One of the most overlooked features of SharePoint is its capability to be used as an internet site. Many view SharePoint’s “look” as very constrained and aim to “not make SharePoint look like SharePoint” when creating an internet site. However, by applying custom Master pages and CSS you will be surprised by what you can achieve… and with the release of SharePoint 2010, customization is made easier via increased browser based tweaks, a redefined SharePoint Designer, and the always robust Visual Studio. Taking customization to the extreme, check out Ferrari.com
and be blown away by the fact that it is a SharePoint site! WSS Demo’s top 100
offers more incredible views into what is possible.
Here are a few of my favorite internet sites built on SharePoint:
So the principle question is… why build an internet site using SharePoint??? It all comes down to the features. Remember Ferrari? They are using the multi-lingual capabilities of SharePoint to enhance their user experience (along with a host of core SharePoint functionality). In fact, leveraging SharePoint’s suite of features is a great way to design on a solid structure and not spend hours upon hours building custom applications. If you already have a SharePoint intranet, you could even extend that data out to the internet. Some of the key features include:
- Web content management
- SharePoint Search
- Silverlight and rich media Web Parts
- Tools including built-in customization, SharePoint Designer, and Visual Studio
- Fully customizable using Master pages and CSS
- Multi-lingual support
- Lists and document libraries
- InfoPath to create rich forms (think meeting/event registration or contact forms!)
Considering these features and the amount of time saved creating similar applications, SharePoint for Internet Sites is worth taking a second look… and a third… and a fourth… well you get the idea!
This article was originally written by Kelly Rusk. It is moderated currently by Peter Hurth.