SharePoint 2010 SP1 Disappointment

By now you know that Microsoft SharePoint has a 3-year development cycle. Three years is not a long time for upgrades to highly process-oriented functionality, like many types of document management applications. However, a long development cycle is a significant shortcoming in areas like Collaboration/Social and Web Content Management, where Redmond's circa-2009 codebase feels increasingly out of step.

So that's why I was really looking forward to seeing SharePoint 2010's Service Pack 1 (SP1), which was just released yesterday.  You see, some Microsoft officials had been quietly hinting that -- contrary to previous history -- the company would look at putting more significant functional improvements into SharePoint service packs, in an effort to become more agile in the face of evolving customer demands.

Redmond will point to a few niceties in SP1, like Chrome support and some migration enhancements. Yet nearly all the improvements constitute bug fixes or minor system administration enhancements.

To be fair, Microsoft is very good at bug fixes. Note the attention to addressing problems like, "Hebrew dates that are displayed in group headers in an XSLTListViewWebPart are incorrect when grouping is enabled" or "On Galician blog sites, the date box on the left side of a blog entry shows the month and the day reversed."  Not what you'd consider mission-critical lapses in the original release, but now they're fixed. This is a service pack on top of a platform that's already quite stable and reliable, compared to its smaller peers in the marketplace.

What's disappointing about SP1 is what it didn't include. Nothing to close the increasingly yawning gap in the platform's native social computing services. No e-marketing applications to make SharePoint's website publishing service relevant for this decade. Nothing particularly interesting to businesspeople at all (Galician bloggers excepted).

By now you also know Redmond's reply: you can find partners to develop all those applications for you. That's a good business for those firms -- and a lot of money for you.

Well, I'll be waiting on SP2, but with less bated breath...

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