For those that follow me I’ve been away from blogging and twittering for a couple of months. This is the reason. For the last few months I’ve been working with a cross-functional team putting together a new product from the people that run WordPress, the free premiere blogging platform. The result is a new product we call SharePress, a highly extensible blogging and content management platform with the usability of WordPress and the power of SharePoint combined into a single product. SharePress gives you SharePoint sites that are SEO-friendly delivered with a Web 2.0 ease of use, leveraging all of the existing abilities of SharePoint and WordPress that we know today. The Reason Back in December I was approached by the WordPress team about building a new platform that took advantage of the power of SharePoint but the ease of WordPress. I’m no stranger to WordPress and it’s 5 minute no-holds-barred install (I’ve always wanted SharePoint to do this!) and I run my personal blog on WordPress as does my better half, Princess Jenn. There’s always been a pitch by so-called Web 2.0 applications to deliver the power of SharePoint but the ease of [insert product here] over the past year or so. I checked each and every one of them out, but they fell woefully short when it came to SharePoint’s document management, versioning, and customization. They try, but it’s never been up to par in my books. On the flipside, SharePoint has always been tops in collaboration in the Enterprise but it’s painful to develop web parts, UI customization can be tricky, and there’s just no user community for something as simple as themes and designs. The Product Enter SharePress. Is it SharePoint? Is it WordPress? It’s both, and neither. Everything you like about both products are there but this is a bold new product that is positioned to bring SharePoint to the masses while maintaining the fidelity of an Enterprise 2.0 collaboration platform. SharePress delivers on all fronts including: The ability to leverage any WordPress/Joomla/Drupal/DotNetNuke themes and skins inside of SharePoint Run any WordPress/Drupal/Joomla/DotNetNuke/SharePoint plug-in/module/web part/feature works out of the box with SharePress SEO-friendly URLs and pages Permalinks for all content All the features of SharePoint Server 2010 (including InfoPath, Excel, and Access services) included in the price Small deployment footprint. You decide how much to deploy and where. Independent Database Abstraction Layer (iDal) that allows you to deploy to SQL Server 2005/2008, MySQL, and PostgreSQL Portable Rendering Engine Layer (PREL) so you host .NET or PHP on Apache or IIS (version 7 or higher). The install feature is built around WordPress and it’s famous 5-minute install (actually, it’s never taken me more than 1 minute). SharePress installs with two screens after the files are uploaded to your server (which can be done entirely using FTP): After you enter two fields of information click “Install SharePress” and you’ll be done: No mess, no fuss, no complicated dependencies, and no server access required! How simpler could this be? The Technology WordPress plug-ins and themes working with SharePoint? Of course! The answer is IronPython which has now reached a maturity level capable of doing on the fly code language conversions. SharePress is a brand new product not built on top of any previous platform but leverages all the power of each of those applications through a patent pending technique called SharePress Multi-plAtfoRm Technology (SMART). SMART will convert PHP code on the fly into Python (using SWIG as an intermediate processor) which is then compiled to MSIL and then delivered back as an ASP.NET MVC application (output is C# or VB.NET, but you can build your own SMART converter to output a different language). Sound complicated? It is, but it’s all behind the scenes and you don’t have to worry about a thing. This image illustrates the technology stack and process: So users can load up out of the box PHP themes and plug-ins from the WordPress/Joomla/Drupal community into the SMART converter and output MSIL that is used by the SharePress engine and rendered on the fly to the end user. Supported PHP versions are 4.xx and 5.xx with version 6 support to come when it’s released. Similarly you can take any .NET application, DotNetNuke Module, SharePoint Web Part or event handler and feed it into the converter to output the same. Everything is reverse compiled into MSIL so it becomes technology agnostic. No source code access is needed and the SMART converter can handle obfuscated .NET assemblies that were built with .NET 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, 3.5, and 4.0. With this technology you can also with the flip of a switch have the output create PHP pages for you. This allows you to run SharePress on Unix based systems running PHP and MySQL, allowing you to deliver your SharePoint like experience to your users with a $0 infrastructure footprint. Here’s SharePress with the default WordPress post imported then a stock SharePoint collaboration site was imported. The site was then applied with the default Kubrick theme from WordPress. The Features Deploy any of the freely available 100,000 WordPress/Joomla/Drupal themes instantly to your runtime SharePress environment and preview or activate them right from your browser. Built-in Web 2.0 jQuery Enabled End User and Administrator Web Interface. Never have to remote into a server again! Run any SharePoint Web Part or Event Handler directly without modification or access to source code in SharePress. Use any WordPress/Joomla/Drupal plug-in directly in SharePress, no local admin or access to server. Just upload and activate. Upload and Activate any SharePoint Solution Package to any site remotely. No rebuilding. Changes made to sites require no compiling or rebuilding and are published immediately. Password Protected Content. You can give passwords to individual posts, articles, pages, documents, forms, and list items. A powerful polymorphic Captcha system backs the security interface and vendors can easily tie into smart card readers, fingerprint readers, and retina scanners for authorization and identification. OpenID, Windows Live, and Windows Authentication are supported out of the box. Infinitely customizable and extensible. You can leverage plug-ins from the open source community to do practically anything, all configured and uploaded via the browser. Additionally the developer API (available soon) allows you to build extensions in .NET, PHP, and Python with little effort. Easy Importing. We have importers for Blogger, WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, DotNetNuke, and SharePoint so you can populate your site quickly and easily with full metadata modeling and creation. Banner Management. It’s easy to setup banners for your web site complete with impression numbers, special URLs, and more. Menu Manager. The Menu Manager allows you to create as many menus as you want, each one can be associated to specific audiences or roles and then be styled across multiple contexts including the same menu delivered as a fly out, rollover, drop down, and just about any navigation you can think of. Collaborative ShareBook. Our exclusive book feature allows you to setup a “book” and then authorize individuals to contribute content. Permalinks. All content in SharePress has a permanent or “perma link” associated with it so people can link to it freely without fear of broken links. Apache or IIS, Unix / Linux / BSD / Solaris / Windows / Mac OS X support. Deliver SharePress the way *you* want from the platform *you* decide. Database Independence. We know people wanted to run on any database platform so SharePress is built on top of a database abstraction layer that allows you to run on SQL Server, MySQL, PostgreSQL. Other databases can be supported by writing a supporting database script consisting of fourteen function calls. The script can be written in Perl, Python, AWK, PowerShell, Unix Shell scripts, VBA, or simple DOS batch files. The Team SharePress is the work of a lot of people in both the WordPress and SharePoint community. I worked with a lot of SharePoint MVPs to create this new product as we really wanted to deliver the most compatible and feature rich system in a product that we would be proud of. Many thanks go out to Eli Bleeker, Todd Robillard, Scot Larson, Daniel Hillier, Shane Fox, Box Peran, Amanda English, and Bill Murray for doing the heavy lifting and all of their expertise and innovative thinking to get this product out. Licensing and Pricing SharePress is still in the final stages for pricing but we’re looking at a price point somewhere between $99-$100 to make it affordable for everyone. We plan to announce final pricing sometime in the next few weeks. There are no additional charges for Enterprise versions or additional features. Everything you see is what’s available and it’s just a matter of lighting up your site with whatever feature you want to enable. The product will not be open source but source code licenses will be available to ISVs who are interested in interfacing with the API at a low level. Cost will be $25,000 USD per developer and gives you complete access to the source code to the SharePress Foundation System and the .NET 4.0 Framework source code. Conclusion We hope you enjoy the launch of SharePress as the new premium blogging and content management platform for both Intranets and the Internet. We think we’ve build the best of breed solutions here and made it easy for anyone to get started with a minimal of infrastructure but allow the scalability of SharePress to shine through in the Enterprise 2.0 world. We encourage your feedback so please leave comments as to what you’re looking for in this system as we’re always evolving it to make it a better product for everyone.