SharePoint Site Creation – Step-by-Step (Part I)

Note, the entire tutorial from start to finish will be available as a single zip file when it is complete, it will include all source html, css, PSD/Images etc.
Why SharePoint?

There are several reasons why you may want to try your hand at SharePoint technologies, I will explain my own reasoning, I do however think that after reading this you may agree.

The fundamental reasoning behind selecting SharePoint is that it allows you to streamline your development process and development team.

You might be thinking, ok what the heck is he talking about? … Let me explain ..

More often than not, the development of a website is broken down into seperate groups of individuals on the team that are specialists in their respective fields.

These groups are:

The graphic designer – Generally responsible for creating the initial site interface (GUI), fluent with such tools as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Macromedia Flash, Dreamweaver and 3d Tools like Maya or Lightwave.

The programmers – Generally responsible for all things .NET, XML(Web Services), Database (SQL etc),and all that “functional” stuff which without nothing would actually “work” or “do anything”.

The “unwritten and true more often than not” rule with web design is that programmers are usually terrible with graphics, and vice-versa for graphic designers.

That being said, you have to have both individuals present and available for virtually any task no matter how small.

Let’s look at a real-life scenario
How many times have we heard – “OK, We have to create such and such a site – it’s low budget, we really don’t have much time, *but!* (Oh yes, there is always a but!) they would really like to have some dynamic content in there which they can edit, oh and they wish to store some information generated from forms. – All of a sudden this ‘low budget’ website starts to turn into a costly project because we have to have the graphics guy doing the site design, html, css etc and the programmer taking care of the forms, data-base and so on.

This is a fairly common scenario for alot of small/medium sized web-development companies as I’m sure you are all nodding in approval.

The problem in this scenario is simple, you have to take two resources a.Programmer b.Graphic Designer to complete a project which as already been flagged as low cost. Keep in mind you are more than likely also pulling these individuals ‘off’ of another project.

For the graphic designer it’s just another day at work, for the programmer there may be some audible grunts knowing they have to create such meaninigless and unchallenging code.

This is where SharePoint comes in, SharePoint makes it so easy to create and display dynamic content (lists) as well as capture information from forms which can be stored in a list (EasyForms! sorry I had to) that the graphic designer who knows nothing about “real code” like ASP.NET can easily create this entire site himself. In fact I’m going to prove it throughout these tutorials.

I am a graphic designer with no real knowledge of ASP.NET. I am however going to create a “fully content managed” and dynamic website using SharePoint.

Using SharePoint in such a situation everyone wins, and here’s how:

The Graphic Designer – The designer (who is borderline code illiterate) is now empowered to create dynamic websites that can capture or display databased information and even create a completely content managed site, one that’s so easy to update that it can be done without ever leaving the browser. That in itself is a HUGE step in web-design.

The Programmer – The programmer gets to focus on more challenging and important code and not wasting time and money on mundane programming tasks. This allows them to create all the cool gizmo’s for us to break. :)

The Site Owner – The site owner benefits greatly as they can now get a reasonably priced website with the fucnctionality that would normally cost 10x as much.

The Company – The company you own, or work for benefits in the fact that they can better manage their resources and almost double their efficiency with low overhead.

There are a lot of other things that make SharePoint a great product, but this one is in my opinion the greatest in regards to “site development”.

Don’t get me wrong SharePoint is certainly not without it’s faults and there is a learning curb, but once you get over the initial growing pains the doors that open far outweigh any initial trauma.

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8 Responses

  1. Jessie says:

    I’m learning SharePoint. I’ve read most of your step-by-step tutorials. They’re great. Thanks a lot! Can you tell me where I can download the PDF tutorial?

  2. I want to tell you that you have a great SharePoint Blog page, congratullations, and i was wondering if you could tell me were is the SharePoint manual that you have been work in on…

    Luis Du Solier G.

  3. Shane says:

    yes, that’s correct. The customization will be on a WSS site.

    The same could just as easily be applied to Portal Server.

    I’m sure I’ll make a bunch of posts on SPS as well, this is just the “first” installment. Something to get me blogging :)

  4. Greg Hughes says:

    I have read through but don’t see a specific answer, so I will ask – I assume you are customizing WSS sites, as opposed to SharePoint Portal Server?

    – greg

  5. Shane says:

    Painful reality I guess, and Thanks. :)

    It will be fairly easy to follow along with, the first few sections may be a little boring but I think it’s important to show exactly why it’s being done with SharePoint (The Advantages), and to focus at least a little on creating a site that works rather than ‘just a site’.

    In past years we’ve watched the internet become polluted w/ terrible to status quo websites that had no real focus. Hopefully we’ll learn from our mistakes in the future :)


  6. Bill Howell says:

    I’m looking forward to your tutorials on customising sharepoint. I’m actully one of the few that prefer Frontpage (I can’t stand macromedia’s UIs) but hopefully I’ll be able to follow along.

    BTW “…there is a learning curb”, freudian slip or painfull reality?

    Good Luck with the blog.

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I would love to hear from you.

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