SharePoint 2010: Exploring the Vast Collaboration Platform

If you’ve been waiting for SharePoint 2010 to RTM before you give it a serious look, the wait is over.  SharePoint 2010 is a vast collaboration platform that spans many products and technologies. Other applications in the SharePoint ecosystem launching this year support or add value to SharePoint. Let’s take a quick look at the broad range of offerings within SharePoint and how they tie in with some of the other players in the ecosystem.

SharePoint 2010 Capabilities

Did you know that SharePoint brings together many capabilities under a unified infrastructure and application model? SharePoint has six major feature areas: Sites, Communities, Content, Search, Insights, and Composites. SharePoint is such a broad platform, but grouping features into these capabilities helps you get your head around what SharePoint can do. You can learn more about the new SharePoint 2010 capabilities at sharepoint2010.microsoft.com/product/capabilities.

      Sites. SharePoint now supports features to make it easy to brand and theme your sites using standard Office theme files. Also SharePoint makes it easy to design your sites using standards-based XHTML, CSS, and XSLT-based pages. Some of the most visible changes are support for the Ribbon UI and the new Wiki-based pages and editing model. This lets users easily edit rich content simply using the browser.

      Communities. SharePoint continues to build social features by adding pervasive support for tagging and rating for all content. The blogs and wikis within SharePoint are also greatly improved. SharePoint makes it very easy to search for people and experts within your enterprise. You could even subscribe to an activity feed to follow co-workers’ activities within SharePoint.

      Content. You’ll find improvements in the way that you can organize content in SharePoint. You can group documents into a logical document called a document set. You can also view and navigate documents and folders based on metadata and tags. This makes it easy to browse through very large document libraries. SharePoint now supports Lists with up to 50 million items, giving you the room to create very large sets of information.

      Search. SharePoint Search has improved in all its existing areas and added many new search features. Search will now factor in social relevance in the search results. The more users click on a document, the higher the relevance. Refinement panels let you quickly narrow or sort your search results. You will also see thumbnail previews of the documents in the search results. All of these features together with the new FAST integration make SharePoint a world-class enterprise search platform.

      Insights. SharePoint brings Business Intelligence (BI) to the masses by leveraging tools they already use such as Office. Also PerformancePoint Services now are integrated into SharePoint, enabling rich scorecards and key performance indicator dashboards.

      Composites. SharePoint business users can rapidly create new applications without writing code by composing various components together into a solution. This development model enables a business to rapidly respond to competitive challenges. Business users can use the browser, Microsoft Visio, Excel, and SharePoint Designer to compose applications for SharePoint. Developers can use Microsoft Visual Studio to create new building blocks for business users to compose. Administrators can manage the applications using permissions and sandboxed solutions.

 

Office 2010 Integration with SharePoint

The 2010 version of Office adds so much value across the board to SharePoint. Excel brings a great BI tool to SharePoint with the use of Power Pivot to instantly understand datasets with hundreds of millions of rows. The new SharePoint Workspace lets you take your SharePoint sites offline. Visio 2010 makes it easy to create and visualize SharePoint workflows. SharePoint Designer 2010 released with Office 2010 and provides a great tool for power users to create powerful declarative solutions in SharePoint.

 

Visual Studio 2010

Visual Studio (VS) 2010 provides a first-class professional development environment for easily creating robust SharePoint solutions. VS 2010 is also a very extensible tool that enables you to create customizations that can handle any future developer tasks that might arise.

 

Microsoft Silverlight 4

The recently released Silverlight 4 and Expression Blend 4 make creating rich SharePoint applications easy. They enable developers and designers to work independently on the same solution in the tool that’s best for them. New features in Silverlight 4 enable better data binding using the Client Object Model and consuming REST data with the Entity Framework. And now with Full Trust Out of Browser applications, you can interact with Office applications directly from Silverlight.

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