Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Post III: prerequisites for customizing NetCommunity

We have established that customizing NetCommunity has many benefits for an organization. Before your organization makes the decision to venture down this path it’s very important to have a clear understanding of what is required to actually accomplish this. Developing custom parts in-house isn’t really that hard but there is a bit of a learning curve and a minimal skill set required.

In order to customize, the person responsible should be a web developer or have comparable experience. You really need someone who has working knowledge creating web applications in some type of web-based programming language, preferably ASP.net or other object oriented language.

One pitfall I have commonly seen is a new client who expects their current ‘webmaster’ to be able to hit the ground running with customization. The title of ‘webmaster’ is a bit vague but unless he/she already has some type of solid development experience that may not be a good option. It’s important to setup the right person with this task so they are in a position where success is possible.

It's also important to point out that there is a learning curve that needs to be met when developing custom parts and even seasoned developers with the latest developers resources from Blackbaud will need some time to get up to speed.

I tossed around the idea of putting up a specific set of technical minimum requirements for a web developer who will be customizing NetCommunity. For the most part any web developer now matter what their experience could probably figure this out if they have at least a few years of experience and ample time. That’s to say it’s not really that hard and once you understand the concepts and the basics of how NetCommunity and RE talk to each other you can use the various resources out there to start to make things happens. That being said, for the non-technical folks out there who just want a list, here are my minimum suggestions.
  • ASP.net 2.0 or comparable object oriented language
  • Visual Studio 2005
  • Working knowledge of APIs
  • Working knowledge of webservices
A skilled developer with these minimal skills sets should have no problems learning to customize NetCommunity.

That’s pretty much it for this post. I’m not really sure what I’ll have in store for you next time so if anyone has any suggestions I’m all ears. Just drop me an email. Don’t forget to subscribe to this Blog with RSS.


SkipperMJ said...

You hit the nail on the proverbial head Garrett - I'm taking your entire posting and pasting it on the faces of every VP in our organization!!!

Thanks for taking this on, can't think of a better person for the job.


Shaun Sullivan said...

Fabulous post.

I think this blog will be a great resource to the BBNC dev community.

Thanks for doing it!

Shaun Sullivan