Beginning at the SharePoint Interface

SharePointInterface.com gets started with a statement of intention and some ground rules.

IUnknown

When software architects and developers are relatively certain of the behaviors they desire from their code, but uncertain of how those behaviors should be implemented concretely, it is common to begin with the creation of one or more interfaces.  An interface serves as the contract between the consumer and the behind-the-scenes implementation.  It’s a time-tested and proven way of moving forward when many details are still unknown.

In a weird sort of way, this first post adheres to the pattern just described.

As I describe in my About section, this blog is an attempt to give something back to the SharePoint community and those within it who have contributed so much of their time, expertise, and insight to “the cause.”  The details of how this blog will evolve are the subject of speculation (at least by me if no one else), but I do know that I have plenty to share.  In addition to the standard SharePoint fare that most of us SharePoint professionals wrangle with on a daily basis, I have done some diving in areas of SharePoint that I haven’t (at the time of writing this) seen covered anywhere.  The trick, then, becomes discussing those topics in sufficient depth and in a timely fashion.

Guidelines

Those who know me well will tell you that I can be rather critical of certain portions of online SharePoint content.  Don’t get me wrong: there are some fantastic bloggers and professionals operating in the SharePoint space, and I (and others) have learned a great deal from these generous folks.  At the same time, the SharePoint blogosphere is filled with more than its fair share of posters who blatantly copy the well-written posts of others, admins who report “solutions” with limited (or no) understanding of the problems they’re supposedly solving, junior developers who post sample code or advice that may work but generates even greater (potentially unseen) issues, and people who do nothing more than link to other posts (with no value added) in the hopes of boosting rankings.

In order to avoid inadvertently falling into the latter categories of blogger I just described, I’m laying down a few guiding principles, goals, and ground rules.  I intend to stick to these.  I tend to be my own harshest critic when it comes to abiding by rules, but readers have free license to call me on the carpet in the event that I start doing something questionable:

  1. First and foremost, I believe in giving credit where credit is due.  I’m not in the habit of repackaging information others have made available through their own blogs, but in the event that I leverage or incorporate materials I picked up elsewhere, I’ll cite sources and link to them.  I’m also inclined to drop the author(s) a note to let them know that I’ve cited their work.
  2. In the event that I propose a solution to a problem, I’ll also do my best to explain my understanding of the problem and the factors contributing to it.  Where there are gaps in my knowledge (that I’m aware of), I’ll clearly state them.  In short: I’ll do what I can to provide a thorough analysis and perform due diligence.
  3. If I supply code, it will be documented and written to best practice standards as I understand them.  If there are watch-outs or factors that should be considered before implementing the code, I’ll state them.
  4. In the event that an outside post or topic becomes the focus of one of my own, I’ll make every attempt to add value beyond simply linking to it.  Some posts may not warrant much additional verbage (because they’re highly important in and of themselves), but I hope to be able to provide additional insight and personal tie-in points in most cases.

An aside: years ago, my friends and I used to have a lot of fun with role-playing games (RPGs).  Shadowrun was our game of choice (not the PC game translation, but the original RPG), but we did play some Dungeons & Dragons, as well.  For those of you who used to (or maybe still do) play D&D, you should know that all of my close friends describe me as having a (painfully) Lawful Neutral alignment.  Personally, I’m inclined to agree.  That might tell you a little something about my intention to adhere to the guidelines I’ve established  :-)

Things to Come

While this post was needed (by my reckoning) to establish some ground rules, it obviously came up short on SharePoint content.  My next post should be coming within a week or so and will remedy this.  Stay tuned!

Author: Sean McDonough

I am the Chief Technology Officer for Bitstream Foundry LLC, a SharePoint solutions, services, and consulting company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. My professional development background goes back to the COM and pre-COM days - as well as SharePoint (since 2004) - and I've spent a tremendous amount of time both in the plumbing (as an IT Pro) and APIs (as a developer) associated with SharePoint and SharePoint Online. In addition, Microsoft awarded me an MVP (most valuable professional) in 2016 for the Office Servers and Services category.

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