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Top Five list of SharePoint gripes set off a chain of blogs. Paul Shaeflein wrote a good rebuttal, but the fact is that these are as much recycled, outdated gripes about MSFT as they are about SharePoint. The author blissfully ignores obvious facts or answers, which sort of undermines the whole exercise. Bil wrote the best post in the series simply by bringing the focus back to what SharePoint is.

Time to join the fray.

1. It's a crappy mish-mash of multiple technologies.
The author's argument is that Java is the same as Javascript, and since MSFT had issues with Java, it shouldn't be using Javascript. Really, go read it, that's the argument. Objecting to Javascript today is like objecting to XHTML. You would prefer PHP? VBScript? The author also expresses surprise when discovering that web development in the year 2005 requires knowledge of CSS, HTML, and XML. Seriously. In a magazine with a home page feature on the future of C++, an argument slagging the complexity of Javascript. Or maybe it's the fact that MSFT uses Javascript at all. It's hard to tell, but the author does seems convinced that something is "crappy," somewhere.

2. The development team is playing the Longhorn card.
The claim is that SharePoint features are being delayed because the dev team is waiting for Longhorn. Exactly what in Longhorn are they waiting for? Avalon (which doesn't have anything to do with SP)? Indigo (which will be released sooner than Longhorn and has less relevance than IIS7 to SP)? WinFS (which was pulled from Longhorn and properly moved back to Blackcombe)? The author fails to understand that SharePoint development is actually tied to ASP.NET, version 2 of which recently hit Beta 2, with RTM due in Fall of 2005. The SP team has plenty to work on, they're doing so, and to learn more either go to PDC, or stay in the dark and wait until RTM of SharePoint v3 in 2006. This is anexcuse to mention Longhorn and reach featured-article status, it has nothing to do with SharePoint.

3. There are two SharePoint products, which is confusing
WSS is for team sites and collaboration. SPS is for portal sites and stuff you expect of intranets. If this is still confusing, you're welcome to contact me. True, a golden rule of marketing would say they should have more distinct names (SharePoint Collaboration Server and SharePoint Intranet Server?). But hey, while we're picking nits. ASP.NET v2 will allow developers to build Web Parts for plain old web sites that aren't SharePoint sites. The horror. I see anarchy. Terror in the streets. Cats and dogs making friends. Oh wait, the technologies converge with ASP.NET v2 and SharePoint v3? Okay, that makes sense. Again, though the first argument also picked ASP.NET and VS as part of the "crappy mish-mash," the author conveniently forgets the fact that SharePoint development is tied to the platform it's written on -- ASP.NET.

4. Support for SharePoint is lacking.
No, documentation for SharePoint is lacking. It's an important difference. If documentation had been better, sooner, SharePoint's awesome user community would have been a powerful support machine, sooner. 

5. Microsoft has not stated a strategic direction for SharePoint
The author, who should be familiar with these roads, claims that no one's given him a roadmap to confirm what he should already know. Yes, reassurance is nice, but do you depend on it? From an untrustworthy behemoth like MSFT? Come on. This isn't coming from a newbie blog, it's a recognized news source (with ads for Safari and Linux on its home page). Okay so you could wait for an official position from the team or trust your own observations. Does WSS look like baby steps towards the promises of WinFS? How do you think that gap might be bridged, based on what you know of the release schedules of each? Do people have gripes about specific SharePoint scenarios? Which of these are the loudest, and historically is that an indicator that they might be solved in the next major release? What features do the competing products have that SharePoint lacks (thus inhibiting migration), and historically is this something MSFT thinks about when planning major releases?

I should have followed Bil's lead, responding to hot air isn't constructive. And once written, I'm not likely to just delete it. So here you go, let's just call it a rebuttal in support of independent thought and common sense.

[Addendum from a couple hours later. The only conclusion to this is that by making these five non-arguments, the author makes clear that he doesn't know SharePoint well enough to be complaining about its faults. Frankly, for anyone confused about the difference between WSS and SPS, or who needs better SharePoint support, just bring in someone who can guide you through, or pick a product that you prefer. If this was written on behalf of the "general public," then the author underestimates their intelligence, though I welcome arguments to the contrary.]

Published Wednesday, July 13, 2005 11:52 AM by erobillard

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