Where have all the add-ons gone? Groove is an interesting tool. It came out of nowhere, powered by Ray Ozzie, and looked like Notes done right. And it was. The architecture was great, using it in small organizations was cool, and it was perfect for the road warrior sales guy to keep in touch with the mothership.
However it seems (to me anyways) that it’s a decaying piece of wood that nobody seems to care about. Version 3.1 is pretty good and it’s been added to the Office 2007 lineup, so MS must think this thing is going places (or the fact that Ray is going to be #1 at Microsoft). Today we was cleaning up a Groove workspace we use for little things (todo lists, wish lists of things we want to buy, places we want to go, family pics, etc.) and wanted more. I hadn’t checked Groove.net for a long time (probably 6 months or so) and figured there must be new add-ons that would be neat to get.
What a sad state of affairs. First, the tools page hasn’t really changed much in the last year. Second, there’s only a couple of vendors offering very little. What’s worse, a few of them have websites that don’t even work. Information Patterns for example only has 3 products on the go and when you look at their Toucan Collaborate tool (a productivity suite) the link to their dedicated site takes you to a parked domain. There was an interesting tool which was an implementation of Reversi, but when you go to NetsenderCorp’s site and try to download or order it (or any of their products), you get a 404 error.
This certainly isn’t anything like say the DotNetNuke community where Snowcovered keeps pumping out modules every week. Modules that work and that you can download or buy. While many people argue Groove is stepping on SharePoints toes with it’s offline capability (people always call Groove the “offline” SharePoint), it’s still a pretty neat platform. It’s highly extensible, you can build .NET apps to plug into it, and it seems to have a lot of potential. Now it seems to be the red-headed step-child of Office and thrown in for good measure (maybe to try to revitalise the Groove community).
All in all, either I’m looking at the old world and there’s some hidden corner on the web where Groove is thriving and producing all kinds of new content, or Ray and the Groove guys figure they’ve maxed out their investment and the community that never was just isn’t.