As wonderful a platform as SharePoint is, it seems to have the unparalleled ability to draw the ire of users and managers in your organization. Shouts of “but it looks like SharePoint” and “I don’t like the way this works” are heard echoing down the corridors as mild-mannered SharePoint developers sit huddled in dark cubicles cranking out custom solutions that take weeks to develop, test and deploy. Wasn’t SharePoint supposed to save time and make everyone’s life easier? Things were looking bleak…

Just then, a tiny ripple called jQuery began growing within SharePoint development circles, and it has since swollen into a wave that would be the desire of any surfer. With this jQuery wave came new abilities than can turn any developer into a problem-fighting Superhero.

Utilizing the wonderful Client Object Model in SharePoint 2010 or great tools like SPServices for SharePoint 2007, talented developers can take SharePoint to places it’s never been before, creating dazzling charts, dynamic reports, and complicated joins of list data that were not possible before without toiling away hours in Visual Studio or buying expensive third-party tools.

Using jQuery can also lessen deployment headaches, turning the sometimes-arduous task of packaging solutions that have to be deployed (with the help of your administrator) during the off-hours into a simple process of uploading a script to a document library and then referencing that script on any page you choose. What’s more, functionality that used to take weeks to develop in .NET can sometimes be done in days with jQuery, many times yielding a better user experience by alleviating postbacks and giving immediate visual confirmation by taking advantage of CSS, events and amazing free third-party jQuery libraries.

But, as the much-overused adage goes: “With great power comes great responsibility.” jQuery also gives you the opportunity to choose a different path and be a Supervillain.

jQuery in the wrong hands can bring down farms, create performance nightmares, and cause havoc in your organization. Inexperienced developers can easily create solutions that are difficult to maintain, impossible to debug, and provide an inconsistent user experience that can make your life a living nightmare.

It is important to learn the power of jQuery for both good and evil, and to use it wisely. The fate of your job just may depend on it.

For more information check out these useful links:

SharePoint 2010 Client Object Model


A few of my SharePoint & jQuery blogs:

You should NOT be writing jQuery in SharePoint if…

Using Google Maps to Populate an Address in a SharePoint new item Form

SharePoint List Views – Quick & Easy jQuery Filter

Using SPServices & jQuery to Clone a Parent Item and All Its Children

Mark Rackley is a solutions architect and SharePoint practice lead at Juniper Strategy.