Visual Studio is a great tool for the SharePoint Developer. But what about the SharePoint Information Architect? You don't write code, so Visual Studio doesn't cut it for you. Still it would be nice to have some kind of product that let's you work on SharePoint designs without having to have your SharePoint test environment up and running and without having to create that design only to have to change it because it isn't quite right.
MetaVis Technologies is offering a solution for all you SharePoint Information Architects that you need to take a closer look at. It's called the MetaVis Architect for SharePoint and it's only one of several new solutions they are publicly bringing to market today.
MetaVis Technologies is a company dedicated to metadata solutions. They want to enable you to manage your metadata easily and we all know that there is a lot of metadata to be designed and managed within SharePoint.
CMSWire had the opportunity to talk with one of the co-founders of MetaVis - Steve Pogrebivsky about their latest solutions for SharePoint and what we saw was very interesting.
Architect for SharePoint
As an Information Architect, you are often required to design SharePoint structures for new collaboration sites, document libraries and other SharePoint lists. Normally to do this, you have to create the design on paper and then manually implement it into a SharePoint environment.
And let's not even talk about making changes to an environment that already exists. The mere thought can send shivers through any normal SharePoint Architect or developer.
The MetaVis Architect for SharePoint will make life much easier. It is a visual designer, looking very much like Microsoft Visio, that enables you to create two dimensional graphical diagrams of your SharePoint repository without having to work in an actual physical SharePoint environment.
MetaVis SharePoint Designer for Architects
Using the MetaVis Architect you can create SharePoint designs from scratch before they are even implemented in a physical environment, or you can work download existing designs and make changes without affecting the production version. Once your changes are made and approved, upload the design and changes are made automatically.
Features and Functionality
- MetaData Design: Create content types or lists easily, traverse a tree structure that shows you how the metadata structure looks at a glance.
- Seeing the Big Picture: Look at the entire design of your SharePoint environment, compare it to an existing environment viewing overlaps and gaps.
- Quick Site Setup: You don't have to build a new SharePoint site from scratch every time. Use an existing design to kick start your new site or library.
- Make Changes Easily: Using the designer you can create new lists and libraries, modify or delete existing ones and quickly deploy the changes back to the SharePoint environment.
- Eases Compliance: Easily update your site or content types to meet compliance requirements.
- Document: Add comments and annonations to your designs to easily remember important points, add additional information or alerts. There's even a sticky note capability.
- Share Designs: You can export and share your designs before they are implemented to ensure they meet the requirements.
Want to see how it all works? Watch these videos.
MetaVis Architect with Compare Plug-In
If you want to compare two or more SharePoint sites, add this plug-in to the mix. With this plug-in you can identify differences in schemas (columns, content types, lists) and you can synchronize part or all of the sites you are comparing.
MetaVis Compare Plug-In
MetaVis Classifier for SharePoint
The MetaVis Classifier is another new tool to add to the arsenal. If you are tired of your employees uploading one or more documents to a SharePoint site, basically creating what amounts to a dumping ground or a "file store", then the Classifier is something to look at.
Using an interface that looks very much like Windows Explorer, you can do the following:
- Bulk Tag/Classify: Select any number of documents or files located in SharePoint and assign metadata. You can copy data from other content types or columns or switch content types easily
- Bulk Copy/Move: Select one or more documents or files and copy or move them from one site or library to another, even a different server.
MetaVis Bulk Importer
And what about all the content you have located on your harddrive that you want to get into SharePoint, in the right location and tagged properly? MetaVis has a plug-in called the Bulk Import Plug-In that will let you do just that.
MetaVis Bulk Import Plug-In
Why Not Extend Visio?
We asked Steve why MetaVis didn't simply write some templates or plug-ins for Visio. He indicated that Visio is not powerful enough to provide the functionality they are offering with their solutions.
The MetaVis Solutions have been priced with the mid-market in mind but can be used by just about any organization that needs to better design and manage their SharePoint environments.
You can purchase each component on its own or the Suite as a whole. MetaVis Architect and Classifier are licensed on a per set basis and are available for either straight purchase or an annual subscription. As far as pricing, you are looking at US$ 625 for the Classifier and US$ 2500 for Architect if purchased standalone.
Are there other solutions out there that offer the same functionality? We haven't seen anything like the Architect Designer yet. We have seen solutions for document classification from TitusLabs, but this one is different and much more extensive.
If you are someone in charge of designing and/or maintaining the metadata in your SharePoint environment - whether it's WSS or MOSS, take a close look at these new solutions from MetaVis. They will save you time and money and probably a lot of stress.