5 Things SharePoint Client Side Developers Should Stop Doing Immediately (1/5)

Posted by: Mark Rackley on February 13, 2017


…in order to prepare for Modern sites, pages, and the SharePoint mobile application.

Us client side developers have finally found our groove in SharePoint. Right? Need a dashboard? No problem. Don’t like the way SharePoint looks? We can handle it. Need to customize that form and add some business logic to it? Piece of cake! Yes... the SharePoint world is our playground and we can bend SharePoint to our will.

That’s today, what about tomorrow?

It’s 2017. SharePoint is evolving before our eyes. Ever since the “Future of SharePoint” event last May the 4th, SharePoint has been changing at a breakneck pace: new document library views, moving to the new site pages, a new mobile application, modern list views, new modern sites, and even a new development framework! With all of these changes come some really cool functionality but Microsoft has also put up fences and established new rules that we must follow if we want to cross over from the “Classic” view to the “Modern” view.

Over the next five days, I’ll explain what you, a client side developer, need to stop doing so that you can be ready to play in the new playground.

1- Editing pages in SharePoint Designer

Let’s start off with an easy one.

Regardless of whether you plan to embrace modern sites or not, even if you have no plans to go to SharePoint Online or upgrade SharePoint soon, I urge you to stop editing your pages in SharePoint Designer. You are creating a potential nightmare for yourself when it comes to maintenance and upgradeability. I don’t think I’ve even suggested this as an option since SharePoint 2010. In fact, if you try to edit one of the new Site Pages in SharePoint Designer, there is nothing after the closing head tag and any content you add to the page will not get rendered. So, it’s not even option.

Just stop editing pages in SharePoint Designer.

And while we’re on the topic of SharePoint Designer, and since I’m in a mood to pick a fight. You should really consider phasing out SharePoint Designer as a development tool. It has not been updated for 2016 which says a lot about its long term viability. The only valid reason I can think of to use it is probably SharePoint Designer Workflows, but even then if you are reading the tea leaves you should be looking at things like Flow and SharePoint WebHooks instead of SPD Workflows. The future of SharePoint is not SharePoint Designer.

Instead you should…

Instead of editing your pages in SharePoint Designer, you should be inserting script into a page with a Content Editor Web Part or a Script Editor Web Part. If one of the existing Page Layouts doesn’t meet your needs, create a new Page Layout. With these methods you’ll be able to easily move your scripts to new Modern Pages and you won’t have to worry about breaking the user interface or messing up your branding. There are also other supported ways of getting functionality onto the page. Regardless, stop editing your pages in SharePoint Designer.

Tomorrow I’ll be explaining why it’s not a good idea to be putting your script references into your Master Pages…

Topics: Microsoft Office 365, SharePoint, Office 365, JavaScript, Development

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