Erin Eschen Moloney (@erine) made me aware of this post by Symon Garfield on CMWire’s site. Symon has been posting a variety of article about SharePoint success and in this post he turns to SharePoint as a Development Platform. I like a lot of what he says but the following quote is my favorite as I think he provides a good definition of SharePoint
“SharePoint is a set of integrated technologies which provides a platform upon which an organization can build a flexible, long-term information and knowledge management infrastructure.”
I like that he uses key words information and knowledge. While I’ll comment on what he says about Development, I do believe that SharePoints key strengths still lie in knowledge management and information.
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That said, he does of course devote time to development. When I think of development in a portal, it’s almost always with some data or transaction source in mind. That means you need a bunch of options to get access to that data. Here’s what he has to say on the subject.
Extensibility refers to the hooks which enable integration with other systems and applications, and the mechanisms for expanding the platform by developing new capabilities. SharePoint’s many such hooks and mechanisms include but aren’t limited to the following:
Now here’s where I wish he spent some time talking more about options. In my mind, the three best options available to SharePoint to gain access to data are:
- Web Services. It’s a well known and accepted technology agnostic API.
- RESTful Services. Almost as well known and accepted with the added benefits of being called as a url and with the ability to return fully formatted content
- CMIS. This growing standard supported by all the major ECM vendors makes it easy to get access to content and metadata in content repositories. This happens more often than you think.
Everything else is nice but except for enterprise search (which isn’t there yet as a way to gain access to data), the other options rely on the SharePoint stack. In my world, data resides everywhere so I’m less interested in the other options because they ultimately limit options.