SharePoint Designer: A Necessary Evil
April Dunnam | TrustRadius Reviewer
April 04, 2017

SharePoint Designer: A Necessary Evil

Score 6 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
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Overall Satisfaction with SharePoint Designer

We utilize SharePoint Designer across our own organization. We also install it for our clients and use it for them as well. SharePoint Designer is currently a necessary evil for our SharePoint clients. The biggest business problem that it addresses is the need to create custom workflows for SharePoint which is mostly what we use it for.
  • Workflow Development - SharePoint Designer is currently the go-to tool for creating custom workflows in SharePoint.
  • Allows you to easily upload resource files.
  • It crashes...a lot! Be prepared to be making back-ups and hitting save frequently if you don't wan to loose your work.
  • The HTML Editor is sub-par. I use other tools such as Visual Studio or Sublime for HTML Editing and just copy the code to Designer.
  • It's being phased out. Microsoft announced that no new versions of SharePoint Designer will be released.
  • SharePoint Designer is free so it's pretty easy to get a return on investment.
  • It allows you to create fairly complex workflow fast to automate your business processes.
There really isn't a holistic, complete SharePoint Designer replacement currently. You can utilize several different tools and piece together the functionality of Designer. No one really "selects" SharePoint Designer, it is just a necessary evil. For O365 subscribers, Flow is worth investigating for replacing the workflow function of SharePoint Designer, however, it doesn't have all of the features that Designer does. If you need a large scale workflow solution, there are third party tools such as Nintex. As far as the HTML editing capabilities, there are several tools such as Visual Studio, Sublime, TextMate, etc.
I would say that most developers such as myself are not big fans of SharePoint Designer. With that said, there are a couple things that you can't deny it is still well suited for. The biggest is workflow development. Microsoft is pushing Flow as a workflow tool more and more but it still has a way to go and is only available on O365. So, for workflow development, SharePoint Designer is your first stop. It is actually pretty end user friendly for developing workflows. The other thing it's well suited for it uploading resource files. Rather than mapping a drive to upload files, you can easily open it up in Designer and copy and paste.