Model and PowerShell support are prime examples of the extensibility andconfiguration capabilities of the platform that meet our second criteria of a platforms value. The Client Object Model provides theability to extend the use of SharePoint objects in a consistent manner across multiple technologies (including .NET, JavaScript, andSilverlight) in a whole new class of applications that can span web, Office client applications, and fat and thin clients – and evenprovide online/offline synchronization. PowerShell integration comes standard with SharePoint 2010; this integration enablesinstallation, configuration and management through standard cmdlets and extension through custom scripts and modules. Thereis even the option of creating new PowerShell Snap-In’s to provide additional capabilities for administration and maintenance,opening up yet another avenue for ISV’s to provide value. 20

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