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Study: SharePoint Poorly Suited for Traditional Web Publishing

The latest semi-annual release of "The Web CMS Report" examines Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 and concludes that despite its strengths in managing documents in a collaborative environment, the software isn't a smart choice for managing traditional Web sites. MOSS 2007 replaces SharePoint Portal Server 2003 and Microsoft Content Management Server.

The report was published by CMS Watch, an independent analyst firm that evaluates content technologies and strategies.

"SharePoint has always been a good platform for managing Office documents and the new version is even better at that," said CMS Watch founder Tony Byrne in a statement, "but managing Web content represents a very different challenge, and here, Microsoft has not hit the mark."

Among the other conclusions:

  • MOSS generates non-standard HTML code with "extraneous JavaScript and table-based layouts, which is problematic for enterprises wanting to employ standards-based design and code conventions." The report notes that licensees must "pro-actively strip this extra code from their own websites."

  • MOSS 2007 generates a folder-based navigation structure by default; this must be re-coded or replaced if an enterprise wants to use "traditional Web site navigation schemes"

  • MOSS lacks strong native support for translation workflows, so its effectiveness for multinational Web sites is limited

  • MOSS is expensive. For public-facing Web sites, the product lists for $41,000 per server (in U.S. dollars), "making it one of the most expensive licenses in its mid-market class."

There were some bright spots in the report, however. For example, it notes that MOSS 2007 can be heavily customized and extended through traditional .NET approaches.

"MOSS 2007 might make sense for certain document-heavy Intranets," Byrne said, "but prospective customers should not assume that its ease of deployment for simple file sharing will equate to ease of implementation for managing complex Web publishing operations -- for Web Content Management, MOSS is really more of a development platform."

The research firm conducted hundreds of interviews with Web content management system (CMS) customers worldwide. The report compares 30 vendors across 18 major feature categories and evaluates the suitability of each product for a dozen scenarios. Though it does not name a "best" vendor, it does detail the strengths and weaknesses of each supplier and explains the suitability of each product.

More information is available at http://www.cmswatch.com.

About the Author

James E. Powell is the former editorial director of Enterprise Strategies (esj.com).

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