By Todd Bleeker
Web parts are essential to fulfilling the fundamental objective of SharePoint — to empower the end user to self-sufficiency and self-reliance. Using web parts, end users can construct their own software solutions from personalizable chunks of pre-built functionality. Though this idea may evoke a visceral wave of panic in some, this core capability is one of the primary reasons for the unbridled success of SharePoint as a platform.
Because of web parts, end users can often be creating and populating sites, pages, lists, and libraries within just a short time after being granted access to SharePoint. Of course, education can go a long way in helping end users avoid common pitfalls or painting themselves into a corner. SharePoint can often be leveraged to replace the vast majority of end-user spreadsheet and desktop database applications with securable, web-based, scalable solutions that the end users themselves can manage, and even alter, over time. Eliminating the IT bottleneck in application provisioning and maintenance can yield an exponential return on investment (ROI).
Web parts are essential to making that reality possible. When out-of-the-box web parts become inadequate, ASP.NET provides an extensible Web Part Framework that allows developers to build their own custom web parts that can be coded to do practically anything that you can imagine. Certainly, web parts can achieve anything that can be done on a traditional website, ...