The one where I detail that SharePoint is NOT my BFF

I started a new job on Monday. For those keeping score at home, that would be 4 corporate jobs in 16 months. And, I stayed home with kids for 6 of those months. Anyhoo … we use Sharepoint, which is according to Microsoft is used

to facilitate collaboration, provide content management features, implement business processes, and supply access to information that is essential to organizational goals and processes.

You can quickly create SharePoint sites that support specific content publishing, content management, records management, or business intelligence needs. You can also conduct effective searches for people, documents, and data, participate in forms-driven business processes, and access and analyze large amounts of business data.

Today I wanted to use its wiki functionality. And I was sad. So sad. It doesn’t behave like a wiki at all. I asked the Googles if maybe I didn’t know the tips and tricks and was told by Lawrence Lui from Microsoft on his SharePoint powered blog

the wiki functionality in WSS 3.0 was not designed to compete directly with best-of-breed wiki products like SocialText, but rather, it’s the integration of a plethora of collaboration and community features that make WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 best of breed as a whole.

The key competitive advantage of SharePoint has always been and will continue to be in the foreseeable future the breadth of integrated collaborative and community-based applications that are provided out of the box or can easily be developed with SharePoint rich platform services. I believe that the built-in wiki functionality is sufficient for a very large percentage of our customer base, and many customers have indeed standardized on the SharePoint wiki as part of their overall standardization on SharePoint as the enterprise collaborative application platform.

Microsoft purposely, knowingly created and released a product that does not do what the marketing collateral claims. It does not support collaboration. It’s little more than a very pretty file storage system. And when you do make wiki pages, it’s not pretty. All the pages you create show up in the document list. Even child pages. Doesn’t make it very clear which document is the one you care about and which are merely supporting pages. Also, it cannot make a TOC list or support headings. Wikis are meant to be easy to use. It’s extremely limited functionality is not sufficient for creating robust documentation. If I can have a blog I should be able to write wiki pages without wanting to shove hot pokers in my eyes. Don’t get me started on trying to add a png to a page. I considered loading the diagram into flickr and linking it back; it actually crossed my mind as a reasonable alternative to the hoops I’ll need to jump through.