SharePoint Server 2013 offers three broad methods of deploying customized solutions:
- Farm Solution
- and Content
Administrators should carefully weigh the pros and cons of each approach before deciding on a method for deploying a customized solution. In a video tutorial titled The 3 Main Deployment Options, Yaroslav Pentsarskyy, subject matter expert and published author, presents the strengths and weaknesses of each approach.
As administrators consider customization requests for SharePoint Sever 2013, it is essential to keep in mind an accurate understanding of any needs for scaling any changes to the out-of-the-box platform. Will a distinctive look and feel be useful on an individual SharePoint site, or should it be rolled out across a large farm? If sites exist within large farms, then caution must be exercised to select methods of customizing features likely to be reused across the farm. As well, any new content must conform to Microsoft guidelines to ensure updates can be made, as required to the platform.
As Yaroslav points out in this video tutorial, the third option, Content, is most prone to failure for the reasons just given. Implementing a hard coded customized solution is fine for one, or two sites, but will not scale across a farm unless assets are distributed to each of the other servers. Further, changes may be included in the customization which will break the platform, if updates are attempted. Finally, simply hard coding a custom solution does not include a method of controlling the version of custom artifacts. So it make sense to look at either a Farm Solution or an App as a better method of packaging customization for reuse.
Of course, if there is no need to scale the customized solution, then simply hard coding changes to content should work fine.
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