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Sorry, gotta say it, Sharepoint is crap

With all the effort people must have spent trying to make a Web interface look and behave like an application, only to end up with a clunky, slow, malfunctioning abortion, they could have implemented a real installable desktop application and made it part of the Office suite.

Sometimes you can take eating your own dog food too far...
Permalink Ian Boys 
January 5th, 2006
Any concrete criticism?

Philo
Permalink Philo 
January 5th, 2006
Grey is a lousy colour.

[g,d,r]
Permalink Ward Bush 
January 5th, 2006
Yeah - one of the top requests I got last year was "how do I make it look like 'not SharePoint'?"

Philo
Permalink Philo 
January 5th, 2006
My biggest gripe is that the Microsoft marketing dudes went around selling to managers all the potential in the SharePoint vision, present AND future, rather than simply stating what the product realistically was.

As a result, it seemed like the most popular thing to do with SharePoint was modify it, however brutal and unpleasant a task, and the least popular thing to do was use it.
Permalink Jeff Barton 
January 5th, 2006
The user interface doesn't look or behave like a Windows application. The UI is slow and awkward to use. Sometimes it hangs and misbehaves unpredictably. Many aspects are not intuitive, such as document versioning, checking in and out, and creating new revisions.

I just explored the task pane in Word 2003. It offered to let me create a new Document Workspace for sharing my document, but it did not offer any obvious way to connect to an existing workspace that our project team uses and store the document there. The Word help effectively told me I should save the document to disk, go to Internet Explorer, open the portal, browse to the right folder and upload the document. Did I miss something, or is that a crazily roundabout process?
Permalink Ian Boys 
January 5th, 2006
I was trying to think of some criticisms, Its hard to come up with bad things to say about concrete. It's so darn useful.
Permalink ronk! 
January 5th, 2006
Yeah, I hate Sharepoint too. I really hate it. I don't for the life of me understand why I have to dig into the GAC and find the dlls and copy them to a development machine so I can do customizations on a machine other than the Sharepoint server. That made me mad. But then I was burned out around the time I was doing that so I'm sure I overreacted when I deleted the damn OS and just re-installed without Sharepoint and told my boss I'd rather do Scoop or Mambo instead.

You know, I think that sealed my fate at my last employer, in a last straw kind of way, because that's when I got into an argument with the sysadmin about supporting Linux ("waaah, I got kids and I play WoW all night so I'm not going to learn how to support anything other than Windows") which lead me to the conclusion that I needed to seek other employment.

So actually maybe Sharepoint is cool.
Permalink sharkfish 
January 5th, 2006
"it did not offer any obvious way to connect to an existing workspace that our project team uses and store the document there."

Copy the URL of the workspace.
In Word, File/Save As
Ctrl-C, delete the "Forms/AllItems.aspx", Enter

You should be looking at the Document Library - save it. And in future you should find the library under the "network places" tab.

Does that help?

Philo
Permalink Philo 
January 5th, 2006
Philo - I'm particularly having problems when it comes taking backups and restoring them. Is it possible to copy and paste a document library so that it will contain the custom columns, if some are created? Operations like the above, which are intuitive when done in a Windows explorer, don't seem to be straight forward at all in SharePoint.

Is it possible to backup and restore a portal from one box to a totally different box? Or should it be done manually? Or can at least parts of the content be replicated? I mean here the structure, for instance the structure of a document library, rather than the items, the documents, in them.

Can you help with this or should I be contacting Microsoft Support?... :-)
Permalink Senthilnathan N.S. 
January 6th, 2006
"Does that help?"

Ah yes, arcane knowledge from an insider on the development team. Feels like I'm back in 1995 again. :P
Permalink Flasher T 
January 6th, 2006
What the hell is Sharepoint, anyway?

Microsoft says it's "an integrated portfolio of collaboration and communication services designed to connect people, information, processes, and systems both within and beyond the organizational firewall."

So it's a webserver and a mailserver? Isn't Exchange supposed to do that? Or some sort of CMS that makes your applications run in a browser, as long as that browser is IExplorer, running on the newest Windows version and requiring you to install 1.2 GB of Sharepoint Extensions that have to be licensed individually?

Sorry if this sounds polemic, but I really find it difficult to grasp what Sharepoint is supposed to be. Also, we just rolled out Project "Web" Access, and it's been really frustrating.

  -tim
Permalink a2800276 
January 6th, 2006
Oh yeah, helpful hint - stay away from our marketing pages.

SharePoint is like an internal wiki with stronger organization and the ability to host documents. Start from there. :)

Philo
Permalink Philo 
January 6th, 2006
Sharepoint appears to be:

- A place where a single copy of documents can be placed for shared viewing and editing by a team
- A place where those documents can have a version history (why doesn't NTFS have file versions natively like VMS had?)
- A place where announcements can be placed and discussions can be held
- A place that can actively do things in response to events (like send people emails when documents get revised)

Unfortunately, the current implementation appears like a kluge that someone experimented with in-house, that some manager then seized upon and prematurely released into the wild without proper development.

The user interface via Internet Explorer is ugly and disfunctional. It should have been through a Windows Explorer-like tree view, and should appear to applications like a native and browsable file system. Sharepoint client access should also have been completely integrated with the Office suite.

Something similar to Sharepoint already existed in Outlook public folders in Exchange, giving an appearance that some reinventing of wheels has been going on. Unfortunately, it has been like reinventing a square wheel as a hexagonal one. We are still waiting for the round wheel.
Permalink Ian Boys 
January 6th, 2006
I prefer a basic wiki.
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 6th, 2006
There's a wiki web part for SharePoint.

And what do you use to store documents in wikis?

"and should appear to applications like a native and browsable file system"

It does - it has a WebDAV interface.

Philo
Permalink Philo 
January 6th, 2006
Just like Plone then hmmm.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
January 6th, 2006
Philo:

"Does that help?" - Yes, I see.

"It does - it has a WebDAV interface." - Yes, now I see how that works.

OK, I withdraw some of my opening sentiments. I still feel the web interface is painful though.

Thanks for the tips.

What was missing here is for Windows or Office apps to automatically "see" and show available Sharepoint portals to connect to, somewhat as computers can see and present a list of available wireless networks.
Permalink Ian Boys 
January 6th, 2006
Yeah, that would be cool, but the development path didn't support it (they developed in parallel, so major SharePoint-oriented overhauls weren't an option)

I think it's friendlier in 12 - I'll check.

Philo
Permalink Philo 
January 6th, 2006
>And what do you use to store documents in wikis?

Our wiki (trac) stores documents.
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 6th, 2006
Cool - I figured someone would do it eventually, but this is the first one I've heard.
Permalink Philo 
January 6th, 2006
It tracks bugs/tickets, browses your source control and when I learn python it's going to do this too:

http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/SetYourPriorities.html
Permalink Colm O'Connor 
January 6th, 2006

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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