I was listening to .NET Rocks episode #713 and it got me thinking about a number of SharePoint related topics.
I have been working with SharePoint since the 2001 product came out and have watched it evolve over the years. Today SharePoint is one of the most powerful and flexible products in the market. Of course that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement (a lot of improvement in fact) and with much power comes much responsibility.
My main gripe these days is that you have to develop on a server instance. This adds a real barrier to entry for developers. You either have to run VMWare or Hyper-V on your developer machine or actually develop on your dev server for most tasks. Yes, there is a way to setup a Windows 7 machine with the SharePoint components but it is very hackish.
Beyond that the tools in VS2010 are a great leap forward from past generations. Not requiring a separate package creation tool is not the least of the improvements. Better workflow and web part development have also eased the burden of many developers.
The other thing the show brought up in my thoughts was more around usage. Users want to be able to self server everything without regard to what affect that has on leveraging their data from a corporate perspective. My coworkers who work on Lotus Notes ask why the user can’t just do what ever they want? Part of the reason is that those features have not been built, but the other part is that giving them those features is often like giving an infant a loaded hand gun. You can do it but it doesn’t make it the smart thing to do.
As with any tool that is going to be used in the enterprise it should be subject to governance. If controls are not in place as they said in the episode of DNR the document libraries and I believe SharePoint in general starts to look as disarrayed and unusable as a shared drive. Consider these factors before giving into every whim of the users. You should be able to explain to them the tradeoffs of giving them full control versus being able to leverage the information they collect to the benefit of the organization.
These are just a couple of the thoughts that were triggered by the show. I’m sure there are more discussions that can be had. Feel free to leave your comments about the pros and cons of SharePoint.