Using SharePoint as a CMS backend/data layer

Almost all data in SharePoint are stored in lists, each list has it’s own columns and each column got it’s own content. So far everything seems as any normal database, but in SharePoint everything has been lifted both one and two levels higher than a normal database. Some of the biggies is that you can define your own content types and define your own views of these lists.

Advantages when using SharePoint as a CMS backend/data layer

Any developer knows the fact that there’s almost always time and money for forward development (i.e new functionality and front end) but never enough time or funding to develop the backside in a proper manner. When using SharePoint as a backend/data layer developers can focus on the business logic and front end since the backend with all necessary tools already is there.

  1. Versatile database: The foundation of SharePoint is made to store and organize both small and large amounts of various data. The data can vary from anything between simple text, documents, pictures and so on, just about anything can be stored in SharePoint
  2. Stay organized: All data stored in these SharePoint lists can be organized with filters in different views which enables each user or role to have relevant views of the data
  3. Transparency: All data becomes transparent; usually only developers with a SQL-gui tool can see all the data stored in the data layer. With SharePoint everyone with access to the parts storing list/table data can view and edit whats there
  4. Authentication: SharePoint has a built-in account management and if you prefer you can always use an external authentication provider or combine the built-in accounts with external accounts to manage all access to the SP installation
  5. Security: The data is organized in sites, below the sites you have lists who contain all content (content rows actually). You can set access and handling rights at any level, usually on the actual site, the lists or even on a specific row in a specific list
  6. Built in workflows: SharePoint enables you to attach custom business processes to documents or list items called workflows. A workflow is a natural way to organize and run a set of work units, or activities, to form an executable file representation of a work process. This process can control almost any aspect of an item in SharePoint, including the life cycle of that item. The workflow is flexible enough to model both the system functions and human actions necessary for the workflow to complete
  7. Simplicity: Any action above can be maintained by pretty much anyone, even “office dummies”. The interfaces and workspace is very intuitive and simple to use, any office user will instantly feel at home.

Summed together these factors make SharePoint to the best CMS backend ever built, the problem is the last mile input and output of data. The solution is the Camelot ADO.NET connector for SharePoint which converts SharePoint to a SQL Data Layer!

You can read more and download the
Camleot .NET Connector for SharePoint here

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