Confessions of a repentant programmer

As a trained software professional and having worked with over 17 programming languages, I guess I earned the right to say “programming sucks!”. Yes, sure you can create great things with it (and I still do) but there has to be an easier way to build solutions, right? So when I was faced with the task of re-programming my new CRM, I dragged my feet. In fact, I was damned disappointed with myself that I had to do it all over again. My last version had more than 350,000 lines of code and took me more than 2 years to finish it. But alas, Microsoft released yet another Visual Studio and it promised a lot more features and functions that would be helpful. I could live without all that but for me to get into the next BIG platform, I was “forced” to upgrade.

But upgrade meant that I have to downgrade. My productivity nosedived. I had to learn programming all over again. I had to redo everything because someone decided that “progress” meant that I had to do things exactly as they said it should be. While I agreed that standardization was important, I felt unconvinced that this was the best way to do it. After all, my new solution will have similar forms, data grids, charts, workflows, navigation and other software elements. Certainly, there has to be a better way to keep up with the Jones.

So I decided that if I had to program all over again, I am going to “fight” back. I am going to do so with a vengeance. I will make “programming” obsolete. And I don’t care if I had to write a million lines of code. I will make it possible to build solutions without having to learn programming. It will be easier and faster. Why, heck, it will be fun! I make it possible for non-programmers to build solutions the same way children build toys with LEGO blocks. These blocks, of course are software patterns of common widgets used in solutions development; data entry forms, data grids, charts, menu and etc… You configure them to make it work with your data, your scenario, and your process. Since this new tool will most likely target a new group of users, we needed an easier and more intuitive way of defining their solutions. Since a picture paints a thousand words, we decided to build visual designers to represent data relationships and process flow. The idea is to provide a tool that allows you to “see” your solution.

And if we designed the framework it well enough, it can be easily upgraded and work in the next version of the platform; along with all your solutions built on it.

And that is vision of webparts360. “Webparts” because widgets in SharePoint are known as web parts. And “360” refers to our vision to offer a “COMPLETE” framework. When we started, we thought we had to create many web parts. But as we matured, we realized that “less is more” because all web parts have to be re-programmed for it to work on future versions of SharePoint. In fact, we only have three; input, process and output. So, as soon as we can rebuild our web parts for the new version of SharePoint, your solutions (which are really just configuration settings for our web parts) will work on the new version. Webparts360 “future-proof” your investment so that you can start building solutions today.

Look out in this blog as I shared with you how each of this webparts is built and the benefits it offers.


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