SharePointing the Way (or not)

There's two ways to show you've got a successful CMS platform.

One, your PR blogger can claim so before the next major version is released.
Two, when a customer has questions, somebody from the community is able to supply an answer.

Well, Micrsosoft SharePoint did achieve the first, thanks to the Scobleizer.

But the second is what matters when the rubber hits the road.

I realize that Microsoft has a lot of paying customers, but one would expect a number of helpful consultants to trawl the MSDN forums and offer to help out hapless newbies. So I frame my questions like such: (a) Is this supported? (b) If not now, when? (c) If not by MSFT, then perhaps by a third party?

Here's the list of issues I've brought up in the SharePoint MSDN forum over the last 4 months of evaluating SharePoint (in my spare time at work) that haven't been answered satisfactorily, if at all:

  1. SharePoint doesn't natively supply a REST API; you can't create lists dynamically. (4/17/07)
  2. ditto, you can't create filtered RSS feeds dynamically– and, btw, the RSS item for the wiki feed is not the actual article, but the container for it (8/2/07 && 8/7/07)
  3. We'd like to have dynamic filters, because rollup is not supported natively (we've been trying Bamboo, with mixed success).
  4. SharePoint's wiki titles don't behave as MediaWiki's do using underscores and escaping any and all non-alphanumeric (in question #1, but repeated 8/13/07)
  5. SharePoint Search, by default, is a crawl of HTML content, not of actual data. So search results end up with many duplicate pages, since all navigational content is indexed. (Watch out when you search for "Search.") This is excusable for any blind crawler, but not for a CMS. (5/25/07)
  6. When you save a wiki page, there's nothing telling you the that it's still checked out; you have to know to click the "history" link. (5/22/07)
  7. When you check-in a piece of content, there nothing telling you who will get an alert — or even whether you can supress the alert, for alerts, minor edits, or bulk updates (5/24/07)
  8. SharePoint's discussion threads do not have ID's. So the URL for a thread is constructed by escaping the title of the first post, rather than by using an ID#. That's not how MOSS 2003 worked, or the MSDN forums, for that matter (asked in my first post of 4/17)
  9. MSDN Forums are smarter than that! As a matter of fact, MSDN forums do a lot of things cool, like recognizing that each thread ought to have an answer (technically). (8/2/07)

I understand that a lot can be added on. But some of these are fundamentals.

To illustrate point #1, imagine that the following are valid URL's within SharePoint:

http: //sharepoint/Docs/wiki/Forms/ShowList.aspx?Author=Garfunkel,%20Jon
http: //sharepoint/Docs/wiki/Forms/ShowList.aspx?DocType=FYI
http: //sharepoint/Docs/wiki/Forms/ShowList.aspx?DocType=FYI&Author=Garfunkel,%20Jon
http: //sharepoint/Docs/wiki/Forms/ShowList.aspx?DocType=FYI&mode=rss
http: //sharepoint/Docs/wiki/Forms/ShowList.aspx?DocType=FYI&mode=atom

The essence of REST– as many people understand it, the URL-as-API– is that I don't even have to explain what these links will return. It's self-explanatory. (the http: is separated from the // to avoid the automatic hyperlinking). 

My question about improving the image referencing capabilities (5/22/07), was answered– but only when I looked through the archives. Product Manager Lawrence Liu recommended replacing the OOTB editor with the RAD Editor from Telerik.


I tried the blogs: SharePoint team blog. ECM Team Blog. Lawrence Liu's Report from the Inside. Joel Oleson's SharePoint Land. What a mess! As I've said (to some audiences), between forums and blogs, one was designed for fielding community questions, and the other pretends to. I told Joel that the SharePoint multi-blog strategy was impossible to follow; but I don't remember where, and I can't search across the blogs, as it is.

For my last resort, I went into LinkedIn, and searched the SharePoint developers in the Boston area. I found a couple, suggested we may be able to do some business, shared my questions, and made connections. I am aware that all the cool kids are hanging out at CodePlex, Microsoft's hosted site for open source contributions. Another site to track.