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I have a predicament in a project I'm currently involved in. Due to the nature of the project and the customer, I will not be able to disclose any detailed information regarding the actual project, but I will try to be as specific as possible anyway.

  • The site will feature regular logon (forms)
  • The site will contain some lists where the content is either retrieved from local database or backoffice system
  • There are realtime calculations featured on the site, which I can only picture being solved by utilizing ajax/javascript operations.
  • The site needs to be able to be branded on a customer basis.
  • Every user will have alot of profile-information connected to it, which needs to be kept in sync with backoffice on a scheduled basis (every night). This information needs to be sortable and searchable, as well as editable in SharePoint.
  • There will be publishing of news that needs to be targeted to specific audiences (groups of users)
  • The general design of the site needs to be changed from the standard "SharePoint look-and-feel"

These are in general some of the main points of the application, and my question is then:

Would you consider this to be a "typical" SharePoint project, or will it be beneficial to roll-our-own? (cost of licensing does not have to be considered into this question).

I really hope you can provide me with some good pros/cons here.

UPDATE

The decision was made to go for SharePoint 2010 as the platform for this project. During analysis we (SharePoint experts were included in the analysis) concluded that there was little or no benefits with SharePoint 2010 on the mentioned points, and we could probably just as well have gone with an ASP.NET MVC3 app. But, when a few future feature-requests were put on the table the score shifted slightly over to SP, and since the customer has a policy that leans towards SharePoint 2010, the choice was simple.

Thanks for all your input! All the points in the answers were taken into consideration when presenting the analysis to the customer.

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According to our FAQ, "if your motivation is “I would like others to explain ______ to me”, then you are probably OK". Provided we get quality answers then personally I'm happy to leave this question open. –  Alex Angas Sep 13 '11 at 23:09
    
@Alex: Thanks! :) The answers so far hold a pretty high standard in my opinion- –  Yngve B. Nilsen Sep 14 '11 at 7:12
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6 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The site will feature regular logon (forms)

For this I would recommend to use the Forms base or windows authentication

The site will contain some lists where the content is either retrieved from local database or backoffice system

OOTB SharePoint Lists can be use to save and retrieve the data (local i.e. saved in SharePoint ContentDB) while Business connectivity services (BCS) can be used to work with backoffice system. For BCS, you may use external lists for manipulating the backoffice data.

There are realtime calculations featured on the site, which I can only picture being solved by utilizing ajax/javascript operations.

You can use the Client object model to perform client side complex calculations, instead

The site needs to be able to be branded on a customer basis.

You need custom Master Pages/CSS to perform the branding according to client wishes.

Every user will have alot of profile-information connected to it, which needs to be kept in sync with backoffice on a scheduled basis (every night). This information needs to be sortable and searchable, as well as editable in SharePoint.

You need User profile Service to sync the user profiles information and possibly a timer job to sync all the data with backoffice database. Of source, you can perform search using BCS

There will be publishing of news that needs to be targeted to specific audiences (groups of users)

I would recommend using the publishing enable Content types with Custom page layouts for publishing.

The general design of the site needs to be changed from the standard "SharePoint look-and-

Custom Master pages and CSS or themes can be used

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This is typical of a SharePoint implementation.

If you think of SharePoint more as a platform than just an application, customization is expected and desired.

Whether you proceed with SharePoint as your platform or choose another platform most likely will depend on the resources you can secure to implement this. As SharePoint customization help is in great demand and the number of experienced customizers is small, you may be limited in your selection of talent. Other than the resource supply demand question, I don't see why you wouldn't continue with the choice of platform you've suggested.

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  1. Is it "typical"? Yes. This task are pretty common for developing SP stuff.
  2. Do you have to "roll-our-own"? Depends on the the requirments but in "difficult" cases almost always yes.
  3. Is this a correct questions? No. You have to determine the problem otherwise it will be closed

UPD:

  1. Logon (forms) - Default exists. but most likely you will need custom
  2. Lists - Default
  3. Calculations - Development required
  4. Branding - Development required
  5. Profile-information connected - Default. Use UserProfile Sync service
  6. Targeted to specific audiences (groups of users)- Default. Administrative task
  7. The general design - Development required
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Thank you for your answer.. Yes I was afraid it was a bit to opinionated, but I was still hoping for some opinions. If it gets closed, it gets closed. This is not a typical "Yes/no" answer, but more an important business decision where the key selling-point is based on how much can be delivered out-of-the box and how much is required to be custom-developed. –  Yngve B. Nilsen Sep 13 '11 at 19:38
    
I've updated the answer according you question –  AlexSSE Sep 13 '11 at 20:23
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I would say that for these requirements SharePoint is bit overkill. If you have deep understanding how SharePoint works then go for it. If no, custom app written in ASP.NET will be developed faster than trying to figure out how to work with SharePoint.

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I would say the benefits of working with a platform like SharePoint are the amount of distinct groups of data you will need, especially added after deployment. If all you will ever need are three "tables" of data, roll it in ASP.NET and be done. If you have dozens and dozens of tables of data, most of them can be custom lists or OOTB lists and can be deployed in minutes, with CRUD built-in. It is the specialized tables and web parts that will require a bit of coding, but in an ASP.NET solution, every table, no matter how small, has the same amount of effort (CRUD, etc.) to bring to life. –  CigarDoug Sep 21 '11 at 13:35
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Foundation will meet all your requirements except for the profile information piece. That would require Server or Enterprise but you can find quite a few articles on creating your own profile service.

Pros

  • Can easily be branded
  • Use Business Connectivity Services to get back office data
  • Can use forms authentication and create your own groups
  • More tradition development experience included writing visual web parts with ajax
  • Price included in server license

Cons

  • No profile piece, would have to create your own
  • Branding not as simple as creating your own solution
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By asking this question here you are maybe making first mistake. This is community for 'SharePoint enthusiasts' and I think you received (and you will receive more) answers like: 'This issue can be solved by [enter one] SP functionality'. I will not repeat what others already stated - all your requirements can be handled by SP (almost all with OOTB features)

SharePoint is great platform and I will suggest you to explore all of its great functionality before making final decision. But keep in mind that word SharePoint doesn't mix well with words easy and simple. I am fighting with it for over 6 years now and I have seen simple tasks becoming nightmares on many occasions.

And in the end if you decide to go with SharePoint be sure that you have some experienced developers near by. (or access to this site :) )

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Yes, I'm aware of that, and it's actually part of the reason why I chose to post it here. It has been lingering in my mind for the better part of 2011, and being a seasoned .NET developer myself, I know full well what I can expect from rolling my own solution here. :) On the other hand, I have close to no experience in developing enterprise applications in SharePoint, and the answers here might shed some light on the available possibilities inherent in SharePoint 2010 –  Yngve B. Nilsen Sep 14 '11 at 7:49
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