When Microsoft introduced SharePoint as a web-based collaborative platform in 2001 it was merely thought of as a documents management and storage system. But as time passed more and more companies started adopting SharePoint and started realizing the highly configurable nature of SharePoint. Now, the use of SharePoint varies substantially among organizations. SharePoint allows a wide variety of customization options for organizations. Organizations could customize the environment to fit their requirements, they could build SharePoint based solutions, or integrate other solutions. They could customize basic page levels like dashboards, navigation panels, etc. Customization can get a bit rough for some. It requires technical experts to plan and carry out successful SharePoint customization.
Organizations have several established daily processes and SharePoint customizations primarily aim to streamline these processes. Mostly the purpose of these customizations is better collaboration and document sharing using an intranet portal. Some of the other customized solutions in SharePoint include project management solutions, contract management solutions, learning management solutions, help desk software, etc.
Microsoft brings out every year new and improved features and customizations options for SharePoint. Modern tools and techniques allow you to customize SharePoint mostly without having to deploy a custom code to the SharePoint server. Let us discuss these ways in which we can make customizations using SharePoint modern tools and techniques
Modern SharePoint sites allow you to brand your SharePoint sites, you could make the branding match the organizational branding. Users can change the look of the site by modifying the logo or colors used in the site. SharePoint provides some themes as default, but you can also specify unique theme colors by supplying SharePoint with a custom configuration file.
In a collaborative environment, it is important that we make navigation easier. Users should be able to access information swiftly, for any time wasted on looking for a piece of information is time that could have been spent working on it. That is why navigation is important. Planning your navigational strategy in modern sites is a critical element in the usability of the SharePoint environment. There is a streamlined model provided by modern SharePoint sites for adding navigational elements using the browser.
SharePoint web page layouts differ through every version. It could be selecting a web part or a wiki page. In modern sites, rather than providing static layouts that provide a number of editable regions on the webpage now, page editors can stack column layouts on a row by row basis. Also, page editors can control how the title region of the page is displayed. By adding modern web parts to the page, you can have custom content on your modern pages.
When it comes to automation and workflows in SharePoint Power Automate is the one-stop solution. You can create amazing business workflows for your SharePoint environment using Power Automate. You can create approval workflows for the content stored in SharePoint using Power Automate. Flows can be triggered by SharePoint actions or perform actions within SharePoint like update an item. SharePoint Designer workflows were discontinued earlier, existing workflows will function, for creating new workflows you should use Power Automate.
To create custom forms in a modern SharePoint environment the best option is PowerApps. PowerApps can leverage SharePoint data in multiple ways. Like, creating a custom form from SharePoint list, creating a custom SharePoint list view, or as a standalone app that uses SharePoint as its data source. Modern pages also allow you to embed PowerApps solutions in site pages using a PowerApps web part.
Previously most of the forms in SharePoint were created using InfoPath, as Microsoft has announced the depreciation of InfoPath it might be a better idea to create new forms in PowerApps or Microsoft Forms, and start moving InfoPath forms to either of those platforms.
Customization using SPFx
SPFx was introduced aiming to standardize and modernize the way organizations customize SharePoint. Although many new features announced enables the developers to create much better solutions. Legacy versions of SharePoint Server relied on solution packages to deploy content and make configuration changes to SharePoint sites. Extensions to SPFx provide the ability to add scripts to pages, create modifies views of data, and surface new commands in the SharePoint user interface.
In the modern SharePoint pages, you can make programmatic changes to the SharePoint environment by using SPFx, Microsoft Graph API, Microsoft 365 CLI, and Office developer patterns and practices API.
SharePoint is a great platform for companies to collaborate, share documents, and build solutions for their companies. Many companies are already using SharePoint without realizing the true potential of the solution. Companies could achieve more and save up a lot on enterprise solutions if they develop SharePoint based solutions for their daily processes. SharePoint customization is the future of work.