Wow. I am surprised someone would say that. My problem has been that there are so many ways of doing custom development for SharePoint 2010. Choosing-the-best-one/where-to-start has been my biggest challenge(s). The four that I have tried (and seen the most) are:
- Customizing the SharePoint templates (to create a different look/feel)
- Web Parts (.net)
- ASP.NET pages and Web Services that can be hosted within SharePoint
- ASP.NET pages and Web Services that are hosted beside SharePoint but seem integrated
Each of these are deployed in one of three ways:
- 1 and 3 are deployed directly into SharePoint (upload, or UNC copy) - Either there is no code or the code is embedded in the page
- 2 must be installed into the server (by a server admin) then activated via SP Admin and then added to a page. Visual Studio 2010 also has a quick (automated) way of doing this for you. - The code is compiled into a DLL which has to be inserted into the GAC.
- 4 can be added to the HDD of your SharePoint servers. (usually c:\inetpub\wwwroot\wss* or some other similar folder. - The code is compiled into a DLL and sits in the bin folder of the project (outside of SharePoint).
The docs on MSDN are all really lengthy because this topic is so broad. If you narrow-down your architecture to one of these, it helps reduce your search results. Otherwise, if you want to consider all options, this MSDN article covers the topic pretty thoroughly: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff829215.aspx