Its been just about week since the end of SPC 2009, and it doesn’t feel like enough time has gone by to digest all of the information that was given to us in the conference. So before my memory starts failing me, and the information becomes outdated; here are my takes on the conference and the top 10 things I look the most forward to on SharePoint 2010.
Highlights from the conference
For me, it was primarily about the sessions and learning more about how the new features in SharePoint come together. I’ve had access to SharePoint 2010 for some time, but the platform is just too broad to effectively explore on your own; you can learn a lot about certain features, but until you hear other peoples takes and Microsoft’s general direction, it can be hard to see the big picture; and it truly is a great picture!
Overall, the conference met and exceeded all of my expectations. Not only did I find the information and direction I sought after, but I shared with good friends, met some fantastic people, and it was all served in a silver platter…. Well, minus the last lunch, which was actually served in a cardboard box (a little bit of a let down.)
Things to look forward to in SharePoint 2010
Plenty of people have been blogging about this for several days now, so I wont go in to deep. The following are my favorite new features and improvements (in no particular order, I tried but was having to much of a tough time deciding how to sort them):
- Windows 7 support: SharePoint 2010 can run on the 64 bit editions of Windows 7 (and Vista). We no longer need Virtual Machines to develop for SharePoint. This should significantly increase developer adoption, giving us a larger pool of SharePoint resources. There isn’t much information from Microsoft online yet, but it is listed as one of the supported OS’s in the MSDN article Setting Up the Development Environment for SharePoint Server and demoed in one of the vides at http://SharePoint2010.microsoft.com
- Business Connectivity Services, External Content Types, and External Lists: The evolution of the Business Data Catalog; much easier to develop on, includes native Visual Studio 2010 support, CRUD capabilities (Create, Read, Update, Delete), display and interact with data as if in standard SharePoint lists. Check out the SharePoint 2010 SDK section on Business Connectivity Services for more information.
- Sandboxed Solutions: Many SharePoint developers wont agree, but I feel is another great step in the right direction. This feature allows Farm Admins (IT Pros) to designate “sandboxes” in the SharePoint farm where developers can deploy web parts without administrative intervention, while giving the Admins the ability to monitor and restrict certain levels of resource consumption such as:
- Memory consumption
- Database query time
- Abnormal termination
- Critical exceptions
- Unhandled exceptions
- Data marshaling size
More info on Sandboxed solutions at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee536577(office.14).aspx
- Much Improved Large List Support: During the sessions multiple people demoed lists with hundreds of thousands, even millions of items. All of which displayed, filtered, and sorted information at very impressive speeds, or as my daughter would say: in lickity split.
- Relational Lists with Cascading Deletes: Pretty self explanatory, and the cascading the deletes are configurable (they don’t have to be enforced.)
- Developer Dashboard: This feature gives us performance metrics about the components running on a page. Helping developers identify and troubleshoot poorly running web parts. More information at: http://www.spfoxhole.com/Blog/Lists/Posts/Post.aspx?ID=131
- Visual Upgrade: This feature facilitates the upgrade process by allowing us to maintain the 2007 look and feel (including the site admin pages), giving us more time to prepare our users for the transition.
- Service Applications: These replace Shared Service Providers (SSPs), except that they are more flexible, more scalable, and we can build our own. Consider a scenario where you have a single web application from where you want to serve information from a BDC (Business Data Catalog) configured in one Shared Service Provider, but your search results need to come from another. SharePoint 2007 only allows us to associate one SSP per web application. Service Applications, help us overcome that barrier. Harbar has written a great introduction at: SharePoint 2010: Service Applications Part One: Model Overview
- Developer Tools: Dramatically improved Visual Studio Support, out of the box SharePoint Projects Templates/Solutions (no more STSDEV or keeping up with the latest Visual Studio Extensions.) Integrated support for Team Foundation Server with team build capabilities. F5 debugging, and a slew of other features. Steve Fox writes a good intro at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/ee309510.aspx or take a look at the video at http://sharepoint2010.microsoft.com/product/Benefits/IT-Developers/Pages/Top-Features.aspx