While SharePoint is great for internal document sharing, some customers are finding it difficult to use the product for web publishing, says Tony Byrne, founder of CMS Watch.
"There's an expectation in the marketplace that that same simple plug-and-play will also be the case for web publishing," Byrne says. "What we're seeing is well-meaning companies and well-meaning customers trying to use MOSS 2007 for their public-facing websites and running into all sorts of problems. You need an experienced developer and you have to do a lot of configuration."
"The web CMS Report" independently evaluates 30 vendors of content management systems based on product evaluations and interviews with customers.
CMS Watch also criticises MOSS 2007 for its navigation structure, which is based on browsing directories composed of documents, Byrne says. But web sites often need more complex forms of navigation, and "to do that you have to turn off the basic navigation controls of SharePoint and get a developer to go into the innards and replace it," Byrne says. "Like many things, there's not a lot of guidance from Microsoft on how to do that."
Shah says SharePoint's out-of-the-box version provides navigation based on a website's hierarchy or directory and allows developers to make changes such as adding links and re-ordering them without writing any code. If they want to make more complex changes, they would have to write their own code, he said.
"We provide a really good out-of-the-box solution, but there's flexibility for people to build their own controls," he says.
Byrne also criticises SharePoint for having a "simplistic object mode" that makes it difficult to work in global settings where content must be translated, such as an intranet used by a company based in multiple countries.
While SharePoint itself does not translate text, Shah defended the product's capability of supporting workflows based on translation. For example, if an international company posts press releases on a public website in English, and wants those releases automatically translated into French and German and posted on websites in those languages, SharePoint makes that happen, he said.
"We support multilingual websites by providing a feature we call 'variations' to help orchestrate the process of maintaining different versions in different languages," Shah said.
CMS Watch divided vendors into a variety of categories. MOSS 2007 was labelled "mid-market mainstream" alongside products from vendors such as Ektron, Escenic, Ingeniux and PaperThin.
At $41,000 (£20,536) per server, MOSS 2007 is the most expensive in that group. Pricing for PaperThin's products, for example, start at $20,000 per server. MOSS 2007 also requires more in-house work than the others, which tend to be ready to go out of the box, said Byrne.
CMS Watch also evaluated enterprise-class web content management products from vendors including EMC's Documentum, IBM, Interwoven, and Oracle's Stellent.