New Features and Enhancements in SharePoint 2010 – Part1
New Features in SharePoint 2010
Microsoft has recently launched SharePoint Server 2010 which includes a lot of enhancements, fixes, and new features as compared to SharePoint Server 2007.
I have been working on SharePoint 2007 for couple of years and done couple of portal implementations using SharePoint 2007. I was very curious to know more about SharePoint 2010 since I heard that Microsoft is going to launch new version of SharePoint. From last one week I spent most of my time reading and watching videos about Sharepoint 2010 available on the web. I have documented some new features and enhancements introduced in SharePoint 2010, which are listed below:
1. New User Interface including Ribbon
User Interface is changed a lot in SharePoint 2010 and now you will be able to do more with few clicks. There are a lot of changes in the User Interface like, “Site Actions” menu is moved to left side of the page, some new options has been added in the “Site Actions” menu, the overall look and feel of the site is different as compared to SharePoint 2007, asynchronous user interface using AJAX and SilverLight which leads to minimal postbacks and improved performance of the site.
But the biggest change in the User Interface of SharePoint 2010 is the addition of Ribbon UI. Microsoft has earlier introduced the Ribbon UI with Office 2007. Now the same Ribbon UI is available in the SharePoint 2010 which brings the SharePoint user experience much more aligned with other office applications. You can see the Ribbon in the top area of any page in the SharePoint 2010 website, see the below screenshot.
SharePoint 2010 Ribbon UI
Ribbon provides users access to various operations they can choose from. The Ribbon changes automatically for edit mode and view mode of a page. Ribbon also changes depending on what you are looking, like if you open a document library it displays document library related operations together with other common operations.
2. Built-in SilverLight Support
SharePoint 2010 allows adding SilverLight components without any additional configuration. First you will need to upload your SilverLight XAP file into a document library, then add SharePoint’s OOTB SilverLight web part on a page and point it to the respective XAP file uploaded in the document library, that’s it; SilverLight XAP component will be successfully added and displayed in the page.
3. Rich and Improved Theming Support
SharePoint 2010 provides built-in office-style themes just like in Word and PowerPoint. You can choose and apply a theme to change the look and feel of the web site as per the selected theme. You can also preview a theme on the web site before applying it. You can also imports themes from Microsoft PowerPoint. You can also create custom themes for SharePoint 2010 websites.
4. Multiple Browser Support
SharePoint 2010 supports Internet Explorer 7/8, Firefox, and Safari. But it will not support Internet Explorer 6.0 or less any more. Also there is no official news about its support for Chrome and Opera.
5. Rich Media support and Digital Asset Management
SharePoint 2010 offers Rich Media capabilities out-of-the-box and makes it very easy for users to share videos, audio, pictures, and other rich media files. A new asset library has been introduced in SharePoint Server 2010 which is specially designed to manage and share digital assets like video, audio, pictures, and other rich media files. Couple of web parts and controls has been also added to streamline the Digital Asset Management capabilities.
SharePoint 2010 includes a Media web part built using Silverlight, Video content type, Audio content type, and Image content type.
6. SharePoint Workspace
Microsoft Office Groove has been renamed to SharePoint Workspace in SharePoint 2010. SharePoint Workspace provides local and offline read-write access to SharePoint lists and libraries and also incorporates offline-online synchronizations. SharePoint Workspace is not only got new name but also a lot of new functions and better design.
7. Sandboxed Solutions
If you remember, in SharePoint 2007 all the solutions (.WSP) runs with full trust which requires farm administrators to pitch in and deploy the solutions. Also the solutions can be deployed at the minimum at a web application level. It means if a solution is deployed in a web application, it will be applicable for all the site collections available in that web application.
In SharePoint 2010, Sandboxed Solutions also called as User Solutions, is a new concept which addresses the above issue by allowing site collection administrators to deploy solutions at the site collection level which is safe to run and not affect the other site collections and web applications running on the same farm. Farm administrators can monitor sandboxed solutions and place restrictions on the resources, such as memory and CPU cycles, they can use. Sandboxed Solutions does not cover full SharePoint object model but it addresses the key scenarios like custom web parts and event receivers.
The solution deployment as in SharePoint 2007 is still exists in SharePoint 2010 but those solutions are called as Farm solutions.
8. Stsadm command-line tool is superseded by Windows PowerShell 2.0
In SharePoint 2010, the Stsadm command-line tool has been deprecated and it will be superseded by Windows PowerShell 2.0. SharePoint 2010 will still support the Stsadm command-line tool for backward compatibility with previous product versions. But it is recommended to use Windows PowerShell 2.0 when performing command-line administrative tasks.
9. Redesigned Central Administration web site
Central Administration web site has been redesigned in SharePoint Server 2010 to provide a better user experince and make it easier for administrators to find what they are looking for. The home page for Central Administration groups major functional areas (for example – Application Management, Monitoring, Security, and so on) together and lists many of the most commonly used tasks under each area. The Central Administration web site is also eqquiped with Ribbon UI which makes it easier for administrators to view or change details by making common configuration options a single click away.
Redesigned Central Administration web site in SharePoint 2010
10. Shared Service Provider (SSP) no more exists
In SharePoint 2010, Shared Service Providers (SSP’s) are no more available. SSP’s have been replaced by Service Applications in SharePoint 2010. Earlier in SharePoint 2007, all services were combined into a SSP. Now is SharePoint 2010, all services are running as independent Service Application. You can select and configure from available services to run on an application server. You can also select and configure only required services for a particular web application.
Read more about new features and enhancements in SharePoint 2010 in the second and third part of this article at
New Features and Enhancements in SharePoint 2010 – Part2
New Features and Enhancements in SharePoint 2010 – Part3
Following are some other new features and enhancements in SharePoint 2010 which I have explored recently (numbering has been done in continuation of previous article):
11. New Hardware and Software requirements
SharePoint 2010 will ship only as a 64-bit product. So if you are planning to upgrade SharePoint 2007 into SharePoint 2010 and if you have deployed your SharePoint 2007 site into 32-bit environment then it’s definitely a consideration to do the upgradation.
In addition to new hardware requirements, SharePoint 2010 will require an x64 edition of either Windows Server 2008 or Server 2008 R2. It also requires a 64-bit version of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 or SQL Server 2005.
12. Business Connectivity Services (BCS)
Business Connectivity Services (BCS) provides read/write access to external data from line-of-business (LOB) systems, web services, databases, and other external systems within Microsoft SharePoint 2010. If you have worked on SharePoint 2007 (MOSS 2007), you must be aware of Business Data Catalog (BDC). In SharePoint 2010, Business Data Catalog has been replaced by Business Connectivity Services.
Business Connectivity Services supports all the features provided by Business Data Catalog together with a lot of new features and capabilities. Following are some of the new features of Business Connectivity Services:
* Using BCS, you can read and write back to external systems from SharePoint 2010 site. Using BDC in SharePoint 2007 site, you were able to read data from external system but it didn’t support to write back to external system.
* BCS supports cache-based and offline work features. Now users can manipulate external data when they are working offline and all the read/write operations performed against cached external data are synchronized when connection to the server becomes available.
* BCS supports reading binary large object (BLOB) data from the external system.
* Enhanced object model and APIs which enables developers to write generic applications to work against any external system.
* BCS provides batch and bulk operation support. So now it is possible to read multiple items in a single call which reduces the round trips to the external systems significantly.
* External data can be converted to a list like view very easily using External Lists.
13. Visio Services
SharePoint 2010 is equipped with Visio Services which allow you to share data linked diagrams in real time. Using Visio Services you can connect to backend, visualize the data and publish the Visio diagram into your SharePoint site. Visio data diagrams can be rendered without the need for Visio on the client computer.
14. New and enhanced SharePoint Designer 2010
To work with SharePoint 2010, Microsoft has also introduced a new version of SharePoint Designer called as “SharePoint Designer 2010”. Following are some of the new features and capabilities introduced in SharePoint Designer 2010:
* Improved User Interface together with Ribbon which improves its usability and make it consistent with the UI of SharePoint 2010 and other office applications.
* Quick Launch Navigator and Site Content Structure for Site information
* Using Site Content Structure, you can create a: Web Part page, Master Page, list, and workflow
* Permissions can be set for individual users
* Saving and deleting site templates is now possible
* Ability to use XSLT List View Web Parts to show dynamic views of your data
* Support for attaching workflows to content types
* Support for workflow templates
* Create Content Types and attach to lists
* New concept of “Entities” which provides seamless integration with back-end systems
New and enhanced SharePoint Designer 2010
15. SharePoint Best Practices Analyzer
SharePoint 2010 is equipped with SharePoint Best Practices Analyzer which provides Microsoft’s guidance for SharePoint implementation and troubleshooting and creates detailed reports to help administrators achieve greater performance, scalability, and uptime. A Problems and Solutions page in the analyzer helps you solve common implementation problems.
16. Usage Reporting and Logging
SharePoint 2010 includes a new database designed to support usage reporting and logging. The name of the database it creates is “WSS_Logging”. SharePoint 2010 keeps tracks of everything it does by logging into the WSS_Logging Database. If you remember in SharePoint 2007, Microsoft has recommended to not access any SharePoint database directly. But in SharePoint 2010, the logging database is the only database that Microsoft will be happy to let the developers directly read, query and build custom reports against it.
17. Developer Dashboard
Developer dashboard is a new feature introduced in SharePoint 2010 which displays the performance and tracing information in the bottom of every page likw how long did the request take to run?, what event handlers were fired?, In what sequence did these event handlers fire?, etc. Developers can use this information to debug and troubleshoot issues with page rendering time. By default this feature is disabled, but we can enable this feature in the development environments to get this additional information.
SharePoint 2010 – Developer Dashboard
18. New SharePoint Developer Tools in Visual Studio 2010
Microsoft has introduced a new set of tools within the Visual Studio 2010 which make developing SharePoint applications as easy as any other .net applications. The new tools include project templates for many of the SharePoint application types, such as Web Parts, List definitions, Modules, Application Pages, Workflows, user Controls and others. A great feature in Visual Studio 2010 is the Visual Web part Designer. Now you don’t need to build tables for layout, you can just drag and drop and create controls within web parts, similar to ASP.Net forms and user controls.
19. Client Object Model
20. Language Integrated Query (LINQ) for SharePoint
Now in SharePoint 2010, you can use Language Integrated Query (LINQ) objects to query SharePoint lists. Earlier in SharePoint 2007 (MOSS 2007), using CAML queries was the only way to query SharePoint lists
21. Improved Enterprise Search
SharePoint 2010 offers several new ways to customize and extend enterprise search capabilities. SharePoint 2010 provides following two main enterprise search options:
* SharePoint Server 2010 Search – the out-of-the-box SharePoint search for enterprise deployments included by default with SharePoint 2010.
* FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint – a brand new add-on product based on the FAST search technology that combines the best of FAST’s high-end search capabilities with the best of SharePoint.
Following are some of the new and enhanced capabilities introduced in the Enterprise Search area:
* New Custom Ranking Models allow you to change the weights that are used by SharePoint Search to rank results. Custom Ranking Models are used in conjunction with the Core Results web part.
* You can scale out the number of crawl/indexer components by adding additional servers to the farm and configuring them as crawlers which enables to increase crawl frequency, volume, and performance by distributing the crawl load among several servers, along with providing indexer redundancy if a server fails.
* SharePoint 2010 has capability to integrate FAST Search Server 2010 seamlessly.
* SharePoint 2010 supports wildcard search.
* Suggestions while typing search queries
* Improved “did you mean” suggestions togethor with suggestions for related searches.
* Faceted search is another new feature in SharePoint Search 2010. When a search query returns a lot of results the faceted search functionality displays a refinement panel on the left side which can be used to refine the results based on criteria like Result type, Site, Author, Modified Date, Tags, etc.
* Phonetic name matching and nickname matching – Users can search for a person by name without knowing the exact spelling of the name. For example, the search query “John Steal” could yield “John Steele” in the search results; results for the search query “Jeff” include names that contain “Geoff.” In addition, nickname matching makes it possible for a search query for “Bill” to yield results that include “William.”
22. New and improved Social Features
As you know the previous version of SharePoint (MOSS 2007) lacked on some of the main social features and developers needed to develop their own components to implement social features on top of SharePoint 2007. But now Microsoft has filled that gap in SharePoint 2010.
Following are some of the main social features introduced in SharePoint 2010:
* Tags, Notes, and “I Like It” – Now in SharePoint 2010, a user can add tags and notes with any page which can be either public or private. A user can also mark a page if he/she liked that page. SharePoint 2010 adds two icons “I Like It” and “Tags & Notes” in all the pages to provide this functionality.
* Ratings – SharePoint 2010 allows users to rate items within SharePoint site, such as ratings various items within Document libraries, custom lists, blog posts, discussions threads, etc.
* Tag Cloud – SharePoint 2010 includes an out-of-the-box tag cloud which can be added to any page within the SharePoint site.
* Newsfeed – Newsfeed is another features included in the SharePoint 2010. You can set the types of updates you want to get in your newsfeed. You can set this using the out-of-the-box settings section available within the user profile page.
23. New Claims-Based Authentication Model
SharePoint Foundation 2010 incorporates a new authentication model that works with any corporate identity system, including Active Directory Domain Services, LDAP-based directories, application-specific databases, and user-centric identity models.
24. SharePoint Health Analyzer
SharePoint Health Analyzer is a feature included in the SharePoint 2010 that allows administrators to schedule regular, automatic checks for potential configuration, performance, and usage problems in the server farm. Any errors that SharePoint Health Analyzer finds are identified in status reports that are made available to farm administrators in Central Administration. Status reports that are produced by SharePoint Health Analyzer explain each issue, list the servers where the problem exists, and outline the steps that an administrator can take to treat the problem. In some cases, errors are repaired automatically as soon as they are found, and it also informs farm administrators about the repairs done.
25. Multi-Tenant Hosting
SharePoint 2010 has capabilities for Multi-Tenant Hosting which allows to setup hosting on site collection level. Now you can host customer1 (tenant 1) on a site collection and customer2 (tenant 2) on another site collection within same web application. Each tenant will only have administrator access to his/her site collection. Also, service applications will keep each tenants data separate from another tenants. For example, one shared search service application will service tenant1/site collection 1’s data and tenant2/site collection 2’s data while keeping them separate from each other.
26. Microsoft Office Web Applications
Microsoft Office Web Apps (OWA) is the online companion to Office Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote applications that enables users regardless of their location to access documents and edit documents. Users can view, share, and work on documents with others online across personal computers, mobile phones, and the Web.
Office Web Apps is tightly integrated with SharePoint 2010 Products. The Office Web Apps Feature and services integrate with SharePoint’s robust enterprise content management capabilities. Now all of those Office documents in your SharePoint environment can now be viewed and edited from almost any browser, anywhere. Office Web Apps also includes PowerPoint Broadcast Slide Show, allowing users to view PowerPoint presentations live, even when they’re a thousand miles away.
For consumers and small-business users, Office Web Apps will be available on Windows Live as a free service. Business customers licensed for Microsoft Office 2010 through a Volume Licensing program can run Office Web Apps on a server running Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 or Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010.
Some of the Office Apps also support multi-user editing in different scenarios like excel in Office Web Apps but not in Client, OneNote in both Office Web Apps and Client, etc. All the updates done using Office Web Apps occur in near real time.
27. New and Improved Web Analytics Capabilities
SharePoint Server 2010 includes a set of new features to help you collect, report, and analyze the usage and effectiveness of your SharePoint 2010 deployment – whether it’s used as an internal or external web portal, a collaboration tool or a document and records management repository. SharePoint 2010 provides a set of Web Analytics reports available out-of-the-box. There are following three major categories of reports:
* Traffic reports: These reports provide metrics such as:
1. How much traffic your site gets (Number of Page Views);
2. Who visits your sites (Top Visitors);
3. How visitors arrive at your site (Top Referrers);
4. Daily Unique Visitors, Top Destinations, Top Browsers, etc;
* Search reports: These reports give you insight into what users are searching for, for example:
1. How many times users searched (Number of Queries);
2. What were the most used search terms (Top Queries);
3. What queries have high failure rates (Failed Queries);
4. Best Bet Usage, Search keywords, etc;
* Inventory reports: These reports display key metrics regarding the inventory of your sites:
1. What is the total disk drive space user (Storage Usage);
2. How many sites exist (Number of Sites);
3. Top Site Product Versions, Top Site Languages, etc;
You can access Web Analytics reports by going to Site Actions -> Site Settings. Under Site Actions heading you will see two links, Site Web Analytics Reports and Site Collection Web Analytics Reports. When you click on either link, you are taken to an overview page shows you key metrics for your site. You can then drill down to other reports by clicking on the left navigation, and can also change date range by clicking on Analyze tab on Ribbon.
28. Managed Metadata Services
In SharePoint 2007, Content Types were the only way to to manage metadata. But it was really difficult to manage metadata with multiple site collections.
Now Microsoft has introduced Managed Metadata Services in SharePoint 2010, which allows administrators to centrally manage metadata and share it anywhere in the SharePoint farm (across many site collections). SharePoint 2010 also has “folksonomy” tagging capabilities alongside traditional managed metadata lists. This means that users can add their own tags or keywords to documents. While this is configurable on an attribute-by-attribute basis, when enabled it looks to be a very useful way of refining the metadata model over time based on user input because administrators have the ability to add popular user-created tags into the formal managed taxonomy.
29. New Features in Custom Lists
* UI Change: When you go to create a new list/library, a new form opens in the modal popup window which is a Silverlight component.
* All the actions/functionalities related to Lists/Libraries is moved to toolbar/ribbon.
* Lists/Libraries can have a custom validation for the field. This validation is based in a formula and will be fired when we try to save the item in the list.
* Now Lists/Libraries have a new field for “Ratings”
* You can create a lookup for multiple columns.
* You can also do list throttling. You can store millions of items in a SharePoint list, but the query operation will become slower as the size of the list grows. Throttling allows realistic limit on the number of items that can be or should be queried from a SharePoint 2010 List. So list throttling help developers & administrators to control the large list & large list queries so that the performance of the whole SharePoint farm doesn’t decrease.
30. External Content types and Lists
SharePoint 2010 has introduced a new type of List called the External List. The External List is used for displaying content that comes from line of business applications and databases using the Business Connectivity Services (BCS) External Content Types. External Content Type can be created either using SharePoint Designer 2010 or Visual Studio 2010. Once the External Content Type is created, you can create the External List either from the Create page in SharePoint or via SharePoint Designer. External Lists provide you with full CRUD functionality meaning you can Create, Read, Update and Delete data all the way back to the data source (line of business applications or database).