Glitch Boy Rides Again
A past co-worker once dubbed me "glitch boy" for my ability to ask simple questions that reveal a basic flaw or glitch in some major and expensive system. I don't do this on purpose, as far as I'm concerned I'm just asking reasonable, even obvious questions.
The other day I was using Microsoft SharePoint at work, writing the content that would explain to people at work how to produce and manage events. In the document library for the site I created a folder that would hold various forms that people would need. I called this folder "Forms". You may already know what's coming depending on how familiar you are with the Microsoft knowledge base on SharePoint - apparently they've been aware of this issue for a while now.
It turns out that "Forms" is a word that SharePoint takes seriously. VERY seriously. There's all sorts of functionality built around this word, and while they let you type it, they don't let you un-type it; no deleting, no re-naming, nothing. It's like an airline letting you fly to any of a thousand cities, but if you happen to choose that one particular city then you can NEVER leave. Have you ever been stuck in Newark International Airport for a few hours? Well I'm talking about forever.
This is what my Tech support explained to me. The solution? Delete the entire library and then re-create it with a new name. Really? That's the solution? Blow up Newark and then rebuild it exactly the same but without you in it?!
But that's me - I believe that if something is difficult to get out of, that fact should be mentioned on the way in. Fine print on contracts is a way of saying, "Look out, there are consequences to signing this document", Prices on restaurant menus warn us that there will be a bill to pay before we can leave. Microsoft embraces this idea when it asks "Are you sure you want to delete this file? Y/N" or "Are you sure you want to send this document to the recycle bin? Y/N".
Why not extend that philosophy to this far more complex situation in SharePoint? It's simple really - before booking that flight the ticket agent could ask, "Are you SURE you want to go to Newark? Y/N".
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