Why SP2010 is Just Like MySpace

That’s right – SP2010 is like MySpace: that same collection of poorly designed social sites for bands and rebellious pre-teens, where you can add every annoying tweak and customization you want, such as a hamster-shaped mouse cursor that dances to the latest Nicki Minaj musical travesty, building a visually and audibly offensive shrine to yourself. imageSome may like that, but to me its kind of like driving north through the central valley in California with the green canopies of nut and fruit tree farms on your left and the incredibly beautiful golden, rolling hills and scrub oak on your right, merging into the distant blue Sierra Nevada mountains….until they are scarred by someone’s careless disposal of rusted old vehicles and other household debris across their yards, left out in the sun to slowly decay and deteriorate, sometimes so disrupting the view that it can be difficult to see beyond the garbage to the beauty of the surrounding area. In some ways, SharePoint 2010 is like MySpace, while SharePoint 2013 is more akin to Facebook.

Overly dramatic visuals? Probably. But stick with me for a moment, and I’ll explain.

I was reading a couple blog posts where people were commenting on some of the customization limitations of the SharePoint 2013 Preview. On the surface, the new version does seem less flexible on what you can do within the workspace compared to 2010. How do I move web parts in between zones? Where are my context menus? You can still configure the platform, of course, but within certain boundaries.

But this is all by design, ensuring your content can be consumed across browsers, tablets and mobile devices, and within your intranet, extranet, and public internet sites if you choose. Microsoft needed to rethink their strategy that would give more design capability to its users, but also make the platform more easily supportable. The new web content management (WCM) and design features make it easier to build out a construct for the presentation of your data, but some might view this as taking away your ability to modify every aspect of SharePoint.

And to some degree, that’s exactly right.

Kind of like moving from MySpace over to Facebook – from a social networking perspective, Facebook is much more controlled. You have some flexibility on how you can personalize your Facebook page, but its all done within the framework they allow. As a result, it’s a more effective platform. With SP2013 you have to build within the framework and use the new design management features (which allows you to design using Dreamweaver, Fireworks, or whatever else you’re used to building your HTML and CSS), and you can still make your site look just the way you want it to look, but in a scalable way.  But the main point here is that the design decisions are now back in the hands of people who have some formal training in design, and that's a good thing. Whether your design is tasteful or tasteless is still up to you.

Is this a fair comparison? It all sounded good in my head….

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and Office Servers and Services MVP, the Founder & CEO of CollabTalk LLC, an independent research and technical marketing services firm based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and CMO of revealit.io, a blockchain-based video technology company.