Microsoft Office SharePoint, the company's enterprise content and document management system, is poised to receive its second service pack in the coming months.
Microsoft plans to ship Office SharePoint Server 2007 SP2 in early 2009 and will focus on improving the end-user experience, rather than being aimed at improving the internal operations of the complex software product, which was an area of focus for SharePoint SP1.According to TechNet blog announcement of the coming SP2, the SharePoint team has disclosed that SP2 will include "Performance and manageability improvements to variations in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) including STSADM commands for repairing links between source and target pages". Also, the Redmond-based software giant will build in some improvements to read-only content databases and rebuild timer jobs in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0.
According to Microsoft, the release date of SharePoint SP2 will fall between February and April of 2009.
If Microsoft is looking to enhance the end-user experience with SharePoint, the company needs to try much harder. As a SharePoint administrator, I'm commonly faced with questions about how to execute seemingly common tasks in any CMS system. For example, editing text in a text Web Part (called a Content Editor Web Part) takes about five clicks to actually get to editing text.
In some SharePoint management screens, OK and Cancel buttons exist at the top of the page and the bottom of the page, where on other management screens, the OK/Cancel duo is only found at the bottom. And as a final example, migrating content between sites (even among sites that belong to the same parent site) requires command line backup and restore operations from a SharePoint administrator, rather than a simple drag-and-drop type of operation as would be expected.
These types of user interface issues are prevalent throughout the SharePoint product and deserve attention from Microsoft in order to improve the end-user experience.
Continuing an earlier theme, the SharePoint team has been quite cryptic, as noted by CMS Watch's Janus Boye, with the roadmap for SharePoint development and upcoming features. The Office Sustained Engineering blog notes this lack of transparency and leads the communication about the upcoming MOSS 2007 SP2 in an effort to alleviate this issue.
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