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I Hate Mr. There Is A SharePoint Product For Everything

I hate you! You know who you are. You are the guy that no matter what comes up, there is your stupid third party solution that although you think will work, it never does and I get blamed for you being inept. You mainly suggest your stupid little solution during project conversation because you know god damn well that the company has already spent an obscene amount of money on it and you really, really are looking for any justification to use it because you brought the solution to the company! Sometimes I wonder whether you just troll the net looking for SharePoint products just so that you have something to suggest and say at meetings.
Let’s take an example conversation of why I hate these types of people.

[Management]: Well Adam, we need to rollup a subset of data across our instance. It’s a one stop shop, where need it done fast, and not very generic in terms of data aggregation. This is a very specific goal folks and has high visibility on this project!

[Mr. There Is A SharePoint Product For Everything]: Corasworks will work great for this! They have some super awesome rollup! Because it has the name Wizard in it! It has to be great!

[Adam]: No, no, no. Don’t you dare suggest that. Mr. Management man, Corasworks software (I choose Corasworks in this example because what I am about to say about them as a SharePoint product vendor is accurate IMHO. And everyone knows I think Corasworks is a stupid purchase decision), under the hood, is absolutely terribly written, mostly consisting of hackneyed inefficient code. I have seen several instances where the product itself was the cause of several acute server issues pegging processes due to poor programming design decisions. They fail drastically in handling basic environmental respect issues, making the product an even poorer decision for use, an example of which is not handling relative URL’s in their WebParts (IMHO, if you are asking for a site reference you should always be offered the option to tokenize this). This is a bad idea, and I would encourage you to disregard that suggestion. In order to develop this will take pretty much as much time as this meeting is going to take, this is not a very intensive task.

[Mr. There Is A SharePoint Product For Everything]: This isn’t a bad idea! It’s called the Data Rollup Wizard! Why wouldn’t it work, it has a cool name! And we already own it!

[Adam]: Which is why you are suggesting it, that’s all this is about. In the time that you are able to get this “amazing” data rollup whatever to work, it easily could have been hand coded to the specifications that management is handing down. Seriously, I don’t think it’s a good idea. I really think that the benefits of doing custom development will far outweigh those of staying within the defined limitations of a company that knows nothing about our business or practices, and I think its wise all in all to follow the concept of “Do not use a cannon to kill a mosquito”, principally when that cannon hardly works and has all sorts of internal design problems. There are several intrinsic benefits to the in-house development decision as well, such as being able to extend the source code to OUR needs, and being able to recycle methods that we write in future development efforts.

[Mr. There Is A SharePoint Product For Everything]: Ok! Well don’t you worry Adam. I have 50 other products in mind that will do this. I encourage us to go buy more crap to make Adam’s life miserable!

Seriously, I am sure if you are a SharePoint developer than you have had some variation of this conversation. There is always that one guy on the team, that no matter what the problem is, he always has a company that offers a product that solves it, even if its not an entire solution, surely it is better than spending in-house development time on it. I really hate that guy, because a lot of the time the products that he recommends don’t get used, and it gives an awful ding on project reports because there is an obscene amount of money spent on his meaningless suggestions, both consisting of obviously the product cost itself, but there is also a huge time investment as they product has to be explored, questioned, tested, implemented, and configured. Then you don’t even know that you did it right because you are relying on a guide that some intern wrote.

Look, I am all for buying something that helps the project along. There are some things that are so generic in purpose that it truly does not make sense to develop them in-house, like interface controls provided through companies like Telerik or Infragistics. Honestly, there isn’t a ton of purpose in writing that yourself. But taking a piece of software and trying to wrap your business goal around it, instead of programming TOWARDS a business goal, is arbitrary, and well, just plain stupid. That is trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, and generally I see costing entirely more much time and money than just sitting done and hashing it out with custom work.

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8 Comments

  1. Michael Gannotti says:

    Adam, It’s Friday… the day is half done then go home, grab a beer and relax. The insanity will still be there on Monday when you get back to work. Sounds like you need a little Adam time to unwind. There will always be the “it does everything” crowd for any and every product. I used to work for a Big Blue shop and used to deal with the same thin around WebSphere except in that case every addn was an integration nightmare and fundig sinkhole.
    So take some time for yourself, if you need to vent send me a vent email, be glad to read and respond of you like.
    Have a great weekend.
    Mike

  2. Becky Isserman says:

    I had this problem with 2003. Another client bought this horrid backup solution that I really did not like and a couple web parts. It was like pulling out teeth to get any help from the companies that created the solutions. When working with 2007 I try to stress to any client that they should try and come up with there own custom solutions if they really need something. I continue to get posts on my blog about gods knows what. Be it I am not the best developer in the world, but I would rather come up with something on my own and document it with source code for my clients.
    I’m really loving your recent rants. A blog is a great way to express opinions sometimes. Anyway, have a good weekend you deserve some r&r like Mike said.

  3. Sahil Malik says:

    Now now Adam, try not to supress your feelings about Corasworks!

  4. Bob Fox says:

    Adam once again you dropped my jaw. Listen to Mikey and have a dozen more beers. Id tell you to take an aspirin but I know thats just not enough to calm you down.

    Bob

  5. Victor Shamanovsky says:

    Let me ask the community: How well is your MOSS environment paring up with CorasWorks stuff? Site templates working well for you?

  6. Toby Smith says:

    Seems to me you are targeting a company that is very threatening to you. Maybe you should evaluate that before ripping them down. You should realize that their product is not targeted at developers (such as yourself) and they empower the end-user to create their own solutions without the need to pull in IT. Also, how about backing up your accusations about their coding practices and how under “sevearal” circumstances you found their product to cause server issues, rather than just stating your angry (and arrogant) opinion.

  7. Anonymous for fear of backlash says:

    Wow, I thought I was the only one that thought Sharepoint was a total waste of time and money, and that management heads tend to think it is the cure-all business solution for EVERYTHING. I’m a programmer, let ME program. It usually takes longer just to figure out how the stupid product works, and by that time, the solution could have been coded in-house! Right on, Adam!

  8. SFMOSS says:

    Hi, I am not a programmer… I am just pretty good at using what is available to get things done. So I might be considered on of the guys you hate.

    But aren’t you a biased source of opinion regarding 3rd party products… considering that is exactly what you develop? Why reinvent the wheel and pay costly development dollars to produce a solution that is already available?

    I have a friend in IT Solutions that has a number of “custom” products he pulls of his coding shelf and then charges big money for “custom” coding for certain industries… I guess that his knowledge has to be worth something but I feel it’s a little dishonest to charge R & D for a solution that has already been developed.

    I am a web designer however… who hardly ever rights a stitch of code. Why should I? I can get almost anything done with what is available or can customize it to my uses.

    Programmer’s code and the rest of us try to sift through the endless stuff that programmers try to sell to get things done the best we can.

    I have some issues right now as an SPS Admin (I do not do back end at all… I just handle IM and making the portal do more than be a glorified shared drive)but my unit will NOT pay for a coder to make a solution… and everyone else is inept at doing anything but keeping it running (and they don’t do too good at that either). So I just have to figure it out with what’s available… What people like you make available.

    In my defense I would say that I have yet to endorse a 3rd party product however… My efforts have been limited to utilizing what the products can do out of the box (SPS 3.0, SPD2007, InfoPath 2003/2007). Why turn to 3rd Party if you can’t even use what you’ve got already… right?

    Oh well… On some levels I agree… but on others I feel that coders like to make more work for themselves and feel that unless they typed it out in notepad it’s worthless. If that attitude made sense… we would be driving Flintstone cars and all technological increase would be deemed the pursuit of the “less skilled”.

    The “civilians” across the street are more concerned with keeping their jobs than seeing the military actually be able to accomplish things without them and are constantly concerned over what I accomplish over their heads. What does HE need this or that for? (But you might agree with me since one of those “geniuses bought corasworks)

    And to Mr. Anonymous for fear of backlash”… your probably one of those coding propeller heads that can barely understand how to use the most rudimentary of software. It amazes me how 99% of the IT department here can’t do a damn thing in SPS 3.0/MOSS 2007 except set up the server.

    Everyone has a role… coders are not necessarily designers, designers are not necessarily information management experts or skilled at marketing (and it shows on the internet). It all comes down to understanding your role and limitations and coding/designing to specifications given by the end user or informing him of how things really need to work. Collaboration of SME’s that can work together for optimal results… that’s the way to REALLY do things.

    This is a great BLOG BTW!

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