Hello, Bamboo Nation!
My name is Jeff Kim and I'm one of the new(er) technical writers here at Bamboo Solutions. Having recently started at Bamboo, I can definitely say that I recognize SharePoint is a huge product with great scope for businesses all over, and that learning the ins and outs of such a product is a daunting task indeed. The good news is that I have the luxury of a great set of managers and co-workers who are helping me to understand more and more every day, and the more I learn, the more I realize how powerful SharePoint can be … especially when combined with the products we create here at Bamboo. In light of this ongoing realization, I have decided that the best way I can serve our community is to provide what I hope to be a fresh take on each of our products from a perspective that you may not be used to hearing: a technical writer's. As I help to produce new documentation for our many products, I will attempt to chronicle my thoughts and opinions on them, perhaps even revealing a juicy little tip or tidbit that will help you utilize the product in a way that's just a little bit more efficient or fun. As I learn about our products, I hope you will, too. Many of you are probably already familiar with our products, but if you're new to SharePoint or Bamboo Solutions, think of this as a first look at some of the great tools we offer. Feel free to leave comments regarding our Online Documentation or about our products in general!
First up is the Password Change Web Part. It's easy to look at something as simple as Password Change and think there's not much to it, but here's the thing: try to change your business portal's password right now.
Took you a little while, didn't it? That's what I did to figure out why anyone would need to buy Password Change Web Part to begin with.
Most businesses make use of a proprietary portal that manages user account information, including user passwords. This can be very inconvenient for users in a number of ways. For starters, these portals are almost always different. Whether you use a SQL login server, a custom HTML or ASP.NET form, or any number of different methods, logging in can easily involve memorizing multiple procedures for a single job or task. Remembering all of your passwords for email, special access privileges, your desktop login, and all the other passwords we have to create can be difficult enough, but must we also remember all the hoops we have to jump through just to enter them in or change them? With all the frustration associated with the simple act of updating your password, that 15-day reminder from your server admin seems more like a taunt than a friendly tip.
Enter the Password Change Web Part. At first, I mistook this as just another add-on, but when I began writing the documentation for the configuration tools, it became clear to me that this was anything but. With the ability to configure multiple authentication service providers, I realized that this tool could be your one-stop shop for changing passwords, simply by adding multiple instances of the Web Part to a single SharePoint page. The lockable Domain and User Name fields make telling one account from the other a simple matter, and the configurable text block for the password policy means there's no more need to remember how many capital letters, numbers, or special characters you need to add. Even if you only wanted one instance of this Web Part on a page, you could still make excellent use of it by adding it to your home page or team site for easy access. There's little to no chance you would actually use it unintentionally and lose unsaved data, making it totally safe to add to just about any page or workspace. The auditing log is a nice feature for system administrators, and the customization options for the Web Part's look and feel are nice for power users who want to take the time to rearrange the text fields or add their own touch to the Web Part.
Now that my commercial for the product is over, I'll get right down to that perspective I promised you. As a former Web designer and a longtime user of various user account portals, I've got to say that SharePoint, paired with this kind of concept is really what we're all about here at Bamboo. My friends have all been asking me what Bamboo as a company really does and, since none of them are really savvy with SharePoint, it's been hard to nail down a good answer. Reflecting on Password Change Web Part has helped me to do just that, and just the other day when I was asked again what Bamboo does by an old college buddy, I told him, "Our job is making your job easier."
SharePoint and Web Parts are still largely a mystery to me, but what's become clear is how we at Bamboo intend to use these tools. Hopefully you'll find this and future blogs to be helpful, enlightening, and even entertaining. Next time I'll be serving up a slice of SharePoint Video Library.
Thanks for reading!