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Getting SharePoint-Savvy

At the Tech-Ed Developers Conference last week in Orlando, Bill Gates and Co. spent most of the keynote talking about Silverlight, Visual Studio and even its refreshed Microsoft Robotics Developer Studio product.

However, one topic that looks like developers are very anxious to hear a lot more about is SharePoint Server.

The Q&A session after Bill Gates' conference keynote offered a glimpse, as one attendee, Bill King of BrightPlanet, specifically criticized the lack of code support for SharePoint developers. Gates' response was telling.

"So, the need now to take and say, 'OK, when I'm working in SharePoint I can connect over to Visual Studio and have the applications stored there,' that's something that we need to support," Gates admitted. "Today...you have to manually move it into the SharePoint store. So, you don't have the same rich representation that we have over in that Visual Studio world. So, it's a natural evolution for us to connect up SharePoint to Visual Studio."

The show floor echoed King's sentiments. You couldn't turn down an aisle without running into another SharePoint-related vendor booth. Companies like AVIcode, dynaTrace, K2, Quest and SoftArtisans all featured SharePoint-specific solutions. Developers are looking for ways to integrate, extend and enable their SharePoint deployments, and it's clear that vendors are moving fast to meet that need.

Now it's Microsoft's turn. The company has unleashed a platform, in part by baking Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) into every copy of Windows Server. Strong Office integration has enabled Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) to emerge as a phenomenon. Those efforts have given rise to a grassroots movement, with companies suddenly finding hundreds of sites and portals popping up at the departmental level to enable all manner of workflows.

The effort to tie those disparate sites together and shape them into a more capable and strategic enterprise tool is beginning. And for both Microsoft and SharePoint-bound developers, that means some very important work lies ahead.

We plan to explore in-depth the arena of SharePoint-based development, but we want to hear from you first. What kind of challenges are you facing with SharePoint as a development platform, and what kinds of things do you want to see Microsoft deliver as you move forward? E-mail me at mdesmond@reddevnews.com.

Posted by Michael Desmond on 06/10/2008 at 1:15 PM


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