Sunday, December 21, 2008



Recently working on a project where client requirement was not being satisfied with the SharePoint 2007 OOB features and the good thing is that.....we were not allowed to suggest the customization or what....

So the good thing which came out in

* A COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) product is one that is used "as-is." COTS products are designed to be easily installed and to interoperate with existing system components. Almost all software bought by the average computer user fits into the COTS category: operating systems, office product suites, word processing, and e-mail programs are among the myriad examples. One of the major advantages of COTS software, which is mass-produced, is its relatively low cost.
* A MOTS (either modified or modifiable off-the-shelf, or military off-the-shelf, depending on the context) product is typically a COTS product whose source code can be modified. The product may be customized by the purchaser, by the vendor, or by another party to meet the requirements of the customer. In the military context, MOTS refers to an off-the-shelf product that is developed or customized by a commercial vendor to respond to specific military requirements. Because a MOTS product is adapted for a specific purpose, it can be purchased and used immediately. However, since MOTS software specifications are written by external sources, government agencies are sometimes leery of these products, because they fear that future changes to the product will not be in their control.
* A GOTS (government off-the-shelf) product is typically developed by the technical staff of the government agency for which it is created. It is sometimes developed by an external entity, but with funding and specification from the agency. Because agencies can directly control all aspects of GOTS products, these are generally preferred for government purposes.
* A NOTS (NATO off-the-shelf or niche off-the-shelf, depending on the context) product is developed by NC3A (for NATO Consultation, Command, and Control) to meet specific requirements for NATO. In the more general context, niche off-the-shelf refers to vendor-developed software that is for a specialized and narrow market segment, in comparison to the broad market for COTS products.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Microsoft Poised to Offer SharePoint 2007 SP2

Microsoft plans to ship Office SharePoint Server 2007 SP2 in early 2009 and will focus on improving the end-user experience, rather than being aimed at improving the internal operations of the complex software product, which was an area of focus for SharePoint SP1.

According to
TechNet blog announcement of the coming SP2, the SharePoint team has disclosed that SP2 will include “Performance and manageability improvements to variations in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) including STSADM commands for repairing links between source and target pages”. Also, the Redmond-based software giant will build in some improvements to read-only content databases and rebuild timer jobs in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0.

According to Microsoft, the release date of SharePoint SP2 will fall between February and April of 2009.

If Microsoft is looking to enhance the end-user experience with SharePoint, the company needs to try much harder. As a SharePoint administrator, I’m commonly faced with questions about how to execute seemingly common tasks in any CMS system. For example, editing text in a text Web Part (called a Content Editor Web Part) takes about five clicks to actually get to editing text.

In some SharePoint management screens, OK and Cancel buttons exist at the top of the page and the bottom of the page, where on other management screens, the OK/Cancel duo is only found at the bottom. And as a final example, migrating content between sites (even among sites that belong to the same parent site) requires command line backup and restore operations from a SharePoint administrator, rather than a simple drag-and-drop type of operation as would be expected.

These types of user interface issues are prevalent throughout the SharePoint product and deserve attention from Microsoft in order to improve the end-user experience.

Continuing an earlier theme, the SharePoint team has been quite cryptic, as noted by CMS Watch’s Janus Boye, with the roadmap for SharePoint development and upcoming features. The Office Sustained Engineering blog notes this lack of transparency and leads the communication about the upcoming MOSS 2007 SP2 in an effort to alleviate this issue.

SharePoint (MOSS) SP1 is Out the Door

Microsoft has released the first SharePoint WSS 3.0 / MOSS 2007 Service Pack.

In case you’ve been sleeping the last couple of weeks, Microsoft has been sending out secret messages about the eminent release of the first SharePoint Service Pack for both WSS3.0 and SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007. It was rumored to come out this week and here it is - free for the taking!

To bring you up to speed, the service pack contains the following items:

A whole wack of hotfixes related either to support issues or just requested from the developer community
some new and not so new STSAdm commands including mergecontentdbs,renamesite and a number of People Picker commands
Compatibility with the AJAX 1.0 Control kit for ASP.Net and the AJAX 1.0 Extensions for ASP.Net to create Webparts for asynchronous post back
The ability to build custom webparts with AJAX
Support for Windows Server 2008

How to Get SharePoint SP1
Have a quick read of the official SharePoint team blog where Joel Oleson gives us the basics. Or forget that and head straight to the source and download the Service Pack and the Office SharePoint Server 2007 whitepaper — it needs a whitepaper (wow!) …but wait, it’s only 4 pages.
But hang on. One thing we want to emphasize is that the update should not be blindly applied without previous testing. To quote Microsoft:

It is essential that you understand the appropriate guidance and test out the patch in a separate test environment. For this purpose we have put together a special SP1 page on TechNet to guide you through the process.
WSS 3.0 SP1
Want to read it online? Have a gander at the Support KB, or just look at the list of fixes.

MOSS 2007 SP1
Don’t forget that you must install the WSS 3.0 Service Pack before you can get knee deep into the MOSS update. You’ll find the MOSS info here and here.

SharePoint Designer 2007
Yep, that’s right, there’s a service pack for the Designer too. Left that little piece of info out of the preview didn’t they?

The Problem with SharePoint

In the report, Forrester identifies several areas of concern including: lack of application lifecycle management tools, backup and restoration tools and enterprise data integration. In addition, the report states that SharePoint is a closed environment based solely on the Microsoft server stack not allowing for other databases or non-Microsoft products to be added. Add to that the lack of highly skilled SharePoint developers and there may be cause for concern.

Not everyone agrees, particularly those third-party consultants and vendors who work to integrate or develop SharePoint solutions. In an interview with ChannelWeb, Ken Winell, CEO of Expertcollab, a SharePoint-focused solution provider said, “[SharePoint] has one of the most open frameworks for third party tools and applications that Microsoft has ever delivered. Just take a look at some of the tools from K2.NET, CorasWorks, Knowledgelake, Tsunami. These ISVs are making serious enhancements to the SharePoint platform while maintaining their own identity.”

In Defense of Microsoft
Forrester doesn’t spend the entire report beating Microsoft over the head for SharePoint however. They acknowledge that even Microsoft couldn’t have predicted how fast and far the MOSS madness would go. And they are working on filling some of the gaps their product has, like the application lifecycle management issue.

Microsoft is indeed a big supporter of partnering to help better their SharePoint platform. We see this in a major way with the social media capabilities. There are also a few providers of SharePoint Administration functionality that even SharePoint doesn’t have out of the box.

Three Solutions to Follow
In their report, Forrester suggests their Your Three Strategy Options For SharePoint. We got a line on these strategies from a post on PC World:

Strategy 1: Use SharePoint as an “application for collaboration and sharing information and not as a development platform at all.” This is probably where a number of organizations sit today.
Strategy 2: Use SharePoint as “an application and an intranet platform for which the company fills in product gaps.” A bit more challenging an approach that requires the organization to purchase additional third party products or develop custom solutions.
Strategy 3: Use SharePoint as “both an application and an enterprise portal at the core of a company’s application-development strategy.” The most challenging approach and one that requires the IT division to truly get on board with.

MOSS is certainly getting its share of licks these days. Every analyst is evaluating it and coming back with issues and concerns. Most are saying similar things, like SharePoint today is similar to Lotus Notes of yesterday. It’s not just the analysts that have negative things to say about the platform. Just create a Google Alert for SharePoint blogs and hear what the developers and IT guys and gals are grumbling about.

But for every person who puts it down, there is one touting its merits. SharePoint is still relatively new and we have so much to learn about it that, yes, we should be careful when developing on it and with how we implement it. The thing is, you could say that about just about every other CMS product out there. You just don’t hear the grumbling as loud.