100 million licenses and 4,000 partners later, Microsoft thinks they have a handle on this SharePoint phenonemon (news, site). There's been a lot of talk about the next release, much speculation. Now Microsoft gives us a bird's eye view into what SharePoint 2010 is really going to look and behave like. Time to take a little tour.
Okay, so you go away for a couple of days and a sneak peek on SharePoint 2010 hits the wire. Considering the number of people who have been waiting for this moment, it may have been worth it to wait a day or so to get a glimpse of the community's thoughts and views on what they have seen.
A New Way of Looking at SharePoint?
Remember how Microsoft envisioned SharePoint 2007?
Well, the world of SharePoint has changed, slightly:
If you compare these two diagrams, what you see is that it becomes less about the technology capabilities (i.e. content management, collaboration, search, business intelligence) and more about how these technologies support the user or the business: communities, content, insights.
Does this mean there's a big difference between SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2007? Time will tell. But if you watched the overview video, you'd see things have certainly improved in many instances. Here's what we took away from the overview of SharePoint 2010.
Microsoft says they recognize the need to support multiple browsers such as Safari and FireFox. The video even demos SharePoint in FireFox, so you know it's not all talk.
You first saw the introduction of the ribbon UI in Office 2007 and although it took a little getting use to, it grew on you. That ribbon UI is part of SharePoint 2010. It's contextual, so it changes as required and it grays out the options in the ribbon that you may not have access to.
SharePoint 2010 Ribbon UI
Of course, if you don't like it, you can choose to use the old UI from SharePoint 2007.
Now SharePoint will have real dialog boxes, instead of redirects to another web page with your dialog box options. The background is grayed out when a dialog box pops up. Much more in tune with the way web applications work today.
Live Preview & Themes
The ability to set a theme for your look and feel within SharePoint is improved. Included is the ability to take your PowerPoint theme and upload and apply it to your SharePoint site.
If you are modifying a web page, you now have Live Preview capability, so you can see how the change will look before you actually accept it.
SharePoint 2010 comes with out of the box Silverlight web parts, making the inclusion of Silverlight apps much easier. Note the change to the how you can select new web parts for your pages, much improved.
SharePoint 2010 - Silverlight Web Parts
Empowering the Business
There are a couple of different ways to look at SharePoint 2010. Although the developer perspective is important, maybe the most critical is how it makes the lives of business users easier and lets them do more without the need for IT assistance.
Use Visio 2010 for documenting and describing business processes? Now you can publish those diagrams directly to SharePoint with the back end connection remaining intact. So the view of the diagram is real time. What's nice about this capability is that not everyone needs to have a license for Visio to see the diagram.
SharePoint 2010 Visio Integration
It's still free, but looks very much improved with new modeling capabilities and enhanced workflow.
SharePoint Designer 2010