Windows SharePoint Services and Windows Server File for Divorce

Windows SharePoint Services and Windows Server File for Divorce

OK, it's a tabloid headline, but if you haven't heard already, this is big (and good) news. Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) will no longer be an out-of-the-box role for Windows Server 2008. Instead, it will be a downloadable component. Déjà vu, all over again, isn't it?

Why is this good news? Well, first, I think it will mean more rapid development of features for a product (WSS) that has enormous impact on our enterprises at this point in time. We all know that Windows OS timelines are as firm and reliable as quicksand, and tying the release cycle for WSS to Windows Server's calendar could do nothing but delay the progress of a more youthful and dynamic product. This decision will enable both teams to do their work without domino-ing into each other. That's a great thing. Hopefully that means we'll see one or two major releases of WSS before the next version of the Server OS sees the light of day.

I, personally, am also excited to hope that this signals the beginning of a significant trend at Microsoft, which would be to start "chunking" the features and roles of the company's products so that we can evaluate and deploy them in a more granular, evolutionary manner, rather than the disruptive and revolutionary "big wave" launches that have been par for the course. Wouldn't that be nice? Think about it.  IIS 7.0, which is big in a lot of ways, has been (to my understanding) pretty much "in the can" for quite a while now. Wouldn't it have been nice to start rolling that out and leveraging its enhanced security and features, without having to wait for the "big drop" of Windows Server in all its glory next spring?  A boy can dream, can't he?

Thankful for SharePoint: One Year Later

It's hard to believe that it's been one year since SharePoint (WSS 3.0 and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server--MOSS--2007) were released to manufacturing. The "drop" of SharePoint into the market caused waves, if not a tsunami, if the thousands of folks at SharePoint, Office, and Windows Connections are any indication! It's been a long time since I've seen the community so ravenous for information about an IT product.

As it's Thanksgiving time here in the United States, I thought I'd share the three things I'm personally most thankful for about SharePoint and the way it has affected my day-to-day work life:

  • The ability to easily move shared databases online. Both at my own business and at some of my clients, we work with shared data. In the past, those were generally Excel worksheets or Access databases. I've moved most of those applications online to SharePoint lists, which now allow my teams and my clients to have multiuser, Web-accessible ability to edit the data.

  • Relational databases, offline data, and forms with Microsoft Access and SharePoint. On the flip side, I'm absolutely enamored and grateful for the ways in which Access 2007 and SharePoint interact. In many of the shared data scenarios I mentioned above, we have Access client applications that give us the ability to take data offline (love that!), to build rich forms, and, most importantly, to create relational queries and reports that pull together data from the separate SharePoint lists.

  • Unified contacts, calendars, and tasks. One of my first initiatives after the launch of SharePoint and Office 2007 was to make sense of my calendars, tasks, and contacts.  As a consultant, I'm all about "projects," and each project has its own team, deadlines, meetings, and action items. Those are all now happily in SharePoint sites for each project, and thank goodness that Outlook 2007 is able to present those in a unified view. I can't tell you how grateful I am for the "View in Overlay Mode" capability in Outlook, which takes my seven primary calendars (yes!) and lets me see them all at once.

I'm grateful that our community has developed and rallied in what I believe is a beautiful and critical way--to share knowledge, to answer questions, and to help each other tackle the implications of this product to our enterprises.  And I'm most grateful for the opportunity to help build a strong, rejuvenated community of so many thousands of you at Thank you for "listening," for participating, and for sharing!

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