What kind of SharePoint and Office 365 developer are you?

4 min read
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What kind of developer are you? Do you take an open source approach to your SharePoint customization projects? Are you a fan of PowerShell, SharePoint Designer, or good old Visual Studio?  Do you use jQuery as your JavaScript framework, or do you prefer the more niche React? Are you hanging onto Server side work, or have you joined the new world on the client side?

There’s a huge community out there building awesome customizations for SharePoint and Office 365. In our annual SharePoint and Office 365 State of Development survey we asked you – the community – about the details of your development practices. We wanted to find out about your methods, the environments you like to use most, the frameworks you use and many more key areas. By understanding the community better, we can all contribute more effectively, filling in knowledge gaps, finding common problems and discovering ways to resolve them.

So, what kind of developer are you, and how do you compare to the rest of our survey sample?

Do you use open source software in your solutions?

Using open source solutions can help cut your development costs and allow you to contribute back to the community. So, we wanted to find out if developers regularly take advantage of what open source can offer.

sharepoint and office 365Overall, we found developers make relatively limited use of open source solutions. Of course, they are still popular – 63% of respondents use them in some way. However, our results showed that only a minority of developers really engage with the open source community.

[bctt tweet=”[email protected] survey 2016: 24% use open source as a reference for their projects, but develop the solution themselves”]

What sort of technology do you use?

SharePoint and Office 365 are huge platforms and, in the case of SharePoint, include multiple older editions. As a result, developers and architects need to use a huge array of different types of technology in their customizations. Some of these are increasingly redundant, others are growing in popularity.

sharepoint and office 365The quantities for all of these technologies are pretty high, and indicate that most developers are using a wide range of technologies for their different types of customizations. This essentially means that the community has to keep learning and keep growing to keep up.

Do you standardize on a JavaScript framework?

The majority of our respondents told us that they standardize on a handful of different JavaScript frameworks, using different versions dependent on their needs.
sharepoint and office 365jQuery was the most popular JavaScript framework by far, which is expected given its huge popularity across the entire web development community. Besides JavaScript frameworks, do you also use other third party SharePoint Frameworks? There’s a range out there and they all have specific uses.

sharepoint and office 365It’s interesting to see how popular the OfficeDev Patterns and Practices is, thanks to its ability to help take full trust code solutions and transforming them to the add-in model.

[bctt tweet=”[email protected] survey 2016: 58% use OfficeDev Patterns and Practices”]

Do you use SharePoint sandbox solutions?

Sandbox solutions are handy because they ensure that any issues that may arise in your customization only affect the sandboxed area. So, it’s often valuable to implement them to reduce risk. However, this is still a new area for many in the community.

sharepoint and office 365In our results, the majority of respondents actually had no sandboxed solutions in place. That said, the proportion of companies that had at least one sandboxed solutions came to 39%.

We were also interested to find out if developers are planning to transform their existing farms and sandboxed solutions to adds-ins.

sharepoint and office 365It was interesting to discover such a large proportion of developers aren’t planning to upgrade their solutions to add-ins – instead opting to rebuild them or simply remove them altogether (perhaps buying add-ins from the Office store). Whether you work at an organization that is planning on rebuilding customizations from scratch or simply migrating existing add-ins, you can expect a lot of work in the coming years ensuring that these new add-ins function correctly.

Are you testing your code enough?

Organizations that test the quality of their code are more likely to discover problems and avoid serious downtime when errors in the code occur. So, do you regularly test your code against best practice standards?

sharepoint and office 365While overall most organizations do use some kind of code analysis tool, it was disappointing to see that 29% simply don’t use any code analysis solution. Of those that do, SPCAF is the top choice with 39%. We also noticed that a significant number of developers are still using SPDisposeCheck which can be very risky because it doesn’t reveal disposal errors hidden within your code. If you use it, we’d highly recommend you stop doing so right now!

A thriving community

Our second annual survey of SharePoint and Office 365 development showed just how diverse and dynamic the community is—it is constantly evolving and adapting to new technologies and challenges. To understand the community in more detail, sign up to receive our final report when it is released and get full analysis and a detailed breakdown of the results.

Matthias Seidel

Matthias, or Thias for the sake of distinguishing from all the other Matthiases here at Rencore, is the Head of Marketing at Rencore. He is passionate about helping make Microsoft 365 users' lives easier by introducing them to Rencore, our vision, and products.