Sheesh! It's been a long time since my last post. I've been busy working on a consulting engagement for a local Engineering firm. When working on an engagement, I typically don't take time out for blogging. My evenings have been tied up with general life/family events. That's my excuse.
Okay, so back to SharePoint. We've completed our first Proof of Concept project using SharePoint Portal server. It turned out great. I was able to build some custom web parts to take care of the desired functionality that is not natively provided by the product. Writing web parts takes some getting used to, but after building a couple, I found it to be fairly simple. One resource that I used quite often was MSD2D.com. This is a community site with lots of helpful tips published. I've submitted a few tips sharing some techniques that I stumbled across.
The project we did was a small Proof of Concept designed to give the executives of the organization a taste of what could be done with the product. The hope is that once they see the product in action, they will sign off on a large, full implementation of SharePoint to build an entire intranet/portal for the organization.
I am overall pleased with SharePoint. Great product, but not without its faults. SharePoint uses lots of XML and ASPX template files. These files can be changed to customize the look and feel of the portal. Unfortunately, the documentation for this is scarce. In fact, our portal was broken for two weeks while we hunted down one piece of of bad code in an XML file. Live and learn, I suppose.
The web part pages seem to suffer from over-intelligence. The designer at the organization was getting very frustrated because the web part zones would size themselves based on the size of other items in the page. She could not control exactly how the page would look. This is going to come up a lot as designers try to customize their SharePoint pages.