I spent last week at the SharePoint 2009 Conference learning about the new features in SharePoint 2010. I must say that I am pretty impressed. The product has dramatically improved especially for developers. There are tons of post already out there about specific features but I wouldn’t to write a brief post highlighting what I think the most important features are. Of course depending on what you used SharePoint 2007 for, what is most important is going to very. Since I am trying to keep this post brief I encourage you to search for each topic to gain more insight and details into each one. Note: these items aren’t in any particular order.
1. Data Access
There are now four ways to access data (3 new ones):
· Server Object Model – same as in SP 2007
· REST – the lists are exposed as rest services
· Linq to SharePoint – you can use SPMetal to generate classes based on lists and then use linq queries on them. I have been waiting for this for a long time.
In 2007 to get SharePoint data into SL, WPF or Surface you had to write your own WCF service that used the SharePoint OM or ASMX. I imagine we are going to see some really cool ways to expose SharePoint data now that this is simpler.
2. Deployment is so much easier
This one feature is going to make SP developers’ lives a lot less painful. You now have F5 deployment to your local environment from inside Visual Studio. But as easy as it is, it is also very open and extensible. Plus you can run SharePoint on Windows 7 64 bit.
3. New Business Connectivity Services (formerly known as BDC)
BDC was read only so I could view data from a database in SharePoint but couldn’t edit it. So now we can easily pull in SQL data expose it as lists and users get all the sorting, filtering and editing capabilities of a list. This also ties nicely into Office
4. Relationships between lists
Another feature that I have been waiting for. If you have a Customer and Orders list, you can add a lookup column on Order that points to Customers. The really cool thing is you can display as many columns from Customer as you would like. Also you can enforce referential integrity.
You can set validation rules using an Excel-like formula when you create columns. You no longer have to write event-receivers for this.
6. New UI improvements
They have cut out lots of page refreshes to make it faster to create and edit documents and pages. Safari and Firefox are 100% supported! I did a view source on the page and there are very little tables. Also in edit mode there is a ribbon at the top of the page which allows users quick access to those buttons needed to edit the page. The ribbon control is easily customizable. I added a new button in lab in about 10 minutes.
7. Managed Metadata Services
Completely revamped approach for meta data. There is now a central repository that will allow you to manage your taxonomies in a much more centralized way. There is a new column type called Managed Metadata which is tied to a term set. This is similar to a choice column except it is centrally managed. Let me give an example. You could have a term set called Months and the terms would be January, February etc… Months never really change but the power comes with terms sets that do and now all those columns get automatically updated. Also another cool feature is a use can type in January, Jan, or 1 and all those get stored as January.
8. SharePoint Designer
SharePoint Designer is really improved and you can export most of your work as a wsp which means those changes are portable. Huge improvement from 2007.
9. SharePoint Workspace
There is now a desktop application called SharePoint Workspace (formerly Groove) that allows users to sync with SharePoint and then work offline. Then sync those changes back the next time they go online. I haven’t used it but if it works as promised, users are going to love this.