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I am new to SharePoint.
I am confused on whether to use WebParts or custom.aspx page for custom development. Which is the better option out of the two? And why?
Also, what are the merits and demerits of both?

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If by custom .aspx page you mean Application page than obvious difference is that application page will have URL like http://sharepointsite/_layouts/YourSolution/ApplicationPage.aspx. And these application pages are shared between different Web Applications (not specific to a Web Application).

On the other side you can built reusable Web Parts and use it for more than one tasks / more than one page. You can drop Web Parts on any Publishing / Web Part page.

I personally feel Web Part development to be more flexible given that you can connect multiple Web Parts and define custom Web Part properties.

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  • I'll just add this as a comment here since this is not an answer. A difference worth mentioning here is that you can access application pages (i.e. /_layouts pages) even without authentication to the site since it is for all the sites in that server. These are typically used to build custom login pages in FBA sites. If you add webparts to a page inside SharePoint, it obviously requires authentication and is tied to the site. – Akhoy Oct 26 '15 at 6:20
  • @Akhoy that is not true, you can create application pages with or without authentication. Please have a look at SharePoint Application Page Security – Arsalan Adam Khatri Oct 26 '15 at 6:56
  • Ofc. You can use custom code to implement authentication. But i was talking about deploying this page without the code. Without custom code, anybody will be able to access. I've seen people use application pages for hosting content only an authenticated user should see without the authentication code. – Akhoy Oct 26 '15 at 7:39

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