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Defending SharePoint Designer

Posted by workerthread on June 27, 2008

spd I mentioned in my previous post that Paul Galvin had written an interesting piece for EndUser SharePoint called In Defence of SharePoint Designer.  It’s true to say that some members of the SharePoint developer community look down on SPD, but personally I’m all for any product which can be used to develop quick-turnaround no-code solutions in MOSS or WSS. 

When implementing SharePoint, particularly in an intranet environment, SharePoint Designer can often be used to address specific business process problems, and deliver a “quick-win” solution.  I’ve found that frequently this is the type of problem for which a bespoke, hand coded solution in, say ASP.Net can’t be justified, but can be done with some custom lists and workflows in SPD.  Sometimes this is the type of application that a team of people might have used Microsoft Access or Excel for – managing multiple lists, scheduling tasks etc.  This is not to say that SharePoint and SPD could be used to develop some of the fully-featured business applications that people have used tools like Access for, but still great for smaller applications, and IT Departments prefer it because they can have more control over where the data is sitting.

The 40 free Application Templates for WSS 3.0 will give you a pretty good idea of the type of application I’m talking about.  Now, these aren’t 100% bug-free, and you may need to do a little more work on them yourself, but they are a good place to start.  You can also download a useful Application Templates Under the Hood document to get more insight into how the templates were developed.  I would also recommend looking at the Microsoft SharePoint Designer Team Blog which contains some good “how-to” articles.

And a couple more links to SharePoint Designer solution walk-throughs – a Training Classes Scheduling Solution from Natalya Voskresenskaya and a Permit Management Solution from Paul Galvin.

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