My SharePoint must have FREE add ons

So I get this question a lot from people who are new to WSS v3 or MOSS 2007. What stuff should I be putting on my server? I am guessing they aren’t the only ones that want to know. Odds are you found this post by searching the web. Well if you are looking for my recommendations on things you should install when you first deploy SharePoint you are in luck. The list is below with some real world details to go with it. And don’t forget all of these are FREE!!!

In no particular order they are:

  1. Microsoft IT’s site recycle bin feature
  2. Smiling Goat’s RSS Feed Reader web part
  3. Mondosoft’s Wildcard search feature
  4. Tony Bierman’s Central Admin link feature

Microsoft IT’s site recycle bin feature

You can download this from CodePlex here. This is just to cool. One of the most common reasons that administrators end up doing restores is someone trying to delete an item or a list accidently deletes their whole site. While SharePoint out of the box has a great two stage recycle bin this does NOT capture deleted sites. In comes Microsoft IT. Thanks to the work of Bill Baer and Joel Oleson they have made available for public download the site recycle bin feature.

This tool, after a bit of a cumbersome install, adds a configurable feature to SharePoint that once activated watches for a site to be deleted. Before a site is deleted a backup of the site is made and stored on the file system in the location of your choice. Now if you get that frantic phone call needing the site back you can just go to your folder, find the bak file, and do the necessary restore. This makes for happy users! Also, this feature can send emails notifying the administrator of the site that it has been deleted successfully. Sometimes this helps to raise the red flag they did something wrong.

Smiling Goat’s RSS feed reader web part

This is old faithful. I used this back in v2 of SharePoint and loved the product. Many thought after the inclusion of an RSS reader out of the box in MOSS this part wouldn’t be necessary. Nope. The out of the box reader leaves something to be desired. My biggest complaint? It can only read its own SharePoint RSS feeds if you are using Kerberos authentication. Since 90% of my customer do not use Kerberos this kind of sucks (for a lack of a nicer way to put it).

With a quick download from CodePlex here you can deploy and be up and running with this web part in minutes. Once you are up you can start consuming those RSS feeds without the fear of authentication methods. Remember that adding simple RSS feeds for company relevant news or other information is a great way to keep your site dynamic giving your users a reason to come back.

Mondosoft’s Wildcard search feature

I had my doubts about this one. MOSS search is pretty darn cool and flexible out of the box. I didn’t think installing another tool would do anything but add confusion. Was I wrong. This tool is amazing for something they are just giving away. Sometimes I wonder if the posted the wrong bits for download. 😉 The most important thing to remember about this web part? It is leveraging SharePoint’s own search engine, it is not replacing it or changing it.

I am going to do a nice long article of this one soon. Just trust me and get these bits running on a test server and be amazed.

Tony Bierman’s Central Admin link feature

I love Tony. I mentioned to him that I really missed the fact that MOSS did not have a link straight to central admin for administrators like SPS 2003 did. So he took a break from writing commercial software for SharePoint Solutions and wrote me this handy little feature. You can download it here. Thanks again Tony!

So this is my list, what is your list? Let me know in the comments section about any must have FREE install for SharePoint. I have a couple others but they are commercial so I will leave them out for now. I just want to know what awesome FREE tools you think the whole world should know about?

Shane – SharePoint Help

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