Here at Bamboo, we spend a LOT of time in SharePoint -- probably more than is healthy. But that doesn't mean we don't also spend time on the rest of the Internet, updating our fantasy team lineups, reading WordPress sites, and playing with the latest and greatest applications out there on the Web. And if there's one thing that hasn't changed in my four years of using, testing, extending, and working with SharePoint on a daily basis (along with the rest of the Web), it's this :
SharePoint is shockingly slow. And I want to know why.
Now, let's go back to SharePoint. We're living in a world where I can manipulate reams of data with the click of a mouse without so much as reloading a page. But in SharePoint? I can't so much as open a list item without running into a time-suck like this :
Attention, SharePoint. It's 2011, not 1996. People are doing actual, real-life WORK on the Web. Millions of information drones like yours truly are being pushed to the almighty cloud with the promise of a desktop-like (or at least a Facebook-like) experience inside our Web browsers. You simply can't expect users to get anything done with constant interruptions like this, disorienting full-screen page reloads, and general stuck-in-the-mud performance. Whether that's from long page rendering times, frustrating workflows for common tasks like editing list items, or the frequency of security prompts and access problems -- or a combination of all these things -- it doesn't matter to the end user. The bottom line is getting something done in SharePoint extracts an enormous cost from workers in time, patience, and engagement with their work. If you're waiting for your most creative, motivated team members to start revolutionizing your business with user-driven productivity applications built in SharePoint, be prepared to wait for a very long time.
I'd ask whose fault this is (or, more constructively, how we can fix it), but that simply leads us to another problem. There are SO many people to blame -- it's our hardware setup, our configuration, the number of items in our lists, our column types, the timer... it's always something. And yet, somehow, a couple kids in a Palo Alto apartment can let me DJ streaming music to people all across the planet without so much as a "please wait" cursor? You want to see the "consumerization of IT"? Start giving workers the kind of responsive, satisfying tools and Web experiences they're getting at home. Until then, all the "Like" buttons and micro-blogging in the world isn't going to do squat.
Microsoft continues to do amazing things with SharePoint, but I remain completely baffled at how muddy and anti-human the basic mechanics of interacting with SharePoint really are. It simply takes way, way too long to do anything of any real importance. The speed of the Web is always changing, but one thing's for sure -- it's a hell of a lot faster than SharePoint.
So engineers, consultants and geniuses of the industry, riddle me this. Why is SharePoint so slow? And does anyone care?
Dec 05 2011, 09:12 AM
Nate is part of the Marketing and Online Operations team here at Bamboo, focusing on product marketing. His unofficial title is "Managing Director of Loud Noises and Large Fonts".