This is the final article in this series “What is this SharePoint Thing All About Anyway?” and in this article we are going to be looking at the concept of SharePoint Composites. Composites are a type of solution that allows you to pull together items from multiple applications to build a complete solution. In this article we are going to highlight some of the various types of things you can build using composites as well as provide an overview of the tools you will utilize.
No Code Solutions
The biggest value of composite solutions is the ability to create no-code solutions. These solutions can be built by Information Workers without having to involve traditional developers. There is an endless list of the types of solutions that can be built using this method. The solutions built within organizations differ based on their specific needs, but typically can include the following types of no-code solutions:
- Project Management
- Help Desk
- Document Approval and Routing
- HR Onboarding
- Forms Management
The trick to building these types of solutions is to have a good solid foundation of the various tools that can be utilized and understanding when to best use each of them.
Typically the types of composite solutions built will evolve as the organizations’ skills are developed. Like most things in SharePoint, it is so important to start with the business requirements. Once you fully understand what type of solution you need to provide, then you can begin to dig into the various tools and options you have for building the solution.
Understanding the Tools
Many of the tools that are used for composite solutions have been covered in previous articles in this series and include items such as:
- Access Services
- Visio Services
- BCS (Business Connectivity Services)
- Excel Services
- SharePoint Designer
To see an example of a composite solution, imagine that you had a page that manages a specific business process. On the home page of this solution a Visio Diagram is displayed and when you select one of the shapes within the diagram the associated documents are displayed in one web part and then the associated form to be completed is opened in another web part.