Mike Drip’s entertaining article on "SharePoint"

This blog entry has been rewritten to focus on the content of the article.

I came across Mike Drip’s article recently that is published on informat.com. I don’t feel the content of the article provides constructive feedback or solutions to SharePoint development. It seems like the article vents frustration than anything.  Here’s my response to the different points:

1.  With web development, you are bound to have elements of javascript, CSS and HTML. These are standard technologies and SharePoint Products and Technologies take advantage of them. So depending on what you need to customize, you’ll have to know one or more of these technologies. So I don’t really understand the point and/or argument being made here. The word “crappy” in the title is rather strong especially when no concrete points have been made to support it.

2. I’m not sure where this is coming from. The roadmaps for WSS and SPS have been articulated by BillG who has been quoted in several places in the article. WSS and SPS will ship in the Office System timeframe w/ beta 1 scheduled for end of this year and release second half of next year. I understand that people want new features released -tomorrow-, but

3. There are two technologies with the name SharePoint in them: 1) Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) and 2) Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server (SPS). While it can seem confusing when folks refer to “SharePoint” and don’t specify what technology they are referring to, having the two technologies separately is a good thing. WSS is a component of Windows Server 2003 and is the platform for building collaborative solutions in conjunction with other products. SPS, on the other hand, is a server technology that is built on top of WSS and focuses on aggregation. They complement each other well but serve different purposes. Clearly, b/c SPS is built on top of WSS, it exposes a lot of the underlying WSS functionality like the web part framework, lists, doc libraries and so on.

4. When WSS and SPS were released, every answer wasn’t available out there. However, since release, Microsoft has delivered a lot of content in the form of solution accelerators, updated SDKs, technical whitepapers, et cetera. The MVP and SharePoint communities have contributed in newsgroups, written books, samples, et cetera. The article claims that the newsgroups are bad and makes an attack on the MVP community. MVPs are judged and awarded MVP status based on the quality of their response, not the quantity of their responses. Because WSS is a broad technology, I’m sure there are unexplored scenarios where customers are doing creative things. In these unique situations, you may have questions that may not have answers. However, making broad generalizations like “no support” is rather discouraging and inaccurate.

5. Both WSS and SPS are extremely stragic for Microsoft. We are investing heavily in both technologies. Several of our server products, are in fact, using WSS for storage. We’re very excited about the next release and have spoken to many customers and partners. If you want more info for futures as a developer, go to PDC. 🙂

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