OK I will be honest, as a developer I try not to use SharePoint designer...I wont say its BAD or limited ..its Damn good..it can create things like simple workflows in minutes which might take me a minimum of an hour ...
But still there are limitations...you may call me a biased developer who leans on heavy customization :)(thats how i earn my bread and butter)...but i finally decided to list top 7 things I hate about SharePoint designer
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1.You can break things very easily: Yes irrespective of how easy SharePoint designer maybe,breaking things is way to easy. A missed checkin , an accidental Zone deletion...its way to easy to run into problems. I know a person who spent 2 days figuring out why a SharePoint workflow would trigger using admin account while not by End user account. He finally figured out because a few files were checked out in SharePoint designer. I know you may argue that these problems may arise in custom deigned visual studio workflows also but the process there is little more technical eliminating such missed thing to a minimal. Sharepoint designer is scary because its too easy to use yet gives too much power to the user
2. No reusable workflows: I designed a workflow for my document library ,another department also wants it for their doc library and wants to keep it in sync with myworkflow...can i do is....NAAAAA...you need to recreate the workflow for them and do all updations seperately
3. No Looping in workflows:Yes its true...if you want to create a workflow which sends out email reminders to task owner untill he/she completes it,you cannot do it easily in SharePoint designer. Yes there are ways..you need to create two workflows..almost identical to do it...More on that later
4. Unghosted pages: Whenever you customize any page/page template that page basically becomes unghosted...in simple terms you can say that all the changes are stored in DB rather than on your file system. So if you added some new webpart zones and you want to use the same template on another sharepoint environment you CANNOT simply download the pagetemplate file from your server and upload into other server.
Where as in case of site definitions you can,because whats in document library is nothing but whats in your 12 hive
5. Inherent limitations of Site templates over Site definitions: Using sharepoint designer you can very well modify your site and create site templates but remember,site templates are linked to their site definitions tightly ie suppose you create a team site and them modify it and save it as a template called myTeamSite this new template is essentially linked to team site. Any updates by MS on team site would directly effect your Site
Where as Site definitiosn are independent entities...MS updates will have no effect on them...
6. Ok i may be repeating myself here but just that this issue needs a seperate point..think about so many diffrent webparts like data view etc that you can use in sharepoint designer...Look at the example here
here a contact list is integrated with bing maps to automatically display the map along with contact details...sounds cool..yeah it is Suppose you followed this blog and modified the xslt etc of contact list page to display page of contact list...Now...Imagine you are a developer ...you did this on your machine..now you want to port it to your customers machine..how will you do it?? well you go to production environment and do the exact same things with a list..Like it???
easier solution is to create a webpart ,create a list definition and add this webpart in dispform.aspx page :)
7. It wastes time: Yes you read it right..for any complex requirement its better to code rather than try figure out the logic in SharePoint designer. Yes i accept that here i may be biased like most Sharepoint develeopers...:)..
If you agree/disagree..do let me know your views
PS:Most developers I have spoken to do not like using SharePoint designer..part of the reason being it does not require any coding..its mostly configuration...and developers hate configuration...I being from the same fraternity am biased against SharePoint designer...take my views with a pinch of salt
this article is valid for MOSS and WSS 3.0 and not for Sharepoint 2010.hate to say this but..it looks promising...
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