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Discoverability and SharePoint 2010 - 11 Jan 2010

Why I Love the Ribbon, Related Lists, and So Close But Yet So Far

Editor's note: One might underestimate the importance and utility of the Ribbon UI in Microsoft Office, but after using it in SharePoint 2010 Beta, Dan Holme was hooked. Still there are some gaps Microsoft could have filled (and might still?) that would make the Ribbon UI even better in SharePoint 2010.

I’d like to share a story of how I decided that, yes, the Ribbon is a great addition to SharePoint. Along the way, I’ll point out some new features of SharePoint 2010: in-browser form customization and easy creation of forms for related lists.

And I’ll lament an all-too-common problem with Microsoft: painfully close but still off-the-mark new features. Because, unfortunately, Microsoft stopped one important step short of perfect in its implementation of these new features.

As you have probably heard, SharePoint 2010 provides capabilities that let you create relationships between lists. In the classic example, a list of customers can be related to a list of orders. And, in fact, referential integrity can be configured so that if a customer is deleted, for example, the customer’s orders can also be deleted.

This relational capability is fantastic, on its own. In Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007, you had to do quite a lot of SharePoint Designer and Visual Studio (VS) work to do the same things.

After you complete relating the lists, you typically want to show the list items and their related data. So, for example, I would want to be able to view a customer and see all of his or her orders. This also required a bit of work in previous versions of SharePoint, and I would pull out SharePoint Designer to do the job.

Enter the Ribbon.

To read the rest of Dan Holme's commentary, visit our sibling site, SharePointPro Connections.  

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