A Few Comments (Or Is It a Rant?) on the SharePoint – Design and Customization Forum on MSDN

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time over on the SharePoint – Design and Customization forum at MSDN trying to provide answers to some of the questions there.  Based on many of the questions that I’ve seen, my favorite Data View Web Part (DVWP) continues to be underused, even given its tremendous potential.

Something that I’ve noticed over time is that many people these days (I’m showing my age) often confuse forums with thinking.  This may sound harsh, but in order to be good at doing something like programming, or even just using technology, you need to take what facts you have available to you and think about what you can do with them.  If you get stuck, by all means, try floating it out there on the forums.  There seems to be too quick a tendency to ask questions like "Can anyone give me the exact code to solve my problem?"

I’m a huge fan of teaching people to fish.  If you don’t learn something from each problem you solve, then you’ll never get good at anything.  Call me an Empiricist, and I won’t be offended.  Because of this, many times my "answers" take forms like "Have you thought about…" or "Here’s a similar problem that I solved this way…" rather than "Here’s the answer."

Now, I *love* being able to go out into the blogosphere to find a solution to my problems.  I often do it, especially if I’m pressed or out of my depth.  But even if I find a perfect match for my problem (unusual), I try to dissect the solution so that the *next* time I’ll do a teeny bit better.

Give it a thought.  Constant improvement is a very good thing.  Trust me, you don’t want to be a raving old guy like me *and* not have built up some pretty darn good skills along the way to fall back on.

Watch for my questions and answers in the forum under my handle, sympmarc (short for Sympraxis Marc).

Have a thought or opinion?