5 experience-related things I’d love to see in SharePoint vNext
It’s more than two years since the last version of SharePoint has been released. Comparing to SPS 2003, MOSS 2007 brought us a very rich environment with tons of new features. As we all might expect, the SharePoint product team is really busy with the new version of SharePoint and I assume that many of us can’t wait to get their hands on it. Looking at the calendar however, it’s probably going to be at least the end of this year until the public release of the new version of SharePoint will see the daylight. Since there’s still some time left, I’ve decided to share with you a couple of things I would love to see in SharePoint vNext.
Initially I wanted to write one article. During the brainstorm however I’ve found out that there were quite a few things I’d love to see in SharePoint vNext. That’s why I decided to split the whole thing: Part #1 – Experience.
**All the things I’ve described below and will describe in the following posts are things which I would love to see in SharePoint vNext. I really have no idea of what the SharePoint Product Team are working on for the new version and there is no guarantee that you will see any of these features in SharePoint vNext,
More Silverlight please!
One of the challenges I could imagine could be to make the Silverlight-based interface pluggable so that developers can customize it to meet the solution requirements: like adding/removing buttons, etc.
…and less Ribbon
People all over the Internet have been speculating for quite a long whether the new version of SharePoint would or would not include the Ribbon. Probably the main reason that people were talking about it in the first place was that it was already present in most of the Office 2007 clients and because SharePoint integrates with the clients it would be “cool” to have a seamless experience. Well it wouldn’t.
SharePoint was, is and will remain a web application accessible through a web browser. We already have a toolbar, do we really need yet another one? So imagine having the Ribbon beneath the browser’s toolbar: where would the content of the page begin: somewhere in the middle of your screen? Waste of space if you ask me. I really don’t expect everyone to work with SharePoint in the full screen mode so unless you can make SharePoint’s Ribbon integrate with the one Internet Explorer would have (I don’t expect Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Opera to implement a Ribbon control just because SharePoint has it), don’t include it in SharePoint. Unless it is optional so that the customers can decide themselves whether they want it or not, don’t make it the default toolbar.
Benefit of jQuery
UI!… Calling UI!
As far as I can tell, users don’t mind waiting a little after starting an action, as long as they are given the feedback that their request has been received and that something is going on in the background. The weird thing is, that some places in SharePoint do provide such feedback. Why not implement it everywhere then?
Another thing that the WSS team could to is to simplify the HTML markup. The more HTML is being served the longer it takes to download, parse, render and customize it. The more complex it is, the more difficult it is to understand it in case there is something wrong. It would be really cool if the SharePoint’s interface was simplified.
Do it, do it at once!
It’s quite odd that it actually takes two steps to create a Publishing Page in SharePoint. First you create a document and then you can proceed with filling in the page details. I’ve worked with a couple of Content Management Systems and I can tell you: I have never seen such approach before.
SharePoint developers among us almost immediately would try to explain how the SPListItem and SPFile are being created and the page is being instantiated… Guess what? The end users don’t care. When they want to create a page they want to have it done, instead of switching between two different screens and entering data in two places. It is confusing I admit. It would be cool if the MOSS team could do something about it too…
So these were the 5 experience-related things I’d love to see in SharePoint vNext. In the next post I will focus on development. Stay tuned and feel free to share your opinions, ideas and concerns.