Codeless SharePoint Development

May this be every SharePoint developer's principle: DO NOT write code if you don't have to.

Don't get me wrong, I am a developer and I love to write code more than anything else. However, I find that not to write code, when it is feasible of cause, is the way to make a SharePoint development project successful.

Yes, go codeless in a SharePoint development project.

Here are pros for going codeless:

· No need to write code (duh!)

· No need to debug code (cool)

· No need to test code (yeah!)

· No need to optimize code, such as algorithm, cache, log, exception handling, etc.

· Easier to understand (not always)

· Easier to deploy (not always)

· Shorter development cycle

· Save time and $$$

And of cause there are cons:

· Harder to debug and test (yes, you still need to debug and test)

· Limited options for optimization

· May not be feasible

· May be harder to deploy

With SharePoint you can achieve more that you may thing without writing a single line of code. Actually, I didn’t write a single line of code at a past MOSS 2007 development project for more than a month as a development lead. J

Here are typical things that you don’t have to write code to implement in SharePoint 2007:

· BDC: for LOB data integration, search, and profile integration.

· Content Query Web Part (CQWB or CBQ): when you need to display content on a page from SharePoint lists, consider using CQWP first. SharePoint 2010 even makes it able to query content from other site collections.

· Data View Web Part: this is a tricky one, you can only add Data View Web Part from SharePoint Designer. But it provides much more functionalities than CQWP, for example, you can query external data such as SQL databases.

· SharePoint Designer Workflow: The catch is that you can only do the pre-defined workflow actions. However, you can write code to create custom workflow actions.

I gave MSDN China a webcast on this topic in Mandarin Chinese, you can watch it at

Zewei Song, Ph.D.
MCPD, MCTS: .NET 3.5, MOSS AppDev, Configuration
Enterprise Services, Microsoft Corporation