Notes from the Inaugural "Christchurch SharePoint User Group" (Matt Smith)

Matt is presenting on “Introduction to Windows SharePoint Services Development”. There’s about 40 people here; about 5 have previously developed on SharePoint, about half have used SharePoint, and about 5 have no idea what SharePoint is.

SharePoint helps developers by removing the need to constantly rebuild a content management, or a workflow engine, or other things — because SharePoint offers these as common and standardized services.

Two common misconceptions, one of which is that SharePoint offers value out-of-the-box; it requires customization. WSS equals the platform pieces and collaboration; MOSS adds 5 other services, eg, portal, search, content management …

Various points:
– There are various topology and architecture decisions that need to be made. Make the decisions in conjunction with a consultant who knows the pros and cons of different approaches
– SharePoint might look complex, but note that it’s really just lists and pages
– Matt went through a process of setting up a web site using a Team Site template. Many of the things needed by a group for upcoming events, an announcement area, and useful links are created by default within the Team Site template.
– Within a site users can create additional lists or web parts, and can even create custom lists for display and manipulation of team-specific data lists
– WSS v3 is security trimmed (finally), so that users can only see items in search results that they’re allowed to see.
– It’s pretty easy to package up the new site and turn it into a template for others to use. This can include or exclude the site’s content.
– For doing “real development” in SharePoint, you need quite a list of pre-reqs, eg, Server 2003, VS 2005, etc, etc
– WSS is free with Server 2003, and MOSS is very much not free.
– There are extensions for WSS development that plug into Visual Studio that do a whole lot of things for “free”. Matt raved about the capabilities in this tool.
– … And much more

The audience was very attentive to what Matt was saying, and seemed impressed with the capabilities of WSS.

Matt’s blog is at www.mattsmith.co.nz.

The next SharePoint User Group in Christchurch is in late October, with Gary presenting a business focused session.

(Thanks for the plug for SharePoint for Business Matt!)

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