Community Server Letdown (Reloaded)

It appears that my original post regarding my disappointment in the current beta of Telligent Systems' Community Server solution has sparked a lot of good commentary from bloggers in the community.  And although I've not met him yet, being the class act I'm sure he is, Rob Howard chimed in with his two cents.  As I mentioned in my original post, I knew that those guys are committed to delivering quality product.  I'm glad Rob took the time to read my concerns and those of others who've not been too impressed with what they've seen in the early Community Server betas to date.

Here's Rob's comment taken from my original post:

“Hi Lamont,

Thanks for taking the time to write this up – this is a great post 🙂

Believe it or not integrating the 3 applications was a tremendous amount of work and we said from the beginning – back in July – that the goal was parity and that this was not a feature oriented release. Integrating all 3 systems together and enabling that system to run within DotNetNuke was the goal. I believe we’ve accomplished that goal. We have one integrated membership, permissions system, data access layer, component layer, and common/shared features. Another key goal for version 1.0 was to allow the 3 systems to operate independently, e.g. you could run ‘just a blog’ or ‘just a forum’.

Our vision for Community Server isn’t short-sighted; rather we knew that putting the legwork into the first vision to bring the systems together would allow us to rapidly add integration features in the next version (which we are already planning).

What you’ve described as your vision for Community Server is exactly what we have planned. In fact, I think there are many more opportunities that you did not cover. For example, we’re building in email listserv integration to allow forum discussions or blog posts to be made via email. We’re building an NNTP server to allow for reading forums through Outlook Express. We’ve built an FTP server to more easily manage content in the gallery. In our next version we’re going to start tying the various system together, example creating a photo gallery or file gallery integrated with both forums and blogging. Adding features such as ‘Blog This’ to easily take content found in other areas and turn it into a blog posting.

One of the above comments [taken from the blogger comments on this post] is that .Text is a dead product. That couldn’t be further from the truth. If anything we’ve made .Text a better product in Community Server. You can still run the blogging feature of Community Server as a stand-alone system (see above for goals for version 1.0). In fact we’ll be updating blogs.msdn.com to use Community Server (blogs only) in the next several months.

The point you made about bringing together all of this without the overhead of normal shrink wrapped products is dead-on. We’ve already invested a tremendous amount of time and money into Community Server. Building product is hard. Getting honest and critical feedback from the .NET community that we can use to improve it makes it worthwhile.

Finally, I would invite you to join our community at www.communityserver.org or send me feedback rhoward @ telligentsystems.com. Again, we’re trying really, really hard to build a great product and our version 1.0 product is not a feature oriented release. Keep giving us your feedback and ideas – we listen!”

I'm really interested in seeing where this product goes in the future.  It has some awesome potential.  It is my hope that initiatives such as these will even help my new company drive more innovation and features to further improve the out-of-the-box experience for customers with our respective products and solutions centered around collaboration and knowledge management.

I encourage others to voice their opinions on the direction of .Text and Community Server as the folks over at Telligent Systems are listening.  They've seen our pain and appear to be trying to ease the pain.

NOTE: This blog post was moved from its previous location on dotnetjunkies.com/weblog/lamont_harrington. It was posted in January 2005

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