August 5, 2008

Sharepoint?

I can't find a reference to the earlier versions in the usual source (wikipedia), but I can tell you this: earlier versions of Microsoft Sharepoint were not well received by the community. Apparently the latest version is more friendly (but still not as friendly as it could be) and is a lot more than what I remember Sharepoint being advertised as (a long time ago, admittedly).

Last night was the monthly FSDNUG meeting. We started out with a brief tool presentation from David Mohundro about Lutz Roeder's Reflector. It's a great tool for analyzing the libraries you're using or figuring out how the IL the .NET compiler generates looks like when disassembled and uncompiled. I was talking to David after the meeting, and he mentioned a feature that sounded useful, if a little out of the way: you can bind Reflector such that special hyperlinks can open it to specific assemblies. That would be handy for sharing assembly locations.

The main presentation was from Steve Walker (he hasn't posted in a while), of Microsoft Consulting Services, about Microsoft Sharepoint. I'll admit I was a little biased coming in, remembering what was probably the first version of the servers being marketed around my Dad's office, thinking, "How could this be useful to us?" Sharepoint, though, looks like a great resource for enterprise situations that can really use a combination web-development framework and deployment solution. The biggest problem I can see with using it is that if you don't deploy your applications the "right way", the incredible scalability possible, where you can just bring a new Sharepoint server online and make it add itself into your farm of Sharepoint servers, disappears.

Mostly, though, I see it as a way to handle deployment of web applications across server farms in an easily repeatable way (QA and operational departments should love this). It also provides a framework to work within as well, especially through the use of what's called Delegate Controls. These are basically controls that you can setup that say, "Hold a place me, I'm going to put something else here - maybe more than one - but I also want some functionality in case I don't replace you." The most visible of these on Sharepoint sites is usually the search box in the upper right. There's a default version and appearance of the control, but if you want to roll your own you can set up your search box in the place of the delegate control.

But I'm not really qualified to talk about it. Best to give you a link, in this case one that Steve pointed us too after the meeting: FanU. I won't get any use out of it, but that whole site is setup using Sharepoint.

1 comments:

David said...

I thought I'd leave a comment to share Scott Hanselman's post on Reflector. His post is a lot more like how I wanted my presentation to go.

Check it out at http://www.hanselman.com/blog/Reflector5ReleasedWorldDominationAssured.aspx. He details using the code:// linking feature there.