WSS 3.0 – as a development platform?

 When it comes to SharePoint, it’s a sin not to have a word on WSS. To say the least, WSS is the cradle in which SharePoint was born.  It’s a freely available offering from Microsoft. For the geeks, WSS is a set of services and programs that provide a foundation for not only SharePoint Products and Technologies but also other server products like Enterprise Project Management Server, BizTalk Server etc. People tend to say that WSS is all about collaboration which is not true in my opinion and that’s what I am going to discuss here.

As expected, Microsoft while moving from V2.0 to V3.0 introduced several new features that have added value to the already available platform services. You might have heard of the war of ‘Using the word SharePoint’ that is going on between famous SharePoint bloggers like Fritz and Arpan Shah. Although the idea behind fighting over whether SharePoint is an adjective or a noun might not seem appropriate but the important aspect is to keep an eye on is the intention of MS:  bringing WSS to a stage where it can serve as both a solution and development platform.

Presenting WSS as a Solution Platform is quite reasonable for obvious reasons. There are already services available and API exposed (enhanced in v3) which can be used inside and outside the SharePoint context. Microsoft, as part of Office SharePoint Server, has shipped some applications built on top of WSS 3.0 and the services are ready for you to make use of and develop new solutions. When I talk about the development platform, it’s more from the framework point of view. Those who have worked/ developed for SPS 2003 might know that it made use of .NET 1.1, yes the .NET classes, but not the framework itself to a very large extent. In WSS 3.0, however, the story is a bit more .NET friendly. WSS 3.0, to a bigger extent, leverages the framework services available in .NET 2.0, the provider framework, authentication framework, the web part framework etc. This depicts the idea that WSS and .NET, who were once far apart, are now becoming closer to each other and what I can guess is (don’t know what MS guys are thinkingJ) that this growing friendship of WSS and .NET may result in a merger whereby the set of development frameworks provided by Microsoft combine with the power of WSS and present a unified solution and development platform.  

We can see that WSS isn’t just a collaboration tool rather; the new generation of WSS can be considered a foundation platform to develop highly flexible and re-usable web application services. To conclude, I would like to recommend a good book written by Todd Bleeker named Developer’s Guide to the Windows SharePoint Services v3 Platform (Charles River Media Programming).

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2 Responses to WSS 3.0 – as a development platform?

  1. Irfan says:

    Good work, keep it up!!

  2. Jerry says:

    A good effort is what I can say after reading the article. I just wanted to add few lines about your comments on “WSS as a collaborative Platform”. WSS is a collaboration solution who does not want to extend it and only wanted to use all out of the box capablities with little bit customization using FP or SPD. The second group of people want SharePoint to be part of daily routine. WSS as collaboration platform means “Change the way you work” but WSS and a custom solution means “Change SharePoint the way you work”. Luckily from last 3 years i have been working on project where SharePoint is heavily used. The reason to use SharePoint for some clients is an Out of the Box solution for collaboration and a great platform to develop custom solutions on top of it which reduces a lot of effort for Security, Development deployment and Access.
    WSS 3 is major improvement in this case. Integration of .NET 2.0 has added great deal into it. Every thing is ready to be customized in a standarized way. Wheather you want to develop Site definitions, Webparts, Master pages, Custom Pages, Events, Workflow or whatever you need for your environment.
    Adding to SharePoint as a solution platform is pointing to a new erra in Developing Custom solutions using SharePoint is the ability to Create SharePoit based solutions. A complete set of SharePoint projects for Visual Studio that gives developers the power to develop any thing they want. Feature framework improves the way we develop custom plugins to SharePoint.

    Overall a great article to read. By the way i just got the paperback of the book you mentioned above and will be using it as a guide for my SharePoint v 3 development Exam.
    I am looking forward for more aticles from you. Looking forward,

    Regards,
    Jerry

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