Father’s Day is my favorite day of the year – better than Christmas or even my birthday. Unlike Christmas, Father’s Day is all about me, and unlike my birthday, it always lands on a Sunday, which means I never have to worry about taking a day off. It’s the one day out of the whole year when I can sleep for more than 10 hours the night before. And that was almost as great of a gift as the handmade cards that my kids gave me in the morning, considering that I’ve averaged about 4-5 hours of sleep per night for the past several months.
While at TechEd in Boston last week, I had barely that much sleep except for Tuesday night, when I had 3 too many martinis. J Nevertheless, it turned out to be an extremely productive week for me. I met many people, including representatives from INETA, Culminis, and MSD2D as well as dozens of MVPs and over a dozen other people who were interested in joining my SharePoint Community Champions program. Speaking of which, as soon as our “OfficeISP” infrastructure is upgraded to WSS V3 Beta 2 in the next couple of weeks, I’ll create the team site for the SCC program there and will formally kick things off with a program charter and details on how you can enroll as a member.
Separately, I’m now drafting (yes, at 3AM in the morning) the Vision/Scope document for something called the SharePoint Community Kit. Although the kit itself will not be formally announced until early July, I’ll share a little bit of what the kit is since work on the kit has been happening on and off for the past few months. At the most basic level, the SCK is a site template that enables practically anyone to create a community site on Windows SharePoint Services V3. The “Standard Edition” will require nothing more than the OOTB Web Parts that come with WSS V3. In this way, the SCK SE is just like the Application Templates for WSS, but that is where the similarity ends. Instead of being solely developed by Microsoft, the SCK will be a collaborative development project hosted on CodePlex. I’ve been telling people that it would be “inexcusably ironic” for the SharePoint Community Kit to be developed without contributions from the community. J And this is where things can get potentially very interesting! For instance, on top of the Standard Edition, the community may come up with an Internet Edition that includes custom Web Parts like Bil Simser’s excellent SharePoint Forums. Some high school kids may build an Education Edition for their school and perhaps even get it adopted by their entire school district. A community savvy ISV may build an Enterprise Edition with customizations and value add custom Web Parts that leverage Office SharePoint Server 2007 within intranet environments. The possibilities are endless – imagine a Fantasy Football Edition, a Knitting Club Edition, or a Customer Account Team Edition. Whatever the variations or add-ons may be, the stipulation is that all applicable source code, site definition and template files, Web Part template files, etc. must be posted on CodePlex to be shared with the community.
Today, SharePoint is synonymous with collaboration sites in which the members have a tight connection with each other. Ultimately, the goal of the SCK is to make SharePoint synonymous with community sites in which the members have a loose connection with each other. My belief is that community sites represent significant growth opportunities for SharePoint both on the Internet as well as within intranet environments. If you are interested in being an contributor to or early adopter of the SCK or have any questions/feedback, please leave a comment or send me an e-mail.
It was a pleasure to meet you in Boston and finally put a face to the name.
It's great to see you guys "really" interacting with the user base, things in the Information Worker space should be pretty interesting over the next few years.