Wednesday, August 21, 2013

You Don't Have to Be a Weatherman To Know Which Way the Wind Blows.

Which direction is the wind blowing in terms of SharePoint?

Answer: JavaScript/JQuery (read "function") and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets, read "look and feel"), if you want to do anything above and beyond out-of-the-box with SharePoint 2010 and 2013.

With every new release of SharePoint, Microsoft is allowing SharePoint to be more flexible, but at the cost of becoming less user-friendly for non-developers. The newest release of SharePoint, SharePoint 2013, makes heavier use of "apps" that can be customized through script.

SharePoint Designer 2013 has taken away its Design view, and thrown the form customizations over the fence to InfoPath 2013.  InfoPath 2013 has some limitations, and so the most effective way to change the function of your SharePoint sites is to use JavaScript and JQuery. This means that even a Site Collection Administrator would be well-served to have knowledge of JavaScript, JQuery, and CSS.

Fortunately, there are many good books available on both subjects, and even books focused on using JavaScript, JQuery, and CSS within the context of SharePoint 2013. I would highly recommend also getting a book on the use of InfoPath 2013 and even Office 365, Microsoft's cloud-hosted SharePoint solution.

For an all-in-one book, I recommend "Pro SharePoint 2013 Branding and Responsive Web Development". "JavaScript and JQuery: The Missing Manual" is also a good read if you're starting anew with any type of development/programming and has good cross-references within.

Best of luck, and happy coding!

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