About a month ago I posted an open question for two reasons:
- I was looking for help as I was having a very hard time finding any resources about integrating MCMS 2002 and SharePoint
- I had no idea what kind of readership I actually had… ever get that blog feeling of “does anyone give a damn about what I say? Does anyone other than me subscribe to my blog?”
I quickly found the answer to #2 was either my post was Slashdotted that day, tons of PM’s and developers were tasked with putting SharePoint & MCMS 2002 together that day and my post was at the top of a Google / Feedster search, or there are a few people that really do subscribe to my rants. There were a few comments (as you can see), but there were a TON of emails expressing interest. I was pretty impressed with the handful from Fortune 500’s (including someone who had the task to incorporate 45 portals, 250+ WSS sites, and 25-35 MCMS 2002 sites… all internal), but the most shocking was the feedback I got from a few MS and MCS folk.
It seems I’m not the only one who has the same task and who’s having trouble with it. My task started back about 8 months ago and we’ve been working off and on a solution and implementation for an internal application. After talking to a few MS MVPs, I decided to write a short series on my take, what the MCMS 2002 Connector for SharePoint Technologies provides, but more importantly what I think is a REAL integration between the two products, as well how we handled it (the project is still underway so this past part in the series will be consistently appended over the next few months).
There’re two things I want to say before the series:
- I’ll use the term SharePoint Technologies (hereafter SPT) to refer to SharePoint Portal Server 2003 & Windows SharePoint Services. When the need arises, I’ll explicitly mention when something applies to SharePoint Portal Server (hereafter SPS) or Windows SharePoint Services (WSS).
- There is a distinct and very big difference between a single solution and the Connector Microsoft provides. A connector does just that… connects two products and does things like pulling content from either product into the environment of the other… this is not a single solution to me. Integration is more of putting two products together, leveraging each other’s strengths, to build a single solution.
** Part 1 - Introduction to SharePoint Portal Technologies (SPT), MCMS and how they complement each other: **I’m not going to restate what the products are in detail… references will do that. What I want to do is point out the assets and strong suits each product brings to the table and where there’s a cross over. If you’ve had the chance to use both products, most of this will be review to you… but I find quite a few people haven’t used MCMS 2002 (least those I’ve come in contact with).
** Part 2 - Which product takes the primary role in a single integrated solution: **Each solution is different, but in any solution I think one product will take a primary role in terms of the user interface or dominant customer/consumer experience.
**Part 3 - Microsoft’s MCMS Connector for SharePoint Technologies:**In late 2003/early 2004, Microsoft offered for free the MCMS 2002 Connector for SharePoint Technologies. This does quite a bit for projects where you have a CMS pull content from SharePoint or use SharePoint’s search capabilities. It also provides some web parts to pull CMS content in as well as help content owners manage their postings that have been published or are awaiting approval.
**Part 4 - Problems with an out-of-the-box connected solution:**Simply put, the Connector only goes so far and it only connects SPT and MCMS 2002… it doesn’t integrate the two. There are plenty of people who need this ability and it simply doesn’t exist at this time… I’ll point out a few of these points of contention and offer a few solutions. I expect to append this part in the series over the next few months as I move further in my current project.