Aug 4, 2009

Sneaking a peek under the veil over SharePoint 2010

The Technical review of Office 2010 is out. Even if you don't yet have the bytes to test, there's a lot of information out of the new Office products, SharePoint included.

When I saw the first videos and screenshots of the new SharePoint 2010 (which, by the way, is not MOSS anymore, the Office was dropped from the name making it simply Microsoft SharePoint), my initial reaction was "this doesn't even look like SharePoint anymore!". It looks rather officy and, frankly, good. And what hit my eyes first as a major enhancement was its multi-browser support. Everything that can be done in IE, also functions in Firefox and Safari. Yey!

The ribbon was introduced in Office 2007, in the basic application but not all. Now the ribbon is everywhere, in every application and in SharePoint. The ribbon is visible in the browser and contains editing and modifying tools for pages and sites. The set of tabs visible depends on user rights - of course - and the state of the page and selected item.

SharePoint 2010 includes quite a few new services. One of these is Visio Services, enabling the sharing of interactive diagrams even to those without Visio on their client. Another one is the substitute for Business Data Catalogues: the new and easier way of connection to LOB-applications provided by Business Connectivity Services. A third one would be the Office integration called SharePoint Workspace that enables the use of Office applications in browser for editing documents anywhere.

The Central Administration site has been simplified in usage but more versatile in it's tools. It too has the ribbon for the different tasks. Best Practices Analyzer is a handy tool for analyzing the best solution for many common issues concerning farm configuration. And the new logging and usage reporting contains more information and is easier to use.

As for developers, SharePoint 2010 together with the loads of new features in VisualStudio 2010. These include eg. the visual tools for developing web parts, Business Connectivity Services entities (formerly BDC entities), features and solution packages. Also, it is possible to use the new .NET features like LINQ for data connetcions, Client Object Model and Silverlight (there is an out-of the-box web part for inserting a Silverlight control on a SharePoint page) in SharePoint development.

In the browser there is also a Developer Dashboard availabe, making it possible to view the contents (eg. data connections and services used on a page) and even debug solutions in the browser. And as for the ones customizing and modifying SharePoint sites, the new SharePoint Designer contains many new features as well. There are many new actions eg. in creating workflows and modeling sites.

For upgrading from MOSS2007, SharePoint 2010 contains the Visual Upgrade tool that enables to upgrade without losing the 2007 interface for existing sites, yet enabling the use of 2010 properties on the same server.

All in all, at least by way of reading, screenshots and videos the new SharePoint 2010 looks very much like something to anticipate!

More about SharePoint 2010 on Microsoft site: While waiting to get to test it hands-on...

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