Personally I do not code…. I decided at 17 Years old that coding was too restrictive for my head and when starting a small coding project all I wanted to do was expand its capabilities which was not the best way to harness my skills… or make money. Consequently I am not a big believer in heavily customised SharePoint solutions and tend to deliver branded SharePoint to the client with minimal branding changes and do what is required to provide a feeling of ownership without large Site definitions being built that can be costly to maintain and manage. However this approach can leave functionality a little short and believe me, a successful SharePoint implementation and a good Business Change program will drive users into wanting more functionality.
Video distribution in SharePoint
A great example of rapid development was delivered last week when the owners of a large SharePoint Management portal supporting 800 global managers wanted to distribute videos as part of their service. A web part that will display the videos and play any selected item would not be a quick solution in an organisation that had a set process for development and support which included a 5 day assessment period and 3 stage testing, and of course, like all projects, the customer wanted it quickly….
Highly functional SharePoint projects
This year we have been asked to deliver a few functional items like count down in days to specific events, this Video Juke box and the ability to add comments into a number of lists simultaneously. Web part development would have been a solution, but to ensure they could be transitioned to new SharePoint versions and to development them rapidly we opted for a client side code solution. Matthew Taylor (SharePoint Boutique) and Sei-IS have worked together on many large projects over the last 5 years, and like me this year much of his work has been in Client side developed solutions.
Keeping it simple – and secure
A balance has to be taken when considering client code, it needs to be efficient and cacheable where possible so that the page loads in a quick way…. But rapid development is assured with HTML and Java doing most of the work. The end solution is easily edited and expanded when change is requested and security is assured using standard SharePoint security to keep inquisitive fingers away from the code which in most cases remains solid and stable.
From a user perspective in this application they simply upload the Video (Flash in this case) into a library and the latest videos appear in the video juke box to play whenever the title is clicked.
As 2013 becomes more prevalent it will become more normal for functionality to be delivered in the newer HTML environments on the desktop and your customers will thank you for the speed of development… I know that mine do.