Monday, 26 October 2009

Back from SPC09

The SharePoint Conference 2009 was last week in Las Vegas, I was fortunate enough to attend ;)

You may have seen some of my updates if you follow my twitter stream (look for updates tagged with #SPC09).

I met up with several people I’d been engaging with online and had some great conversations while I was there.

There are so many new features and wins in SP2010 that it would take me hundreds of blog posts to cover them all, however, there are a few things that stand out for me…

In no particular order:


  1. Social – loads of excellent functionality to enable connections within an organisation, the “activity feed” and social bookmarking are stand out features, when coupled with the Taxonomy features this gives a rich content management experience. The ability to tag content outside SharePoint is also very powerful (for example, tagging a contact in CRM or a staff member in a HR app, as well as external web content!). The custom sources for Activity Feeds adds value, especially if tied to a structured information system, for example, we could have “Allan Robb has closed a deal with <Company Name> worth £xxx,xxx” sourced from CRM (if he actually put anything in CRM!!!). Tagging drives Tag clouds (which are used everywhere).
  2. Compliance – not necessarily OOTB, but the platform allows far greater scope for delivering compliant solutions. For example:
    • web sites can be created adhering with W3C WCAG 2.0 AA OOTB
    • Records Management – the ability to declare non-document content as records, and in-place record declaration, still no talk (that I’ve seen) of adhering to standards. This means that any content (e.g. a blog post) can be declared as a record.
  3. Distributing working – a much enhanced offline experience (with several options for offline access) coupled with technology advances (such as differential synchronisation – only pushing/pulling changes [not full documents] over the wire) provide a better/faster working environment for IW’s. The ability in the WAC’s (see below) or Office 2010 for multi-party editing will enable real time authoring in a way never seen before. Better mobile device access and SharePoint Workspace Mobile (for Mobile device offline capability).
  4. “ECM for All” – The EMM (Enterprise MetaData Management) provides the ability to have a corporate Taxonomy against which content (all content, not limited to documents) can be classified, this is in addition to Social tagging, basically you now have a Taxonomy (EMM) and Folksonomy (Social bookmarking). I also the content router, this is based on the same principles of the Record Center (in 2007) but is available anywhere, allowing a site owner to define a set of ‘rules’ for content storage location, users then upload content to a ‘drop box’ where it is then routed based on metadata/content-type etc. The meta-data/classification can be used to navigate content – that means on the fly navigation based on the content, not on where it sits or where someone thought it ought to sit!
    The “grouping” of documents into “Document Sets” allow multiple items to be managed as a single entity!
  5. External Lists – using BCS (Business Connectivity Services) to access a LOB system, data can be presented (and managed in) and SharePoint List, this enables rapid a seamless integration. For the IT Pro/Developer it is worth noting that when you define a BCS connection (to SQL or a web service, for example) that BCS creates the CRUD methods for you!
  6. BI/Charting/PerformancePoint – Rich BI is available enabling better decision making, Charting (MSFT acquired/licenced Dundass) is rich a powerful while remaining remarkably easy, reporting on Data inside SharePoint is easy and through the ease of BCS connections reporting on external data is easy too.
  7. Office in a Web Browser – The Office WAC (Web Application Companion) is an Office app in a browser, think Google docs, allowing IW’s to access documents from anywhere and allowing some rich functionality, for example: one demo showed a Visio file with the status of servers in a rack – taking a real time data feed from SCOM via BCS, while this is a geeky example it shows the power and potential of this functionality! 
  8. For The Dev/IT Pro – REST, ATOM, API enhancements, Client OM (ability to call OM from SilverLight/js and Office apps), Remote Blob Storage (ability to store BLOBs outside SQL, inc cloud storage), VS.Net 2010 projects (enhancements for developing and packaging), SPD 2010 (creates WSP not STP), Sandboxed Solutions (partially trusted code, runs in a sand box, admins can define resource thresholds, mainly to support cloud scenarios), BCS (BDC+, now 2-way! creates the CRUD for you!), Lists scales to millions of items (SharePoint protects itself against views (etc) that would cause a slow-down!), LINQ, Media Web Part OOTB (this is a SilverLight WP that streams , yes STREAMS media content), Ribbon is everywhere (except VS!)…

There is over 350 hours of content available to me on the “MySPC” site, so this is a very high level and quick brain dump, I wasn’t able to go to all sessions, not even all the ones I wanted to, so there may be a nugget I have missed… More to follow as I look at the other sessions and get my hands dirty with the TP builds…


Arpan presented a good overview session, his deck is available here:

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