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SharePoint 2010's Secret Weapon: Visio 2010 and Visio Services

In spite of Microsoft Visio 2010’s interesting, and useful, features, the goal of the product is to supplement, not to usurp: “Don’t abandon what you’re doing,” product manager A.J. Briant told me, likening Visio 2010 to “a secret weapon within SharePoint.”


New features integrated in SharePoint 2010 include the ability for users to take a diagram and publish it to a SharePoint site, whether online or on premises, and the ability for others to view it even if they don’t have Visio.  An interesting sounding add-in uses Visio Services to assist in troubleshooting and monitoring a SharePoint farm, by delivering a visual data display of the farm’s infrastructure and associate services in close to real time.


Microsoft added a data relationship that’s binding: As SharePoint data changes, the diagram changes. In the high-end SKU of Visio 2010, you’ll find SharePoint workflows built in. You can hand off a design created in Visio and export it to SharePoint Designer, and it will be validated against SharePoint rules. These workflows, Briant notes, are “human-centric,” and suited for ad hoc processes.


Visio 2010 also has added data legends that define icon, size, shape, and color. Data graphics link data to shapes, and it has improved ability to import data, with a wizard interface to help. You can import AutoCad file formats such as architectural layouts and add locations of pertinent objects, such as printers and small children, and save to a SharePoint site. Lastly, you can create mashups using it, with little or no code.


Just remember that to do a lot of the cool stuff, you’ll need SharePoint  (Windows Server 2003 with SP1 or later running Windows SharePoint Services or SharePoint Foundation for advanced collaboration functionality). Microsoft’s Visio 2010 home page has info


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