When it comes to SharePoint, haters are gonna hate, and there’s a lot of hate out there for SharePoint development. Understandably so. It’s complicated, messy, temperamental and, frankly, can drive you just a little bit insane. What other technology gives you 573 ways to develop the exact same piece of functionality? How often have you developed and tested your code only to find it doesn’t work in production for some asinine reason? If I were Jerry Seinfeld, SharePoint would be my Newman. This much is certain.
But you know what? If you look beyond all that, SharePoint development has plenty to offer.
A solid foundation
You mean I don’t have to worry about credentials, authentication and writing complicated user logic? Sweet! SharePoint handles users for you, and access to your applications can be handled by the business so you can spend your time writing code and not figuring out how to connect to an authentication data source and developing log-in screens.
What about databases, schemas, stored procedures and code changes for when users want to add or remove fields? Yep, SharePoint does all of that for me! I’m sorry, that’s huge and extremely powerful. I no longer have to spend countless hours building up a database structure for my application or worry about inane user requests to add or tweak fields. They can do it themselves.
Thank you SharePoint!
Do it yourself, and leave me alone
Let’s face it: Users are fickle, whiny, and never know what they really want. I for one get sick of it. Thanks to SharePoint, I don’t have to mess with mundane tasks like creating a new department site, or list, or view, or adding Suzy in finance to the site. The users can be trained to do it themselves. This frees me up to concentrate on the more complicated (and interesting) development tasks. As frustrating as SharePoint can be, at least you can scream at it all you want without fear of getting fired.
Options, options, options…
There are SO many development options in SharePoint. With out-of-the-box SharePoint Designer, client-side scripting, server-side development, and remote development, it can be overwhelming trying to decide which option to choose. However, if you take the time to become a well-rounded SharePoint developer, these options become your arsenal for obliterating any business problem that pops up. You can literally become unstoppable as a developer. Now, where’s my cape?
Like it or not, there’s nothing more relevant than SharePoint right now, and with a solid cloud strategy, SharePoint is going to be relevant for quite a while. Developing in SharePoint ensures that your skills are up to date, you are valuable to your organization, and you are marketable should you decide to advance your career. Not many technologies can offer you job security like SharePoint development can.
SharePoint makes you think
So yes, SharePoint is complicated, but that’s part of what makes SharePoint development great. I like to be challenged. I like to think. I like to solve problems that not everyone can, and boy does SharePoint keep me on my toes. If you want to sit in your cube and code in Java all day where the code does exactly what you expect it to, then have at it. That’s not for me. I’ll stick with SharePoint development and maybe stave off Alzheimer’s a bit longer.
SharePoint Development can literally save lives.
So yeah, maybe you think I’m crazy. Maybe you think I’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid a little too long. But I love my fast-paced, challenging, relevant, frustrating job, and look forward to doing it for many more years.
Mark Rackley is a SharePoint Solutions Architect and SharePoint Practice Lead at Summit 7 Systems.