SharePoint Sucks – And Here’s Why – Part 1

My good friend Bill Simser recently wrote about why he thinks SharePoint is great. Actually, he didn’t say SharePoint is great, he’s trying to explain why SharePoint does so much more than whatever people compare it to and why apples and gasoline should not be compared.

I’ll say what really on his mind: SharePoint sucks. SharePoint sucks at blogging, compared to blogging tools. SharePoint sucks at document management, compared to dedicated document management tools. SharePoint sucks at web content management compared to pure web content management tools. You’re basically getting mediocrity in everything.

Oh, and before you wonder, this is not another of those 8 Reasons Why SharePoint is Bad for Your Business, sarcastic posts. Really, I think SharePoint sucks.

Bill argues that, while SharePoint may not stand up to any dedicated tool, you get all the other features in the same bundle. For some reason, it makes perfect sense to Bill that if you’re looking for a blogging platform, you should consider whether you want a wiki solution at the same time, or even later. Or some of the other features that SharePoint provides.

My problem with this is simple: If I want a good blogging solution, why would I want a mediocre wiki site, a mediocre document management solution, and a mediocre web content management solution, bundled with a mediocre blogging solution? This won’t give me anything I need, compared to getting a good blogging solution and a good wiki solution as separate products.

Ah, but as we all know, SharePoint isn’t a product; it’s a platform. You shouldn’t take what’s given out-of-the-box and use as your production solution, with a few exceptions, such as Billy’s example of small and simple collaboration needs. Rather, you should take what you get as a starting point and then customize or develop the functionality you need beyond that.

Now again, I ask: if I’m going to customize a blogging solution in any case, why would I choose a mediocre starting point for my customization? I could start with WordPress and hire some offshore developer to customize whatever I need. You’ll save tons of time and money and you’ll get, in the case of WordPress, a flora of free addons and plugins that make the SharePoint addon community look like a fart in a hurricane.

Let’s put this in perspective, since Bill likes the apples and gasoline comparison. If you want to buy an apple, you’ll get half an apple with SharePoint. Or, more precisely, you’ll get a bad apple that either doesn’t taste good, look good or doesn’t have the nutritional value you seek.

However, you’ll also get a three-piece suit made of low-quality fabric that doesn’t stand up to rain. And, to make the offer even better, you’ll get a screwdriver made of rubber, useful for screws and bolts that are not really fastened. You’ll also get a paper bag to put all your stuff in; of course, it’s one of those fold-it-yourself bags and the instructions are not really telling you enough to put it together. As for the gasoline? You’ll get diesel. Very useful if your car runs on diesel – not so much if it’s not.

Still, all you really needed was a good apple.

So, yes, I think SharePoint sucks, and if you are considering going for a new platform for your collaboration or your publishing or your wiki or your blogging needs, choose differently.

Read the second part of this series to learn some of the specific things I hate about SharePoint.

.b

NOTE: This article is part of a series. Make sure you read the entire series to get the full picture, especially the thrilling conclusion in Part 4.

People who just get half the picture are, well, half-witted.

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Bjørn Furuknap

I previously did SharePoint. These days, I try new things to see where I can find the passion. If you have great ideas, cool projects, or is in general an awesome person, get in touch and we might find out together.

47 thoughts on “SharePoint Sucks – And Here’s Why – Part 1”

  1. LOL

    Besides the humourous way of telling your story, you might be absolutely right. SharePoint has many quirks, performs like a milk van on a steep slope and makes most developers moan. Still, I also spend most of my time with that product so either I'm totally insane (which might be true in any case…) or there are good reasons indeed. I'm anxious to see yours, but here are mine:

    – customers never ask me for a blogging or document management solution only. Actually, they never ask for a "point solution" but always for something that offers the lot
    – Although SharePoint is not the best in any area, it throws together those pieces. It's the combi that makes it great: 1+1+1=5.

    I'll keep my eyes on Twitter to check your next posting on this topic!

    Cheers,
    Sjoert

    1. “customers never ask me for a blogging or document management solution only. Actually, they never ask for a “point solution” but always for something that offers the lot”

      Translation: Your customer don’t know wtf they on about, neither do you. They have no clue what problem they trying to solve with IT. You have nfi what the problem it is you trying to solve.

      “Although SharePoint is not the best in any area, it throws together those pieces. It’s the combi that makes it great: 1+1+1=5”

      Just like 1+1+1 != 5. Combination of craps don’t make them any better. It’s still shit at blogging. It doesn’t matter how many extras you getting. Shit blogging platform is a shit blogging platform.

      Fascinating to see clueless consultant serving dumb customers. Epic.

  2. I must agree. As was explained to me, Sharepoint is like having your kids put your laundry away. You know where you put it, but they put it somewhere else. Or, it's like telling someone that what they are lookiong for is in Alabama. Technically correct, but useless.

  3. One of the things I've noticed on blogs, user group meetings, etc., is that all of the most successful projects seem to be 'SharePoint and something'. SharePoint and a better blog. SharePoint and a WCM system. SharePoint and a real RM system.

    The thing is, as Sjoert said, all our customers want something that can do lots, and has the feature richness of a more dedicated system. And it's their money (if not a sensible choice), and they always want everything and the kitchen sink.

    Still, keeps me in work.

    It's also worth noting that there is one thing SharePoint does do well (though it could be better) – Office integration. Not perfect by a long shot, but pretty good.

  4. I totally agree 100%. Sharepoint is terrible for a developer. If you can deal with the huge limitations out of the box and don’t have to do any coding or customization, OK. Otherwise, you’re better off using another platform. There are so many nuances and bugs within the API, and there are so many different areas and tools that need to be learned and navigated that it makes Sharepoint custom development difficult both to learn and debug. My conclusion:

    Sharepoint: simple to use out of the box, impossible to customize.

    Although my company is a big advocate of Sharepoint and I’m the main Sharepoint developer for my company, I hate it with a passion and try to steer clear of it and recommend against it as much as possible. It’s much faster for me both in the SHORT and LONG run to create custom applications than dive into that mess of a platform.

  5. I agree. IT'S A COMPLETE PILE OF SHIT. With sugar on top that appeals to owners and CEOs and they they realize later what a mistake it was to even use the API.

    It's ok if you use it as an Intranet and DON'T intent to customize the shit out of it. It's only when you start wanting to actually use the API to extend and customize it is when you're life is over both as a developer and then the

    And here's my rant about SharePoint. I have purposely stayed away from any job opportunity that mentioned coding in SharePoint. As soon as I hear that in an interview or even see it in the job description, I flee. I stop right there and pass the opportunity because I have been in environments that think SharePoint is this end-all solution when in the end it's a complete API pile and in about 2-3 years you end up having huge costs involved after spending money coding (hacking around the shitty API and everything else that SharePoint throws in your face) and you end up spending a shitload of money on plug-ins cause you cannot do shit in SharePoint in terms of customizing it (ohhhh web parts…you know what? They suck).

    So here's my post about shitty SharePoint. I hate it. Enjoy!

    http://codezest.com/archive/2008/11/22/developer-poetry-series-sharepoint-how-sad-are-we.aspx

    1. Yeah my boss has been seduced by Sharepoint. One of the guys here loves it. Trouble is the long term maintenance costs seem to be upwards of $$$$.

      Also my boss wants me to become another Sharepoint “workflow” guy. This is all well and good but if he thinks I’m doing this on my salary then he has his head in the clouds. If I was a younger guy then I might love to have this sort of stuff on my CV. But to be honest I couldn’t care less these days about the latest thing to have on my CV.

      1. Nobody should want SharePoint on their CV. At such time as I’m in the job market again, I intend to leave it off.

  6. I was just telling my boss to Google "SharePoint sucks" in case he didn't believe me. Yours was the first link that came up. Thanks for telling the truth (and making me laugh!)

  7. I am being pushed to use Sharepoint by my corporation while we have already a long term use of mediawiki for colaborative docs.

    I don´t like much mediawiki lack of WYSIWYG editing, specially for table editing, but so far Sharepoint been too much complex for our environment (basically a knowledge base for our IT dept).

    I am delaying the switch as much as possible and to be honest, I am about to rebel about it. Damnit, I am a government employee so I can´t be fired anyway by this sort of situation.

    1. Henry,

      For both MediaWiki and SharePoint, you have options for changing the visual editor. In SharePoint, I highly recommend Telerik RadEditor, which I’ve used on several occations. For MediaWiki, perhaps TinyMCE makes sense because of its widespread use.

      Behind the scenes in SharePoint, a wiki page is nothing more than a normal list item in which you can modify the types of input controls however you want. For some drop-in replacements like RadEditor, you’ll get away with a fairly easy installer and simple instructions (try google) but if you want a completely customized experience, say with a mini Tetris clone to force users to take a break from tuyping every 5 minutes, you’ll need to de some development stuff.

      For MediaWiki, you’ll find a number of plugins to replace the default editor, but sadly, I haven’t tried this myself. The plugins, however, contain instructions for how to add them.
      http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/WYSIWYG_editor

      .b

  8. I’m jobless at the moment, and am looking around for a new position. I do graphic design and web design for a living, and more and more I am seeing SharePoint being a required responsibility in job openings. I have no SharePoint experience other than through my last job, where they had just adopted SharePoint for the company’s intranet, and from what I saw it was incredibly obvious that it was a turd. I don’t want to have anything to do with it. It killed me anytime I would ask a question in my last position and their answer would be a dismissive “It’s on SharePoint”. Having to go to that thing was always disorienting and a pain, and wound up taking more time than would actually have been required just by providing assistance.

    How do people get suckered into buying and using such garbage? Just, incredible. “But, these pages? You can customize them, and make them look how you want! And, each employee has a page… and a blog… and their photo can be posted… and you can post documents… and… you can… email documents to this list… and… RSS… and… searchable… and… cloud….”

    😐

    1. I think SharePoint is amazing. I work for a major government agency with not much money and alot of archaic processes.

      Out of the box, with no investment, SharePoint has revolutionised how we do things.

      Using a simple issues register for example, I have more power at my fingertips for management of an action request register than another department who has already spent in excess of half a million on getting an action register custom developed.

      Add a couple of webparts and thing is the bomb.

      Customising, I have no idea about.

      Most things can be done out of the box, sure there are functions that could be better or not incorporated but the majority of those are “nice to haves” and when the budget is pretty much zero dollars for these sorts of things, SharePoint is a revelation.

      Better still no need for some overpriced developer to come and build something for us, most of what one needs to know is there on google. If it can’t be done out of the box or with a webpart, there is usually some simple way to achieve the same result without customisation.

  9. And Sharepoint sucks at BI, compared to other BI presentation tools. A lot of hype about Performance Points, but it is a realy “dull” product. It simply cannot beat BI tools offered by Dundas or ComponentOne.

  10. Can some one PLEASE explain why the wiki edit control doesn’t even work properly??

    The removed ctrl-space, ‘Normal’ style is NOT the normal style (its darker)…. Typing ‘[[‘ mid sentance jumps the cursor to the end of the paragraph….
    Double clicking a word often only selects half of it… over typing selected text often fails to replace the existing text…
    Entering a header, and then returning to normal text is an argues task… each individual user is going to end up with either one line space or two lines..
    IE still has no spell check….

    Can some one PLEASE explain WHY this software is used by ANYONE??

  11. Maybe, if wiki worked properly, would would be to much of a threat to Word?

    This is why 3rd party and open source is so much better: They’d pull any stops to keep you.

    Microsoft on the other hand, would pull any stops to protect their other offerings.

    Actually, same thing I guess

  12. I am a programmer with over 30years experience. Now a business owner.

    Will M$ ever drop the crap that was frontpage.

    In one of the official sharepoint books they devot the sharepoint designer introduction to apologising for frontpage which became sp 2007 and now apologize for 2007 and say that 2010 is working.

    In short. It doesn’t.

    Can’t even add a frickin background. I’ve spent over 30 hours on and off for another business looking at it and I must say I am glad I don’t rely on this garbage to make a living. My customers just wouldn’t justify an expert programmer with a lot of experience spending 30hrs to change a background.

    1. So, you don’t know how to do something and that makes something bad.

      How about brain surgery, do you know how to do that? Or is that equally bad?

      How about the space shuttle? Or, even simpler, a sowing machine, a plow, or a water purification filter? Do you know how to use those? Or, are you required to learn how to use these tools before you can expect to use them efficiently?

      Just wondering…

      1. Why would SharePoint be like brain surgery or the space shuttle? It’s more like Dr. Seuss’s envisioning of a bicycle. A simple thing made insanely complicated. Want to get from point A to point B? Hop on and adjust the bathtub.

  13. So, I agree and disagree. It is easy to get pulled into the weeds in SharePoint and stomp around cursing about this limitation, or that weird bug. But every now and then I take a step back and look at all the stuff that SharePoint does, and then do a mental calculation of how much time it would take a team of developers to build an application that can do something even remotely similar (usually for just a small part of what SharePoint does overall), and suddenly I think, “Wow, SharePoint rocks”.

    I am not sure I agree that everything in SharePoint is mediocre. Different parts of the platform are at different maturity levels, and with each release SharePoint is becoming more and more polished. SharePoint 2010 was a *big* step up for the platform, and I expect that SharePoint vNext is going to fill in even more gaps.

    While the idea of using a combination of “best of breed” solutions can seem appealing, having worked at companies that went down that path, the hair pulling you experience with SharePoint trying to customize often just get replaced with the hair pulling you experience trying to integrate them to fit an overall business process. In my experience, given the two alternatives, I will take SharePoint as a platform and customize.

    All in all, SharePoint has filled a special hole in Enterprise IT for better (and in some ways for worse). That being said, I really need to take a look at Nuxeo 🙂

    1. Chris,

      Thanks for your comment.

      My main argument in these posts is that SharePoint is too big and too sluggish to compete with more nimble and specialized tools. Consider the fact that if you want to, deities forbid, use SharePoint as a web content management solution, you need to buy Excel Services, SharePoint Search, and all the other components of SharePoint Server.

      SharePoint is a good choice if what you need includes all the components that you have to buy. You pay for everything, so anything you’re not using is money down the drain. If you need just one or maybe two components, you’re wasting a lot of money.

      Perhaps the new App model in SharePoint 2013 will make this less of an issue. Hopefully, third-party vendors will replace the SP Server components with lighter and more specialized copmonents and leave the platform building to Microsoft.

      Microsoft kicks the proverbial ass of anyone in platform building, but they completely suck at building business applications. In fact, they’re doing a big disservice to SharePoint as a platform bu considering everyone to be equal and giving them the same tools, rather than encouraging organizations to utilize the massive flexibility to create solutions that specifically solve an organization’s needs.

      .b

      1. At my former employer – a University Library – they decided they needed an intranet. Management decided – as management does everywhere – to use Sharepoint because “Sharepoint was the University standard” – even if it wasn’t, because it later turned out that no standard was set at that time.
        They did not ask the opinion of the IT professionals who were going to have to use it and who unanimously agreed that Sharepoint was the very last thing they needed.
        But, as these things go, management pushed Sharepoint nonetheless and the IT staff involved were left no choice but to use it. And they tried, despite their opinion and despite having followed official SP training and despite doing their utmost best. They could not get it to work.
        This, however, was no reason for Management to reconsider their decision; instead they hired an external expensive SP consultant who accomplished absolutely nothing in the six months he was working on the disfunctional Sharepoint Intranet. After he was thrown out, Management decided that the regular IT staff just had to try harder. This led to a burn-out of the responsible staff member, who eventually was on sick leave for eight months.
        Now, two years after the decision to use Sharepoint, they are still stuck with a horrible, unusable, clunky Sharepoint Intranet. The staff member who literally became sick of Sharepoint doesn’t work with it anymore, and the new IT person hired to take over cannot start working on it because no-one seems to be able to create a new user with enough rights to manage the Sharepoint installation.
        If they had listened to their knowledgeable staff people instead of the M$ sales pitch and had chosen Drupal or any other decent system they would have saved themselves a LOT of trouble. They would have spared that one, very loyal IT person a burnout. They would have saved a damn load of money. They would have won enthusiasm and buy-in, and a motivated staff.
        Now they have nothing: a disastrously dysfunctional Intranet, demotivated staff and a wasted budget.

  14. I agree completely. Sharepoint is a disaster. It is beyond slow and compartmentalizes information in a manner that steals time that could be used for productivity. I use it all day long and I want to bang my head against my desk.

  15. I worked with SP2010 and found it to be useless because it is so terribly organized…Microsoft tried to cram all the goodies into one product that requires a trained admin or headaches are about to happen for sure. To me the SP admin just serves as a bucket for headaches. Very intense job.

    I would rather just get a server, FTP, SQL, etc., which are all easier to use and have better performance for all data management and networking needs.

    That being said, I would not use Sharepoint for anything more than documents and other light stuff.

  16. I want SharePoint 2013 to work! Really, I do! It is the weakest of all Microsoft products, like Steven is the weakest of the Baldwin brothers.

    The browser-based configuration tools are effen useless. They have no state persistence, so if you need to create an application mapping in the middle of configuring a collection, don’t press that button or all of your typing is gone. The wizards are like the Wizard of OZ; don’t peak behind the curtain.

    I have spent months of time just trying to get the correct structure of what I want: a searchable portal that lists the various team sites, with Project Server, and Team Foundation Server, that have been provisioned. But F** NO! It gets itself into a state where the only course of recovery is to uninstall everything, manually delete the 30 odd databases it created, and start again.

    Most of the functionality, like host-named sites, can only be accessed through cryptic PowerShell utilities and command lines. I thought we had done away with the whole UNIX BS back in 1967, when we cured Polio. What? Are we in Namibia, now?

    I like Microsoft and all of the .NET WPF development technologies, but I hate SharePoint. Let me repeat that, I hate SharePoint!

  17. Just keep it simple: THIS IS CRAP. Never used before, trying to do a webpage that I can code manually in 10 minutes and then by this piece of sh*T took me two hours to figure out. and still nothing. Bye SP2010.

  18. BI in SP 2010, is limited.
    Its mainly for a business/sales dashboard.

    If you’re trying to gather data from multiple external data sources, good luck!
    Especially, if you don’t have Visual Studio. You wont be able to find data via built connectors.
    For a IT/Network dashboard its very hard to create.

  19. “I could start with WordPress and hire some offshore developer to customize whatever I need. You’ll save tons of time and money”

    I agree with all of the opinions on SharePoint. And it’s obvious how M$ has used it’s single-vendor, large market share leverage.

    But with an asinine comment like that, Furuknap, I think you should be outsourced

  20. The new Tower of Bable. The purchasers don’t talk to the IT department. The developers dont’ talk to the end users. Bill Gates is a gazillionaire. Yes, my friends, the Emperor has No Clothes.

    Jus’ sayin’ …

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