SharePoint’s built-in tools are good at providing a basic interface for adding and editing data, however, there are times when the included editing features aren’t enough. There are applications where the SharePoint list will work, except for one small detail. For instance, you may need to ensure that one of the fields in your list matches a back-end data source. This might be accomplished by creating a drop-down that is populated from a back-end system, or perhaps it’s some custom validation that ensures that the data that the user enters is in the back-end system.
Tearing open SharePoint to find a facility for these additional features is difficult. It requires an understanding of how SharePoint works overall as well as how it handles drawing a list. However, by the end of this article you’ll understand the overall architecture, the details that make it work, and you’ll have a framework for creating your own custom list editing solution.
One Little, Two Little, Three Little Web Parts
You know that SharePoint is built on Web parts, however, the extent to which SharePoint utilizes Web Parts internally may surprise you. Nearly every page that you see in SharePoint—from the default.aspx on every site to the forms pages at the heart of each list—is a Web Part Page.