Alterian Has Not One, But Two SharePoint Connectors
Now some of you might ask why Alterian (news, site) would have two SharePoint connectors in their inventory content management connectors. If you knew the history of Alterian, you would know. It's because they have two web content management systems: Morello and Immediacy. And each one connects to SharePoint a little bit different.

Connecting SharePoint to Immediacy

With the Immediacy SharePoint Connector (SPC) you can pull SharePoint lists easily into Immediacy content managed websites.

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Immediacy SharePoint Connector

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Immediacy SharePoint Connector

Not only can this connector enable you to pull list data from SharePoint, it can also be configured to collect data via the Immediacy website and add it to your SharePoint list.

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Preview of Immediacy SharePoint List Template

And if you are working with an Immediacy website that does not have a direct connection with SharePoint -- as you may if your Immediacy website is external -- then the Immediacy Deployment Server can take the data collected via the plug-in, and download it into SharePoint.

This connector works for both WSS and MOSS 2007. If you are wondering about connecting with SharePoint Libraries or integration via SharePoint webparts, these are in the works, well it also supports two way synchronization with these as well.

As for web part integration, so support yet, but it's a .Net WCM, so it's possible.

Connecting SharePoint to Morello

Morello is Alterian's enterprise web content management system. The Morello MOSS 2007 Connector lets you create your content in SharePoint and deliver it to your Morello content managed websites.

With the Morello SharePoint Connector you have a wizard process that lets you select the data in SharePoint you want to display on your Morello website.

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Morello MOSS 2007 Connector

This could be a list, a document, an image -- you aren't restricted to complete lists or libraries of content. You can then take this selected data and publish it to one or more websites.

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Morello MOSS 2007 Connector - Select Content

When you create the link between Morello and SharePoint for particular content, you state how often you want the data synchronized. As the SharePoint content is updated, it is then updated in Morello based on this synchronization schedule.

Here's a nice little video on how you publish content from SharePoint to Morello. In it you will also see how you work with Morello and Microsoft Word to view content.

One Way Connection to SharePoint

There is currently only a one way connection between Morello and SharePoint. According to Ian Truscott, VP of WCM Strategy at Alterian, there hasn't been a demand for two way communications between their enterprise WCM (Morello) and SharePoint.

They are able, however, to provide a tested code example from their own product development that can be tailored to meet an organization's needs.

Why then does Immediacy provide two way synchronization? Truscott indicates that Immediacy is a corporate content management solution used primarily for Intranets. In Intranet situations, he says SharePoint is seen more as a competitor, than as a tool that complements web content management (as it does in enterprise situations). Therefore it makes sense to provide both read and write capabilties.

Enabling Collaboration in SharePoint

In a discussion paper Truscott wrote on the relationship of Morello and SharePoint, he points out that the typical WCM workflow process of "new, review, publish" is often too rigid for users when they first start working on content.

What makes more sense is to allow these users to continue to collaborate and share information in an environment like SharePoint until the content gets to a more formal stage. At that point, the SharePoint Connector kicks in -- whether it's Morello's or Immediacy's or some other -- and pushes the content through a more traditional workflow process.

SharePoint offers a number of ways to collaborate including using Office documents, wikis, blogs, discussions, etc... And users like this environment as we see from the number of organizations that implement it.

It's an interesting way to look at the relationship between SharePoint and Web Content Management, and the role each system plays when developing new content.

Not Done Yet

This is not the end of Alterian's work on SharePoint connectivity between their WCMs. Truscott says they are taking what they have learned working with both the Immediacy and Morello SharePoint connectors and determining the next step.

What that next step is, he won't say, only indicating that we should expect to see things happening later this year.