SharePoint 2010 Development For Dummies
Microsoft SharePoint 2010 comprises a vast array of products, technologies, concepts, and acronyms. To help you wade through the jargon, turn to this quick reference to the SharePoint 2010 development landscape. An introduction to consolidating reports can help you understand the developer’s role in creating useful pages with SharePoint 2010. If you ever get stuck, check out the SharePoint Developer Center.
Checking Out Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Features
Ask ten different people to define SharePoint 2010 and you’re likely to receive ten different answers, because the Microsoft Office SharePoint 2010 product comprises many different technologies.
The following list can help pinpoint each SharePoint component, where you find it, and its purpose:
SharePoint Foundation: SharePoint Foundation is a communication, collaboration, and content-management platform that comes free with the Windows Server operating system.
SharePoint Server: SharePoint Server is a software product in its own right that expands the basic communication, collaboration, and content-management capabilities of SharePoint Foundation. SharePoint Server comes in four editions:
SharePoint Server for Intranet Standard Edition
SharePoint Server for Intranet Enterprise Edition
SharePoint Server for Internet Standard Edition
SharePoint Server for Internet Enterprise Edition
InfoPath Forms Services: This SharePoint 2010 feature enables you to embed InfoPath forms in SharePoint Web sites.
Excel Services: This feature enables you to embed Excel documents in a SharePoint Web site.
SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) Integration: SSRS Integration is an installation option that coordinates the operation of an SSRS server with a SharePoint environment. SSRS reports are contained and managed in SharePoint instead of being sent to a standalone report server.
PerformancePoint Services: With this SharePoint 2010 feature, you can develop sites for dashboards and content, including the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and Scorecards used in business intelligence.
Business Connectivity Services (BCS): A feature of SharePoint that you can use to connect SharePoint to (and integrate it with) your Line of Business (LOB) systems. Using this feature, you can view and edit the data from your business systems within the SharePoint site. Result: You can use the company portal to make use of the backend system.
Sites: A SharePoint Site is nothing more than a Web site with the special capabilities that SharePoint provides, in particular Web-site management and easy integration into other SharePoint Web sites.
Document Libraries: A Document Library is a mechanism for storing and managing content within SharePoint, using features such as check-in, check-out, versioning, security, and workflow.
Lists: A SharePoint List is simply a list of data arranged in columns and rows, used as the basic way to store SharePoint content.
Wikis: A wiki is a specialized Web site that allows community members to update the content of the Web site on the fly. Although wikis are not specific to SharePoint, SharePoint 2010 does offer Wiki functionality as a feature.
Blog: A Web log or online journal. In SharePoint, a blog provides a forum for people to exchange communications that can be viewed across the entire organization or Internet. After a blog entry is posted, the content can be augmented with comments and discussions on the blog-entry page. You can get a SharePoint blog up and running in a manner of minutes.
Discussion Boards: A familiar method of online discussion, which SharePoint makes usable throughout the organization. People can post questions and replies to be viewed throughout the organization.
How to Streamline Reports with SharePoint 2010
Reports come in all sizes, shapes, and formats. By putting together a couple of SharePoint 2010 system components, a developer can help simplify a business’s reporting processes for everyone in the organization, whether users need to create or review reports:
SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) provides a platform for reporting that’s tightly integrated with the SharePoint platform.
SharePoint itself provides end users with a report-development tool — Report Builder — that they can launch right from the SharePoint portal.
Reports can be stored and viewed at the appropriate time from the SharePoint portal — in the browser.
Consolidating the reporting function to SharePoint provides one central place that all users can go to access, read, develop, or deposit reports. It’s a self-service approach, and probably the wave of the future: No longer does a report have to morph into a little project with its own complex development cycles; business analysts and technically adept report developers need no longer strain to translate each other’s jargon.
Empowering the users who have the knowledge saves money by reducing project expense. When the business users are empowered with tools that the IT department can govern, it’s win-win for both teams and a cost reduction for the company.
SharePoint provides self-serve reporting not only through Report Builder but also through content management features: Users can check reports in and out, rest assured that there’s only one version they have to deal with; see the report as an expected task in a workflow; and restrict access to the report to keep it secure. The whole process is more coherent from stem to stern.
Finding Help with SharePoint Developer Center
If you need help developing pages and sites in SharePoint 2010, the SharePoint Developer Center is a one-stop shop. The site includes community forums, videos, whitepapers, and other indispensable developer resources.
The SharePoint Developer Center is a great place to explore if you are just getting started. A number of videos walk through basic issues you will encounter as you begin developing on the SharePoint 2010 platform.
Whenever you find yourself stuck, be sure to visit the forums where a very active bunch of passionate SharePointers will go above and beyond to answer your questions and point you in the right direction. To access the SharePoint Developer Center, point your browser to this URL: msdn.microsoft.com/sharepoint