SharePoint is starting to take hold at work, and that will take us a few steps farther down the collaboration path. There is a promise of enterprise search in the reasonably near-term future, but newly available tools include blogs and wikis (of a sort). I am psyched – this is in general a good thing, but I’m finding some issues, some bumps … I think Microsoft tools have their own unique spin on things.
The biggest challenge with SharePoint is thinking through the access rights for a given page / site. It doesn’t integrate as expected with AD, but we do have the ability (as site owners) to define and maintain our own groups. Even if I want my first few sites to be open to all, I need to know that going in – so I don’t just accept the default and inherit rights from the parent site.
The blog engine within SharePoint appears to work fairly well – I set up a couple, not by choice, but as part of the access rights learning curve. Made my first post (OMG Ponies - I’m betting few will get the joke) and checked out the RSS feed. I’m not sure what “voice” I will use, but it will be somewhere between the fast-twitch Twitter postings (my ongoing experiment, in the box at the upper right) and the mini-essays I usually write here.
The SharePoint wiki engine gives me pause – I’m going to have to think about that one. A nice (typical .Net) WYSIWIG editor is provided, but it’s not clear how we might convert from our existing wiki. I’ve messed with Dokuwiki, Tiddlywiki, and MediaWiki, and although the syntax / markup is slightly different, all wiki software follows a certain architectural style – save for MS and SharePoint. I was hoping to hack together a converter a la Confluence, but the jury is still out.
Speaking of wikis – two recommended links …
- A very nice article in IT Manager’s Journal last month, talking about integrating the corporate information systems to a wiki. An excellent example of why I have some concerns re: SharePoint’s wiki style – the ability to embed code in the pages of the wiki lends itself to some potentially relevant and effective wiki pages.
- wikipatterns.com bears some extended browsing. It’s a terrific collection of examples, use cases, patterns & anti-patterns groups may experience when implementing wikis. It’s as much a treatise on change management and planning for software rollouts as anything else – excellent stuff!