(Rating: 5 out of 5)
CorasWorks offers a set of two great products that sit on top of Microsoft office SharePoint Server 2007 and help you to take full advantage of your SharePoint implementation. I have used Corasworks components at a few clients including one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
CorasWorks Workplace Suite offers a library of modular components, more than 50 “starter” solutions, Web parts, design patterns, and templates for complete and quick design, customization and deployment of SharePoint. Though the product offers many pre-defined components, customers can still use other Web parts they want and they are not limited to CorasWorks’ only. It does depend on how other Web parts are written - if they are written as connectable web parts, they can also interact with CorasWorks Web parts.
Their Data Integration toolset allows you to build rich business applications and dashboards, without writing your own code, by surfacing data from any external data source on to your SharePoint platform. It also writes back to the data source, which makes this tool more versatile.
One of its best components and my favorite is their ability to create new roll up Web parts on the fly without writing a single line of code. You can roll up data from multiple lists across multiple sites (not just out of the box SharePoint lists and libraries, but customized lists too) and present it on a single page with different grouping and sorting options. You can also very easily color code your data.
They have a lot of great, useful site templates. One of my favorites is the help desk template that allows me to implement a support site in a matter of minutes. And here is the end-user result:
They sell all of these as two bundled suites: Workplace suite and Data Integration Toolset. For small businesses that only need particular use applications, they have no choice but to buy the whole suite. One area I cannot comment on is CorasWorks support - their product worked so well that I haven’t had the opportunity to call their support department on any serious issues, besides a few how-to’s. This also makes me thing that their annual support cost might be a bit too expensive for smaller businesses.
Bottom line: In my opinion, there is really no other product out there that allows you to increase the value of collaboration on top of SharePoint like Corasworks’ applications do.