With the release of SharePoint 2013, lots of companies try to find their way to upgrade to that new product version. SharePoint 2010 was a great platform for creating custom solutions. It was such a gread platform that some companies even tried to migrate most of their web based applications to SharePoint 2010 in order to have only one technology used for web development. This is great, but it resulted in many custom farm solutions deployed to the SharePoint hive.
Today, many companies are locked in SharePoint 2010 or even still in SharePoint 2007 because they have tons of customizings and farm solutions in their environment. They have to look at each custom solution and create a migratio path. SharePoint 2013 hat a compatibility mode to SharePoint 2010 but can anybody be sure that all solutions will work in compatibility mode? The solutions must be tested and finally they have to be migrated to SharePoint 2013 one day.
In my opinion farm solutions are not bad but they are a pain point in the upgrade path if there are many farm solutions deployed to the farm.
The new SharePoint offers so many new features to customize SharePoint without using farm solutions:
- The new App model
- The new Design Manager and Snippet Manager
This makes me very hopeful to reduce the number and complexity of farm solutions in the future.
Led by these experiences and hopes I invented the levels of SharePoint Customizings that scale from level 100 to 500. Each level allows specific kinds of customizing with specific requirements in operations and know-how:
Deploying SharePoint artefacts like master pages, Content types or columns without farm solutions today, is possible using sandbox Solutions only. Apps cannot deploy artefacts to the Hosting pages. Because sandbox solutions seem to be deprecated, I hope there will be an alternative solution for artefact deployment in the future. Then it might be possible to go a long way without farm solutions.