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The SharePoint developer is dead, long live the SharePoint developer!

Geschreven door Erik Nell - 04 mei 2016

Erik Nell
All around me, including in vacancy listings, I still see calls for SharePoint developers. Do we really still need them or is it time to let go?

For a long time, developing solutions for SharePoint was something special. Writing for SharePoint meant that you had to know a lot of specific stuff about the inner workings of the SharePoint server and its complete stack. Often this was very SharePoint-specific (I’m looking at you, CAML!). You either loved it or hated it and it gave rise to that special breed of software developer: the SharePoint developer. Often shunned by their colleagues who were doing ‘cool’ stuff like MVC, the SharePoint developers retreated into their own little corner of the universe, creating their own lingo and having their own conferences. Cool developers wouldn't have touched SharePoint with a barge pole.

That all changed when Microsoft introduced SharePoint 2013. As they had great visions for working in the cloud, they introduced the app model. Suddenly you were not allowed to write code that interfered with SharePoint directly or that even ran on the same server! Apps were meant to be hosted in their own environment, using standard web technology. I know, technically speaking you can still write old-fashioned solutions, but that is beside the point that I’m trying to make here.

Quote SharePointSo if you can just build your app (or add-in as it is called nowadays) using whatever technology you like, why do we need specialist “SharePoint developers”? Nowadays, the SharePoint developer is just the same as any other developer that can write web applications. You just need that little bit of extra information about how to hook your application into SharePoint and write and retrieve information stored in SharePoint. But most of the technologies involved (like OAuth and REST) are open standards and are also useful in all kinds of applications besides SharePoint, so they really should be part of your toolkit anyway.

So what makes SharePoint developers special nowadays? Maybe it’s just the fact that SharePoint developers really like SharePoint. We’re no longer those strange developers who work with old-fashioned techniques, but real web developers, with the ability to understand what SharePoint was created for. Welcome to this mostly undiscovered world of hints and tricks! 

About Erik 
Craft Expert Erik Nell is part of the SharePoint team within Craft, the development programme for IT professionals (powered by Centric). If you would like to follow his blog, sign up for Craft updates.

Tags:SharePoint

     
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