Heather Solomon jumped a-top her soapbox to opine “ Have we lost the SharePoint vision? ”. The jist of her argument is that it seems the community has more focus on the administration, development of workarounds, and development of web parts. She’s dead on, a lot of attention has not been focused on the end user.
Now I’m sure there are plenty who will take shots at her take. I agree with her to an extent. There are people out there who are writing end-user web parts, but most of what I see are the admin tools and talk about development of specific web parts. One thing I see that drives me crazy is that you can’t control the formatting of what people put on a site. I haven’t had the time to test it, but telerik’s r.a.d Editor Web Part may provide a lot of help in this area.
I like how in MCMS 2002 you layout the pages in a template and have complete control over the formatting options available to the content owners within placeholders. telerik’s r.a.d. Editor for MCMS is very slick to provide even more features to the end user.
Take an enterprise deployment of SharePoint Portal Server within an organisation. Why did you do deploy it? you want to provide collaboration to your users with a portal. However, you want your users to control only the content… NOT the formatting. Let’s face it, we all have hundreds of Joe User’s who author their stuff in Word & copy-paste it right into Content Editor Web Parts. We tell them not to, but we can’t stop them without creating our own component. This can cause errors as we recently experienced: some user did the MS Word copy-paste which put a special character into the textarea of the Content Editor Web Part. They were able to save their content just fine, but anytime they wanted to edit it, the Content Editor Web Part would blow up and crash IE when they opened up the rich text editor. This is a classic case of my point: saving the user from themselves.
There’s my example of saving the user from themselves… but it’s not my primary issue. You have a corporate brand and standard. Your IT department needs to maintain it. So… what do you do? You have rules for colors, layout, font families and sizes for all your content. Easy to maintain this in an application like MCMS… easy to maintain in Word/Excel/PowerPoint too with Templates. But there are those people who still think Comic Sans MS is a good font to use on their memos or in their email (or even those that love that silly stationary they can use in their email with backgrounds of note paper, leaves, or whatever crap they chose). My point is you need to maintain control of the presentation of your site. You don’t just maintain a SharePoint site’s infrastructure and settings, installing new Web Parts here or spawning new WSS sites/SPS portals there. You also have ownership of THE SITE itself… a living entity. I’m fine with giving users the ability to maintain their own content, but I need to be able to stop them from using images to display tables of content rather than REAL tables (as far as I know, there isn’t an IFilter to read “tabular content stored in a JPEG” for SharePoint’s search).
“But you can do that in MCMS… if that’s what you want, why didn’t you deploy MCMS?” Because MCMS is a content publishing/presentation product… it’s NOT designed or capable OOTB of collaboration. Maybe the next version of the products will address this issue. Maybe the recent news of the underlying infrastructure merging between MCMS & SPS will help in addressing this issue.
This is a bit of a rant… and some of my thoughts are just thrown down.