SharePoint 2010 beta is out now and the licesnce is to be released in the first half of 2010. Before that its good to know what SharePoint 2010 has. SharePoint is a broad solution so we often get asked how we would describe it in a sentence. For SharePoint 2010, Microsoft settled on “The Business Collaboration Platform for the Enterprise and the Web”.As Sharepoint 2007 had some cloud of tags around it, 2010 also has. Sites, Communities, Content, Search, Insights and Composites. These differ a little from 2007 and this difference is going to keep 2010 a head of 2007. I am putting up here my takeaways from the microsoft sites.
In 2007, SharePoint is extended to a single platform for intranet, extranet and internet sites. For SharePoint 2010, it improved the experience for this range of sites spanning browsers, Microsoft Office and mobile devices. The top five investment areas here are:
1. SharePoint Web Experience – Updated SharePoint UI to make it simpler to access a growing range of tools. Highlights include incorporating the Office ribbon, in place web editing, AJAX responsiveness and richer navigation. Also expanded multi-lingual support, improved accessibility including WCAG 2.0 support and cross-browser support built on XHTML compliance.
2. Office Client –Continue support for previous versions of Microsoft Office working against SharePoint 2010. Office 2010 enhances this with features like offline editing with asynchronous saves as well as exposing SharePoint features through the new Office Backstage UI. Via the Backstage, you can access the context around the document including tags, related tagging and people.
3. SharePoint Workspace – In this release, Groove is evolved and renamed as SharePoint Workspace which provides great local and offline read-write access to SharePoint lists and libraries. SharePoint Workspace has a consistent experience with Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 including the Office ribbon. It supports advanced features like bringing external business data offline and is smart about synching changes and not entire files.
4. Office Web Apps –SharePoint 2010 is made as a great place to host the new Office Web Apps so you can view and update content from within a browser and include Office content as part of your web site (e.g. an Excel spreadsheet as part of “Sales Metrics Portal”). The Office Web Apps provide a familiar user experience, high fidelity viewing and essential editing without loss of data or formatting. They include Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. The OneNote client and Web App support is one of the coolest features of the release to enable multiple people to collaborate on a rich canvas online or offline. In addition to the Office Web Apps, we updated InfoPath Forms Services and Excel Services and added, new for 2010, Visio and Access Services.
5. SharePoint Mobile Access – Improved experience for mobile web browsers and a new SharePoint Workspace Mobile client is introduced so you can take Office content from SharePoint offline on a Windows Mobile device. These clients let you navigate lists and libraries, search content and people and even view and edit Office content within the Office Web App experience running on a mobile browser.
1. Collaborative Content – Building on the new SharePoint user experience, is easier to create and find content in SharePoint sites. This includes not only improved blogs and wikis (both simple and enterprise) but also calendars, discussions, tasks, contacts, pictures, video, presence and much more. With Office 2010, multiple people can simultaneously author content on a SharePoint site.
2. Social Feedback and Organization – A consistent experience for organizing, finding and staying connected to information and people including bookmarks, tagging and ratings. We have taken a holistic approach across search, navigation, profiles, feeds and more. We are bringing together informal social tagging with formal taxonomy described below so you can choose the right approach for a given set of content.
3. User Profiles – Enhanced user profiles to reflect colleagues, interests, expertise – either via explicit tagging or recommendations based on Outlook and Office Communicator. The model is opt-in so users can manage what information is shared publically. They decide when an interest is something they want to share or be asked about by others in the organization.
4. MySites – MySites are significantly enhanced in SharePoint 2010 building on the updated SharePoint UI and user profile. MySites are streamlined to give you quick access to your content, profile and social network while continuing to let you customize, target and personalize pages to the needs of different roles and users in your organization. The enhanced newsfeed helps track interests and colleagues.
5. People Connections – In SharePoint 2003, a universal person hyperlink and presence icon was available, so you can always navigate to a user’s MySite, send them mail, start an IM, call, etc. In this release, this UI has a conjunction with Outlook and Office Communicator as well as greatly improved the colleague tracking and people search features with new algorithms and user experience leveraging expertise, social data and more. MySites also include a new interactive organization browser built using Silverlight to give you another way to navigate the organization. In larger companies, org. chart browsing via the address book is one of the most popular features in Outlook and this takes that experience to the next level.
SharePoint 2007 brought together document management, records management and web content management with a consistent user experience, architecture and platform. It had a common platform for metadata, security, workflow, etc. SharePoint 2010 adds scale and depth in these areas as well advancing the user experience. The top five investment areas:
1. Large Lists and Libraries – Has an architecture and user experience investments so you have much larger document libraries with metadata driven navigation to help users go quickly to the content that is most important to them. Libraries will scale to tens of millions and archives to hundreds of millions of documents. This is a key investment for high-end document and records management but also helps organizations with lots of smaller sites. Enhanced workflow capabilities and tools in SharePoint Designer.
2. Enterprise Metadata – Support content types and taxonomies across not only across sites but also server farms. Applying this metadata is easy (and valuable to users) in both the SharePoint and Office client user experience. The top-down taxonomy and bottoms-up social tagging (sometimes called folksonomy) combine to help improve search, navigation and people connections.
3. Document Sets – A new way to manage a collection of documents as a single object for workflow, metadata, etc. within SharePoint and Office so experience more closely models your work product (e.g. a proposal that may contain a presentation, budget, contract, etc.).
4. Web Publishing including Digital Asset Management – A number of key improvements are made to make it easier to publish rich sites on the intranet or internet. Uses the new browser ribbon and editor experience to speed site customization, content authoring and publishing tasks. Added digital asset management features like thumbnails, metadata and ratings for images as well as video streaming from SharePoint. Finally, improved content deployment robustness from authoring to production for larger scale sites.
5. Governance and Records Management – Compliance is an increasingly important requirement for organizations. You get enhanced Records Managements features in 2010 building on the scalable storage and enterprise metadata support described above. Improment in the sophistication and flexibility of our governance tools. Just a few new features include location-based file plans, multi-stage dispositions, in-place records and e-discovery.
The top five investment areas here:
1. Interactive Search Experience – A richer search experience providing flexible navigation, refinement and related searches. Both Standard and FAST Search for SharePoint get query completion, spell checking, wild cards and more. FAST enhances this experience enabling feature content for common queries and providing more flexible navigation and document thumbnails and previews including in slide navigation of PowerPoint presentations which is a common end user scenario.
2. Relevance –Improvement in out-of-box ranking and expanded the relevance factors including social data such as tagging and usage (clicks). FAST Search adds more configurable set of relevance inputs for custom applications and specialized corpuses.
3. People Search –Improved people finding based on social networking and expertise algorithms and tailored user experience for people including getting views of authored content. As users frequently do not know or recall the spelling of people’s names, a new phonetic search algorithm is built that works much better than previous approaches to spell checking for names.
4. Connectivity – Since lots of data lives outside SharePoint 2010 has expanded and improved connectors to index web sites, file servers, SharePoint, Exchange, Lotus Notes, Documentum and FileNet. The updated Business Connectivity Services (previously the BDC) described below makes it much easier to index an arbitrary source such as a custom database. You can create this search connection without code using the new SharePoint Designer.
5. Scale and Platform Flexibility –Significant performance and scalability improvements are made through the search technology. Optimizing for 64-bit helped but also introduced partitioned indices and scale-out query servers in SharePoint search this release. FAST scales-out even further and has significantly more pipeline extensibility to handle the largest collections and most complex value-added processing and search applications. Both end users and IT will be immediately excited about the new capabilities supporting hundreds of millions of documents with great index freshness and query latency.
Historically, business intelligence has been a specialized toolset used by a small set of users with little ad-hoc interactivity. 2010 approaches to unlock data and enable collaboration on the analysis to help everyone in the organization get richer insights. Excel Services is one of the popular features of SharePoint 2007 as people like the ease of creating models in Excel and publishing them to server for broad access while maintaining central control and one version of the truth. SharePoint 2010 is expanded with new visualization, navigation and BI features. The top five investment areas:
1. Excel Services – Excel rendering and interactivity in SharePoint gets better with richer pivoting, slicing and visualizations like heatmaps and sparklines. New REST support makes it easier to add server-based calculations and charts to web pages and mash-ups.
2. Performance Point Services – Enhanced scorecards, dashboard, key performance indicator and navigation features such as decomposition trees in SharePoint Server 2010 for the most sophisticated BI portals.
3. SQL Server –SQL Server capabilities like Analysis Services and Reporting Services are easier to access from within SharePoint and Excel. These interfaces are exposed and working with other BI vendors so they can plug in their solutions as well.
4. “Gemini” – “Gemini” is the name for a powerful new in memory database technology that lets Excel and Excel Services users navigate massive amounts of information without having to create or edit an OLAP cube. Imagine an Excel spreadsheet rendered (in the client or browser) with 100 million rows and you get the idea. At the SharePoint Conference, the official name for “Gemini” is announced as SQL Server PowerPivot for Excel and SharePoint.
5. Visio Services – As with Excel, users love the flexibility of creating rich diagrams in Visio. 2010 added a web rendering with interactivity and data binding including mashups from SharePoint with support for rendering Visio diagrams in a browser. It has also added SharePoint workflow design support in Visio.
The single biggest area Microsoft increased its investment from SharePoint 2007 was making it easier for everyone – users, IT, partners, etc. – to build custom solutions on SharePoint that automate processes and connect disparate information. Some of the scenarios are more IT driven. Analysts often call them “Composite Applications”. Others are more end user centric or “Mash-Ups”. “Composites” was a good short word to describe the breadth of solutions built with SharePoint. The top five investment areas:
1. SharePoint Designer –SharePoint Designer experience is revamped to focus on the building blocks of a SharePoint solution vs. HTML source code. The user experience gets easier including the Office Ribbon and new tools for building workflows and connecting to external data. SharePoint Designer customizations are made safe out-of-box in 2010 so IT can let users customize sites without risk. SharePoint Designer is also a great tool for mashing-up SharePoint (which now exposes REST) and external data.
2. InfoPath Forms Service – InfoPath is the best way to have a common form definition render in the browser as well as in a rich and offline client. For 2010, the design environment is improved to make it easier to build rich forms declaratively with little to no code and more client-side validation.
3. Access Services – Users have long loved the ability to create database applications quickly with forms and views. Access Services lets you publish new Access solutions to a SharePoint site where they can be managed centrally and accessed (necessary pun) from a web browser.
4. Sandbox Solutions – In SharePoint 2007, custom code requires the farm administrator to trust the code running on the server. In SharePoint 2010 a new SharePoint custom code sandbox is introduced with isolation and resource limitations (memory, SQL, CPU) that allows administrators to let others safely add and consume custom solutions without impacting overall farm performance and stability. While it does not cover the full SharePoint object model it addresses key scenarios like custom web parts and event receivers. We will use this and the client side object model described to support custom SharePoint solutions in SharePoint Online as well.
5. Business Connectivity Services –The read-only Business Data Catalog from SharePoint 2007 is expanded to support create, read, update, delete, search and offline access to line-of-business (LOB) data. This data, such as a customer record from a database, web services, etc. is called an External List in SharePoint 2010 and it is mapped to an External Content Type so this data looks and behaves like native SharePoint lists. You can not only update this data from within SharePoint but can take it offline from SharePoint Workspace and, where it makes sense like contacts, in Outlook with offline editing. There is great support for BCS in SharePoint Designer and Visual Studio 2010.
With lot may features it has , lot many things we have to dig, with little information in hand, lets hope Sharepoint 2010 will again be a success story for Microsoft.