I presented to a group of our Alphawest client base on Friday in Perth at QV1 this morning. Thank you for everyone who attended, it was a great turn out and I got some valuable feedback.
Some great questions were asked:
Should we wait for Microsoft to enhance SharePoint 2007
In terms of whether it is worth backing Microsoft to enhance existing functionality in SharePoint 2007 or whether to go out there and buy add-ons from other companies or even use open source from CodePlex.
I used Atlassian as a good example of a wiki with rich integration into SharePoint. Clearly these guys are pretty huge in the wiki space, as are MediaWiki as one guy there mentioned but MediaWiki currently has no integration.
On CodePlex I was hunting for an enhanced wiki like the enhanced blog and found the project under the same banner of CKS. So work is definitely being done in this area but there is no indication of how quickly this is happening.
From the Microsoft point of view, I think they need to leave some space for the open source community and the partners to develop enhancements.
If Microsoft continue to do enhancements, like they have done to the Records Management piece for DoD certification, they will find that Partners won't spend the time developing these enhanced features to package up and sell themselves. It's hard to know what areas they can concentrate on without Microsoft throwing some developers at it to copy cat the functionality or just acquire them.
Most companies won't want to sweat out a solution to be bought out for a quick lump sum when there could potentially be years of sales and support renewals give a more stable return. And the open source community won't want to spend that time either if Microsoft release an official version conflicting with theirs later down the track.
I believe Microsoft need to be a bit clearer in where they are heading with this so that Partners can make some decisions without knowing they are not going to get rubbed out of the market.
If we use SharePoint wiki to build our Handbook, can we output the results to PDF?
For this answer, I guess I described the architecture of wikis and the fact that a wiki is just a SharePoint list made up of wiki pages which are SharePoint List Items. Therefore, potentially, you can write an application to navigate through each wiki page in a particular way using the SharePoint API.
I guess the only problem with this approach is that technically wiki's are not structured like documents in a hierarchical way and are more like a web of pages where one page can be linked from various others. SO you could end up in a recursive loop when doing it this way. You could just output the wiki page the first time the page is linked off to and this may work, I guess there would have to be guidelines around the approach on the use of the wiki.