Monday, 16 February 2009

SharePoint on the Web

January 2009 was an historic month. The US swore in their first ever Black President and the Villa completed a club record straight six away Premiership wins. It really is a time of great change around the globe. I was told last week by a lady who reads my blog that she always switches off whenever I mention football. So I am deliberately not going to mention that the Villa have gone 12 premiership games unbeaten and are currently third in the table. Instead, I will talk about a big change that is happening in the SharePoint world. SharePoint is finally starting to run company websites. Why are more companies finally taking the plunge and going to SharePoint for their website? I suppose it is similar to ‘Wash ‘n’ Go’ shampoo. You are probably thinking from the lack of hair in my photograph that I don’t have a great need for shampoo, but I am still a fan of the all-in-ones. Wash ‘n’ Go is both a shampoo and conditioner in one. Their advertising slogan goes something like ‘why take two bottles into the shower..” to show that with Wash ‘n’ Go you don’t need a separate shampoo and conditioner. Likewise SharePoint is now saying why do you need a separate Intranet and a Website. With SharePoint you can run both from one central point. One change, like the new company telephone number, can be made via SharePoint so it changes both the Intranet and the Website. There is no need to ring up your website designers and ask them to make the change and also have to contact your IT Department to ask them to change the Intranet. In the top ten websites of 2008 for the first time ever more than half of them were built on SharePoint although it is not always easy to spot them. Ok the ‘default.aspx’ at the end is often a give away, but this is easy to hide with masks or forwarders. Here are of my personal top ten SharePoint powered websites in no particular order; UK NHS http://www.nhs.uk/Pages/homepage.aspx Starlight Children’s Foundation http://www.starlight.org.au/Pages/default.aspx Ministry of Sound http://club.ministryofsound.com/club/ Mahindra Home Stays http://www.mahindrahomestays.com/Pages/home.aspx Wise Women http://www.wise-woman.net/Pages/default.aspx Corgi Consumers http://www.trustcorgi.com/Pages/index.html Cook’s Children’s Hospital http://www.cookchildrens.org/Pages/default.aspx Ascentium http://www.ascentium.com/fp/Default.aspx Conservation International http://www.conservation.org/Pages/default.aspx And probably the best SharePoint site in the world Carlsberg http://www.carlsberggroup.com/Pages/Default.aspx I am sure you will agree some quite spectacular websites, but if you have SharePoint and some good glossy photographs it is reasonably straight-forward to make your exposed SharePoint sites quite web appealing. With packages like the slightly flaky SharePoint Designer or the more robust Visual Studio SharePoint pages can easily be configured to look as fancy as a slick website. HTML code can be stitched in, ASP.NET technology used, flash presentations incorporated with as many SharePoint sites as you want. Yes, there are draw backs there are many better packages out there managing websites than SharePoint, but I believe the benefits out way the negatives. The most important feature of any website is that the customer can easily find the latest up-to-date information about the company and their products. If a new product is released or the price changes the website needs to reflect it almost instantly. It doesn’t really matter if the image on the navigation bar is slightly the wrong shade of blue. As long as it is easy to navigate and the information is relevant the potential customer will read on. So if you already use SharePoint internally why not take the step of using it for your website. How can your basic SharePoint be used for your website? The first part needed is to expose your SharePoint to the outside world. This normally involves opening the port your SharePoint is using on your firewall. You then should be able to get to the SharePoint logon box by entering the full URL. You can assign an alternate URL from SharePoint Central Admin if this is needed or put a forwarder on your domain provider. Next you need to allow Anonymous Access on the sites that you want to have on the website. This means that the page is viewable as read-only without the need to enter a logon, but there still is a sign-in box at the top right of the screen (or wherever you want it) if an internal user needs to use more functionality. This means that an Administrator can logon to the website page from any location and make a change at any point. Officetalk have recently completed a number of projects for people wanting to use SharePoint for both their Intranet and their website so please contact Frank Faulds on frank.faulds@office-talk.com if you are interested in learning more. It seems that 2009 will see more and more SharePoint websites and hopefully more and more Villa wins.

31 comments:

SharePoint Hosting said...

More SharePoint top Websites.

Naperville Public Library, IL said...

I have 1024/768 and I have to use the hotizontal scroll bar to see the complete MOSS sites. Is there a way to adjust the size of the website?
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j.c. said...

Try http://www.TopSharepoint.com - TopSharepoint website showcases some of the world's best designed Sharepoint based web sites from around the world. So, if you developed, or found a Sharepoint web site that might meet the above requirements we want to know about it! Please go ahead and submit your website to the TopSharepoint showcase gallery. http://www.TopSharepoint.com

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