Event receivers are a great tool for expanding SharePoint from its baseline functionality. When used correctly, it can help with everything from data validation and security to automatically triggering custom functionality. The uses are endless. For example, they can help automatically push key, chosen information out to other databases based on user actions. Imagine automatically notifying accounting that a new invoice has been created, and then push the latest version of that invoice to everyone it affects, in real time.
Event Receivers are a core method to produce these results. They are a great middle ground between what the SharePoint software provides out of the box and creating a custom web part. Event receivers allow you to execute custom .NET code when an event occurs in your SharePoint site. Since the software exposes many different events it allows for limitless customization and integration using event receivers.
- Input Automation: Expedite data entry within your SharePoint libraries by automatically populating the fields within a list. Allow your users to input invoice number, customer ID, or company name, and the event receiver does a look-up (to an external database, web service, or even another SharePoint list) and fills out the remaining fields.
- Process Automation: Any action or process that can be done in SharePoint software can also be executed via code. An event receiver could start a workflow, create/delete any SharePoint entity, upload files from a network drive, or email a list as an Excel spreadsheet.
- Data Integrity: The last thing you want in your lists is messy or invalid data. An event receiver could catch the item inserted/updated events, and verify that all the fields are valid and well formatted.
- Database & List Communication: This software does a great job of pulling information from many different sources and placing it in lists and dashboards. Event receivers can be used to push data and updates from SharePoint software back to external databases, web services, or another SP list. This is also a great way to log changes made to items within a list.
- Email Processing: Out of the box SharePoint can receive emails and deposit it within a list as a new item with the following fields: Sender, Subject, Body, etc… With event receivers you can go even further and parse the content of the email. Imagine if you could send purchase orders directly to your SP site and the event receiver transforms the email to SP item with all the fields populated (purchase order number, customer information, product details, and prices).
Event receivers are a great tool to allow you to customize SharePoint to meet your needs, automate processes to increase productivity, and improve integration among this software and existing systems.