Blogger: Craig Roth
The spigot on the information coming out of Microsoft about SharePoint 2010 was cranked up from a drip to a trickle on July 13th with the debut of the SharePoint 2010 web site. Microsoft has been promising to open it to a full-blown fire hose at the SharePoint Conference in October, but until then it's worth going through what has been released. (there's also an invitation-only technical preview).
First, before we get to features, there's a new conceptual view. The old 2007 "SharePoint donut" got tons of usage since most everyone is at a loss to describe what SharePoint is without it. Sure, it's a "collaboration server", but what does it do? Well, let me whip out this diagram and walk through it …
Here's my best guess so far on how the old donut maps to the new one. "Sites" is the most vague (statements like "Sites allows you to expand across environments" that describe capabilities rather than a definition). I think Sites is just a generic, catch-all bucket for anything involving creation of websites, so it overlaps with all the others.
Here are my takeaways from the main video (with marketing-speak omitted except where I found it interesting or telling). I'll be clear where I'm injecting my own point of view by using [brackets], although the rest is paraphrased so what you see here is filtered through my own perspective. I encourage you to view the videos yourself as well.
Sharepoint 2010 Overview (Tom Rizzo)
- Mentions how they are supporting all browsers (although he tellingly stumbles when trying to say "Safari" ... )
- Promises great strides in social computing
- Went around the SharePoint 2010 donut:
- Sites are all about sharing information
- Mentions a further push into extranets and internet sites
- Plans to support a hierarchical structure of communities
- "Regardless of how they come together" [implies to me embracing end user creation and maintenance of their own communities rather than just enabling administrators to create communities]
- People-centric, LOB-centric
- "We've been Working hard to manage content from creation to disposition and destruction … "
- Will enhance ability of users to discover content
- [our analysis of SharePoint 2007's enterprise content management showed weakness at the later stages of the process , so beefing up capabilites around disposition and discovery seem to show positive action from Microsoft to close the gap]
- FAST will be combined with existing SharePoint search.
- More investments have been made in uncovering hidden assets
- People search will be (better) blended with search.
- At 8:22 he says "You'll be able to find rich people across your organization". [I guess that's handy if Bill Gates works at your company and you need to borrow money for lunch]
- There's a plug for the business connectivity services (formerly business data catalog) in terms of searching structured data
- Combining the rest of SharePoint with the business intelligence stack. [not really any detail here, or nothing new to talk about]
- "Rapidly create dynamic bus solutions" [At the SharePoint conference in 2006, none other than Bill Gates said building composites is the #1 capability of SharePoint. If they're going to get away from the "portal" word which is increasingly watered down then this is a good choice. Composite applications encompasses portals, but also other important styles of web apps made from piece parts including any type of assembly of web services or RESTful services, mashups, or business process management]
- Features shown in the demo
- User interface
- The Office ribbon now shows up all over SharePoint and is removable, customizable, contextual
- He showed live editing of text in a website, and as you mouse over different font sizes you get preview of fonts just like in Word 2007
- He showed a very fat client-like resizing of images, adding a border, etc.
- You can add Silverlight with an out of box Silverlight web part
- There's the ability to apply PowerPoint themes to sites (colors, fonts, etc.)
- Business connectivity
- You'll be able to put a Visio diagram directly in SP, and since Visio can have links to get live data from business systems that means live data too [neat!]
- Forget BDC: it's now BCS. There's a new acronym: Business Connectivity Services (BCS) to replace the business data catalog (BDC)
- Instead of just sites in SP designer 2010, it has lists, workflows, etc.
- Also has an item in SP designer called "entities" for creating connections to bus data
- Demoed a SQL connecter that auto-creates CRUD (create, read, update, delete)
- You cal see a BCS data set in SharePoint and it looks like a list, but it’s a SQL database. Demoed filtering.
- You can also click "edit item" and update the item. [I hope they improve the interface. It refreshes and fills the whole screen with a data dump of the row. Not at all like editing in a cell]
- Demoed creating a new doc from SharePoint in Word which has a bunch of fields defined in BCS. You can select a customer name from the list and it fills in all the fields from that record in the document information panel
- Work with data in richer ways
- Microsoft finally clarified that Groove (new name=SharePoint Workplace) is the rich client for SharePoint. [wow, that took a long time for something we knew was going to happen]
- Workplace can sync info from a SharePoint site
- Showed in SP workspace how he can edit info offline, and then synced back up by selecting "Connect to server" and "Sync supplier list". [Not sure why its so manual. In Notes you don't have to hit "connect" then "sync". Maybe there are automated, scheduled options too that weren't shown. I hope so]
- Tom emphasized that these are just some of the features - not an exhaustive list.
- User interface
SP 2010 for IT professional video (Richard Riley)
- He mentioned on premise or as SaaS
- Beta later this year, general availability 1st half of 2010
- Goal is to scale up and out with high reliability [just as Bill Pray noted in his thoughts on Exchange 2010, it seems many of the administrative enhancements for SharePoint 2010 are to help it support SaaS rather than to just help current on premises installations]
- [bookmark] IT professional productivity
- Central admin: he mentioned "easier to find" and ribbon UI [he didn't mention any actual functionality changes]
- There's a best practice analyzer
- It analyzes health, performance, and has reporting
- Rules can regularly run and send pop ups with issues encountered. Admins can build rules and automatically apply fixes
- There is a new logging database, extensible with custom data and custom reports
- Scalable unified infrastructure
- Large lists will not hang the system anymore [yahoo!]
- The admin can set thresholds for how many rows max will be returned. And there's a "happy hour" when you can get larger responses from queries.
- Unattached content database recovery
- Admins can browse content in repositories, create an export, and upload to list
- Flexible deployment
- You can detach a 2007 database and attach it to 2010
- When you migrate to 2010 it keeps UI the same, but you can select an option to switch user experiences
SP 2010 for Developer (Paul Andrew)
- Developer productivity
- Paul talked about the Visual Studio 2010 SharePoint tools
- There is a new visual Web Part designer and team foundation server
- You can look at lists and other server items from the server explorer within VS without having to go to SharePoint
- Can specify deployment configuration such as a package WSP file that can include custom installation steps
- Demoed click and drag creation of a Web Part with a button that calls LINQ query
- Rich platform
- There is the ability to use LINQ to access SharePoint lists including joins
- Paul also mentioned the Silverlight Web Part and business connectivity services
- Flexible deployment
- Paul talked about solution deployment [but frankly I got distracted at this point and don't have notes here. I believe this is an attempt to address SP2007 weaknesses around staging from test to QA to production]
Data connectivity services
- In the demos, DCS still showed as BDC in VS 2010 since it's not finished yet
- Paul showed how it supports creating methods for BCS CRUD
- In SharePoint you can create an "external list" now, which means data from the BCS
- There are new "list" menus in the ribbon bar in the SharePoint web UI
- Demoed using Silverlight to fill a data grid with data from a SharePoint list. With Silverlight, it's running on the client so things like sorting the list are done without calls back to the server
That's a summary of what I took away from the latest information on SharePoint. At our SharePoint Workshop (SharePoint 2007: The Current Governance Nightmare—and Will It Get Better?) on July 28th at Catalyst we have added a module on what's new in SharePoint 2010 that includes our statements on what we thought was missing from 2007. Seeing new stuff is great, but lining it up against the weaknesses in 2007 provides a better view of the progress being made. All said though, it's still too early to stand up and applaud. There's a lot more information left in the tank that has to trickle out first.
Note: This is a cross-posting from the KnowledgeForward blog.