So, you’ve hit a roadblock on your SharePoint Framework (SPFx) project and have a question. What options do you have? In this post, I’ll share a few options available to you.
Remember, you can always drop a question in the comments feature included in each lesson. I moderate & review them multiple times a week. Furthermore, students of the Ultimate bundle have access to the private student-only mastermind group & our regularly scheduled live office hours.
You can get more information about our Q/A policy here: Do you have a development related question?
Check the course page on our site for more details: Mastering the SharePoint Framework.
I’m going to structure this into two categories: Microsoft-managed resources & community-managed resources. At the end, I’ll share what my favorite ones & how I address questions I receive from developers.
Let’s start by looking at what makes a good resource to get your questions answered… what makes it valuable, useful, and reliable.
The two most important characteristic of a resource is bilateral activity & reliability.
Bilateral activity means that the marketplace is filled with people who are both asking and answering questions.
Someone doesn’t have to be serving both roles, but you don’t want to go into a community and ask your questions only to find no one is there answering them.
The other aspect to this is the level of activity - the more activity, the more people who are asking & answering questions, the more useful it will be.
The other feature you need to evaluate is how reliable is the community. How active is the bilateral activity? Are people showing up to answer questions consistently or do they do it in spurts? Are the answers and guidance you have useful? Do people say “I need to go research that” and never follow up?
Not only do I want to make sure there’s good activity on both sides of the Q/A equation, but I need to trust that its a good place to get my questions asked.
I do want to call out the sp-dev-docs repo in the SharePoint organization on GitHub. This is the repo that contains all the SharePoint developer documentation published on the docs.microsoft.com site I reference above. But it also contains an issues list. This is where Microsoft wants customers to post issues/bugs related to the developer platform or the docs.
Unfortunately the sp-dev-docs issue list, while Microsoft will still say that’s the preferred spot to go, has lost its luster the last few years. Outside of a few people, Microsoft mostly doesn’t proactively manage this list and engage with the community in a consistent & reliable way.
Microsoft is aware of the issue and promises to get better, but until that happens, it’s hard to recommend developers use this resource for developer Q/A. Hopefully things change in the future, but based on history from the last few years, its hard to trust Microsoft on this one until there’s a noticeable and consistent change.
With that being said, this is the resource where you should file bugs related to SharePoint development. Why? Because that’s the only place Microsoft monitors bugs. 🤷♂️
Another option is the SharePoint Developer discussion space on TechCommunity. There’s a good mix of community discussions and announcements made here.
I’m only listing the biggest resources that have been around for a while here. While there may be new ones that come about, like a few Discord servers that’ve popped up in the last few weeks, they’re still pretty small in terms of the number of people who are involved in it. In other words, they don’t meet my bar’s for bilateral activity & reliability at this time.
It should come as no surprise I’m going to mention Stack Overflow. It’s quite popular and quite possibly the standard for forums as a place to ask technical questions.
One reason I like it is because it’s just a bug bucket where you drop questions and apply relevant tags to them. This model means you don’t have to go trough the mental gymnastics trying to figure out “which bucket does this question belong in.” It’s far too rare these days that the problem we’re working on can be put in a single category.
Furthermore, check the dedicated SharePoint Stack Exchange site… it works the same way, but it’s just for SharePoint questions.
Now… for the rest of these, you’re just going to have to find what works best for you. With so many options, here’s how I’d approach it: find a platform or platforms that you’re most comfortable with and then find a forum or community, or whatever that platform calls them, and then evaluate if it’s a good place to ask questions.
What I’d do is is look at the number of people who’ve joined the sub as well as how active it is by checking the timestamp on the posts. When looking for a community or a forum to ask questions, you want to see lots of people and activity.
In addition, look at who the group’s owners, admins, or moderators are. That’s sort of like the old saying: follow the money. Some people have very specific reasons for setting up these groups.
I’m sure you’ve heard of Facebook… many companies, organizations, and users have created groups dedicated to having conversations, asking questions, and sharing news related to SharePoint development. There are so many groups on Facebook that I don’t want to recommend anything because I’ll surely leave something off.
Everything I said about Facebook is true for LinkedIn as well. Plenty of groups and lots of engagement.
Called the front page of the internet, you’ll find various forums on Reddit. For those not familiar with it, Reddit is simply a collection of forums where people post threads. These forums are called subreddits, or subs, and you commonly see them referenced starting with a “/r” prefix as that’s how the URL is structured.
Where do I like to go to get my questions answered or help others?
My two preferred options are Stack Overflow & Reddit, specifically the ones listed above.
These no-frills options are simple, fast, are very active, and have a long track record… all the things that meet my bar of a good community.
I haven’t been as active answering questions lately in these forums as I’d have liked, mostly due to work demands. But when I do have time, those are my preferences where I want to invest my time.