I didn’t get to go to the SharePoint conference this year, or any other year for that matter, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t represented. My company sent three people, including Jed Carr, our SharePoint Solution Lead. After much cajoling, I convinced him to share his thoughts on the conference for everyone to enjoy.
So without further ado…here’s Jed.
SharePoint Conference 2009
Anytime you get a chance to go to Vegas, it usually turns out to be a good time. This trip, although work related, was no different…plus it was free. My company flew me out and put me up for this year’s SharePoint Conference. Overall, I thought Mandalay did a great job of managing the 7000+ attendees, most of which really wanted to be there. Also, to my surprise, I barely managed to miss a session. I thought there would be more down time, but every time a session ended, I usually found another one I didn’t want to miss.
I’ve been working with SharePoint for about 4 years and very interested in hearing about the new product. I am not a developer or coder. Most of what I do I would consider “heavy configuration”. That being said, I have had my fair share of problems getting SharePoint 2007 (and 2003) to work the way some clients would like. While not all of them have been addressed in 2010, many of them have. Here’s a summary of where I see SharePoint 2010 adding the most value to my clients.
Obviously a big focus for Microsoft this go around, business intelligence (Performance Point) has been enhanced for SharePoint 2010. I sat through 3 BI related sessions and I walked out fairly impressed from each. Not only does it offer the ability for developers/administrators to easily create dashboards and reports, the inclusion of PowerPivot also enables the end user to create and share their own analytics.
Microsoft Access Services
This was long overdue. I have worked with several clients that rely heavily on MS Access to run day-to-day activities…not saying it’s the best way to do things, but it happens. I have also used Access to build SharePoint reporting solutions for clients. Now, having the ability to create and publish solutions into SharePoint where users can access via a browser adds a great deal of value where a more robust solution is not needed.
Forms Services in 2007 is anything but simple. Anyone that has used them would probably agree. I spent some time in the lab at the conference and am now very excited about the ability to create custom forms and the simplicity of how they publish effortlessly without spending hours troubleshooting some vague error that could be a dozen different things.
This is an area that anyone that attended the conference had to be impressed with. The new workflow capabilities in 2010 are significantly improved. Coupled with Visio Services, these enhancements add value to both the user as well as the developer. Being able to update the workflow forms (improved forms services) as you build your workflow is awesome. Also, providing the user the ability to visualize the workflow adds a transparency that was missing in the previous version.
Cross-List Lookups and Referential Integrity
I saved a simple, yet one that I run into all the time, for last. New in SharePoint 2010, the ability to link lists and enforce referential integrity is now available. Along with that, when using the lookup field, you can pull back fields from the lookup list. This feature alone save a ton of time and allows for simple joins from within SharePoint.
The major concern I have is the x64bit requirement. This won’t be an issue for someone that has yet to make an investment in SharePoint, but for those currently using SharePoint, it may be some time before they are willing to upgrade…not to mention Office 2007 is just starting to catch on at some places. Who knows how long it’ll be before they’ll take a look at Office 2010
Overall, the new product seems very promising. Microsoft seems to be adding more and more features to a product that already does enough things well to satisfy most organizations. They have listened to many of the complaints and delivered (almost…we’ll see in a few months) a solid product that I look forward to working with next year.