Oops… seems I stole Heather’s thunder!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005 12:43 PM

After seeing Heather’s first post “Have we lost the SharePoint vision?”, I had to jump atop my soapbox and throw in my $.02.  Seems I stole her thunder for the follow-up post… my bad sista!

In her post she mentions we (Heather & I work together for those unaware) often discuss (I wouldn’t say argue) about whether we should have used MCMS instead of SharePoint for our corporate intranet.  We actually used both, but MCMS took a backseat (it’s actually a very cool seamless integration… many of the integration techniques are outlined in my upcoming book I’m working on with fellow MCMS MVPs).  The primary interface is SharePoint, but we have whole sections that are MCMS… and a nice setup where any SPS area can actually be a MCMS channel… as well as replaced the vertical left-hand navigation in the Portal to mix in a SPS & MCMS experience… it’s quite slick… but that’s not important right now).

She’s dead on… we need a way to control the UI… we need to give the user the ability to manage their content and even the ability to pull Web Parts onto a page (those specific ones we’ve granted them rights to that is).  But we need to control the formatting.  Sure, I’ll hand over a bunch of CSS classes… even make it friendly to the Word people (just similar style names in the same sort of a DropDownList)… BUT we can’t allow them to control the formatting.  There must be a clear cut separation of presentation and data.  It just blows me away that this has been a consistent issue in web media… STILL.  The USERS own the data… WE own the presentation.  Now, we have a consistent look & feel across the entire site.

“But it’s the user’s content… what’s the big deal?”  Let me answer with an example.  Look at Microsoft.com.  First, I know for a fact there are more than 10 people who manage their website.  But i’m sure there’s a design team that maintains the site.  I’m sure the Windows team manages their section, just as the Office team does theirs, etc.  I doubt any one person can format it how they like… they conform to a set of presentation rules.  Why?  Because a SINGLE, CONSISTENT presentation is easier for the end user to understand.

Personally I think MCMS nailed it in this respect.  There is no better example of separation between presentation and data.  I just wish the same model was incorporated into SharePoint.  I say it again, I hope the integration between MCMS and SharePoint addresses this and MCMS “wins” on this point.

One last thing… take note of Bil’s comment to Heather’s first post.  Seems to me he gets exactly what we’re saying.  What’s surprising is I haven’t heard others talk about this.  Are there others?  Are we the only ones?

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