I Was Wrong – Kill The SharePoint Designer Design View!

One of the major controversies of SharePoint 2013 is that SharePoint Designer 2013 Design View is gone. I’ve previously written why this is a good thing for SharePoint developers, but I wrote it in a sarcastic manner and concluded that I hoped they took it back.

I was wrong. Note the date and where you were, this may be a pop quiz in future schools.

I take it back. Not the whole blog post, but the point about bringing Design View back. Kill the damn thing, right now.

Note: I should mention that I wrote the original blog post before I went on a two week vacation, so although it’s published just a few days prior to this post, it’s actually several weeks old.

Why SharePoint Designer Was Wrong

When SharePoint 2007 came out, or at least a couple of years later when SharePoint Designer became free of charge, the SharePoint power users of the world celebrated in any way they could. Finally, they had a way to translate their combination knowledge of business and SharePoint to build powerful business solutions without having to become too technical.

Ostensibly, that’s a good thing, so the surprise was huge when the SharePoint 2013 preview came out with a severely wing-clipped version of SharePoint Designer 2013. No longer could power users drag-and-drop web parts or complex queries onto a design surface and expect visual aids in configuring the functionality. Now, it is all source code view, and you need to write code to make magic happen.

And that’s a good thing.

You see, SharePoint Designer was a failed experiment. Power users, not to mention end users, aren’t capable of handling the power without extensive training. The result is what Jeff Teper called “the MySpace effect” or something along those lines; sites were customized and modified without thought for proper development practices, leading to failed implementations and a bad name for SharePoint. Microsoft had to do something.

Microsoft’s Message

In 2007, Microsoft bet that power users would be able to handle the power of SharePoint Designer. Granted, there were lots of failsafe features in place to prevent the most major catastrophes, but users are users and tend to work actively to circumvent those limitations.

One example is how users circumvented the dangers of loops in workflows. In fact, I’ve even myself written about how to create loops in SharePoint Designer workflows (in SharePoint Designer 2007 Workflows, if you’re wondering), even though I know from decades of experience how dangerous loops are. More times than once have I received distress calls from people who have done it wrong and taken down entire farms of SharePoint servers.

In SharePoint Designer 2013, Microsoft takes a stance and essentially say that “we were wrong, power users are not capable of handling development”. Power users now have to either learn how to use and write code or they need to limit themselves to what they can do through the first tier of development (meaning web parts and web based development).

Or, they need to get a new job. The days of the power user may be gone, or at least have the “power” part of the title removed. Now you’re either a developer and you write code, or you’re a user.

This Is a Good Thing!

You may be surprised at this, or even think I’m again being sarcastic, but I’m dead serious.

The lack of design view is a bold and correct move for SharePoint. Being a SharePoint developer, SPD or not, is not a casual pastime, but requires extensive training and knowledge. Turn the power to create over to non-trained people and you’re on a path littered with landmines, barbed wire, and undetonated munitions. It can be and has proven to be, a very dangerous place.

With Microsoft’s wing-clipping of power users, SharePoint will be less susceptible to bad development. Organizations will have fewer problems (albeit also fewer options), and when they do decide they need to do development, they will need to go to people who are more likely to have a proper developer background, which should provide more efficient and stable solutions too.

Of course, power users will scream their lungs out about the unfairness of Microsoft’s ultimatum. No longer can they float on easy (but dangerous) tools, and those unwilling to learn are upset about the bad news.

However, for SharePoint, it’s good news. For the customers, it’s good news. That means it’s good news for Microsoft too, even though it is a bold and risky gamble.

So, kill the design view, once and for all. Fix the basics first, and let the professionals formerly known as power users order new business cards or go back to whatever it was they were doing before 2007.


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Bjørn Furuknap

I previously did SharePoint. These days, I try new things to see where I can find the passion. If you have great ideas, cool projects, or is in general an awesome person, get in touch and we might find out together.

99 thoughts on “I Was Wrong – Kill The SharePoint Designer Design View!”

    1. If vendors do it right, they’ll price them at the ‘what the hell’ price. Enough to get revenue at volume sales, but not high enough to make you stop and think too hard before making a purchase (think why the majority of Apple apps are 79p GBP or whatever), and certainly not above the range which most companies require senior approval for (think the average here is £500 GBP).

  1. This might sound silly but that’s how I felt when I got told I have support clients Excel “Applications”.

    You’re right – giving power with users with no training is like giving AK47 to a chimp…

  2. I understand the rationale, but I disagree that MS should withhold functionality from its clients. I think that there will be a third party solution that will fill the gap and provide SPD users with the functionality that they once had.

    1. OK I get it. Developers are God. I agree … you certainly can do what us mere mortal “power users” cannot … but why not share your talents with us so that we understand what our limits are?

      I am sick of IT gurus acting smug and powerful when we are all supposed to be working together (it’s called “collaberation” and what I thought SP was developed to accomplish) …

      In other words, if I as a power end user want to get the most of my team site, work with me. talk to me and guide me how to develop at my level so that I don’t screw up the entire farm.

      Too many times I try to get information from developers and they don’t want to talk to me. I can’t handle it. I don’t know Java. Well there’s a reason.

      It isn’t all development. When developers start a dialog with end users everybody wins.

      Nobody wins with Prima Donna developer snobbishness.


      1. One reason I can imagine why developers don’t want to talk to other people is that those other people seem to think that learning what they’ve taken years or decades to learn should be taught away in mere minutes when it suits those users. “Oh, but I don’t want to learn all that, I just want to build an enterprise project management solution that scales infinitely and never breaks down”. You probably think that’s an exaggeration, but I can assure you it is not.

        If you’re unwilling to learn what it takes to be a good developer then I cannot help you (and mind you, programming isn’t development, it is programming, and if you cannot even distinguish between the two but still expect to be treated as if you are skilled, then you’re sorely delusional).

        For example, “why not share?” shows that you haven’t done the most basic of research. I’ve written more books on SharePoint than anyone else in the world. I’ve recorded and published hundreds of hours of instructional videos. I’ve started the so far only SharePoint university in the world. I’ve written more than 1000 articles online and presented at more conferences and workshops than I can remember.

        And yet, you ask me why I don’t share. And you ask me to make it easier for you.

        You demonstrate, in one single comment, why I’m right about the importance of taking empowerment away from you. You cannot handle it and you don’t want to walk a yard, much less a mile, to learn how to handle it.

        1. Hi Bjoern,

          I agree with You in 100%.
          Never give your car keys to your kids…
          First teach them how to walk and talk, then how to safely ride a bike and when they grow up they may learn how to drive a car and pass a driving licence exam… that is a minimum you must do before you let them drive a car…
          These days super smart presidents want to fly a jet as if it was a bike… ok I am ready, I pay you and you just show me… on the fly!!!

          Best regards


          1. Agreed, don’t give your car keys to your kids until you’ve taught them how to drive… however, in this metaphor, isn’t Microsoft the car *manufacturer*?

      2. I have to agree with this as a developer I do share information with users that allow them to do certain things but if you give a user to much power they can shut the entire system down. This has happen many times as an old boss use to give users full access and oh boy what a mess.

  3. So what you’re saying is leave the development to the developers you pesky power users?

    I agree to an extent but what they have done is taken away the ability to make quick and very powerful changes which is one of the benefits and selling points of SharePoint.

    Example is being able to add conditional formatting changing images or row colours with a few clicks. What you are suggesting is that people will now need to get a developer to do this very simple an powerful task which shouldn’t (I know it could) but shouldn’t cause any major problems.

    That’s just the top of the ice berg there are lots of middle tier guys and gals that are fantastic SharePoint Designers but in no way are they developers.

    You are wrong and so are Microsoft, removing design view was a bad, a real bad idea.



    p.s.I do jest a little, you could be right but for now i’ll stick to the first comment 😀

    1. Totally Agree. This article has to be a paid advert from Microsoft – I can’t explain it otherwise. How can someone bless Microsoft for a total FAIL – they simply were not able to provide functional design view in SharePoint Designer for SharePoint 2013 because of lots of client-side javascripts and other HTML mess on the SP2013 pages – that’s why we have no design view (by the way, Microsoft itself admitted that).
      By the way – just look at the ribbon and toolboxes in Designer 2013. Everything there was ready for Design view – BUT Microsoft was unable to provide it, so they cut it out.
      Regardless missing Design view, SPD2013 has other major bugs causing that correctly customized pages and lists (in Code view) stop working or become useless. Developers who know what I’m talking about have their own “best practices” how to use this totally crappy product.
      Just to make it clear – I simply love SharePoint and its development, it’s fantastic technology with huge potential. And also, SharePoint Designer itself was really great step from Microsoft, but in the hurry of releasing cloud-ready-brand-new-and-cool version of SharePoint they failed to deliver SharePoint Designer 2013, which had to be better than 2010.

      1. Anyone with the first bit of knowledge about the SharePoint community know how preposterous it would be for me to accept anything from Microsoft.

        As for speculations on the ‘why’, that’s not really interesting. The undeniable fact is that design view is gone. It may or may not come back, but I for one does not miss it. I know enough about SharePoint to know how I can circumvent that issue if I need. If you don’t, well, then I’m sorry to say you just have to learn something new.


        1. That’s why you’re a perfect alibi to be a paid advert from Microsoft.
          Tolerating it is one thing but you’re encouraging it which is preposterous! Are we crying about power users not being able to have design view then what about SharePoint designers/developers using designer as their primary tool especially for data view web parts and conditional formatting and creating master pages. The underlying reason to remove design view was there wasn’t enough time for them before the release of the product as they were busy building other new products. The Security model could have been upgraded to give access to design view for developers only.

  4. Look, Bjorn, I know being blunt is your thing, but I think you’re wrong. This is a move in the wrong direction. SharePoint is sold to customers in terms of ease of use and ease of design. Dumping the design view from SharePoint Designer disempowers users and leaves a void.

    So, seriously, you’re applauding the decision to remove a premium design tool from the hands of users? Leaving only a code view? What do they think we are, Linux users? Why not just replace the entire product with a popup that says “RTFM”? There is a word for this: Egregious.

    Here’s a radical notion: deliver a product that allows users to safely design and publish web content to SharePoint using a WYSIWYG interface. Apparently Microsoft couldn’t, or wouldn’t, do this.

    I frequently use SPD 2010 to manage and customize my sites. I enjoy having a GUI. I do not enjoy dipping into the code view, where one mis-paste can wreak havoc; you don’t have any way to tell how the page will render until you save/publish it.

    Maybe you’re right, and Microsoft is headed back toward a design principle that forces people to write well-formed code by hand. I know plenty of webmasters who never use anything but Notepad for their authoring. But I’ve never been one of them.

    I am left to wonder if Microsoft intends to substitute another product in SPD’s place, like Expression Studio.

    1. I predict we’ll all be writing ‘New User Interface’ style web parts very soon. Using HTML5, jquery, CSOM, CSS and MVVM. Oh look at this: I wrote a web part and it runs on my Windows 8 desktop and my Windows 8 Phone and my sharepoint and in my office excel and in the cloud — and I only wrote the code once!

      Yeah and we all have to become efficient, fluent javascript developers — what a rip. Oh and I get to pay Microsoft 20% for this privilege.

    2. Greg,

      If SharePoint isn’t easy then, it has been sold on false premises. Microsoft is doing something about it now by forcing its professional users to learn. And yes, I’m applauding it because it was dangerous to users as well as SharePoint. The only powerful option left in SPD now is workflow, and there are so many fail safes in place, it can remain safe for a while.

      As for delivering a safe product that can be tailored to do anything, well, that’s two contradicting ideas, as have been proven over the previous two versions of SharePoint. If you give someone a lot of power, you need to give them lots of training, and making it ‘safe’

      Microsoft realized this even in 2009 and wanted to remove the design view then, but didn’t. Had they done it then, it certainly would have softened the blow now, but it had to be done, and I applaud the decision.


    3. It’s good that it’s gone. It…

      1) …was woefully broken, which…

      2) …led to wildly inaccurate previews of pages that…

      3) …made many new designers believe that their designs wouldn’t work

      4) …would randomly crash (try a protocol-relative href for a link element in your master page) with perfectly clean, semantic and valid markup

      5) …probably sat low on the totem pole since it was so unreliable for “real” design work

      So, for real design work, the Design mode didn’t really work. For light design work, the wiki editable content was the simplest way to update the look and feel of the content area of a page. For heavy customizations that had the least likelihood of breaking upon upgrade, XSL-based views have always been the way to go.

      Removing it was the right thing to do. Power users, which I’ve been training for a decade now, will go on just fine without the design mode. Hackers, developers and designers never needed it in the first place. Good riddance! Nice to see Microsoft fearlessly leaving behind old and busted components.

      The only thing left is to take “Designer” out of the product name, and call it “SharePoint Architect” or something like that.

    4. @greg burns
      I totally agree – this wasn’t a well planned or thought out move – it’s either laziness or another example of MSFT’s well known inability or unwillingness to create anything that’s user friendly. The fact is if SPD’s design view was causing mistakes and problems then it wasn’t designed correctly to start with. The solution isn’t to remove the option completely, but to rework it so it’s both user friendly and safer.
      There plenty of examples of how that’s done if none of the 100,000 + MSFT employees can figure it out.

      1. You seem to be missing the point completely. Whether the design view worked from a technical perspective is dwarfed by the fact that people used it to kill the value of their SharePoint sites.

  5. This would be so funny if it weren’t so sad. In the last 6 month, my team of “power users” have created sites with OOB tools and SPD to replace VERY costly and VERY inefficient SharePoint “Solutions” created by “real programmers”. I fear that if the helm of building SharePoint sites other than what you can do with the GUI is now handed over to “developers”, i.e. people who (may) know .NET but don’t have a clue about how SharePoint works, then we’ll soon end up again in mayhem situations. A .Net “developer” created folders and sub folders and sub sub folders in a SharePoint list (for crying out loud). In another site developed by a professional “developer” each list item in a list of thousand items had fine grained permissions. My company paid big bucks for these “solutions”. After they went live and failed to perform in practice, my team spent months on ironing out the bugs and fixing them up to work. Guess what? We replaced most of the custom code with a well thought through design that works WITH SharePoint, instead AGAINST it, using metadata, filtered views and a few tricks from the “power user trix box” that we put together.
    Sure, we can hire “developers” to build our next application in our SharePoint farm. But from my recent experiences, I’d rather take the power users who have no .NET, but know their SharePoint interface AND know our business inside out. The solution will be cheaper and delivered much faster.
    Removing Design View from SPD will cut my people off at the knees.
    Good move?

    cheers, teylyn

    Microsoft MVP – Excel

    1. Ingeborg,

      I’m not sure comparing bad third-tier developers to good middle-tier developers is a fair argument against proper development principles any more than saying a bad rocket scientist compared to a good truck driver is an argument against space exploration.

      A good developer will use your approach when it makes sense, not create bulky and difficult to maintain solutions. From what you explain here, it seems to me that you have an issue with those specific developers, and that hardly voids my point that most power users have less development experience than they need.

      Mind you, even if you have a solution that ‘works’, it may work only because you’ve only been exposed to the scenarios you expect. How have you handled security? What is your policy on source control to assist in debugging in the future? How are you handling changes to the underlying data sources? What are your procedures for handling rebuild from a catastrophic event and what is your training schedule for exercises? These scenarios and issues may not have crossed your mind, not because you’re a bad power user, but because a good developer will take these factors into account.

      Also keep in mind that requirements change, and that what the requirements given to the initial developer may have warranted may no longer be correct. Again, a good developer will know whether switching approaches makes sense and would have let you know. A good developer may also have built a solution with changes in mind, but sadly I see this very rarely.

      I’m not defending _your_ third-tier developers because I have no idea who that person or persons are, but I’m defending the need to power users to realize that 5, 10, or 20 years of development experience result in something you cannot expect to do in an afternoon with, essentially, a slightly advanced version of Notepad.


      1. I agree with you from a business standpoint, but it will be sad to see it go.

        I’m in my mid thirties, by the time I entered the IT field as lowly Service Desk I’d burned bridges. I was starting late, my university wouldn’t accept me back and the community college couldn’t really teach what I needed to learn. I’m smart but very unfocused.

        But I was allowed power user access to create basic solutions in Sharepoint and in doing so, proved to my employers that I was worthy of further training. I’ve taken it and run with it. Now I can recode a Masterpage (somewhat, at least I know what I can touch and what I should leave alone) and am putting the finishing touches on a completely custom website with lots of custom functionality and a single page application.

        Now I did what you’re saying. I’ve continued to learn and I know I still have plenty to learn. But if the power user is being cut out of the equation, thats one less opportunity for another guy like me down the line.

    2. There is a huge difference between a .NET developer and a SharePoint Developer. I’ve been doing this for quite a while now and consider straight .NET developers and webmasters to be a good starting point. It means they are at least trainable. But only that. Trainable.

  6. When it comes to it though, the success of a product will be measured in deployments. Businesses will have a choice:

    Stay on a 1 or 2 Server 2010 deployment that they can easily add conditional formatting etc
    Migrate to a mult-server beast that they have to contract a developer in whenever they want anything changed

    I suspect that far more businesses will chose option 1 this time round than last time.

  7. Hi Bjorn,

    Can you comment on whether the Design View will still be there to aid as a visual cue to whatever line of codes that we select in the Code View minus the as now in SPD2010 there is that two-way visual cue – you select something in the Code View and the Design highlights the element you have selected and vice versa.

    Also I begin to use the Conditional Formatting in SPD2010 which mean if the Design View is “clipped” do you expect even the technical developers to write all those XSLT to achieve a simple row highlight? Wouldn’t that be counter-productive?

    I hope MSFT will still retain the Design View albeit the interactivity!


    1. Louis,

      Well, you can download yourself and try, but to answer your question: There is no design view, so there’s nothing to highlight. You have code view. That’s it.


  8. Bjorn,

    I agree with you in terms of the users ability. On my SharePoint estate my governance is to not let users any where near SPD. They cannot even manage simple permissioning so there is no way in letting them loose with SPD.

    However I cannot agree with you in the slightest regarding the removal of the Design View.

    I would conside myself a hybrid SharePoin developer … I know enough coding to get by and customise the code SPD puts on the page. I also understand what the users want from a solution and how to make the front-end user friendly.

    We cannot all be code junkies and the developers that I’ve met that are really need to brush up on their business skills!

    If Microsoft are not going to have a product with a design view then there will be a lot of pissed off people. Me included. Even if it is the worst product they have ever released (after Windows Millennium!), I use both design and code view daily.

    1. Pete,

      Change is always difficult. Jumping up-and-down from anger isn’t going to change evolution. Microsoft has decided you need to move on, and they know best because they see the result of their original decision in their clients’ installations.

      Power users have had a good few years, but now you need to learn proper development to retain the same power, or you need to limit yourself to either premade apps where some third-party decides which features you need or configuring using first-tier development (web parts, pages, etc created through the web interface).


      1. Who made you king of Microsoft of what they do and why?. And remember visual web developer. It has a code and a design view. Free coding interface for “developers”. Pete and others are right. It is inefficient to have to spend > 5 minutes where one highlight can work. Face it developers need a visual ui as well and both have it’s merits. Sharepoint or not. So just add it back in to sharepoint and everyone is happy.

        Would love it if Microsoft did this just to prove your words wrong.

  9. Hmmm … me thinks Bjorn is trolling here and enjoying it!

    Either that or he’s running scared cos code free developers have exposed him as the fraud he is cos lets face it……. we do it better, we do it cheaper, we do it quicker and we do it with a smile 😉

    1. Julie,

      No trolling, and I don’t fear for a second any code free developer. If they do what they should, they deliver solutions that are durable, maintanable, well-tested, and takes into account not just current needs but also those needs they may not see at present. This is good both for SharePoint and the organization and would possibly take away some of Jeff’s ammunition.

      If they don’t do as they should, the client has to hire someone like me to clean up.


  10. Code? are we still talking code these days in an era of fast moving business process change changes and limited budgets where in order to keep company costs down, we do instill a certain amount of right to someone that does in fact know what they are doing. What about a more simpler solution in Central Admin to define an actual set of authenticated users who do have the right to use.

    I see no point in going back to horse and buggy because we have a few people who exploit the system. If you don’t want users to use SharePoint Designer then duh, lock it down. You can do this in 2010 you know, its a web application setting.

    In some ways as suggested there may be an alternative motive to deprecating the design view and that in my belief is due to the introduction of apps. Instead of allowing people the option to configure, make an app that people can purchase and configure. Either way I do see points from both sides of the debate. From an overall corporate strategy, depending on the cost of an app, it would almost make more sense to purchase versus opening up designer to configuration and possible failure. Of course then there is the whole governance conversation regarding apps.

    1. Mark, I think you hit the nail on the head: “…there may be an alternative motive to deprecating the design view and that in my belief is due to the introduction of apps.”

  11. I’m both disappointed and excited to see design view go. Though I personally spend most of my time in code view, I do occasionally like to have a look at what I’ve built before saving it.

    It seems counter productive to rob thousands of power users of their ability to add conditional formatting through design mode. We let them do it in Excel without changing mark up, so why not in SPD?

    This move might lead to users creating well written HTML scripts via Intellisense (or just knowledge of CSS, etc), though the lack of design view might equally lead to very badly written scripts, full of 1990s style tags. At least design mode would have used CSS.

    There’s another tool on the way, right?

  12. Agree 100% with your post. And wrote one myself to complement on my reaction on the forum thread: http://blog.repsaj.nl/index.php/2012/09/sp2013-the-missing-designer-view-in-spd/.

    I never really understood designer anyway. A lot of functionality is found in SharePoint itself (creating list, content types and such) or Visual Studio (Workflows). And the functionality it really adds (editing pages, webparts) is inferior to the development experience found in tools like VS. I mean; how many users are there who use SPD to add jQuery to pages, without the option to debug properly? Every single one is one too many if you ask me.

    Microsoft should buy Nintex, include their webbased workflow experience and ditch SPD alltogether. But I guess not everyone would agree on that 😉

  13. Sorry, Bjorn, you’re dead wrong. You said: “Now you’re either a developer and you write code, or you’re a user.” Taken to the extreme, that statement suggests we should go back to writing in machine language. I believe the genie is out of the bottle and you’ll never get it back in.

    Despite the fact that empowered power users may cause problems from time to time, I have to believe that the increase in productivity they have experienced far outweighs the problems they cause. Once they’ve experienced what’s possible, they’ll find some way around trying to de-empower them (OK, so “de-empower” is not a real word, I know. But its prettier than “emasculate”).

    For instance, I work in a Fortune 10 company that requires that all SharePoint server-side development must be done by the company’s approved external provider (a capital expense). In today’s climate, capital expenditures are hard to get approved. Yet, the company has over 25,000 SharePoint site collections, ALL managed by power users, with a sprinkling of client-side developers thrown in. I suspect 99% of the business units in the company do what ours does — hires one or two or three SharePoint developers (as contractors — opex dollars) to develop in SPD.

    (It is notable that our standard OS is Windows XP, and we are still waiting for SharePoint 2010 to be rolled out. Large companies tend to lag behind in technology because they like to keep risk, and costs, low).

    Instead of dumbing down the tools to discourage power users from being efficient, Microsoft should make the tools smarter to assist power users in doing things the right way, instead of the wrong way. Or, they’ll watch someone else steal away their market share who realizes that empowered power users are a game changer for business.

    1. Keith,

      It surprises me that you’re actually answering your own comment in your comment. You state that all server-side development must be done by approved vendors and yet you’re surprised that Microsoft takes the experience your company has and formalizes it.

      It is exactly because power or end users have been running rampant that Microsoft now advices not to change anything unless you know what you’re doing. The need to build stuff is clearly there but the discipline required to harness the power offered, or the willingness to acquire that discipline, is not present.

      In 2010, Microsoft first rattled their sabres but introducing capabilities that could limit or even block SharePoint Designer usage. People have been complaining like crazy that IT departments, the ones responsible for keeping things running, have been using those capabilities to block users’ ability to make their jobs more difficult.

      Now, Microsoft forces the issue by severely limiting the firepower of the gun you’re pointing at your foot. Get your acts together or this may very well be the final version of SPD alltogether.

      The requirement has been the same for years; to get the power you need the training or discipline.

      Yet, rather than getting the discipline, power and end users spend their energy yelling at the requirement for the discipline. Even now, you see articles from ‘experts’ telling you how to circumvent the lack of design view by using SPD2010 and moving code around. The effort put into not doing the right thing is amazing. If half of that time was spent learning, we’d have a generation of skilled ‘end user developers’ who’d have all the power they could possibly want.


  14. I’ve been reading this thread trying to keep a balanced view. I’m currently battling the rationalisation to keep SP and not go with the likes of Salesforce. For SME’s who don’t have staffed developers a multi skilled SP administrator could perform most of the requirements required to keep the environment moving forwards. Albeit not in a pure development environment.

    Removing this ability for these types of organisations, will I fear, only see them looking to other platforms to deliver their requirements.

  15. It’s no shock that microsoft have taken this route. I was a graduate from uni 3 years ago and had to learn the ropes of development with SharePoint. It’s not easy and nor is it a fast process but the first thing i used was SPD. I didn’t get along with it. To me it’s like marmite you either love it or you hate it.

    If you love SPD and you have an interest in design is this not enough to drive you to go that little further and learn the code. Employability wise your better off because your not reliant on a feature to do your job and by furthering your skills you might find yourself going deeper and deeper in to development and your previous role will seem a distant memory.

    I understand that it makes life easier for certain scenarios but there are scenarios where it’s used and really it should be avoided.

    It looks like it’s here to stay so take the plunge and further your knowledge and become a more skilled individual and you will thank Microsoft for it. As SharePoint evolves we also need to evolve.

  16. Taking away freedom from Intelligent Power Users with years of experience in SPD is a massive mistake and it marks the beginning of the end for SharePoint. Remember SharePoint was touted as the go to “platform” for among other things, allowing power users to quickly and efficiently create “code-less” solutions. We only need to stand by as some other Technology Company provides WYSIWYG “code-less” colaborative business solutions as firms decide to jump ship in favor of long-term feature-rich predictable productivity features for power users.

    1. I am so sick of hearing “the beginning of the end for” when talking about Microsoft products. How about “Adapt or Die”. You people sit here and expect nothing to change in technology? I am sure all of you have, at one time or another, seen a webpage that you just hated. I bet they thought they were “power users” too. Just because you have gotten complacent in using something doesn’t change the fact that it is gone.

      Adapt or Die.

  17. I’ve previously written why this is a good thing for SharePoint developers, but I wrote it in a sarcastic manner and concluded that I hoped they took it back.

  18. So, if I use 2010 Design View to say, create jump lists within a page (using Bookmarks and hyperlinks), or to add color to section headings, what happens when I upgrade my SharePoint site from 2010 to 2013? Will my customizations hold?

    Yeah… I know. I’m one those users who shouldn’t get anywhere near SharePoint, but whatever the job requires is what I have to do. I am capable of working in the code, but Designer makes my work so much easier.

  19. The assumption your article makes is that developers write perfect code & learning the complete sharepoint environment is quick & easy.
    Neither is true.
    If the Designer tool is busted, then fix it. Or add functionality into the product so that the tool becomes redundant.
    If the wrong people are using the tool. Then give them training & don’t given them rights to use it until they can use it effectively. (same as any other business issue)

    Custom Dev needs to be maintained & managed. It adds expense. Often consultants are used, when they leave, you have a product but no in-house skills to maintain it.

    Thus making your product more expensive to implement is not the best way to compensate for poor UI issues. It just creates opportunity for your competitors.

    1. David,

      I’m fairly certain I make no such assumptions in this article. In fact, unless I’m terribly wrong, I write “Being a SharePoint developer, SPD or not, is not a casual pastime, but requires extensive training and knowledge. ” How that can be interpreted as “learning the complete sharepoint[sic] environment is quick & easy” is beyond me.

      I also make very few assumptions about developers in general and the closest thing I can come to anything even resembling your claim is that customers need to go to “people who are more likely to have a proper developer background, which should provide more efficient and stable solutions too”. Again, claiming that means I think all developers write perfect code is a stretch, to put it mildly.

      What we have here is a straw man argument, and I urge you to avoid using such fallacies because they are easily refuted.

      There’s no point in fixing a tool whose usability has expired. There are already tons of tools that take up the space you claim SPD design view left. As for taking the tool away from people that don’t know how to use it, well, that’s exactly what Microsoft is doing.

      In other words, you argue that Microsoft should take away these capabilities until users are trained and skilled enough.
      I argue, on the other hand, that Microsoft should take away these capabilities until users are trained and skilled enough.

      Oh, and custom development done right reduces maintenance and management cost. It removes expense.

      And why does every company that utilize SharePoint need to have SharePoint skill? Do you need to learn how to fix your car just to be able to drive or do you simply hand it over to a garage when it’s time for its periodic maintenance? Would you argue that unless you can do the periodic maintenance yourself then you cannot have a car?

      Do you need to learn Java development to use Java applications or apps? Ifnot, why would it be different with SharePoint?

      Mr. Lean, I believe you are full of it.


  20. So if there’s no design view, what does that do to the DataView web part? I was able to use design view and the DataView web part to very quickly create prototypes or no-code solutions. If I have to hand code the XSL, it’ll make things take a lot longer.

  21. If Microsoft had thought this through as deeply as you are implying, I might be inclined to agree. But I’ve recently lost faith that due diligence has been applied to these sort of decisions.

    There is a serious lack of quality control at Microsoft and it is a relatively new problem. I’m not saying that they have perfect software, but every major release that I’ve worked with in the last two years has many time-consuming flaws. Take Windows 8 / Server 2012 where basic tasks require many more clicks than Windows 7 / Server 2008. SQL Server 2012 has lost reporting models with no replacement. And the Report Builder is predominately unusable.

    In SharePoint 2013, little things are killing productivity. If you have a page full of web parts, try dragging the top one to the bottom. It can’t be done. Each web part must be minimized to gain access to all of them without a scroll bar showing up. Open a Form Editor web part (formerly known as a Content Editor web part for untold reason) and click Source Editor. Try to widen the window so the code can actually be viewed and you’ll find the text box holding the code does not go wider than the initial page. This worked fine since SharePoint v2 but now it is broken. In SharePoint 2010, multiple files could be added to a library with the Silverlight feature built into the library. This handy feature has been removed and replaced with an instruction to open the library with Windows Explorer, which is not the same feature or capability.

    The list goes on and on. I see examples where the product team did not ask whether saving users time is an important goal of the product. If removing Design View from SPD was a planned “improvement” maybe you are correct. But it looks like an oversight with a dash of CYA to follow.

    As an MS partner for 20 years, I’m deeply concerned at the trending decline in quality from Microsoft.

    1. Jerry,

      Keep in mind that removing design view was first suggested in 2009, as Mike W reports. This is a clear indication that this isn’t just a haphazard decision and something they’ve considered for a long time.


  22. “Oh, and custom development done right reduces maintenance and management cost. It removes expense.”

    But that misses the point. A million quid development done wrong and a million quid development done right both have something in common, in case you hadn’t noticed.

    The same thing that a million quid database reporting suite development done wrong had in common with million quid reporting database reporting suite done right back in the good old bad old days: both were million quid more expensive than the freebie end user reporting tools that came along and got the same job done for next to nada.

    The stench of your fear at the evolution of a similar tool to make your SharePoint development job redundant is detectable even over the digital ether; and your gloating relief and the glee with which you happily despatch power users, your colleagues, to the dole queue is sickening.

    1. Ooh… Aren’t we the angry one, then?

      You seem to completely miss the point yourself. A million dollar wasted is a million dollar wasted, regardless of whether it is a bad designer newbie that spends his afternoons building a workflow that crashes a critical server, or a report that shows wrong data to the sales people so they miss out on a million dollar deal, or a site that is so inefficient due to idiots playing around with blink tags because they cant so that users cannot find or use the information there properly.

      Compare that to the cost of five minutes with a skilled developer who would find those errors, and your math simply doesn’t add up.

      Do you see what I did there? I took the same strawman arguments you used and flipped them against you, to show you how ridiculous your argument actually is.


  23. This is rediculous.

    I don’t care that you “codies’ think the rest of us that have jobs that depend on SPD Design View should train to do code.


    You think that Design View fucked shit up? You don;t think that my blindly clicking on shit in the master code is not?

    For something BIG, it would take a tremendous amount of research and inplementation before I was comfortable enough to touch the code. Sure, I would mess things up, but that is what page history is for. At least I always knew what wasn’t being messed up…the layout!

    Now…I am going to waste time and money fixing shit that would have been a simple click and change in Designer View.

    I am a graphic designer that understands that my company is not BIG ENOUGH to pay for a team of programmers to develop an internal web portal.

    If we did, we would have a proprietary one and NOT NEED SHAREPOINT AT ALL.


    Now, I can’t do simple tasks like select a row in a table and delete it. I don’t even know where the fucking table is! “We’ll get trained to do code”…blah…blah…blah…

    Fuck you! Get trained to do design! We hire programmers to develop CMS systems because we know that controls should be offered to those who develop content. SPD is just a fancy CMS.

    If you didn’t need to use design view, then you just didn’t. Those that did need it, used it.

    1. Lol, chill dude. If your company is that small I doubt you’d be going to SP2013 any time soon anyway.

      1. Actually, that’s not true. My company is that small or smaller and we will be moving to 2013 as soon as I and my colleague can figure out to how bring over our existing content so that it doesn’t all break. In a company full of Java developers we use SharePoint because the government and most of our customers have moved to SharePoint. Every person in our IT department supports at least 7-8 disparate applications (and the underlying operating systems); we can’t afford to hire a person or a team to support each application individually. SharePoint has recently become part of my daily workload even though I’d never used it before. I will be happy to spend 10 years learning to code properly, but for the moment, and until I need to do something really heavy duty, I need to get my job done and having the design view would really help.

        1. Nicole, it seems to me that you’ve painted yourself into a corner by making bad development decisions (or hiring people that have made those decisions for you). There’s no reason why one person cannot maintain all your applications alone; it’s simply a matter of having that as part of the requirements.

          It may increase your upfront costs to design systems for low maintenance, but I doubt that the economic shortage you’re now experience was completely surprising to you. You should have stated that to whomever designed your applications and set up the standards you have for creating new applications.

          And yes, it really is that simple, if you hire the right people. If you hire the wrong people, you get idiots telling you to “avoid programming at all costs!” and you end up with solutions you can’t maintain affordably.

    2. Thanks. You spoke my mind, including the expletives.
      I develop across a lot of tools. I want a solution. I build things in big concepts. I have no time for handcrafting stuff when big chunks of functionality can be strung together. For 30 years I have been sick of the snotty “High Priests” of computers trying to justify their existence. “Son don’t fiddle with things you don’t understand”. The reality is that if one doesn’t understand business you have no business being any kind of a designer.

      Having said all that my impression of struggling with SharePoint Designer 2013 is Microsoft have recognized that it has become a house of cards that is no longer practical to support, particularly the rendering feature. No strategy. Just practicality here from Microsoft.

  24. I just discovered this new feature on our 365 site. Unfortunately, in a smaller business, one doesn’t have the time or money to hire a developer to code something basic… like change the color of text. Yes, I know that is a simple thing, but it takes significantly longer to mess with the code instead of simple click or two on the page.

    The whole MS experience is starting to feel like World of Warcraft. We’ll make it prettier, easier, and more integrated, while removing everything useful for the average user.

  25. “Fix the basics first, and let the professionals formerly known as power users order new business cards or go back to whatever it was they were doing before 2007.”

    You ignorant prick.

  26. What’s wrong with making changes in code and saving it to view through a browser or three? Does design view even represent what you’ll see in multiple flavors of IE, Chrome, or Firefox? Hardly. You’re not doing that on a production site anyway are you? Are you? SMH.

    Also, if I had a nickel for every time Designer crashed on me going from code view to design view, I wouldn’t be doing Sharepoint for a living. I’d be on a beach somewhere getting my toes licked by a cute native girl in a grass skirt.

    For Mr. Designer above, I can do design and code. I don’t need you. If you’re not using code view, you’re using a miniscule fraction of the power of the tool. If you’re not deep-diving into the XSLT, you’re missing out on unlimited custimazation ability. Frankly, in my experience, I’m tired of cleaning up after so-called power users who haven’t a clue about good interface design or building worfklows that actually make sense. Not all are like that but the good ones are the ones who embrace the code IMO. With this decision by Microsoft, I look forward to seeing many business analyst Sharepoint dabblers getting weeded out. All I need from them are design requirements. Then I can focus on delivering tight, efficient, and intuitive solutions instead of fixing the crap people throw out there which, to them, is the shiznit. LOL.

  27. Hi All

    I have been using SharePoint since 2008, and in that time, I can honestly say that I do not know any non-developer ever doing any design on SharePoint other than a few who have created a few list views. Using SPD – be it 2007/2010, was always something that was restricted for use by the development team. I don’t know of any power user who was given permission to use SPD in the organisation(s) that I worked in. The comment being made about learning the proper design and coding to proper standards is correct – and should be the aim of every developer BUT – taking away the design view is not just a pain for those ‘power users’ – but it is also a pain for developers, and will slow down the actual development process.

    Modern day development tools in the main always provide a design surface of some kind – regardless of the underlying language being used. So in my view this is just a stupid decision from Microsoft, even though SPD design/code split view would get it wrong on occasions. The whole reason for platforms like SharePoint and Dynamics CRM, was to provide business focussed development platforms and facilitate rapid application development and changes to be made as your business changes. Having the design view in SPD speeded up this process but now we are left with a blank coding surface.

  28. I agree with Ingeborg. I’m one of those no code “power users”. I’ve been able to supply my company with quick, fast OOB solutions that have created real ROI with no additional cost. It’s a shame, but I beleive the real reason MSFT deprecated the design view is that it’s not in line with the future of web design. It’s that simple. So, we learn something new. That’s what we do – developers or power users. No biggie.

  29. M$ is not able to deliver its crucial promise: WYSIWYG.
    This is a serious hardcore.

    I’d guess that they should go back to MSDOS era or rather shift to technologically more advanced cgi scripts edited using vi.

    So, why to use sharepoint more?
    Isn’t php with zend more productive?
    And no f..ing power users poke in your holy code…

  30. Omg! Reading this after almost 1 year since it’s been posted. I have been a SharePoint developer for 5 years for more than and i have to say i disagree.
    Seriously Bjorn, did you get paid from MICROSOFT to write this back then?

    Microsoft later admittted, as you might know, the main underlying reason to kill the design view ..in their own words…”design view, it’s obsolete technology and has no more support of HTML5 tag and some css tags, besides it doesn’t support the agenda before the release date. so it’s better to discard it.”

  31. We’ve been playing in SharePoint Online 2013 where we have lost Design view and SSRS for formatting List data. It’s now Q1 2014 some products are showing up that seems to be looking to fill the gap. Lightning just released a product. FlexForms and SearchRest both seem to offer interest approaches to Shaping and displaying SPO Data. But IMO, NOTHING is there yet . InfoPath just does not seem fit for reporting or maybe it’s just not intuitive enough.

    Here’s the challenge to MS regarding SPO/o365. We love SharePoint Lists .. offer a WYSIWYG designer option right in SPO 2013 product that enables us to :

    – Join Lists and Data sources
    – Filter that data by Query String and Webpart parameters
    – Design WYSIWYG Views of that data
    – Add custom expression Fields that can be hyperlinks
    – Add custom / complex searches / filters (partial string and caseless)

    This would really take SPO and Lists to the next level IMO.

  32. With SPD prior to 2013, Microsoft offered options. By removing Design View, they have eliminated an option. Definitely their choice. But their new product is no longer of interest to me.

    As an independent developer, I liked split mode as it allow me to more quickly navigate through the source. Then I could choose to use direct source editing or use the Design View to make a change. It never took me long to figure out what worked well in each circumstance and I developed a hybrid approach. Microsoft could have added support for the newer technologies and standards, as they had done previously with FrontPage, SharePoint Designer, and Expression Web. The elimination of Design View also goes against MVC approaches.

    Microsoft has reduced the appeal of their product to a group of people. This in turn makes their core product (SharePoint) less desirable. This is another misstep where Microsoft decided on an approach that wasn’t in line with their core base (e.g. Windows Vista and Windows 8, for a really obvious example… and I really like Windows 8 and 8.1 after installing Start8 :-)).

    Will this keep me from using Microsoft products? No, because they do have some really good ones (IMHO), such as Office, Visual Studio, SQL Server, etc. I might even consider the Surface, except the TabletPC and subsequent abandonment makes me leery at this point (burned once, twice shy).

    As a seasoned (30+ years) custom and product developer, I can say that custom development MAY reduce maintenance and management costs (responding to “…custom development done right reduces maintenance and management cost. It removes expense”). That is dependent on the business environment and culture. While it is always a desired goal for me, to think it ALWAYS does is just not true. This is also dependent on the definition of “right”, which is imprecise and dependent on expectations.

  33. I don’t agree at all. Maybe this is a good idea for big companies. For small, edu, and public libraries who use this only because it’s free, this does not work at all! I work for public libraries and am currently migrating my sites from WSS 3.0 to the cloud. all i want to do is add an image which now you’re telling me i have to dig into my budget and spend hundreds of dollars to hire a consultant to do this. This is just great use of tax payers money…. what a load of crap!

    1. Yes, you can do that or, you know, spend some of that taxpayer money to learn how to do it yourself. Knowledge is a wonderful thing. I hear there are these things called libraries that have these things called books.

  34. Seems to me that Microsoft needs more Developers to keep their platform cheap for businesses to develop on. So bye bye Information Worker / Power User, no more soup for you.. but you are welcome in our Visual Studio Camp… Why not kill SPD at once… it is redundant!

    1. Considering the disaster SharePoint is in the hands of untrained IW/PUs, that’s a very small sacrifice.

      Microsoft wants to save a multi-billion dollar business. You want to avoid reading a book.

  35. Using 2010, myself, so the lack of SPD in 2013 isn’t much of an issue here (nor is it likely to become one where I’m presently working), but I can empathize with those who want it back: imagine if Microsoft removed the “Record Macro” option from Excel, forcing everyone to use VBA alone for their less-conventional spreadsheets.
    Would it affect the high-end technical people who can code everything anyway? No.
    Would it affect the everyday users who don’t even realize macros exist? No.
    But despite that, there *are* people who it would affect, and likely a substantial number of people at that.

    Of course, the consequences for screwing up SharePoint can get much worse than for a macro in Excel – when you plug in an infinite loop in a macro, presumably the only machine you crash is your own (and of course up-to-date Excel has safeguards against this sort of thing).

    But I wonder if there’s a certain amount of bias in the perceptions of consultants called in to save the day – after all, how often are you called in when everything’s going well?

  36. Hello Bjørn,
    I just started to gather news about the new version of SharePoint 2013.
    Looks like it is very much ahead of its predecessors and much more user-friendly… am I right?

    My question is:
    Should I stay with the old version and .Net Visual Studio 2008 3.5 or…
    I better migrate to the next New again and again and again just to make my boss happy?
    Maybe I will write my own tools in old good Visual C/C++ and slowly develop the whole network system with less smashing graphics but much faster and more reliable for the end-user.
    What do you think?

    Best regards


    1. It does depend on your needs. As for user friendly, assuming you mean the default web interface, I don’t think the new version is much different than the previous versions, and regardless you can always change it to pretty much whatever you want in any case.

      Keep in mind that if you develop for .NET 4.0 (which is the runtime that drives SP2013), you exclude previous versions. SP2013 can run .NET 2.0 runtime code, but not the other way around.

      Graphics and fancy stuff has nothing to do with language or tool you use to write the code. Whether you write stable and fast code depends on you to a much greater extent than the language you use. If you need the performance difference between C/C++ and C#, it may be cheaper and better to add more hardware, but it’s impossible for me to say based on the limited information you give here.


  37. The bottom line is that SharePoint is horrible. The high level list of capabilities ensures its continued widespread adoption by c-suites, but the epic degree of failure in the interfaces ensures the horrendously low adoption rates. Show me a large organization with SharePoint and I’ll show you countless chained emails with attached files and terabytes of shared file folders. Before anyone starts showing off resume pieces, I’ll be happy to show you the global organizations I operate under.

    Yes, SharePoint is powerful. However instead of making common tasks easy and obscure tasks hard, SharePoint makes everything hard. Everything. For starters, I shouldn’t need a thesaurus to figure out what things are called in SharePoint. “that’s not a sidebar, it’s a quick launch :-O ??” Next, good luck doing any degree of functional or visual customization “oh did you want to remove a column in that new list?”;”you want a slide show in a web part?”

    If we have to go to a vaunted IT coder every time we want something done, then haven’t we just gone back to the 80’s? The entire world is migrating towards drag-and-drop but SharePoint wants me to take every small design change to a coding hack and his VI editor and meanwhile enjoy my 8 color fixed display Microsoft seems to now enjoy.

    Huddle is on the move for enterprise operations. Smaller operations are making serious efforts with WordPress and DropBox. No, they are ultimately not the same. The point is that people who actually need to collaborate and get work done are looking for things that actually work. The series of broken promises from SP 2007-2010-2013 is much the same as the Charlie Brown – Lucy – Football dynamic. We’re done falling on our back and asking “how did we get here?”

    The bottom line that is missed in all of this is that the ultimate ideal for business is to not require an IT department. SharePoint instead simply ensures that the IT department will be bigger than ever.

  38. Regarding … ” In SharePoint Designer 2013, Microsoft takes a stance and essentially say that ‘we were wrong, power users are not capable of handling development’. ”

    With SharePoint it’s tough to draw a clear line around developers when power users are gluing together rat-contraption solutions that are seemingly and often “good enough”. When they work they are leaps and bounds better than sneaker-net and still better than the spreadsheet and email solution they had before. When they don’t work it’s SharePoint sucks and management is to blame for trusting that ambitious kid that said he could do it in SharePoint.

    Look .. SharePoint is a gun. It can save you and it can also accidently kill you too. SPD is a loaded gun. SPD DVWP in Designer view is a loaded gun and blind fold. Play enough with DVWP in SPD and be prepared to lose your page and have to restore it. I’m a developer who built over 100 DVWPs .. I was paranoid about backing up pages before changing them. I often messed the code and participated in the SharePoint Hacking game. Personally I loved and miss DVWP in designer mode..

    We are now migrating to SPO 2013 o365. We are looking to move all our server side code and SQL out of SPO and to Azure. We are waiting for options to replace all those DVWP .. manually editing XSL is not the solution for us. We are hoping FoSL will offer a WYSIWYG Drag-n-drop designer that will enable SQL connections, joining and filter data sources, expressions and formatting … Sound familiar? IMO, a solid client WYSIWYG designer built into SP with data binding features will enable us to focus on SOA for heavy lifting and complexity.

    1. Think you hit it on the head. As a power-user/”sort-of” tier-2 developer the low barriers to entry for doing basic development in SP 2010 was a double-edged sword:

      1. I built a lot of crap early that was just good enough initially, but didn’t consider broader architecture issues, much less planning for training, change, debugging, security, testing; i.e. the things covered in a disciplined development approach. Further you run into a lot of people in the corporate world that HATE, HATE, HATE SP, precisely because so much crap has been thrown up there, that has some significant short-comings, even if it was good-enough for the power-user at the time it went up. Building crap on the platform and creating an environment where people grow to hate the platform is not good for the platform.

      2. Flip-side: I became I strong advocate for the platform (and eventually become a more conscientious power-user/tier-2 developer), requiring my team to use/learn while in-house, and as a consultant always asking clients who are looking for outside technological solutions to at least consider how they can leverage existing platforms (i.e SharePoint) for solutions. I would not have become an advocate for the platform if I had not had some success with DIY approach (as hit and miss as that experience has been); I could google something, try it out without any dependence on IT/real developers (although I was humble enough to ask focused technical questions to more sophisticated developers). Low-barrier to entry for some basic functionality was huge.

      Bringing more discipline to the ecosystem: yeh!!!! But we have preserve a space for folks to put up simple team pages, basic collaboration, basic solution-solving, without having to be a sophisticated developer. Those folks may not move on to become true SP developers; however they become tomorrow’s advocates, clients, etc. if they can have some basic success in solving more simple problems.

  39. Gee…thanks for alienating the population of people who cannot afford SharePoint development and IT departments. I guess they didn’t think that those people would abandon SharePoint and move to another platform, like I am forced to do at this point. There’s way too much free OpenSource solutions out there that are a better alternative to paying for something that should be available as a free add-on to software that we paid a nice penny to obtain.

  40. Yes, it is far less dangerous for us to work with a tool that requires us to imagine how our code renders than to be able to have a split view that shows the design.

    That was sarcasm, by the way.

    I currently use Design and Code view extensively in my work with SP 2010. I guess when I move on to SP 2013 it will be like working with one eye closed. Here’s squinting at you…

  41. Hi B,
    Over 2 years after your original post – nice read plus the following posts are hilarious. Either for or against is funny to read. >8-)>

    My own perspective as a power user in SP and not yet a coder – SPDV has been a nice way to get *introduced* into SP development. I think there needs to be a soft landing zone for people who are trying to go from zero knowledge of SP design to designer/developer.

    I’m learning / breaking things and fixing them… I’m seeking guru posts from around the net to build out working SP solutions… today all I need are a few tools to give me some quick wins and I can make a major impact to how we get work done. I’m not going to become a SP guru or coder overnight – the nice thing about the SPDV is that it’s given a user like myself a deeper understanding of what it takes to build a real solution – and for that I’ve enjoyed the SPDV tool.

    What I’d like to know – is what is the path now for a beginner to develop skillsets and introductions to SP development in a way that allows greater use and exposure to figure out if it will be something to develop and really learn?

    What’s the bridge or ladder to going from beginner to expert is available if you take away the mid-level option?

    What do you recommend for someone who wants to learn?

  42. So instead small business will cont to use excel and garbage for their projects because sharepoint dev are too expensive.

    Where as any IT person could use SharePoint Designer… not you want me to hire a dev instead. It wont happen. They just suffer and be less productive and Microsofts products wont sell even more.

    They say use forms then don’t give us access to forms unless your enterprise. Yet every Office 365 desktop package comes with InfoPath it’s just useless without an E1, E3 account. What a joke.

    I just need to make a simple nice looking form on sharepoint and now I have to code it, loss of productivity days already due to bugs and broken ecosystem by Microsoft. What worked 3 years ago is all broken and a mess now. For what? Whats so much better now it’s support on iPad great but it doesn’t work in the office where we need it!

    1. > So instead small business will cont to use excel and garbage for their projects because sharepoint dev are too expensive.

      No, they’ll continue to shoot themselves in their feet because they are stupid, not because someone else is valuable.

      > I just need to make a simple nice looking form on sharepoint and now I have to code it, loss of productivity days already due to bugs and broken ecosystem by Microsoft.

      Yeah, I just need to get a Ferrari, and I don’t want to do anything to get it. Broken delivery system from Ferrari! At least it’s not my fault they don’t give me one.

      Look, you’re bitching about why someone else isn’t fixing your problems, mainly that of you being worthless and not wanting to do what it takes to become worth more. Instead, you insist that it is your right to kill your organization’s value by being mindlessly stupid in SharePoint Designer, whereafter you bitch that the company has run out of money to hire someone to do it properly and actually deliver value rather than just suck it out.

      But yeah, it’s prolly Microsoft’s fault.

      1. I disagree with this article. I have been working with SharePoint for years. Long enough to remember when SharePoint first came out and how it was pooed pooed by most developers. They hated the pre-written code.

        It looks like now that SharePoint has become the elite of collaboration systems and is sticking around developers are now starting to accept and want to use SharePoint as a platform. I hope Microsoft remembers what grew their sales, power users, who put a lot of time and effort in finding ways to extend the use of SharePoint. Killing the design view is hurting everyone to include developers. As for learning SharePoint the same power users that have taken the time to learn SharePoint will still do so as well as the same developers who forget they too have brought SharePoint down with bad code.

        Frankly, I think SharePoint is a great tool but if it goes back to the old system of only developers being able to create and manage in it then it is time to go to a new platform.

        SharePoint Advocate

  43. This is entirely short-sighted. As a “Power User” I can tell you we typically have a far more extensive knowledge base and a vastly larger skill set than a developer. Rarely is a team’s power user dedicated to Sharepoint development. Business teams are no likely to budget for an in-house developer than they are to increase help desk tickets for needs they can work around and that is why the title “Power User” developed in the first place. “Power Users” rely mostly on out-of-box features. Developers are sometimes difficult to work with when they are limited to IT and cannot grasp the strategic perspective of a business requirement. You make a good point that it can be dangerous but the fix could have been only to make limitations where necessary. If you think this means more job security and work for developers guess again. It means teams will celebrate the BI tools in SP2013, the workflow processing features and forget all about extensive and mostly aesthetic SPD features. If data connections are not available in SP2013, help desk tickets will be limited to creating those. Further, on-line courses in writing code are a dime a dozen. Developers are a “nice to have” but not a necessity any more now than before this “fix’. IT teams will see an early increase in tickets but it will be short-lived….that’s just business.

  44. You say: ‘In SharePoint Designer 2013, Microsoft takes a stance and essentially say that “we were wrong, power users are not capable of handling development”’. I say “Then SharePoint is a failure and should be retired completely. SharePoint as a development platform to be used only by trained professional programmers is an overpriced farce.”

  45. Its 2015 and the SPD is still littered with visual design tools and no design view to use them with. It looks like rhe ribbon was developed by someone who never spoke to the guy building the lower half. For all the talk of application development not being handed over to novices, the SPD 13 sure looks dingy.

  46. This is a ridiculous article. How about you just lost a whole bunch of SharePoint Users Microsoft because you fallen in to the hands of the losing custom rather than gaining it.

    All these ‘coders’ stating Design View Users should learn how to code, show me how to code a a DVWP in a page without getting errors. It’s virtually impossible. The XLT markup is looong and cumbersome… so stupid!
    BRING BACK DESIGN VIEW or lose users in cooperate environments.

  47. I’m a developer and I was thrown into using SharePoint 2010. The designer helped tremendously in helping me debug applications. By simply switching to design view I could see errors in the page for items and views that were not going to render properly. As a programmer of 23 years, I felt it was a great benefit to bridge the gap between my programming skills and the beast that is SharePoint. I had never used SharePoint before I took on that project but was able, with ALL the tools, to build an application that tied Lists to Google Maps API 2. I used JavaScript within CDATA and some native xsl loops in the .aspx pages to accomplish any task requested. SharePoint was a dream come true. Now it’s more of a beast than the perfect set of tools. Also, programmers don’t think like Users or Power Users. At least I don’t. I work with people who envision the front-ens while I code the hell out of the back to bring their vision to life. Just to be clear, I AM disappointed that Microsoft removed the “designer” from SharePoint 2013. Very sad. I was new and when I saw a tool that could do EVERYTHING, I was really happy!! Why would I use anything else or have to mess with Visual Studio any more? I wouldn’t. I could focus on DEVELOPMENT and use the Design tools to figure out the logic even quicker. I am still moving forward with it because I know it’s a powerful product, but as a developer I am disappointed the designer is gone.

  48. I am one of the disdained Power Users and reading this site reminds me of a time I was researching a household electrical switch problem. The problem was simple and was one that was posed on a DIY blog by someone who had a similar issue. The advice offered by many was instructive and quickly helped me fix my issue. However, there was a militant bunch of electrical union workers who made it clear, in no pleasant terms, that only certified electricians should play with electricity. I suspect that on this site (Bjørn’s) there are probably more than a couple of developers who’ve replaced light switches even though they are not licensed electricians.

    At the start of his article, Bjørn acknowledged that SharePoint allowed power users to translate their combined knowledge of business and SharePoint to build powerful business solutions without having to become too technical. Nearly everyone, and seemingly Bjørn, either forgot that point or failed to recognize its significance. Power Users are people who are looking for ways to make technology improve their’s and their teams business productivity. Up until SharePoint 2013, they were the champions who encouraged their peers to adopt SharePoint by showing cool ways to save time. Take them out of the picture and you lose your champions, and then cede ground to Huddle, Mango, Chatter, and others who continually market themselves as the Business Friendly alternative to SharePoint.

    As it is, I’ve now worked with two organizations that moved onto Office 365 and sidelined SharePoint (the current one is looking at using Yammer without having to go too deep into SharePoint). My suggestion to developers is if you like SharePoint, it may be a better strategy to encourage others to like it too instead of yelling at them to go away. If you still feel compelled to yell at business users, then I suspect you’re indifferent to the plight of SharePoint, as long as there’s an alternative platform for you to code on.

    1. Your appeals to emotion fail miserably, I’m afraid. And despite all the words you’ve used, you also failed to answer the simple question of why so many SharePoint installations left at the hands of people who refuse to learn how it works end in disasters.

      As much as this article has caused debate, I’m still amazed at the number of people who’ll come out against the simple premise of asking people to learn the tasks they undertake rather than hope that tools will be there to catch them when they fall.

  49. Sharepoint was intended for idiots. It’s the only thing it ever had going for it. Now there is just no reason to buy or sell it ever again.

  50. Reminds me of the good old mainframe days where the only development that got done was by ‘real’ programmers. What a relief when PCs came along so the business could get some real work done. Here we go again.

    1. ‘Real’ programmers are so slow! It would take me two weeks to get my IT dept to change a column width, one week for them to do it wrong and another to get them to do it right.

      I will learn to modify the code out of pure spite.

  51. Here’s another thought. SharePoint was created to be a Lotus Notes/Domino killer. It has achieved its objective so it would be pointless of MS to spend more on it than it absolutely has to, same as when IE killed Navigator development of IE pretty much stopped until Firefox appeared. So all of this is MS doing as little as it can get away with rather than the right thing, whatever that may be.

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