I've long complained (off-line) about the inconsistencies and incompleteness of the current SharePoint implementation. I like the product overall, but it still has too much of a "ver 1.0" feel to it. MS seems to be positioning SP as an upgrade to the collaborative functionality in Public Folders in Exchange, along with a basic document management system as an upgrade to using Windows as a file server. However, in many cases SP is actually a step back from those products, or at the very least a lost opportunity to improve issues those systems had. In particular:
- Restoring sites or deleted documents in those sites requires a full SQL database restore. Compared to file servers today, that's a huge step back, especially with the recently-available functionality in Windows 2003 to allow the user to restore previous versions of files in file explorer via a simple right-click. Why not have a "Recycling Bin" in a SP site to allow for users to change their mind (or (gasp!) make mistakes)? Even Outlook has a Trash Can, with admin-controllable parameters on how often it's emptied and how far back things can be restored through the admin interface.
- The admin of a site cannot create alerts for other users. Why not have a default "opt-in" option when a library or list is created, so that change alerts are sent out by default to the user when they become members of a site? Just have the first message sent out to the user be a "confirm you want this alert" email.
- Scenario: a user creates a ton of alerts for sites all over the place, and then leaves the company. Result? The admin has to go through and manually delete the alerts for this user in each site separately. It's all in the same database, and you can delete the alerts en masse directly through SQL management tools, but why do we have to go down to that technical level to do something that is going to be so common?
- What exactly are the differences between SharePoint and Portal? I dare people to come up with a one-paragraph description (let alone one-line) of why you should consider one over the other, and it's impossible. The best I have come up with so far is that Portal is an aggregation, indexing and audience-aware add-on to SharePoint, and that's not really it: however, it serves our needs, so I keep using it.
- Multiple users can edit a SP-hosted Word document and select the option to merge changes back when they save, but they cannot do this in Excel. Inconsistency that's impossible to explain to the end users.
- Blah. Tons of others. I'll add to this list as I think of them.
Yes, I understand that some of these issues are ones that can be taken care of with a little programming or a third part tool, but I believe they should be part of the basic functionality of the product. They are capabilities that, like better GPO management in AD, everyone who uses the product will eventually have to deal with, and will be very frustrated by having to reinvent the wheel and roll their own solution.
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