What I hope gets “fixed” in SharePoint 2010

There are some limitations in WSS 3.0/SharePoint 2007 that are hurting the adoption of SharePoint 2007 at my company. I’m sure that this is pretty common. Many users are familiar with WordPress and Foswiki/TWiki. My users are looking for easy to use editors, plug-ins, and themes that they can use on their team sites and “my sites”. With the “Revolution” in Social media and Web 2.0 users are familiar with open source web tools that allow rich-text editing and replaceable editors. They complain bitterly about editing their content, blog or a wiki inside SharePoint.

  • The WSS 3.0/SharePoint 2007 WYSIWYG editor can’t upload images, video, audio clips and can’t insert Flash files.
    The workaround requires so many mouse clicks and web page interactions, that users look at me like I have “3 heads” when I show it to them.
  • Working with tables is difficult, at best
  • Any customizations such as:
    • custom file browsers,
    • link management,
    • syntax aware code viewers,
    • and much more

    are difficult to implement

From a Wiki perspective

  • Explicit syntax [[]]
  • No free form image inserts
  • No server side include of other topics.
    Need an easy way to include content from another site. In Foswiki/Twki the %{link} tag can be used
  • No easy upload and insert of attachments
  • No Easy way to insert links.
    Foswiki/TWiki support WikiWord/Camel Case.
  • No tagging
  • WYSIWYG support for tables is ugly. You must know the number of rows and columns in advance.
    Foswiki/TWiki support simple “|” character based table definitions and an editable table plugin
  • No printable vew
  • No export to PDF/Word
  • Limited Alerts support.
    Email alerts say something changed and include the full text. However, this can not be customized to tell you what changed. You must login and see the history for that.
    Foswiki/Twiki support a highly customizable WebNotify
  • No easy support for multiple top level webs.
    There is only one flat “Wiki Pages” page with list view, no hierarchical view or some sort of sitemap feature.Wikis are made up of Topics that are interlinked in the form of a graph. Hence a specific Tree or Hierarchy structure is not the right representation. However, there must be a way to find all top level topics, i.e. Topics that are not linked to by any other topics. These topics will include
    • the starting points
    • new topics that have been added but not yet organized.

    I could not find a way to do this with this with the SharePoint Wiki. Even a simple way to flag a page as “add this page” to “Quick Launch” would help.

  • Not easy to provide a standard footer
    No apparent concept of templates

The “MS/SharePoint 2007″ update approach does not seem to fit into this “revolution”, either. The current approach requires direct access to the servers to install and activate extensions. With “Cloud Computing” and web hosting on the rise; the direct server access approach is not a good match. SharePoint needs something like a Plug-in central for SharePoint. Ideally, this could work on a site level and not require Central Administration be updated first. Another issue for remote management is that “by default” SharePoint Central Administration and SharePoint Sites must run on different tcp/ip ports. I’m sure that if I work real hard I can find a way to run them on the same port using “host-headers”. However, if I do, then will this really be supported or would the next next patch or upgrade break my sites?

So my wish list for SharePoint 2010 starts with:

  • A site focused web based upload, install, and management capability similar to that found in WordPress and Plug-in central for WordPress
  • A Rich-Text Editor that is rich in function, easily expandable and replaceable.
    Consider integrating a freely available javascript-based Rich-Text Editor for all browsers including IE. My primary choices would be FCKEditor and TinyMCE or TinyMCE Advanved.
  • A competitive wiki and blog, without having to buying 3rd party add-ons.

Perhaps Microsoft only wants SharePoint to be a document sharing facility. Maybe I should not be trying to bend WSS and SharePoint into the social media and web 2.0 “arena”. Maybe that “arena” should just belong to Apache, Linux and Open Source.

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  • Kevin Davis

    Hey there. I’m the PM responsible for SharePoint wikis in vNext. This is a great post. Lots of valid complaints and criticism.

    While we can’t disclose details of vNext until the SharePoint conference in October (you should go!), I can assure you that we really value wiki usage in SharePoint.

    I’d be happy to chat more with you or anyone else who has strong opinions about SharePoint wikis. You can reach me on twitter – @spwiki

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    We have just launched an ultimate solution for better WYSIWYG support on SharePoint:
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    We’re happy to hear suggestions about our new integration. I hope you’ll enjoy it!

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