Monday, 1 December 2008

Announcing SharePoint Site Configurator

One controversial topic of late is - should you develop with custom site definitions? A lot of people argue no - they are too complex and will cause upgrade problems into the future.

The majority of SharePoint developers should be familiar with the SharePoint Solutions and Features framework for developing and deploying customisations to SharePoint. A smaller number of developers work with and are familiar with custom site definitions - they are complex and difficult to master. This can cause problems with resourcing as some SharePoint developers will not be productive having to sort out and work with another developers site definition.

To complicate things further - when developing with custom site definitions one can go for the miniminalist approach where most work is implemented in Features, and these Features are simply referenced in the site definition for activation purposes, or you can go ahead and build the work straight into the site definitions. Another problem is developers use the OOTB WSS and MOSS site definitions as examples, and many of those implement functionality in the site definitions themselves instead of in Features.

So it's great to see MCS release the SharePoint Site Configurator on codeplex which will hopefully help to do away with complex custom site definitions.