My review is complete… now a word from our sponsors

Yes folks, I am done with SharePoint and all that it has to offer me. I have spent the last month and a half since I got my MS Certification to play with their reporting services knee deep in another fantastic concoction of the Microsoft’s SharePoint Portal Services… Something aptly named … Wiki. Now, I assure you all that I say aptly as many people would consider sarcastic. Sarcasm is truly appropriate. Meet the new Microsoft Appl; you have all heard of the Macintosh Apple, well this is Microsoft’s response, trying to carve some of the market share away from this other fruit.

Despite the fact that it is called a wiki, SharePoint’s alternative is clearly short of par. Our first stop is a website known strictly for comparison of wiki’s and lets compare SharePoint’s wiki to uhm, MediaWiki, the wiki I use on this site. Yes! There is MediaWiki! And a little lower under Microsoft is, well hold up. Nope. There is no entry in this tool for anything Microsoft related. In fact there is no entry for wiki or SharePoint either. Well that really puts a bee in my bonnet. I have been trying very hard to keep my cool about being asked to do a Microsoft review, but I figured it would be better than this. I mean, seriously.

According to Wikipedia, the foremost authority on what wiki’s are and what they can do, defines a wiki a web application designed to allow multiple authors to add, remove, and edit content, and man is that an understatement. Wikipedia has become a house hold name and its MediaWiki foundation is indeed a very well built application for many reasons, but I will only touch one of them today. By far my favorite feature of MediaWiki is its markup. Simple tags allow you to convert a text area into a fully featured editor, and keep things straight without meddling with raw HTML or worrying about numbering schemes.

## This is an excerpt from my wiki
===What is Gneu?===
A door opens, and a child enters the house, eyes welled up with tears. As he walks through the hall and down the single step into the kitchen of his family's house he sees a chocolate chunk cookie and glass of milk is waiting for him, as always, on the table. He sits, and he dunks.

...

MediaWiki has taken the WYSIWYG necessity of editing web content out of the equation. The whole idea is to keep the tags simple and formatting standardized. No need to worry about a cross browser plug-in or editor nor JavaScript becoming a necessity.

Hmm, let’s step into the SharePoint wiki. Hey now. What the fuck is this shit. I am given a text area and is that… the HTML for the page! Are you telling me that It’s outputting the html when I save it? This can’t be. Let’s test out this same page in IE… oh my lord. IE has a not nearly fully (more like slightly?) featured WYSIWYG editor. You have got to be kidding me. Okay whatever let’s get into some of the details:

MediaWiki

  • Stores its information in a MySQL Database
  • Has no issues with using HTML in the middle of a page, but has a full arsenal of Wiki markup tags to use that are much more convenient.
  • Cross Browser support (No WYSIWYG to worry about)
  • Page information is stored as edited, ergo in Wiki markup
  • Table of contents, Headers, Sections are created on the fly
  • Page Templates & Categories are built in
  • You can preview

SharePoint

  • Stores Actual files on the filesystem (*.aspx files are created for every page created)
  • Requires use of WYSIWYG or pure HTML markup to edit a page; has no markup tags, save the [[Page Name]] linking tag. Note that the WYSIWYG does not match what you see.
  • By Cross Browser support they mean to say that you can edit the html in any browser other than IE.
  • Page information is stored as Truncated HTML
  • TOC, Headers and Sections are all created by the developer
  • What’s a template? What is a category?
  • Preview?

The only feature in the above list that is good for SharePoint is also the largest downfall. Truncated HTML may sound a little vague, but that’s because the whole concept is really beyond my idea of cleaning content. I opened up a page in SharePoint and inserted a bunch of text; in the middle of the second paragraph was a table, which I didn’t care about. I saved the document and before my eyes sat a half a document. Apparently there is some sort of truncation in the backend of SharePoint stripping out bad content, of which it considers text after tables. It took me a full half hour to figure out that there was a bad tag copy that was killing the paste. During further testing I found that this truncation was being done on attributes, javascript, invalid HTML tags, and styling information. This really drove me crazy and has helped inspire this essay. Of the attributes was the target=”_blank” which it didn’t like for one reason or another.

IntraPage Linking, the process of linking to a specific spot in a page, was and still is probably the worst performing item. You cannot, unless you edit the page in the html editor, link to the same page. Please prove me wrong. Two other interns and I spent 3 days trying to figure this one out but get this. If you try to link to the same page with a #Name you will get one of two behaviors. One is to truncate. Its irritating yes, but at least it just removes it right. The second option is to append something that still blows my mind. If you decide to use the WYSIWYG editor you get a very interesting output, a full URL, save the domain name, to that page’s edit form. Now… I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to say that if I’m editing a page I will want to link to itself not to its edit page. What the hell good is that? I mean seriously this doesn’t make any fucking sense and I am getting irate again.

Anyways, as you can see this is not a wiki. I could not find a single noted wiki without some sort of wiki markup that wasn’t at least similar to the media wiki format. I am wholly disappointed and in some ways I am not surprised a bit. Microsoft has again swung their cock around by calling this a wiki when it falls so incredibly short that it isn’t even funny. I hope you all caught the apple to orange comparison, it has so many connotations that I won’t even bother detailing them.