Reducing Intranet Functionality

   —   

Hi all, this is another quick addition to the series started by Radek Matej called Fighting Featuritis. As part of this initiative, we have decided to reduce a little of the functionality of our Intranet. We want to explain to you all what we are removing in Kentico 9, what the reasons are, and what support we will offer you in case you use any of the removed functionality.

Don’t be scared! It’s important to say that we are still going to support our Intranet solution. Kentico has always been a very strong platform for many Intranet projects, and we see this solution as part of our future as well.

In Kentico 9 we are removing the following three modules; Project Management, Document Library, and the Old SharePoint Connector. Let me explain the reasons for removing each of these modules:

  • Project Management – Only a minority of people used and most people prefer to use third-party tools such as Jira or Basecamp. In fact, there might be a connector for project management module in the future.

  • Document Library - Again, this module has been used by a minority of our client base. The majority of our are using SharePoint as a document storage module integrated with Kentico. Additionally, the Document Library is based on a component that is hard to style and make responsive (which is a requirement, today, for almost all sites).

  • Old SharePoint Connector - We introduced a new SharePoint Connector in Kentico 8.1 and in Kentico 8.2 we made this connector bi-directional. In Kentico 9, we feel that it is time to say goodbye to the old SharePoint connector and use just the new one. The old connector in Kentico 4.1, it's not compatible with new SharePoint versions or with SharePoint Online.

We have seen a decrease in the number of support questions, reported issues, etc., with these three modules. We also contacted a couple of partners with Intranet Competency to validate our decision and, so far, we haven't found anybody who would consider removing these modules as problematic.

But, I am sure there are people currently using these modules, so, we have created special packages that allow you to use these modules even after upgrading to Kentico 9 (if you are using them right now). These packages will be available to download after the release of Kentico 9.

Share this article on   LinkedIn Google+

Dominik Pinter

I'm a fan of cloud computing (primarily Windows Azure) and I really like to dig into web application security. My blog is focused on everything related to Kentico, .NET Framework, Cloud platforms and web application security.

Comments

Dominik Pinter commented on

Hi Tom,
thank you for your comment. We are certainly not following the Sitecore way and trust me, these decisions are really hard to make for us. But simply we cannot improve all the features and we want to focus on those which matter the most.

To all: I just want to express that we highly appreciate your feedback. That beign said, we discussed again our decision and we decided not to change it, the arguments for removal are still valid.

tom commented on

I think most of the points have been made. Things that are important to me regarding document management are search, meta data flexibility, minor/major versioning, preview, desktop application integration and social networking. Everything that is NOT relevant to a 'marketing' focused tool but essential when you want to make the difference in the social collaboration/networking/intranet world (a world with a lot of tools that offer only a small part of what is really important). But if you decide to follow the Sitecore way then this is of course your decision. I think this would be a big mistake...

Dominik Pinter commented on

Hi,
thank you for your reply and explanation. I fully understand your point now.

mlopez-iattc commented on

It seems necessary to clarify what we mean by "document library" and "intranet features". Every business and organization needs to store and manage documents internally, and make some of them accessible to partners and/or the public. Ideally, this is done with a CMS that supports collaborative editing (versioning, archiving, user permissions, and workflow), publishing and both content and metadata indexing and search. Also ideally, the same CMS is used for both the intranet and public sites. That is just basic common business sense because it minimizes costs and maximizes efficiency. So any CMS worth considering should provide this functionality. Interfacing with other systems like SharePoint is helpful, of course, but is not as efficient as having document management and content search features in the CMS. The same thing could be said for dealing with contact (people) information. Contact and document management are closely related and should be integrated enough to make workflows work smoothly. And then there is social networking, which also plays a part in working with documents and people. But that can be thought of as an additional layer. Whether Kentico provides this functionality via existing web parts or in some other way, is separate question that I'll leave to them.

Dominik Pinter commented on

Hi, thank you for your comment. Well, there are still other ways how to manage your document, what about using media library? Is media library sufficient for you or not? If not, why? Thanks for answering this.

tom commented on

Removing the document Library is very worrying. Social collaboration and document management are closely related. Kentico has a lot of advantages over other intranet solutions but this way things are evolving in the wrong direction... Very sad.

Dominik Pinter commented on

Hi,
thank you for sharing your opinion. Well, removing document library is really about removing the webpart. All the functionality (API etc.) remains there and we will provide code of the webpart to marketplace or somewhere else. Also, we will provide a package in the case that you are using the webpart now and you want to upgrade to Kentico 9. If you like to use this webpart you can continue to do so. What we saying by this step is that we are not going to improve this webpart but you can use it and improve it further according to your needs.

mlopez-iattc commented on

I understand that many organizations use SharePoint for their intranets, but that does not mean that it is the best solution for them. We are testing Kentico CMS 8.2 and I was planning to sell it to my boss as an alternative to SharePoint for our intranet and as the platform for a new public web site. There is a lot of value in using the same system for public and intranet sites (same sources of support, same set of skills for development and maintenance). We therefore do not welcome the loss of intranet functionality, particularly document libraries. Those features can also come in handy in some public sites, so I don't see why take something away only because it's not used by everybody. Instead, Kentico should be aiming for a greater share of the intranet market.

Dominik Pinter commented on

Hi,
yes, this is still possible with Kentico 9. The only difference is really document library web part.

sguthrie-scnb commented on

I just want to clarify... so the Document Library Web part is being removed. We will still be able to upload files to folders and users will be able to view documents using Smart search dialog with Results and Smart search filter, correct? That is how we have all our Governance documents set up on the Intranet.