There are four main reasons to consider when deciding whether to migrate your Content Management Server Web sites to SharePoint Server 2007:
End users can do more without developer assistance.
Out-of-the-box features replace customizations.
SharePoint has more built-in capabilities.
Customization in SharePoint is less intensive.
This section covers each of these reasons.
Many of the tasks that required developer involvement in Content Management Server can now be done by information workers using SharePoint Server 2007. These tasks include customizing site navigation capabilities, creating pages containing summary links to other pages within the site, and deploying content from one installation to another. The SharePoint Server 2007 installation provides an additional navigation administration page to a WCM Site Settings page that allows administrators to implement simple customizations to the site navigation capabilities, such as sorting alphabetically or manually and adding headings and links, as shown in Figure 22-1.
Figure 22-1: Site Navigation Settings page for the migrated Woodgrove Bank sample Content Management Server 2002 application
Content Management Server developers were required to create custom solutions to display links to pages within the site that might not be exposed through standard navigation. WCM addresses this developer task by introducing two new Web Parts: the Summary Link Web Part and the Table Of Contents Web Part. The Summary Link Web Part is used to display links on a page that a content author can group, style, or organize using typical drag-and-drop techniques. The Table Of Contents Web Part displays the navigation hierarchy on a page of your site.
SharePoint Server 2007 addresses many tasks that required developers to write custom code in Content Management Server solutions. Content Management Server does not include any search mechanism out-of-the-box. To implement search for a Content Management Server solution, developers had to either integrate a third-party product to provide search capability or develop a custom solution. SharePoint Server 2007 includes a robust search mechanism available to all WCM sites, and no developer involvement is needed to incorporate it into a WCM site.
Another common request in Content Management Server solutions is to add e-mail notifications when content has been submitted for approval. Unfortunately, this capability is not included in a Content Management Server installation, so developers were required to provide it. However, because all storage containers are based on lists in SharePoint and each list provides user-defined alerts, this functionality is included out-of-the-box; content owners and authors can create their own alerts to be notified when specific content has been submitted or updated. In Content Management Server, site owners were required to have console access to a production Content Management Server Web server to manage the structure of the site, permissions, and to import or export content. However, this level of access is no longer required in SharePoint Server 2007, as all administration tools and tasks are exposed in browser-based interfaces accessible from the site owner's desktop.
SharePoint Server 2007 provides additional capabilities to WCM sites that were not possible in Content Management Server. Most important of these is the robust workflow engine provided by the .NET 3.0 Framework: Windows Workflow Foundation. Content Management Server provided a simple three-stage workflow that was not very extensible. Authors would create new content, they would submit it for approval to a content editor who would either approve or decline it, and finally approved content would be published by a site moderator. Content Management Server sites with more advanced workflow requirements needed a third-party workflow solution. However, SharePoint Server 2007, built on top of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, includes a robust and very extensible workflow engine that information workers can leverage by creating custom workflows with Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007. More advanced workflows can be created by developers using Microsoft Visual Studio 2005.
Site owners should consider migrating Content Management Server Web sites to SharePoint Server 2007 because WCM sites, overall, require less custom code than their Content Management Server equivalents. The three previous sections address various situations where Content Management Server custom code solutions have been replaced by an out-of-the-box component or feature in SharePoint Server 2007. The reduction in required custom code solutions in SharePoint Server 2007 is a good thing for site owners because less custom code means fewer changes need to be made for unforeseen bugs and less code maintenance needs to be done, freeing up developers for other tasks. But even when you do need to customize a content site in SharePoint Server 2007, those customizations will be less intensive and require less development than they would have required in Content Management Server 2002.