SharePoint Application Configuration – Application Configuration

imageLately I’ve been worked a lot with projects where we have tried to find a good way to give site collection owner or farm admins possibilities to maintain and even change the way how our custom SharePoint application (web part, controls etc.) work. The answer to this is by using configuration data. The main reason to use configuration is of course flexibility. User can change things, like connection strings, if they need to.

Other thing related to this is reusability. On organization things can and will change after the new applications is finished and taken to production. When we are talking about SharePoint this is an everyday situation because the whole platform is meant to change when you organization is changing. Having the things behind some configuration you can develop features that can be used in many different organizations and cases.

For development firms this means saving on development time and better contribution marking. I have always liked the idea to make features and solutions reusable. It takes a little bit more time to plan things but in many cases this consideration will mean better, cleaner and more user friendly solutions. But to make configuration really works it means that during the planning and development you have to find answer to the following questions.

1. What things should users to be able to change?

2. How to code this solution so that it can be changed and maintained with configurations?

3. Where to store the necessary configurations?

For question one and two there is no easy answer and it always depends on the case. Of course it’s always easy to forget question number two or actually all the questions. Just make the solutions that work on this case and don’t give users and possibility to change anything. Fast, but not very lasting on long term.

But for question number three there are few good possibilities that SharePoint offers.

· SharePoint Property Bag

· Web.config

· SharePoint List

· SharePoint Web Part

· Hierarchical Object Store

On this series I will go through them and try to give you a short idea of how they work, what are the pros and cons of them so that you can consider which of them could suite for your application. I will start with one of my favorites Property Bag. My first attend was that this post would include the actual how to part also, but I want to keep things short and the introduction part became longer that I was expected. I know how frustrating it is to read how to post where it too much scrolling before they get to the point.

So the first how to part will be published in a few days.

SharePoint Application Configuration part 1 – Property Bag