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.

.b

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This post was written by who has written 415 posts on Furuknap's SharePoint Corner.

I do SharePoint. When I'm not doing SharePoint, I sleep, and then I dream about SharePoint. Oh, and I dabble a bit in cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Litecoin, etc)

55 Responses to “I Was Wrong – Kill The SharePoint Designer Design View!”

  1. Brian Bedard August 8, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

    Don’t forget as soon as SP2013 RTM’s, the Marketplace will be online and power users can procure their solutions — for a price! yah Apple.

    • James Love
      Twitter: jimmywim
      August 8, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

      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).

  2. Kris Frukacz August 8, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

    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…

  3. kg August 8, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

    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.

  4. Matthew Hughes
    Twitter: mattmoo2
    August 8, 2012 at 11:24 pm #

    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.

    Thanks

    Matt

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

    • redguy March 11, 2014 at 7:28 am #

      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.

      • Bjørn Furuknap
        Twitter: furuknap
        March 11, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

        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.

        .b

  5. Greg Burns August 9, 2012 at 10:36 am #

    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.

    • Brian Bedard
      Twitter: tigertoy
      August 9, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

      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.

    • Bjørn Furuknap
      Twitter: furuknap
      August 9, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

      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.

      .b

    • Dustin Miller
      Twitter: spdustin
      August 11, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

      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.

    • webbrewer March 22, 2013 at 4:26 am #

      @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.

      • Bjørn Furuknap
        Twitter: furuknap
        March 22, 2013 at 4:30 am #

        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.

  6. Ingeborg Hawighorst
    Twitter: ingeborgNZ
    August 9, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

    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
    http://www.teylyn.com
    @IngeborgNZ

    • Bjørn Furuknap
      Twitter: furuknap
      August 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

      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.

      .b

    • Jack September 7, 2012 at 4:02 pm #

      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.

  7. Andrew Wolfe August 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    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
    or
    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.

  8. Louis August 10, 2012 at 1:17 am #

    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!

    Louis

    • Bjørn Furuknap
      Twitter: furuknap
      August 10, 2012 at 1:22 am #

      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.

      .b

  9. Pete August 10, 2012 at 8:32 am #

    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.

    • Bjørn Furuknap
      Twitter: furuknap
      August 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

      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).

      .b

      • Bob villa August 12, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

        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.

  10. Julie Bird August 15, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

    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 ;-)

    • Bjørn Furuknap
      Twitter: furuknap
      August 15, 2012 at 10:22 pm #

      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.

      .b

  11. Mark August 16, 2012 at 12:32 am #

    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.

  12. Darren Hemming
    Twitter: cariad1234
    August 16, 2012 at 12:35 am #

    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?

  13. Jasper Siegmund
    Twitter: jsiegmund
    September 18, 2012 at 12:01 pm #

    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 ;-)

  14. Ole Hartvig September 18, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    As someone once said: “with great power comes great responsibility”…

    • Bjørn Furuknap
      Twitter: furuknap
      September 18, 2012 at 2:21 pm #

      …or, as someone else said “with great power comes the need to abuse that power”.

  15. Keith Hudson September 21, 2012 at 1:35 am #

    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.

    • Bjørn Furuknap
      Twitter: furuknap
      September 21, 2012 at 8:41 am #

      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.

      .b

  16. Gazza October 11, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    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.

  17. Trev October 15, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    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.

  18. SharePoint Darrell October 23, 2012 at 12:07 am #

    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.

    • Anonymous February 20, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

      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.

  19. GilFrank November 3, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    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.

  20. Wiki Page Wanda January 11, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    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.

  21. David Lean January 24, 2013 at 12:42 am #

    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.

    • Bjørn Furuknap
      Twitter: furuknap
      January 24, 2013 at 9:15 pm #

      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.

      .b

  22. Eugene Rosenfeld
    Twitter: erosen03
    March 7, 2013 at 7:07 am #

    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.

  23. Jerry March 12, 2013 at 12:03 am #

    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.

    • Bjørn Furuknap
      Twitter: furuknap
      March 12, 2013 at 12:13 am #

      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.

      .b

  24. lozerama May 4, 2013 at 1:53 am #

    “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.

    • Bjørn Furuknap
      Twitter: furuknap
      May 4, 2013 at 2:02 am #

      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.

      .b

  25. Jake May 9, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    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.

    Why? Because…DESIGN is NOT A CODE FUNCTION.

    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.

    But we don’t. THAT IS WHY WE HAVE SHAREPOINT. BECAUSE WE CANT AFFORD TO PAY PROGRAMMERS TO DEVELOP AN INTERNAL WEB PORTAL.

    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.

    • Jim
      Twitter: jimmywim
      May 9, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

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

  26. Matt May 31, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    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.

  27. hartzki June 13, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    “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.

  28. Alan July 26, 2013 at 3:21 am #

    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.

  29. zee September 7, 2013 at 1:04 am #

    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.

  30. Rebecca Ettlinger November 22, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    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.

  31. David December 12, 2013 at 12:12 am #

    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…

  32. Roh December 30, 2013 at 4:11 pm #

    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.”

  33. Cyberpine January 11, 2014 at 9:55 pm #

    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.

  34. Hans January 29, 2014 at 7:23 pm #

    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.

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