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Making SharePoint more like WordPress for my home page
November 2, 2009 6:36 PM   Subscribe

I have an academic homepage, and I want to have frequently updated content, but my university doesn't support anything but MS Office Sharepoint. How do I add WordPress, or WordPress-like elements, or some sort of easy CMS/theme solution to my site?

So I have a nice new homepage at the university where I teach, but the university only supports Sharepoint and WebDAV and recommends Sharepoint Designer for faculty pages.

I really would like to use WordPress, or something like it, to drive my site, mostly because of the simple, elegant themes available and the easy light-weight CMS/authoring ability. Everything that comes out of Sharepoint Designer looks terrible, and rarely works across all browsers.

The problem is that I really want my site to continue to be www.university.edu/blahblahblah. Is there any way for a technically adept amateur to set up this page so that it looks or behaves like a WordPress site? Perhaps having the page pull things from an external site?

Or just some tips on making Sharepoint work better for someone like me?

Any help appreciated.
posted by blahblahblah to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Commercial hosting is so cheap.

You couldn't pay me enough to bother with sharepoint.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:47 PM on November 2, 2009


Fourcheesemac - I am happy to pay for the hosting, but then I have to redirect to my own site, correct? I want my presence on the university site, if possible.
posted by blahblahblah at 6:49 PM on November 2, 2009


Just a slight tangent ... I thought this Slashdot thread on Sharepoint made for entertaining reading.
posted by intermod at 7:21 PM on November 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Couldn't you have an external site of your own that you linked to your university site?

If you could do that you could run your own CMS somewhere. Then you could update that. That would also have the benefit that if you change jobs you can keep the site.
posted by sien at 8:10 PM on November 2, 2009


I don't know a ton about Sharepoint - can it handle a little copy and paste javascript?

If so, get whatever free/hosted blogging/cms service makes you happiest - basically, anything that gives you an RSS feed - and set up your frequently updated content however you'd like there.

Then head to feed2js.org's Build tool, and follow the simple instructions for turning your RSS feed link into a lump of code that you copy and paste into your university-hosted webpage. Voila! Your webpage is updated dynamically, and users won't ever need to know or care that you're actually using Wordpress to generate the content. It will all appear happily at www.university.edu/blah.

Shouldn't be too much to set up if Sharepoint is ok with it, but if you hit a snag, memail and I can step you through.
posted by donnagirl at 8:32 PM on November 2, 2009


Sorry, forgot to mention that this method also gives you the not-small benefit that sien mentions - the content is actually elsewhere, thus mobile with you throughout your career.
posted by donnagirl at 8:34 PM on November 2, 2009


You can put an automatic redirect from a university page to your own site, or a bare bones site on the uni server with a passive link to your own site. If your Uni lets you, you could run a server from your own office (the amount of traffic an academic site gets could be handled by an iMac running MAMP and Wordpress if you've got a decent bandwidth ethernet connection, but you'd need a subdomain for that machine from your IT people unless you want to give people an IP number).

There are other reasons to do this, though. The most important is to retain clear intellectual property rights to the things you post (your syllabi, for example).

I've done it for years. Would never go back. I wanted to use Drupal for my own (and my Center's) sites 4 years ago. Back then, my uni's IT department said "no way" to installing it on their server ("security risk," hilariously given their utterly lax approach to security in other respects at the time). Instead, the university hand rolled its own CMS -- proprietary and java based. It was ugly, dysfunctional, and controlled by the IT department, which made money developing sites for departments that all looked the same. It had no developer base, either.

Now, 4 years later, they have abandoned that CMS and advised departments that the whole uni will be moving over to Drupal. Meanwhile, I've had a slate of Drupal sites running for years and know it inside and out.

I did violate uni policy by hosting my Center's site externally for those years. No one noticed or cared. I have a good domain name that doesn't use the university name, and an auto-redirect script from our page on the university server.

And now, they're coming to see it my way.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:59 AM on November 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


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