I was collecting feedbacks from many people these days about the enhancement we did for SharePoint Search in China. Good feedback, bad feedback, that's okay. I just put the whole list here:
Search As You Type, SAYT: The live search feel for your SharePoint search box.
TODO: Check if there's any chance we can make use of AJAX.NET.
Predefined Search: Some kind of Saved Search. Just by a single click, and your query will be remembered and can be share to the public.
TODO: Currently none. If you have ideas, contribute to the open source project!
Smart Search: 1. Display top ten hot search keyword. 2. Display relevant search keywords.
TODO: Bugfix, and a pure English version.
SharePoint Search Admin: A GUI based tool which can do SharePoint search administration, much better and easy to use than SharePoint Search settings page itself.
TODO: Bugfix, add more tricks so that can help service people to deliver things on time.
Chinese "did you mean" webpart: Deliver a did you mean feature for Simplified Chinese.
Some people have a concern that these codeplex tools are not supported by Microsoft. That's true. But I must emphasize here, that codeplex thing is OPEN SOURCE. Yes, we are talking about Open Source in Microsoft. Personally I am some kind of open source lover, I think if you really want to do some thing like SOA or SaaS, open source development model would be a pretty good alternative to a complex API set. The pain of API set is the blackbox development. Product team people may not understand the business needs as deeply as we field people do. So, it is quite possible that they do something unreasonable with the product. The gain of API set is also the blackbox model. It simplified the process of development, lowered the entry barrier of newbie developers. Of course, open source may lead to bad documentation and unreadable code, also complexity of the code you write to extend it. So, a balance between opensource and api would be better for service development. So far, Firefox has been proven to be a good example.
A little off topic. But things really are different when you talk to IT pro. It depends on what is the model: a product only solution or a product+service solution? For platforms like SharePoint, a product+service solution is definitely the wiser choice. Because in a more successful implementation, nearly everything needed to be customized for the organization. In this way, the codeplex thing would be a great help.
It may be hard to change people's thought immediately, but time would prove this.