Today is the official launch day for SharePoint 2010. As a consumer, you can finally get your hands on this product without merely reading about how this is the best web-based product ever conceived. No longer will you have to rely on my prediction that SharePoint 2010 will ultimately force you to coddle your server while mumbling “my precious”.

Okay so I’m being a bit dramatic here, but don’t say that I didn’t warn you. If you’re still looking for a reason to install this thing, then let me introduce you to a few really cool features that you may not know about in SharePoint 2010.

1. Wiki-like WYSIWYG Editor For Site Pages

Editing is not fun. In fact, it can be downright annoying. And this is especially true in a web browser. Not only do we have to continually fight with our editing tool to get it to do what we want, but many times it doesn’t have the capabilities we need to make us more efficient. This is one huge improvement to the SharePoint platform that will aim to fix this problem. The editor is completely rendered in AJAX, and it is wiki-like in its execution.

You can make changes on the fly like you’re in Word, and you can quickly create/link to other pages and content by typing “[[new page]]” without the quotes. If the page doesn’t exist, then you’ll be able to create it on the fly when you click on the link. You don’t have to stop your thought process to address technical barriers.


Page Linking in SharePoint 2010

Linking to list items and documents is just as easy. Simply start typing the double brackets and you’ll get a listing of available items to link to. For documents, just type in the path to where the document lives on the server, and it will be live once you save the page.


List Linking in SharePoint 2010

2. Quickly Change Chrome Languages On The Fly

There have been some nice improvements to the multilingual capabilities in SharePoint 2010. One of these is the ability to change the language of the chrome with a few mouse clicks. This effects everything but your content -- which still needs to be localized by adding translations into the resource files.

It's even extensible so you can add the correct translations to your custom web parts.

3. Use The Visio Graphics Service To View A Workflow

Microsoft has married the ease of Visio with the complexities of SharePoint workflows. One of the new features that you may not know about is Workflow Visualization.

After you’ve created a workflow in SharePoint, you can then render that workflow visually with the Visio Graphics Service. You can edit the workflow from this screen, and you can even launch the workflow in Visio 2010 for more complex changes.


Visio Workflow Visualization

4. Seamless Video Integration

Being able to insert video into a SharePoint 2007 page is not as straightforward as you might think. Generally it’s accomplished by copying/pasting embed code in the content editor web part, or by finding a 3rd party solution that fits your needs.

Now you can plug a video right into a page OOTB. Silverlight controls are used to render the video in the browser. Another cool bonus here is that you can preview the video before inserting it.

When browsing your media with the asset picker, you can play the entire video to make sure you’re inserting the right one.


Asset Picker in SharePoint 2010

5. Interactive Thumbnail Previews In Search Results

Here’s a classic example of a small, commonly overlooked feature that will go a long way with your end users. A typical document search will yield results based on the relevancy of that document to the terms that you searched by.

But when there are multiple documents of similar content with similar names, you generally just have to open them all up to see what the differences are.

A new thumbnail preview feature will help, although its currently only available for PowerPoint slides. It allows you to preview the slides in a mini-Silverlight web part without opening it in the native app.

If you know that page 4 of that presentation has a distinct difference from the others, then simply navigate to that page without ever leaving your browser.


This feature doesn’t really make sense for Word/Excel since the preview window is small, but Microsoft is opening this up into the API for developers to choose what makes sense. Need an AutoCAD preview? Develop it!

The Cool List with SharePoint

We've just covered five things that are new within SharePoint 2010 that just may knock your socks off. Again, that may be a bit dramatic, but they are pretty slick. There's more to SharePoint 2010 than immediately meets the eye. We encourage you to list other "cool" things in the comments below.