What's New in SharePoint 2010?

Posted by Brett Young | Thursday, July 16, 2009 | | 0 comments »

The technical preview for SharePoint 2010 starts today. A technical preview is when a small group of Microsoft customers and business partners get early access to the new bits. The public beta will follow later this year. Along with the technical preview, Microsoft has launched a new SharePoint 2010 web site that is open to everyone. It contains three short videos and an FAQ. I watched the overview video. Although they only scratch the surface on what is coming, there are some interesting new features:

  • New form factors allow connecting from any device

  • Many social computing enhancements (though none of them are shown in the demo)

  • Ease in connecting across boundaries

  • New emphasis on SharePoint as an application development platform

  • Robust content life-cycle management

  • FAST search technology is built into SharePoint
    Enhanced people search help people make connections with each other

  • Contextual ribbon menu interface (like Office 2007)

  • Multi-select makes it possible to simultaneously apply actions to multiple list items

  • New message dialog boxes appears to display over the top of a grayed-out site, instead of as a separate page

  • User interactions are much smoother since server post-backs have been eliminated - Example: Checking out a document happens immediately and does not cause the screen to refresh

  • Edit content in place, including text, images, and rich media (The ribbon menu dynamically presents the relevant options.)

  • Live preview formatting changes prior to publishing

  • Out-of-the-box Silverlight web part for rich media support

  • Ability to theme SharePoint using Office themes. For example, apply a PowerPoint theme to a SharePoint site

  • Support for several non-Microsoft browsers, including Firefox and Safari

  • Publish Visio diagrams directly to SharePoint. Using SharePoint 2010 and Video 2010, dynamically maintain diagrams by connecting to back-end data sources

  • Business Connectivity Services (BSC) replaces the Business Data Catalog (BDC), and is greatly enhanced, including the ability to write changes to back-end data sources

  • BCS data can also be exposed through the Office 2010 clients

  • SharePoint Workspace (formerly known as Groove), provides off-line reading and editing features
One of the most common criticisms I hear from end-users regarding SharePoint 2007 is that simple operations take too many clicks. I'm encouraged by the demo of SharePoint 2010, which appears to streamline end-user operations and make SharePoint look and work a lot more like a real Web 2.0/Ajax application.

The demo videos don't contain a preview of SharePoint 2010's social computing tools. Expectations are running high that Microsoft learned a lot since MOSS, and that SharePoint 2010 will have real blogs, wikis, bookmarking, and profiles.

I suspect Microsoft will keep quiet on most of 2010's new capabilities until the SharePoint conference in October, which should be quite a show.

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