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SharePoint 2010 – Random Tidbits, Part 1

I’m attending the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2009 in Las Vegas where Microsoft has just taken the wraps off of SharePoint 2010. Since it’s a new product release and Microsoft has done a pretty good job of keeping the lid on the functionality in the new product until now, there’s a very high level of excitement and interest.

The individual breakout sessions have generally been good. I plan to write about a number of topics going forward (as I’m sure many other folks do, as well), but here are a couple of random notes that I’ve jotted down so far.

  • Microsoft announced its intent to support CMIS as part of SharePoint 2010. Specifically, this promises simpler interoperability with other ECM systems (MS mentioned EMC’s Documentum and IBM’s FileNet by name), which is good news for enterprises with heterogeneous content systems. The demonstration showed a screenshot of a SharePoint “document library” that was actually surfacing information coming from a FileNet repository. There have been solutions for this type of interop in the past that are product-specific, but not anything standards-based or built directly into the product. Microsoft is clearly trying to carve out a larger niche for itself in the ECM world.
  • A new concept of “service applications” replaces the shared services model that is used on MOSS 2007. (Andrew Connell has a good write-up on the details here; so does a MS team from the UK.) This architectural shift opens up a number of new topological options in SharePoint farm design, as an architect can decide on a service-by-service basis what should be shared between web applications or farms. For example, two farms might want to share the same user profile service, but have different search providers. In MOSS, you’d have to configure user profile replication between two separate SSPs; in 2010, it will be possible to simply have the farms share a user profile service application and have separate search service apps.
  • One more item on service applications: Microsoft has made the service application a point of extensibility (which it really wasn’t in 2007). And it’s even available in SharePoint Foundation (the new name of Windows SharePoint Services – the version of SharePoint licensed with Windows Server).
  • A couple of small (but key, in my opinion) updates to SharePoint web content management (publishing) capabilities:
    • Font lockout – Almost everyone who is first introduced to the WCM features of MOSS 2007 asks this question when they see the rich text editor for page content: “Can I keep users from changing the fonts/sizes/colors?” And now in SharePoint 2010, the answer to that is “yes.” It’s possible to restrict the ability for that type of formatting – and not only that, but it’s possible to predefine styles that may be used by content authors. It’s a small feature, but one that will go a long way for making organizations feel more comfortable with a delegated authoring environment.
    • CQWP dynamic filtering – Many WCM sites in SharePoint have “landing pages” that aggregate content of a specific type or category using the CQWP (or a variation of the CQWP). (An example of this is on the PointBridge web site: look at the SharePoint solution page there and you’ll see that there’s a blog post, a person, and a case study all related to our SharePoint practice; visit the Exchange solution pageand you’ll see those page areas change to match the change in solution area.) In MOSS, you configure these types of pages by creating a page layout with a web part zone, creating a page using that page layout, then dropping a CQWP into the zone and configuring it to roll up the appropriate content based on the desired context.In SharePoint 2010, the CQWP can be configured to be filtered by a dynamic token that can read a page field value from the page – meaning that the CQWP can even be integrated into the page layout itself and eliminate the need for having to manually create those rollups each time.

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