Thursday, 11 September 2008

Classic SharePoint

Many railway stations these days have been modernised to cope with the 21st Century commuter demands, but some (like the one at Evesham) remain just as they were in days gone by. In it’s day Evesham station probably was ‘state of the art’, but now it just has a peaceful ‘oldie-worldie’ nature about it. Sitting in this old fashioned Waiting Room typing my weekly SharePoint blog there is a certain relaxed feeling about this station that belongs in a different era. It reminds me of the first film I saw at the pictures, ‘The Railway Children’ the whole pace of life seems slower. Maybe sometimes we don’t need change for change sake. Microsoft keeps giving us new versions of Office and other applications. Yes, Office 2007 has some pretty ‘neat’ features and especially improves the integration with SharePoint, but is it really any better than Office 2003 or even Office XP? I miss the familiar environment of Office 2003 and now have to go hunting for the simplest of operations (like a Word Count). This is similar to these new modern stations, where you have to hunt out the right platform or try to get the automatic barrier to accept that you are really inserting the correct ticket. At least here at Evesham I only have a choice of two platforms. Hope this is the right side for the 8am to London Paddington? I am typing this on my laptop which is unfortunately running Vista and again this is a Microsoft development that perhaps wasn’t really needed. I am still much happier with my Windows XP desktop in the office where it is so much easier to install new programs or search for my files. Perhaps it is just that I am getting too set in my ways and don’t want to have to adapt the way I work just because of new technology. So what of SharePoint? Like many of the Officetalk Consultants I was introduced to SharePoint when it was the 2003 version. The version before it became an Office server and a version that with Windows SharePoint Services 2 really started the SharePoint revolution. The enhanced searching, improved office integration and expandability of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) means that for any organisation entering the SharePoint arena now there is no choice (well apart from whether to go WSS 3 or full Moss, but that is another blog post). But what if you were one of those pioneering companies that went the SharePoint 2003 Portal Server route? Should you invest in a migration tool (AvePoint or Tsumumi are possible), start again from scratch on 2007 or stick with 2003. Just as Evesham Station lacks add-on features (like advanced Ticket machines or vending machines to get a Twix from - when you’ve had no breakfast), SharePoint 2003 lacks some of the bite of MOSS. SharePoint 2003 doesn’t receive emails, it can’t use Information Rights Management (IRM - set documents so users can’t copy or print them) and it doesn’t support mobile devices (MOSS offers the option of displaying as a simple text-only format). Microsoft claim many new features in MOSS 2007 over SharePoint 2003. Below are the top 20 that I think are pretty good and worth a mention; Andy Dale’s Unofficial SharePoint 2007 New Features Top Twenty 1. Addition of Workflow 2.Emails direct to SharePoint 3. Recycle Bin 4. Information Rights Management (IRM) 5. Data Connection Libraries (helps with live links to SQL Database data) 6. Folder-Level and item-level Permissions 7. Cascaded Style Sheet (CSS) and ASP.NET 2.0 support 8. Excel Services (I did a blog about that) 9. Wikis 10. Works with InfoPath Forms 11. Mobile Support 12. Task Co-ordination 13. Automatic Breadcrumb Bar (let’s you see how you got to where you are) 14. Re-Parenting (No this doesn’t mean having your children adopted but it gives you the ability to move sites around) 15. Alert Customisation (You can set up other people’s Alerts) 16. Key Performance Indicator Web Part (great for traffic lights) 17. Retention and Auditing Policies 18. Permission Delegation (Let somebody who is not in IT do the work) 19. Integration with Office 2007 applications (now why wasn’t that there with SharePoint 2003) 20. Social Networking (well, it might catch on in the business world) For the official Microsoft complete comparison between SharePoint 2003 and 2007 visit; So if you already have SharePoint, but it is the classic version of 2003 then you need to consider which of these new features is going to really enhance your business. You might think you like the old feel of your trusted SharePoint. Like Evesham station it will continue to do the job it was designed for and won’t be as busy, or costly, as today’s modern day version.If you need any information about the migration tools offered by AvePoint, or Tsumumi, give Frank a call on 01386 833535. Now , why is my train over twenty minutes late. I will never get back in time to see the Villa UEFA Cup game on Channel Five at this rate. If only they had some MOSS workflow to send an email to my mobile phone telling me what the holdup was.

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