Sharepoint and PHP

I've got this page that I've built that represents 5-6 years of custom code. The company has recently been bought out and the new owner is a big advocate of Sharepoint, just because that's what he's been using since the conception of his enterprise.

I know enough about Sharepoint to be cautious and I might be wrong, but here's where I wanted some feedback.

The site that I've built is entirely in PHP. It's more than just a glorified brochure. It's country and you can check it out to see what I mean. Contestant pages, customer radio sign in pages, contest locations, winners' circle, custom contestant profile pages, a Songwriting Contest and there's more.

 I want to make sure I keep my ego out of this, but at first brush I'm guarded because of the "custom code" dynamic. Seems anytime you enter into a remanufactured dynamic, you're inevitably subjecting yourself to a scenario where you're having to jump through all kinds of chutes and ladders to do something that would take far less time to simply add on and / or tweak what you already have.

I'm using a MySQL database and it's attached to an administrative suite and blah, blah, blah.

Bottom line: He's mentioned price point and some of the ready made widgets that are available. From what I can tell, Sharepoint is a .NET platform and I would have to completely start all over again and retool every one of my pages, yes?

What am I looking at? He mentioned maybe I could learn to do some custom coding in the context of Sharepoint, but I'm thinking "Why would I do that when most of what you want is either already built or something I can easily tweak?"

Someone who's been to the other side...what do you think?
Bruce GustPHP DeveloperAsked:
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zephyr_hex (Megan)DeveloperCommented:
You're looking at a complete re-write :(

That's assuming the new owner wants your current content IN Sharepoint.

It's been awhile since I've researched licensing for a public facing Sharepoint site (with user accounts, etc), but I can't imagine MS has turned over a new leaf and gone affordable.  It used to require Sharpeoint Enterprise, with some god-awful $, just for the licensing.  Then there's MS SQL licensing on top of that.

Sharepoint is ASP.NET, which means you're looking at coding in C#, or (VB.NET if you want to go old school).  So you're in for a big learning curve as well.  Honestly, that sounds like a lot to ask someone to do, unless that is all you are doing for the next several years.

Some points to support your case:
- Sharepoint licensing is expensive!  Also consider MS SQL requirements / licensing when you look into the licensing.
- WHY.  What is the case for completely rewriting this using Sharepoint API ?  Does that case justify the time and money it will take?
- Sharepoint is basically a web platform for people / companies that lack the technical resources to spin up a web site from scratch.  It's a CMS, and as such, can be less flexible than just working in PHP (or C# or whatever).

If, however, the new owner is open to your current site that makes use of data in Sharepoint, all hope is not lost.  You could keep your PHP site, and modify it to make calls to Sharepoint's RESTful API (using AJAX).  However, it doesn't sound like "integration" by using Sharepoint API is what the new owner is looking for...

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Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
As for 'price points', you should tell him what it is costing you in the way of monthly expenses to keep your current site running.
Bruce GustPHP DeveloperAuthor Commented:
zephyr, thanks for getting back with me. A couple of questions, just so I can sound intelligent when I talk to him again.

1) He gave me the impression that it would be cheaper to host our site on Sharepoint. We're looking at several gigs worth of data. The database isn't overwhelming, but one table has some 60,000 rows. You reference Sharepoint licensing. He didn't mention that. I'm wondering if the size of the site makes a difference. Would you know? How can I found out for sure?

2) He's not a developer, so he may have been talking off the cuff, but he mentioned migrating a PHP site into Sharepoint. If it's a .NET platform, I don't see that happening, correct?

3) If I've got a MySQL database in place currently, is there any advantage to moving things to a Sharepoint database? Honestly, I can't think of anything, but I want to be sure it's my common sense talking and not my ego.

I appreciate your input. I'll make a point of referencing the Sharepoint site when I talk to him again, but your insight gives me some starting points so if this is, in fact, a bad idea, I can show him why and let him reach that conclusion himself rather than me sounding like I'm just protecting my labor.

Thank you!
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Bruce GustPHP DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Dave, we've got several gigs worth of content. Is Sharepoint free?

Another thing is "custom coding." If it's a .NET platform, any custom coding is in .NET or C# so I'm not just whipping together some new code, I'm having to learn a new language, yes?
Dave BaldwinFixer of ProblemsCommented:
Sharepoint is a licensed, paid for, Microsoft product.  One blog said it cost $10,000 to set up a small site plus a few hundred a month.  And that is apparently for an 'internal' site which is what Sharepoint was originally intended for.  The Microsoft pages do Not list any actual prices that I could find... so that should tell you it is Not cheap.
Walter CurtisSharePoint AEDCommented:
Here are a few point to consider...

What you have works, and shouldn't be moved to SharePoint. That would be a very poor decision, and if you new boss does not see that, then he needs to ask some of his IT people. The reasons I see why it should not be moved are as follows:
  • If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The site works fine. Using PHP, which is just as mainstream as SharePoint, support will never a problem. There will always be resources in case you are not available.
  • Licensing - PHP and MySQL have not fee. SharePoint does.
  • Ready made widgets - they are called web parts in SharePoint, and there are none available to do what your custom code does.
  • Converting to SharePoint? Yes, SharePoint does support PHP via IIS7 / IIS8, it is technical to have your site hosted in SharePoint. But it would be a troubled relationship and neither technologies would ever reach it's full potential. You could add pages of PHP code via page viewers or html pages, but that would not be using SharePoint really, so why change?
If the site did not exist already and you were a SP developer, going with SharePoint might have some merit, but change now would not be a good idea IMHO.

Hope that helps...
zephyr_hex (Megan)DeveloperCommented:
1)  the size of the data doesn't make a difference.  Sharepoint is MS SQL backend, and *that* licensing is separate.  But the amount of data your store in a database is not a factor in MS SQL licensing.  MS SQL licensing is based on how SQL is installed, and what features you want / need.  

Sharepoint licensing is also based on how it's installed, and what features you want / need.  I did some quick research, and it looks like the 2013 version doesn't impose extra license requirements when you have an external facing site.  Prior to that, the costs of an external facing site were quite expensive.

2)  Correct.  Unless by "migrate" he means "re-write", or "integrate" (where you make API calls to get / set Sharepoint data).

3.  MySQL vs MS SQL.  Some people would argue that there is no significant difference, and point out that Facebook runs on MySQL.  My counter argument is that Facebook has an army of database engineers who make that happen.  Your Average Joe can not make MySQL perform like MS SQL.  However, if MySQL suits your current site just fine, then this is a moot point.

To answer your question about Sharepoint being free.  Yes, there is a free version of Sharepoint (it's called Sharepoint Foundations), but it has limitations, and it can not be used as a public facing site.

And regarding Sharepoint "support" of PHP.  It "supports" the rendered HTML from PHP (i.e. the web page that's produced after PHP has run), but there is not real co-mingling of Sharepoint and PHP in that regard.
Walter CurtisSharePoint AEDCommented:
SharePoint itself does not support PHP. SharePoint is not a web server, but it does use a web server that supports PHP, so on the same web server you can have SharePoint and PHP running. On SharePoint pages you can embed various types of pages, including PHP. (This would not be a good way to do things, but it is possible.)

Hope that helps...
zephyr_hex (Megan)DeveloperCommented:
Yes, that clarifies the point better, SneekCo.
Walter CurtisSharePoint AEDCommented:
Hope that helped. Please do not abandon this questions. Close it out as you see fit.

Have a good one...
Bruce GustPHP DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Gentlemen! Thank you for your insight and I apologize for letting this question linger w/o closing it. The conversation that I need to have with one of the owners has yet to happen and the sense of urgency surrounding this topic is not what it was a few weeks ago just because of some other things that have to be addressed.

But it will be an issue and I feel far more confident in telling him that he needs to stick with a paradigm that he can build and customize without any of the limitations that a framework can sometimes impose. That coupled with the fact that you're asking two different languages to coexist in the context of a perpetual need for a "translation" to occur represents an unnecessary layer of frustration at best and a decrease in functionality at worst.

Walter CurtisSharePoint AEDCommented:
Thanks! Sounds like you have a grip on it. Good luck...
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