When I was part of the SharePoint teams, people asked me for advice all the time. Sometimes, they even took it. As it turns out, Nintex took a lot of it.
My stance of staying the heck out of the SharePoint databases is a matter of public record. I wasn’t kidding then, and I’m still not kidding about it. It’s a bad idea. That having been said, a frequent question that came up in response involved how to report on what’s going on within SharePoint farms.
You’ve got basically two options: walk the object model (many tools on CodePlex do this) or directly query the databases used by WSS/MOSS (don’t do this). Or you can take a blue-sky, hybrid approach: walk the object model and save the results to a data warehouse. That was usually met with nods of understanding followed by cringes of understanding on just what it would take to do such a thing (no matter how much it would be worth it).
Well, Nintex did it anyway. You’ll see it at TechEd in Orlando next week and/or on our Web site — we RTM today.
I’ll post over the next several days a few snippets about how the product works and what you can do with it (both for using it and extending it). But the gist of it is that we — in a completely “legal”, supportable way — inspect the farm and stage nuggets o’ insight into a proper data warehouse, then provide plenty of tools for you to report on that warehouse’s contents to your heart’s content.
Details to follow. This is fun.