SharePoint is a vast tool. It is the heart of Enterprise Content Management Systems. Its feature set can be split into six separate areas covering social networking, communities and collaboration, search, business intelligence, and much more. Hence, it is suitable for a wide range of uses, intranet, extranet, or website applications.
Mostly, SharePoint out of the box functionalities can satisfy the basic collaboration and communication needs of organizations. However, many organizations may opt for going beyond the core functionality to fulfill their highly specific business needs like including their branding in their application, building business solutions, generating specific reports or creating dashboards, tweaking, or extending the existing functionality.
All these customizations can be implemented with coding. But then the coding is also one of the stinging points for SharePoint users due to the associated complexities, multiple risks, costs, added efforts, and other limitations. Further, coding leads to a lot of complications like variable outcomes and delays in projects. Though SharePoint customization is not a bad idea as it makes the SharePoint environment more useful and relevant to your business needs. However, adopting coding to achieve those customizations may not be a very good approach.
In this blog, we are going to discuss in detail, why coding for customizing SharePoint is a bad idea; and how better alternatives like no-code SharePoint customization platform can be utilized to achieve SharePoint customizations.
Before we take a deep dive lets also understand why businesses customize SharePoint.
SharePoint has limited out-of-the-box functionality
SharePoint offers a host of out-of-the-box-functionalities, however, at times they may not support an organization’s highly specific business needs. Say, for instance, organizations may want to customize certain business reports, modify dashboards and menus, create a highly personalized intranet portal, or integrate a SharePoint solution with any third-party software.
To extend beyond the out-of-the-box capabilities of SharePoint and to run it smoothly in their business environment, SharePoint users need to do some customization which requires coding. Hence, organizations often spend time in writing some custom code to address their business requirements.
Now, that we understand the reason why organizations go for customizing SharePoint by coding, let’s also understand why writing code for SharePoint customization is a mistake.
- Custom coding is tedious and costly
Writing a new code for SharePoint customizations is surely no easy task. It takes a lot of effort, time, and cost in completing the entire process before making it live. Further, the story does not end here as custom code requires support and maintenance in the future also. Apart from this a lot of documentation work is needed for knowledge transfer and handovers in case of resource turn over.To accomplish these SharePoint customizations and support by coding, you require highly experienced SharePoint developers. And we all understand that hiring an experienced SharePoint developer is a significant cost to the organization.
- Custom coding requires testing, re-testing and then user testing
We all know that any code written requires it to be tested before making it live, and this involves significant time and effort. Say for example if the underlying code has not been tested correctly it affects the usability and accessibility of the SharePoint farm. Before making any customization live in the production it is important to ensure it is tested, re-tested and UAT is done. This entails both cost and time. All of this can be avoided by using a non-code platform for customization. Hence, coding is not a very smart choice for making SharePoint customization.
- SharePoint customizations are prone to errors and delay
SharePoint coding requires a high level of expertise and hence it has high chances of error if not done correctly. Moreover, if anything goes wrong, it involves significant cost & time to bring it back to normal. SharePoint customization slip-ups can result in big downtime, permanently deleted documents, corrupted files, security issues, and much more.Therefore, to avoid enormous time and effort loss, businesses should avoid custom coding unless it is necessary. Further, only SharePoint administrators should be allowed to make any changes beyond the most minor changes to your SharePoint environment. The best approach is to avoid coding in the first place.
- Every code has a shelf life; requires re-coding
There are high chances that any code you might have written might be limited to only the current version of SharePoint and it might not be useful if you decide to upgrade/migrate to a new version of SharePoint.To continue to use the coded functionality, you will have to update your code. Hence it requires you to recode the entire thing. It is quite obvious that this is an additional cost over and above the expenditure already been made in coding for the first time.
It is advised to be doubly sure that your business requirement cannot be solved without custom coding before you jump into it.
Additionally, the rise of citizen developers is another reason why coding is no longer considered a preferred method for making customizations in SharePoint.
According to Gartner, by 2023, the number of active citizen developers at large enterprises will be at least four times the number of professional developers. This is a big change! And businesses have already moved there.
Business users instead of waiting for their requests to make it to the top of the IT department’s ticket list, they with their little to no coding knowledge — take it upon themselves to make these customizations. Especially, in the current time of the global pandemic, when many organizations are facing resource, budget and other constraints, many business users and citizen developers are using IT-approved tools to build apps and make customizations that are helping them boost productivity, automate workflows, and help their teams work efficiently.
AgreeYa’s QuickApps is an innovative No-code SharePoint solution with a set of pre-built templates and 21 powerful web apps. With QuickApps, business users can build complex business applications for SharePoint On-premise or SharePoint Online 80% faster using simple point-and-click configuration instead of custom coding. So, stop writing code for your varied SharePoint requirements and get a Free Trial today to experience how QuickApps can completely transform your SharePoint experience.
Associate Director – Product Development
Amit Gupta plays a key role in incubating and establishing best SharePoint practices at AgreeYa. He is closely associated with the Product Development and Delivery team and works to find new solutions based on Microsoft technology and optimize performance and responsiveness for our clients. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org