I want to learn development of SharePoint 2013 APP. And I already get through some basic tutorial of APP in MSDN.

I have no problem in the web development like Javascript, HTML, CSS , Asp.Net etc . But I have no knowledge and experience on SharePoint. And have no idea of What is the List. What is the Library, What is Site collection and Site etc ( All the components in SharePoint.)

So I am trying to look for a big picture like component hierarchy in SharePoint or some read to understand these components or concept in the SharePoint so that I can figure out some question like below.

  1. What is Site Collection and Site?

  2. What components can be included in Site/Site Collection ?

  3. What is the sitemap of Site Collection?


Currently I am working on the Office365 SharePoint Online trial verion.

Should I go back to learn the development of the tradition solution firstly then go to APP Development ?

4 Answers 4


What i recommend to get SharePoint training course to understand it.

If you want to start App Development but having no experience of the SharePoint Solution development will be fine. As far as you have Development Skills i.e C#, Asp.net and CSS, HTML, Java Script, Soap, XML.

As SharePoint App you should understand all basic concept. This picture give you highly level overview.... enter image description here

  • Web Application: A SharePoint 2013 web application is composed of an Internet Information Services (IIS) web site that acts as a logical unit for the site collections that you create. Before you can create a site collection, you must first create a Web application. Each web application is represented by a different IIS web site with a unique or shared application pool. You can assign each web application a unique domain name. This helps prevent cross-site scripting attacks. When you create a new web application, you also create a new content database and define the authentication method used to connect to the database.

Now this picture explain more granular level. enter image description here

  • Site Collections A site collection is made up of one top-level site and all sites below it. As shown in the following figure, it is the top level of organization in a SharePoint 2013 web application. The number of site collections you can have in a single web application depends on the capacity of your server infrastructure
  • Sites You create sites in your site collection to partition your content so that you can have finer control of the appearance and the permission to the content. You can also have different features available on the various sites in your site collection.
  • Can I say that If compared with the elements in IIS. The Web Application is like Web Site in IIS and the Sites is like virtual directory of Web Site. The Site Collections is a logical collections not the physical one? Thanks.
    – Joe.wang
    Sep 3, 2014 at 5:51

You don't need to go back and learn traditional approach first but yes sharepoint basics should be clear.

A very good resource on SP basics could be found here. It contains an extensive list of all the articles that are needed.

  • Good, It is simple and easy enough to understand. Thank you.
    – Joe.wang
    Sep 3, 2014 at 6:30

I don't think learning traditional solution development will necessarily help you that much with learning the basics of the SharePoint solution hierarchy or necessarily that much with development going forward either. There's certainly no real down side to knowing the traditional solution approaches, but there really is a vast amount of information out there to catch up on, and even then many of the techniques are now deprecated, or at the very least discouraged going forward. This is doubly so for development with SharePoint Online, where your access to deploy server-side solutions (using the Server-Side Object Model) doesn't exist, and even access to PowerShell commandlets is extremely reduced.

In regards to your specific questions:

  • A Site Collection in SharePoint is a parent container for one or many sites. Many administrative functions can only be applied at the Site Collection level, and affect all of the sites across the entire Site Collection. Site Collections typically have their own level of administrators, although Site Collection Administrators have access and privileges in all of the sites within their collections. You generally enable and disable 'features' at the Site Collection level (although there are site and farm/tenant level features as well) -- which make different services available to your To make things somewhat complicated, you refer to a Site Collection as a Web in C# or JavaScript code references.
  • A site is the basic unit of organization for content within SharePoint. Every site collection contains at least one site, and all content is stored in sites. There are certain features and settings that can be controlled at the site level (similar to the Site Collection level settings) but their impact is limited to their specific sites. Sites contain libraries (which contain files/documents) and lists (which usually contain data, such as a contact list, as opposed to just documents).

Other things you should look in to that will make your SharePoint toolbox a bit more complete (in addition to the basics sites/libraries/lists/apps) are Workflows, Search, InfoPath Forms (even though it's officially deprecated...) and then really good deep dives on the REST and JavaScript Object Model Client-Side APIs. And as kind of my own aside/opinion -- learning a binding framework like knockout or even angular can be very helpful when working with JS in SharePoint, especially considering that you won't want to invest too much time and effort on forms in InfoPath.

What worked the best for me was to pick up a few books written by some very smart people and do some reading. I can recommend a few, but there are really many good ones out there. A few ones I like, in no particular order:

I certainly think these books are great and their authors have put a lot of work into them, so I would encourage you to buy them or access them through a book subscription service (like safari or books 24x7 in skillsoft) if your work/school has one available... But you can certainly head over to your local library or book store and check out some of the finer points as well.

I also think that the Microsoft Virtual Academy SharePoint Core Solutions Jump Start and Advanced Solutions Jump Start courses are very well done and can help someone like yourself (familiar with some web development already) get in to working with SharePoint.

Just as a note, questions like 'what is a site?' and 'what is a site collection?' can be kind of difficult to pin down in a nice concise way, and my answers really are over-simplifications that may not cover everything -- I am definitely looking to some of the other experts here to edit/suggest changes to those sections of my answer as necessary and I'll look to update the info myself if I think of anything else as well.

SharePoint is sometimes frustrating to get working exactly like you want, but I really enjoy working with it because the infrastructure it provides on the security, backup, and management fronts lets you really work on business problems instead of reinventing the wheel every time you want to build a new application to perform what would otherwise be a fairly basic task.

Anyway, hope that helps -- good luck!

  • I see a lot of advise, suggestion, good learning tips, the experience and even the encourage for the helpless guy like me . Thanks you , John.(These thanks also to Waqas Sarwar MCSE/Malin De Silva/Garima)
    – Joe.wang
    Sep 3, 2014 at 6:06

It's hard to explain SharePoint in a single answer. SharePoint has a hierarchy of elements.

  • Farm
  • Web Application
  • Site Collection
  • Site
  • List / Library / Site(sub-sites)

SharePoint is based on the atomic thing called a Content Type. It is a collection of metadata that describes each and everything.

Apps, Full Trust Solutions and Sandboxed Solutions are three type of deployments that can be done in SharePoint. Consider Sandboxed solutions are obsolete. Traditional way of going was with the Full Trust Solutions but that had many issues and put much weight on the server. So the app model came in with client side object models(CSOM) which actucally runs on the user browse.

Learning Tip: First understand the hierarchy well. Then the object model you choose can be aligned with that. SharePoint concepts are same in both Server and Client Side Object Models. Implementation methods differ.

eg: Asynchronous programming involved in CSOM.

So starting with apps won't be a problem.

  • Can I say the List/Library/Page only can be contained in the Site level in SharePoint? Thank you.
    – Joe.wang
    Sep 3, 2014 at 6:15

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