Thursday, 8 September 2011

This is a test Article on the blog

203-sixtoes[Concrete/Interesting]

 

Here is a picture

Like it?

 

 

Actually, this is a test for using Windows Live Writer to publish to SharePoint Wiki. Which sounds easy, but you guessed it, it’s not.

I’ll let you know how I get on.

newrule

Frankly, it’s all rather disappointing. I guess someone at Microsoft, looking to make SharePoint a little more useful thought “well it’s good at lists and HTML docs, if you add a template with an on-page editor, hey presto, you’ve got a Wiki”. Only, it’s not that simple and the editor is far too lightweight.

Windows Live Write (WLW) on the other hand is a well thought out, powerful tool. Clearly the best Blog editor in my mind. It’s the reason I have a Windows VM on my Mac.

So I gave it a go and WLW doesn’t want to talk to the Wiki because it’s not a blog, doesn’t support the APIs, just a list with an editor.

However, it was suggested that I could author my pages against my SharePoint blog. Great. It worked brilliantly. WLW talks to SharePoint blogs and does an excellent job of it.

Once published, all you have to do is open the blog in SharePoint for editing, copy the raw HTML and paste it to the Wiki.

It works, but it’s far from perfect

The main advantage of this is the editor in WLW. It’s excellent, support plug-in for styles, adopts site templates. I’m using it now and what I type is what I will see on the blog site.

A very useful benefit of this approach is image publishing. It’s a royal pain in the arse when editing on the SharePoint Wiki. Using this method, images are published to my blog and can be referenced in the Wiki without need to upload anything or mess around.

But the main problem is I’m publishing to a blog and have a second copy in the Wiki. I may even have a third local copy on my Mac saved by WLW. These copies can easily get out of step.

Worse still, the images are associated with a my blog and my account, not the Wiki. If my account gets deleted, I guess these resources will disappear.

Finally, the point of a Wiki is that the documents are live and through collaboration, the Wiki will change over time. So my copy on my blog is very likely to be out of step. This could result in changes being lost as the WLW view of the document is that of the blog, not the Wiki.

You could of course create a shared blog and keep this as the master document site. I thought of this and it occurred to me that if I was to do this, I might as well try to use that as my Wiki. Well that made the whole exercise seem pointless.

Improved on-page Editing

You can of course change the Wiki template to use a more advanced editor. This is a very satisfactory solution. One of the recommended ones is the Telerik RadEditor that can be integrated into SharePoint 2010:

http://www.telerik.com/help/aspnet-ajax/moss-installing_radeditor__radgrid_web_parts_on_sharepoint_2010.html

Problem is, it cost about $800. And I’ve already spent half that purchasing a better Forum web part because the out of the box solution from Microsoft is just rubbish. Starting to sound like throwing good money after bad,

Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010

Ok, time to bring the big guns out. I’m only trying to update pages on the Wiki!

Well, this is a powerful tool. It’s also typical of the development/management tools from Microsoft. Yes, I can edit the Wiki, but it’s not easy. Ultimately, this tool provides a Visual Studio / Microsoft Expression type of view on the site and site document. Not really what you want.

newrule

Conclusion

I’ll keep looking for a better solution to editing on-page in SharePoint. Maybe Microsoft will provide a link between WLW and SharePoint Wiki.

However, until a solution is found, the SharePoint Wiki experience will be very disappointing.

Given that for a Wiki, the ease of authoring and content creation is as important as the content itself, you might just decide that SharePoint doesn’t even qualify as a Wiki.

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