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.
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