Article: Choosing Between a User Control or a Web Part for SharePoint

I generally recommend that users don’t write Web Parts unless they have to. That confuses a lot of people since most people believe that you have to write Web Parts if you want to do work with SharePoint. This is only partially true.

SharePoint will only display Web Parts on a page. However, there are publicly available shims that allow you to write user controls and have them be displayed as a Web Part. From SharePoint’s point of view, the shim is a Web Part. From the point of view of the user control, the shim is simply a control in .NET that is including the user control.

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