Five Best Improvements in SharePoint 2010

SharePoint 2010 is great, but what are the Top 5 enhancements or new features that are available in SharePoint 2010?  Everyone who works with SharePoint will have their own Top 5 lists.

  1. Social Network.  The world is now social.  I know, in reality the world has always been social.  The entire Internet is based upon the concept of social.  Being social is the new black.  Status updates, tags, notes, following, being followed – it’s all in SharePoint 2010 out of the box.  Users can tag and make notes everywhere – on docs, wikis, blogs, CMS pages, videos, pictures.  Everywhere.  Organizations have spent a ton of money in the last 4 years custom building these tools in a variety of platforms.
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  2. Business Connectivity Services (BCS).  BCS allows you to connect to external data sources.  Easily.  If you are connecting to an external SQL database it really could not be easier.  With SharePoint Designer 2010, you can map to an external data source, map an External Content Type to the data and use the intuitive SharePoint list interface on your external data.  Even better, this functionality exists in the free version of SharePoint – SharePoint Foundation 2010.
  3. SharePoint Designer 2010.  SharePoint Designer 2010 is free. With a completely reinvented user interface, this is now an extremely powerful tool in your SharePoint arsenal and not a tool to shy away from.  From creating external data sources and managing the UI to creating data views and reusable workflows (see Sean Bordner’s post), SharePoint Designer 2010 is my tool of choice for leveraging the power of SharePoint.  SharePoint Designer 2010 works with all versions SharePoint 2010, from Foundation up.
  4. Ribbon toolbar.  The overhaul performed on the SharePoint UI is great.  I’ve heard nothing but great reviews from end users.  People are used to working with Microsoft Office, and the familiar ribbon toolbar decreases the learning curve tremendously.  Good on ya.
  5. Search.  Search refinements, improved people search, and FAST Search for SharePoint – all great things.  Of course, FAST search is amazing, but it adds a little cost and complexity and requires additional hardware to run.  Search refinements are probably the most requested customization on the previous SharePoint search tools.  With these capabilities now available out of the box, it’s really a full feature search tool that can (and maybe should) be used on solutions across the enterprise – internally and externally.  SharePoint Search Server Express 2010 provides much of this functionality for absolutely free. You can plug this into your existing web site technology and completely revamp your search with modern functionality and flair quite easily.

By John Stover

John Stover Bio.

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