At its essence, SharePoint is a platform. And to see how SharePoint can help you as a developer, you must understand those platform capabilities. When you explore and learn the range of functionality that make up the platform, you’ll begin to see some interesting and compelling opportunities emerge for the developer.
Take a look at a practical example. As you have seen, a business productivity platform implies having a platform for end users to make them more collaborative and productive in their day-to-day work lives — and SharePoint can certainly do that. In short order, it can be used as an application for end users. For example, a Human Resources (HR) department might use SharePoint to manage employee reviews, or a sales team might use it to manage a monthly sales-forecasting dashboard for BI.
In all of these scenarios, SharePoint first represents an end user collaboration platform, and second represents a base that skilled developers can augment or extend. So, when your sales manager comes to you (the developer) and asks you to design a SharePoint site collection that integrates daily sales data from an SAP system and plot high-potential markets on a map in the SharePoint site — so salespeople can see current sales pipeline versus opportunity areas — you wonder in what ways this type of app would manifest in SharePoint.
Let’s look at this task from two perspectives: