Introduction to SharePoint Development
So far in this book we have examined the offerings provided by the Share-
Point Server 2007 platform and discussed the various options you have for
deploying the product within your organization. This section of the book
examines the components of particular interest to developers and Web
designers who wish to customize and extend the out-of-the-box functional-
ity. First we’ll take a quick look at how the underlying architecture has
changed since Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 and SharePoint Portal Server
2003 and discuss some of the major enhancements that the new architecture
brings to the table. Then we’ll look at some of the development tools that are
available to us when customizing SharePoint, namely SharePoint Designer
2007 and Visual Studio 2005. Keep in mind that many of the topics we
review in this chapter are covered in more detail later in the book.
11.1 Development Architecture Overview
The underlying platform for WSS 3.0 and SharePoint Server 2007 has been
considerably redesigned from WSS 2.0 and SharePoint Portal Server 2003;
the most notable changes appear at the ASP.NET and IIS levels. For exam-
ple, WSS 2.0 and SharePoint Portal Server 2003 use ASP.NET 1.1, whereas
WSS 3.0 and SharePoint Server 2007 are built upon ASP.NET 2.0 (Figure
11.1). ASP.NET 2.0 offers significant improvements over its predecessor,
such as the introduction of master pages, a native Web Part framework, and
pluggable virtual path providers that allow you to retrieve and control the
parsing of .aspx pages.
From a performance perspective, the design implemented by WSS 2.0
and SharePoint Portal Server 2003 produces suboptimal results, because each
request to a SharePoint site first must be processed by a special ISAPI filter,
developed by the SharePoint team, before it can be processed by ASP.NET.
The job of the ISAPI filter is basically to examine the URL and determine
whether it is requesting a SharePoint managed path. The ISAPI filter uses the
list of inclusions and exclusions maintained by the administrator to make its

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