Tuesday, August 11, 2009

SharePoint AS SaaS

At the recent SharePoint Conference 2008, Gates announced that the hosted services would be opened up to organizations of all sizes, coming to a node near you, so it was said, in the second quarter of this year.

Now considering how well Microsoft has be able to sell the “Be all you can be with SharePoint” dream, this announcement has surely inspired everything from cheers of joy to cynical snickers to shivers of fear.

The online collaboration and content management space is heating up damn fast. And being the nosy CMS'ers that we are, we rung up Tom Rizzo, Redmond's Director of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, to see if he could add a few nuggets of detail to the story.

CMSWire: Why is Microsoft making the move to on-demand solutions for SharePoint at a time when sales for the product are so high?

Tom Rizzo: We are developing hosted services to address partner and customer needs. The biggest reason for the interest is the ability to reach new customers and grow revenue more efficiently. We’ve already seen products like Live Meeting and Exchange Hosted Services fulfill that need and reach additional potential customers. Microsoft Online Services — comprised of hosted versions of SharePoint Server, Exchange Server and Office Communications Server — is a natural extension of this strategy.

Microsoft will continue to innovate and develop products and solutions that adapt to technology trends and meet customer need. Microsoft Online Services is a prime example of Microsoft’s software plus services strategy in action. Microsoft will continue to provide its customers with options in how they manage and access software — whether it’s online, on-premises or both.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Not everything fits in SharePoint

What Should You Suggest:

Believe me....not everything fits in SharePoint....So If your organization is happy with using Share Point without heavily customizing the appearance or customizing behavior beyond what the designers and front end provides, you're probably never going to run into any problems. However, if your organization doesn't want Share Point to look like Share Point, you are about to step into a world of aggravation and headaches. To say that SharePoint development leaves much to be desired would be to play a very mean trick on those of you who haven't had to attempt it yet. If you're an enterprise Java developer, SharePoint should feel like home with it's myriad of configuration files, steps, miles of XML and use of GUIDs to tie all the pieces together. While things are getting better as Microsoft and others work on a better development toolset, it's going to be a while before custom development in SharePoint won't evoke profane muttering from even the most pious developers.

If you have to delve into the guts of the UI, you'll find Microsoft's reputation for emitting ugly HTML and bastardizing CSS holds true. SharePoint spews forth nested table driven layouts sprinkled with hundreds of CSS classes the likes of which I never imagined. Needless to say, the road to trying to amend this is itself not clearly feasible, although I have been tasked with finding a way. While I do have leads, I've got nothing concrete, nothing from Microsoft on how to and very little time to do what I need to. While your run-of-the-mill skinning and layout exercises can be done using themes and master pages without much difficulty, those who find themselves in situations like mine will find it hard to say nice things about Microsoft's SharePoint team.