Long time no… …post?

Dear reader,

Microsoft Office Sharepoint 2007

Microsoft Office Sharepoint 2007

Ok, now it has officially been “a while” since my last post. But as always, there is a relatively good reason for that. Lately I have been very busy with the launch of my very first MOSS project. This has definitely been a big learning process for me and more than ever I think I’ve learnt the hard way. There have been quite a few obstacles on the way and the project has lasted from late 2006, so the way has been quite a long one.

I thought shortly mentioning some of the key points and problems in bullets might be of help to others, so ‘ere goes:

  • Think about the architecture before asking for an ITT. Since the cost of MOSS enterprise license is high, you might end up with multiple times the cost given on the ITT if you have to scale out the architecture. Remember that MOSS is an enterprise solution – b2c companies (and probably even b2b) cannot handle their traffic with a single-server farm.
  • Telerik RadControls are a nice addition to the MOSS GUI and give a good deal of configurability to the editor. I love the combination of being able to limit fonts and sizes and the excellent format stripper for stripping out horrible Word tags that evidently will sooner or later find their way on your website. However there are some problems in RadControls that can make content production a bit hard:
    • Reusable Content does not work correctly if Telerik RadControls is installed. This can be a showstopper to some. Anyway, at least it’s good to know beforehand. We didn’t. The real unfortunate part is that it seems like Telerik might not be able to fix this at all. This reusable content problem is discussed in Telerik forums: thread 1, thread 2 and in my blog.
    • There are also a couple of smaller bugs that can still be a bit challenging for content editors who are not very experienced. See my blog: post 1 and post 2.
  • MOSS is hot right now. This means that at least in a country as small as Finland, the good consultants, developers and architects are scarce and overbooked. Be alert for multiple interest groups and partners in the project, managing them is a nightmare.
  • Make sure anything of importance gets documented. This belongs to project management fundamentals, but cannot be stressed enough. It tends to be forgotten as soon as deadlines close in. Also, to be able to accurately document needs, requirements, who has requested them and if the request was accepted, will greatly help in the project.
  • Specify your form needs beforehand and specify them well. InfoPath 2007 might sound tempting but using it requires licenses and deploying the forms might be really difficult depending on the form functionalities, MOSS customization and probably the star constellations. If your target is to have many many people edit and create forms, InfoPath might not be a good choice if the editors are not well-versed in web mysteries. Good suggestions for using forms with MOSS are appreciated…

5 Responses

  1. I agree. MOSS is definitely hot at the moment. Also too many people think that it is a product instead of platform. And platforms need a lot of definition work, prototypes, testing and development work… like any content management system, but for some reason many people/clients/even integrators think that MOSS is somehow lighter to roll out … Maybe so, but then the fixing comes later and fixing is always expensive and demands a lot of skill (which is scarce at the moment).

  2. True. Especially if meant for public internet use, MOSS really needs a good deal of definition, design and development. And when testing comes into play, after a few re-iteration rounds Microsoft premier support would come handy too. 🙂 Still, even if it requires a lot of work, MOSS is a fine enterprise web platform.

  3. Yeah, MOSS has those hidden “little things” a few too many and then it is really helpful to be good pals with Microsoft dudes 🙂 Even the most experienced architects don’t know the whole platform.

    But other platforms have other problems and I have to agree that MOSS is a fine platform that can be used succesfully for many things, for example handling forms is one of the strong sides (even though I can’t say the same about the bloody Infopath…;)

    There are lot of people involved in different MOSS projects in Finland, but not much public discussion about the platform so please keep up the good work!

  4. Thank you for the encouragement!

  5. Hi,
    If you are interested in instructor-led SharePoint training, consider Aivea – http://www.aivea.com/sharepoint-training.htm

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