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8/16/2011
02:48 PM
Jake Widman
Jake Widman
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Top 20 Add-Ons For Microsoft SharePoint

Boost SharePoint's collaboration and file-sharing powers with third-party add-ons. Here's a visual tour of some favorites.




In its role as a document management system, SharePoint keeps track of who's checked files in and out. But the default procedure requires users to check in each document individually, whether they're adding a new file or returning several that they've been working on--not very convenient. With SharePoint Batch Check In, users can check in a group of files all at once, even if they're stored in folders and subfolders. They can also add new documents in bulk as well as change a document's content type during check-in. A single Web Front End server license costs $799, with a year of Premium Support priced at $400, for a total of $1,199 to get started with the product.

In addition to being a server product, SharePoint also is a Web application development platform, as seen in its support for websites and workflows. That means it also provides a platform for the integration of third-party add-ons. These add-ons, also sometimes called extensions or Web parts, can extend built-in SharePoint functionality--which is already considerable--or just make it more accessible or easier to use. This customization ability has led to an explosion of add-ons available from various sources, ranging from the free and open-source to the high-priced.

Businesses have embraced add-ons as a way to customize Microsoft SharePoint to suit their particular needs. That's why we've scoured developer sites to bring you the 20 top useful add-ons. These extensions will help you do everything from set up SharePoint initially to adding documents as you move between working online and offline as needed.

RECOMMENDED READING:

How To Plug SharePoint's Social Holes

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Making The Case For Running SharePoint In Parallel

Realizing Collaboration's Value: Big And Small

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How 'Social Layer' Unites Enterprise Applications




SharePoint already offers some integration capabilities with Microsoft Outlook. These range from syncing calendar items, task lists, and contacts to a limited ability to link file lists and use Outlook to retrieve and return files. SharePointOutlook Integration expands that last function with the ability to directly copy or move messages and attachments to SharePoint lists and libraries and to access libraries from within the Outlook window. You can set up SharePoint to automatically map email data to list columns in SharePoint. (See the screen shot, where the contents of the "Subject" field in Outlook will become the "Title" entry in SharePoint.) SharePoint Outlook Integration costs from $15 to $28 per client access license, depending on how many devices it's licensed for.

RECOMMENDED READING:

How To Plug SharePoint's Social Holes

NewsGator Adds Video To SharePoint Social Sites

Making The Case For Running SharePoint In Parallel

Realizing Collaboration's Value: Big And Small

How Cloud Collaboration Boosts Efficiency

How 'Social Layer' Unites Enterprise Applications




MediaRich is a digital asset management and processing software package that maintains an easy-to-search library of image, video, and audio files. MediaRich ECM for SharePoint brings the same rich media management features to SharePoint. For example, it replaces SharePoint's file names and icons for image files with large preview thumbnails. It also lets you preview files without having to open them, and without needing the file's creator software or a custom viewer or player. For retrieval and use, MediaRich will convert videos to different formats as needed. Click "instant on" to make any library visually searchable. The company did not respond to inquiries about pricing.

RECOMMENDED READING:

How To Plug SharePoint's Social Holes

NewsGator Adds Video To SharePoint Social Sites

Making The Case For Running SharePoint In Parallel

Realizing Collaboration's Value: Big And Small

How Cloud Collaboration Boosts Efficiency

How 'Social Layer' Unites Enterprise Applications


SharePoint makes it easy for almost anyone to whip up an internal website. This decentralization of the process of site creation is part of SharePoint's appeal; it means IT doesn't have to do everything. On the downside, it can make it harder to maintain your organizational standards for websites. With SharePoint Site Provisioning and Governance Assistant (SPGA), administrators can create site request profiles that maintain the company's SharePoint taxonomy, display the proper look and feel, and enforce governance policies, while at the same time giving users an easy way to request sites. Microsoft licenses SPGA by the number of servers in a SharePoint Farm: for one server in a farm, SPGA costs $5,985 for that server. For more than one server in a farm, SPGA is licensed at $4,790 per application server and $1,190 for each Web front-end (WFE) server, including the first year of maintenance and support.

RECOMMENDED READING:

How To Plug SharePoint's Social Holes

NewsGator Adds Video To SharePoint Social Sites

Making The Case For Running SharePoint In Parallel

Realizing Collaboration's Value: Big And Small

How Cloud Collaboration Boosts Efficiency

How 'Social Layer' Unites Enterprise Applications


Many enterprises are turning to podcasting as an efficient way to train, communicate corporate goals, and document new procedures. The Podcasting Kit for SharePoint (PKS) (free) provides tools for both distributing and consuming podcasts. Users can find podcasts through any of several different means: a rating system, a tag cloud, and a search engine. Once found, they can subscribe to a podcast by series or by person. PKS also provides metrics on the number of podcasts accessed, who the subscribers are, and what ratings or comments they've given, making it easier to determine the ROI of a given podcast series.

RECOMMENDED READING:

How To Plug SharePoint's Social Holes

NewsGator Adds Video To SharePoint Social Sites

Making The Case For Running SharePoint In Parallel

Realizing Collaboration's Value: Big And Small

How Cloud Collaboration Boosts Efficiency

How 'Social Layer' Unites Enterprise Applications


The SharePoint Learning Kit works with SharePoint Services 3.0 or Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 to provide a Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM)-compatible e-learning system. (SCORM is a set of e-learning standards and specifications.) It lets instructors store and manage their content in SharePoint libraries and set up workflows to support learners or instructors. It also provides ways to make and track assignments and grade them. It's free, as an open-source CodePlex project.

RECOMMENDED READING:

How To Plug SharePoint's Social Holes

NewsGator Adds Video To SharePoint Social Sites

Making The Case For Running SharePoint In Parallel

Realizing Collaboration's Value: Big And Small

How Cloud Collaboration Boosts Efficiency

How 'Social Layer' Unites Enterprise Applications


The SharePoint Tool Basket, another free open-source CodePlex project, provides six useful utilities for administrators and developers of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server. They include SPFeature Explorer, which provides a view of all the features installed on a farm and where they are active, and SPContentTYpe Explorer, which does the same thing for content types across a site collection. The Autocomplete Lookup Field with AJAX is exactly what it sounds like, and the List Columns Manager lets administrators manage the columns of a list and see associated event handlers. The Audience to Groups Converter also does just what it says, and finally, the SharePointPSScript rounds out the package with a set of PowerShell scripts for IT and developers.

RECOMMENDED READING:

How To Plug SharePoint's Social Holes

NewsGator Adds Video To SharePoint Social Sites

Making The Case For Running SharePoint In Parallel

Realizing Collaboration's Value: Big And Small

How Cloud Collaboration Boosts Efficiency

How 'Social Layer' Unites Enterprise Applications


Also a free CodePlex project, SmartTools for SharePoint is another collection of utilities--eight in this batch--that extend SharePoint functions. What's New displays a list of recently added or changed items in a site; Autocomplete Text Field lets users choose terms from a list rather than typing them in every time; and Enhanced Site Actions adds new menu items to the default Site Actions menu. CopyPaste lets you use that method of moving items in Document Libraries; Dock Navigation makes moving around a site's Lists and Libraries easier; and Charts shows animated Silverlight charts based on stored data. Completing the package are jQuery, which integrates the jQuery JavaScript library, and TableRow Highlight, which highlights table rows using jQuery.

RECOMMENDED READING:

How To Plug SharePoint's Social Holes

NewsGator Adds Video To SharePoint Social Sites

Making The Case For Running SharePoint In Parallel

Realizing Collaboration's Value: Big And Small

How Cloud Collaboration Boosts Efficiency

How 'Social Layer' Unites Enterprise Applications


SharePoint is a great way to allow access to documents when users are connected to the network, but what about when they're not? Colligo Reader (free for individual use) can download SharePoint content to a portable computer so users can work offline. Documents stay linked, and the content stays organized according to the views defined on the server. Users can download folders, libraries, and even entire sites by simply dragging from their browser. Changes are synced back to the server automatically when the user reconnects.

RECOMMENDED READING:

How To Plug SharePoint's Social Holes

NewsGator Adds Video To SharePoint Social Sites

Making The Case For Running SharePoint In Parallel

Realizing Collaboration's Value: Big And Small

How Cloud Collaboration Boosts Efficiency

How 'Social Layer' Unites Enterprise Applications


BPA CRM makes it possible to run a Customer Relations Management system on SharePoint, with tools for sales, marketing, and customer service departments. After copying and pasting existing data into BPA CRM, salespeople can use SharePoint to track calls, tasks, emails, and events. New cases trigger an automatic alert to the team. BPA CRM also has native integration with Microsoft Office and is accessible through mobile devices. The package comes in three versions: Standard, Professional, and Enterprise. The company did not respond to inquiries about pricing.

RECOMMENDED READING:

How To Plug SharePoint's Social Holes

NewsGator Adds Video To SharePoint Social Sites

Making The Case For Running SharePoint In Parallel

Realizing Collaboration's Value: Big And Small

How Cloud Collaboration Boosts Efficiency

How 'Social Layer' Unites Enterprise Applications


SharePoint comes with SharePoint Designer, a tool for designing workflows without having to write code. It's rule-based; for example, changes to items in a library or list can trigger a document review process. Nintex Workflow adds drag-and-drop workflow building to SharePoint Designer, as well as advanced workflow features. It uses a browser-based graphical interface, so it doesn't require separate client software, and sends notifications by email, SMS, or instant messaging. The Enterprise Edition includes LazyApproval for responding to notifications in natural language. The package comes in three versions: Workgroup, Standard, and Enterprise (the latter costs $17,500 per front-end server). The Workgroup version is limited to five team sites, among other workgroup-related features. The Enterprise edition adds user profile management and account provisioning features.

RECOMMENDED READING:

How To Plug SharePoint's Social Holes

NewsGator Adds Video To SharePoint Social Sites

Making The Case For Running SharePoint In Parallel

Realizing Collaboration's Value: Big And Small

How Cloud Collaboration Boosts Efficiency

How 'Social Layer' Unites Enterprise Applications


This free utility is pretty straightforward: it lets users filter list columns and save the filtered views to a Favorites submenu. For example, a user can filter a task list by the name of the person the task is assigned to and priority and save those criteria in a menu so they don't have to recreate the filter to run it again (see screenshot). Users and administrators can also save filters as publicly available choices.

RECOMMENDED READING:

How To Plug SharePoint's Social Holes

NewsGator Adds Video To SharePoint Social Sites

Making The Case For Running SharePoint In Parallel

Realizing Collaboration's Value: Big And Small

How Cloud Collaboration Boosts Efficiency

How 'Social Layer' Unites Enterprise Applications




Document Import Kit (DokKIT) handles the process of moving data from other servers and local hard disks into a SharePoint environment. It can copy file properties to the respective documents, retaining date and author information, and supports custom metadata sets to fill in other fields. It can automate the migration process through rules based on file types, names, sizes, or other properties. DocKIT pricing starts at $1,299 per computer for a perpetual license.

RECOMMENDED READING:

How To Plug SharePoint's Social Holes

NewsGator Adds Video To SharePoint Social Sites

Making The Case For Running SharePoint In Parallel

Realizing Collaboration's Value: Big And Small

How Cloud Collaboration Boosts Efficiency

How 'Social Layer' Unites Enterprise Applications


Business continuity--and therefore business survival--can depend on keeping a SharePoint environment constantly available. DocAve High Availability for Microsoft SharePoint addresses that need by maintaining a standby server for disaster recovery. Data is synchronized to the standby server, with a dashboard for monitoring the sync status. A simple DNS switch brings the standby server online, and administrators can customize their own failover plans via a command line. DocAve does not publicly disclose pricing.

RECOMMENDED READING:

How To Plug SharePoint's Social Holes

NewsGator Adds Video To SharePoint Social Sites

Making The Case For Running SharePoint In Parallel

Realizing Collaboration's Value: Big And Small

How Cloud Collaboration Boosts Efficiency

How 'Social Layer' Unites Enterprise Applications


Companies with compliance requirements often have critical documents stored in a SharePoint environment. DocAve Vault promises to manage those documents without slowing down SharePoint's performance or compromising its collaboration functions. Administrators can establish different retention policies for different documents to make sure that documents that need to be retained are retained (and those that should be discarded get discarded). It also provides search features for retrieving documents necessary for audits or legal discovery purposes. DocAve does not publicly disclose pricing.

RECOMMENDED READING:

How To Plug SharePoint's Social Holes

NewsGator Adds Video To SharePoint Social Sites

Making The Case For Running SharePoint In Parallel

Realizing Collaboration's Value: Big And Small

How Cloud Collaboration Boosts Efficiency

How 'Social Layer' Unites Enterprise Applications




SharePoint content sometimes has to be moved to a new platform, whether because of an upgrade to a new version or for basic reorganization purposes. Migration Manager for SharePoint makes that easier by providing a copy-and-paste-style interface for moving data. It preserves permissions, views, version chains, and metadata while moving data, libraries, and lists. It supports delegation of migration efforts to individual departments and content owners and enables administrators to redefine the site structure during the migration, including splitting and re-templating sites. Priced by volume, Migration Manager starts at $6,995.

RECOMMENDED READING:

How To Plug SharePoint's Social Holes

NewsGator Adds Video To SharePoint Social Sites

Making The Case For Running SharePoint In Parallel

Realizing Collaboration's Value: Big And Small

How Cloud Collaboration Boosts Efficiency

How 'Social Layer' Unites Enterprise Applications


As a SharePoint archive becomes larger, heavier use can put a strain on the SQL server that manages the content. StoragePoint enables the storage of unstructured data and binary large objects (BLOBs) outside the SQL database--on NAS devices, in the cloud, or via other storage options. StoragePoint Profiles determine what kind of content is offloaded and when and whether it is compressed or encrypted in the process. The process is based on StoragePoint's Endpoint concept--the storage location--and filters can determine what content goes to what Endpoint or even send the same content to multiple Endpoints for disaster recovery purposes. StoragePoint Enterprise Edition is $14,995 per Windows front end.

RECOMMENDED READING:

How To Plug SharePoint's Social Holes

NewsGator Adds Video To SharePoint Social Sites

Making The Case For Running SharePoint In Parallel

Realizing Collaboration's Value: Big And Small

How Cloud Collaboration Boosts Efficiency

How 'Social Layer' Unites Enterprise Applications


SharePoint comes with limited meeting management features. SharePoint Meeting Manager adds significantly better tools, such as the ability to define attendee roles and whether a particular person's attendance is required or optional. It can also manage meeting materials, including versioning, and send out rescheduling notifications. During the meeting, the software can verify attendance, monitor the agenda, and record the minutes. Afterward, it can be used to publish the minutes and action items. The product is free (shareware) with some features limited; a full single-server version costs $1,410, and a year of maintenance and upgrade Software Assurance is $282.

RECOMMENDED READING:

How To Plug SharePoint's Social Holes

NewsGator Adds Video To SharePoint Social Sites

Making The Case For Running SharePoint In Parallel

Realizing Collaboration's Value: Big And Small

How Cloud Collaboration Boosts Efficiency

How 'Social Layer' Unites Enterprise Applications


SharePoint 2010 added collaborative knowledge management and social networking features, and the Knowledge Management Suite aims to leverage those to "enable organizational intelligence in the enterprise." The suite focuses on content tagging, browsing, and discovery. It suggests a list of tags for a document based on established taxonomies and properties; it will also tag items automatically in the background. Collaborative tagging feeds into the Tag Navigation Web Part to make content discovery easier. The product is free (shareware) with some features limited; a single-server license is $1,899, and a year of maintenance and upgrade Software Assurance is $379.

RECOMMENDED READING:

How To Plug SharePoint's Social Holes

NewsGator Adds Video To SharePoint Social Sites

Making The Case For Running SharePoint In Parallel

Realizing Collaboration's Value: Big And Small

How Cloud Collaboration Boosts Efficiency

How 'Social Layer' Unites Enterprise Applications


The RepliWeb Operations Suite for SharePoint (ROSS) helps developers and administrators deploy new sites and applications. It enables a multi-stage development cycle in SharePoint, with synchronization between production, development, and test versions of a site, so development doesn't have to happen in a live environment. It replicates functional elements as well as contents throughout the three stages and across multiple sites and handles everything from workflows (including Nintex workflows) to the look and feel. The rollback feature lets administrators quickly undo mistakes in deployment. ROSS is priced per SharePoint farm, starting at $2,500 and costing about $2,000 per additional Web front end. Annual developer licensing is also available.

RECOMMENDED READING:

How To Plug SharePoint's Social Holes

NewsGator Adds Video To SharePoint Social Sites

Making The Case For Running SharePoint In Parallel

Realizing Collaboration's Value: Big And Small

How Cloud Collaboration Boosts Efficiency

How 'Social Layer' Unites Enterprise Applications

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