Okay, so Microsoft has finally gone and done it. They have actually implemented their own technology that demonstrate it's capabilities, uh, sort of.
SharePointPedia is a social computing platform built on SharePoint Office Server 2007 (MOSS) developed to serve the greater SharePoint community, pontificating on and proliferating all things SharePoint. There's only one problem: it's not quite there yet.
As a self-professed SharePoint junkie, I must admit I was a little bit excited to hear that the SharePoint team over at Microsoft had finally decided to implement an official SharePoint community.
They even did it using their own technology to demonstrate how it can be used as a social computing platform.
I have more SharePoint blogs set up in my Google Reader than I can keep track of. Some of them tend to cover the same information which results in my spending almost as much time scrolling through them as I do reading some of them. So I moseyed on over to the site to have a look and see if this new community will ease my blogging woes.
What SharePointPedia is and is Not
It's not a wiki -- it doesn't even have wiki functionality built in at this time. It is currently designed to be a compendium of existing SharePoint information by the SharePoint community at large, similar to a Digg.com or a Del.icio.us. You can submit content, recommend content and request new content. To do these things you need to register. Which means you need a Windows Live ID (here they've demonstrated integrating with Windows LiveID, which is pretty cool). The Name and Technology Interest Fields aren't used currently (so let's gather for the fun of it all!). The only required field is your username. The avatar field must be a URL that points to another site -- they don't have the upload capability in place. So I'm in now, what do I do?
Content Submission / Request
Submitting content is fairly straight forward. Just fill in the required fields and viola! Content is tagged during the submission process. It's not apparent if there's a set of tags you can use or if you just make up your own (which would be like Del.icio.us). You can also associate tags with the content's comments.
To request content, the form is the same except you don't enter a URL. Who gets these requests? Good question. There is a link in the Most Frequently Used Views area. It looks like anyone can answer the content request by entering a comment.
The community Aspect
SharePointPedia is also supposed to be a community where people can find and connect with others or the information others have that is relevant to what they want. So I tried to do a search on a well known SharePoint expert, Andrew Connell. As long as I remember to click the Community Search tab, I have no trouble finding content submitted by him.
Did you find an article useful? Then recommend it. You can even see who else has recommended it. But hang on -- depending on your "recommendation power" -- your recommendation may not be worth much. The site has different levels of recommendation based on who you are: * Bronze (default - that's you silly and me): 1 point per vote
* Silver (SharePoint Community Champs): 2 points per vote
* Gold (SharePoint MVPs): 3 points per vote
* Platinum (selected Microsoft employees): 4 points per vote
* Diamond (specific Microsoft SharePoint subject matter experts): 5 points per vote
So how many Bronze voters does it take to over power a SME?
All in all, I am a little disappointed in SharePointPedia. It is version 1.0, so maybe we shouldn't be overly critical, maybe. I guess I was hoping for a bit more from Microsoft -- even if it is a 1.0 version. Will I use it to replace my blogs? Not likely. But when it finally does get filled up with lots of good content I may use it in place of Google Search. Until then, I'll fall back on my trusty tools to get the SharePoint information I need.
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