An open letter to the SharePoint Product Team:

Software development (especially at Microsoft) has come a long way in the last 2-3 years. Customers, community and partners are playing a huge role in how products take shape.

That being said, product managers, evangelists and developers are not mind-readers. They only know what we “don’t like” if we tell them.

Consider this post an effort on my part to impact the future of SharePoint by creating a consolidated list of “pain points”. If this post proves to gain enough interest, I build a more detailed page around it. In the meantime use the comments of this post. If you want to track it use the comments RSS feed for this post.

This is not the place to flame Microsoft, it is moderated and only legitimate concerns will get through. I will start by adding the first comment.

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22 Responses

  1. Tony says:

    does anyone know, how to use more than one RichHtmlField in a page?

    i have one which works fine, but putting another RichHtmlField with different id and fieldname doesnt seem to work, the page doesnt show the second RichHtmlField on edit mode.

    Thanks in Advance

  2. Brent Breaux says:

    In WSS, I’d love to see the WYSIWYG editor enhanced to make placing images easier. Perhaps have it browse the site’s picture library by default, and add the ability to upload to the library at the time editing is happening. Also enhance the linking functionality to be able to pop links up in a new window by adding the “_blank” attribute, and also let users browse the document library so that they can add links to documents in the library to their content.

    Perhaps this exists in the portal server or one of the other pay products, but not having it in WSS requires extra training when showing non technicals how to add content.

  3. chris says:

    hey vinod

    How did u solve the problem of having more than one RichHtmlField control in a same page?? i am pretty much stuck with this and am not sure how to go for the solution.
    please help

    regards

    chris

  4. Kevin says:

    It would be great if there was some more documentation regarding editing Calendars through the workflow. Obviously this is a beta so documentation is sparse, but it’d be great to have some better say about editing lists through workflow.

    Also, I may have missed this too, but it’d be nice to have some better docs regarding integration of infopath into workflows. For example, the repeating groups/sections directly into a workflow solution in VS2005.

  5. Vinod says:

    One of the feature in CMS 2002 is to copy the postings from one channel to another. But i couldn’t copy a page from one site to another (even thru API’s). PublishingPage or PublishingWeb doesn’t hold a function for this. It would be nice if MS includes this in the final release of MOSS 2007.

  6. shane says:

    Mark,

    Have you not tried the new version, MOSS 2007? It’s easy to log in/out as different users, they built it into the UI.

    Shane

  7. Mark says:

    What would be great in sharepoint is an easy and flexible way to login / logout as an authenticated user.

    For example, I would like to have a site setup for anonymous access for internet access, so no authentication form in advance.
    It would be great if via login/password fields (not the ‘ugly’ authenticationbutton form) a user could get authenticated or logged off (in all browsers).
    My webparts could then be setup to provide extra functionallity depending on whether the current user is authenticated or not.

    Regards,
    – Mark –

  8. shane says:

    viewlsts.aspx

    It would be nice if this file:

    1) used default.master rather than application.master
    2) was included in copy to the content DB so that it could be edited (site level)

    If you customize a WSS v3 site you are left with some pages (virtual references) left looking default.

    – Adding this to the proper Microsoft channel.

  9. Vinod says:

    I have sorted out the first thing by creating my own site columns & Content Types and assigning i tto the newly created layout. The workflow is still a ?? for me!

  10. Vinod says:

    Hey Guys, Once again i am going all nuts with few things…Need help from you experts….

    I have a couple of queries (that includes workflow) and i would like to take it to you since i couldn’t find any help from any of the forums…

    My Requirements :
    1. I have to use web forms in my sharepoint application that has to go thru a workflow. – Basically the Web Content Management
    2. These web pages (the so called postings in CMS 2002) can be multiple and can have any number of fields.
    3. The navigation should be of a tree control (something like what we see in the MS discussion board)
    4. On click on any node, appropriate page should be displayed on the right

    I tried both (WCM & InfoPath) the options and got stuck with few Probs :

    1. first option : (WCM) –

    I am creating my own custom page layout so that it would be available as a template for my application.
    To start with, I went through the articleRight.aspx layout (which is MOSS Inbuilt page layout) and copied it in to a new file let’s say Feedback.aspx and now that i want to create two three fields of my own..since it’s a feebback form it requires the following :
    1. A TextField for First Name
    2. A TextField for Last Name
    3. A TextField for Phone Number
    4. A RichHtmlField about the users Job Description
    5. A RichHtmlField about the “How do you know about the site?”
    Basically, i want to have more than 2 TextFields and 2 RichHtmlField and how to design the form as i wanted.
    What’s is the FieldName and does it really have set of predifined values for it?? I tried giving my own FieldName and i couldn’t found it rendered on my page when i choose the appropriate template. Am not sure how to use the SharePointWebControls with the FieldNames.

    2. Since infopath is easy to design, i thought i’ll go with that, i followed the below link… http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/ms778201.aspx But again, i am really not sure how to place the xmlformview for the page that i create in the WCM using the sharepoint site. As per the article, i have to create a custom page on the site through VS.NET (but how to navigate or maintain the parent/tree relationship for pages??) Also, when i tried publishing it i get an error “Session state not enabled”. I did a couple of things, i screwed up again need to re-install sharepoint….It’s a tough week so far..

    3. Third thing is the navigation, If am going to use the WCM, then i need to have my own tree control that only has (Channels & Postings in CMS) SubSite & Pages. I could get all the sites & subsites using the sitecollection object…but after that I would also like to know how to pull out the page information through sharepoint API’s? Do we have any objects through which we can read the pages in a site? I am talking about the pages that we create using Web Content Management on a sharepoint portal. I need something like in CMS 2002 where u have channels->Sub-Channels-> Postings….that hierarchy.

    4. Coming to the main thing, the workflow…the documentation that i have read for workflows are only for the lists and libraries.

    a) How to design a workflow in Vs.Net for the Pages folder. (ie) if i create a new page using the template i should kick-off the workflow and it should go through couple of steps like review, approve before getting publised. I went thru the link http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms406057.aspx, but i couldn’t find a step by step procedure to do this….And a lot of questions pops like, do i need to use a seq workflow or a state wf?

    b) How do i associate the created workflow to the pages directory, basically for any new page created the workflow should kick-off (like CMS)

    I would certainly appreciate if you can come up with something positive (probably a sample workflow code) or some documentation to refer.

    Thanks in advance!

  11. Vinod says:

    Thx Amanda, You’re right! As i took a little deep dive, i could find those things are possible.

  12. Tariq says:

    Hey Shane,

    Nice idea

    This (http://geekswithblogs.net/tariq/archive/2006/05/27/79822.aspx) has just got to change.

    When you are creating a list in SharePoint, the create list page gives you no indication as to what template will be used to create the list.

    – Tariq

  13. Hey Vinod,

    Since the workflow is based on the Windows Workflow Foundation…it is really truely extensible in that it can be applied to virtually any content type and developers can actually build their own custom ASP.NET 2.0 forms to be included as part of the workflow.

    So basically if you want to create a simple workflow that is tied to a single list or library…then SharePoint designer is a quick and easy way to go. However if you are looking for something more flexible and custom…you will want to break open Visual Studio.

    There is a pretty good write up within the SDK on the topic of Workflow if you are interested.

    Cheers!
    Amanda

  14. Vinod says:

    I just saw a demo http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=197661 which was interesting. Looks like Sharepoint will have a new IDE sharepoint designer 2007. The workflow shown in the demo is great but am not sure how far the workflow will work for anything other than the document libarary. For ex, if i need to create my own custom form and want it to be filled and reviewd by couple of people, am not sure how it’s going to work.

  15. Shane says:

    Adam,

    There has been a workaround posted for your issue:
    http://www.wssdemo.com/blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=182

  16. shane says:

    Thanks Lawerence and completely understood. (Shane)

  17. As the Community Lead for SharePoint, I’m very happy to see so much activity within the community in testing and discussing the next versions of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server and Windows SharePoint Services. However, please note that we/I simply cannot monitor/subscribe/read every blog, forum, and newsgroups out there. :-)

    So, to provide us constructive and targeted feedback, please use the private beta newsgroups if you are a member of the Office 2007 Tech Beta program. If you are not, then use the SharePoint Team Blog (http://blogs.msdn.com/sharepoint) as your primary feedback channel.

    However, before you send us a long list of bugs/gripes, please take a look at the Known Issues list (http://officebeta.iponet.net/en-us/products/FX101517541033.aspx#5).

    Thanks!

  18. shane says:

    Another gripe I have:

    The body in the (default.aspx) could use a class.

    With other frames (such as iframe.html from the calendar) inheriting the same properties, it makes it impossible (without actually adding it through the definition) to apply a background image or some such.

  19. Adam says:

    This is more of a bug than a feature request… Why can’t I create a blog and set anonymous access? I do so, and it still returns “401 UNAUTHORIZED” when a user tries to access it. I add a team site right next to it, same collection, everything. Set the team site to allow anonymous and it works like magic. Doing the same for the Blog does absolutely nothing. Whats the deal?

  20. Chris says:

    There is another item – one that i had to build into the SCHEMA in SP 2003 that i am disappointed to see overlooked.

    List>Links: Check box or something for Opening Links in New Window.

  21. shane says:

    When you deleted a site in SharePoint v2 there was no home button. I was not impressed to see that this issue was not looked at in 2007.

    I think I speak for everyone when I say there should be a simple link to let users get back to either the top level of the site collection, or the portal home page. I don’t care if it’s the breadcrumb or a simply home link, but I really think there should be a way “other than using the browsers back button” to get out of there.

    Example:

    Before

    After

I would love to hear from you.

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