SharePoint 2010 is in beta testing, with a probable release date somewhere in Q4 this year. In the new release of the collaboration platform, emphasis seems to be placed on breaking out the roles of people involved in the production of a SharePoint intranet, and the access to resources as needed by people in those roles.
SharePoint 2010 looks to be the biggest update in the Microsoft Office family this year, as all communications so far indicate that other Office applications will only undergo minor tweaks.
So what are the big changes for SharePoint?
- SharePoint Server 2010 won’t support Internet Explorer 6, which is sensational in Microsoft terms. Microsoft appear to be responding to pressure to urge users to upgrade to IE7. It is also possible that SharePoint source code will be more standards-compliant at the front-end; these are both good things.
- SharePoint Server will be 64-bit only and will require a 64-bit Windows Server 2008 to run. Many businesses will need to spend a lot of money to overhaul their IT infrastructure in order to deploy SharePoint 2010.
- Fewer structural changes to sites and architecture will mean a smooth transition for businesses already using MOSS 2007.
- The ribbon is present on all SharePoint pages, and can be hidden. If you’ve used Office 2007, you’ll be familiar with the ribbon – it is new menu layout in which commands are arranged in a logical manner through the use of tabs and groups. You can extend the ribbon to include custom functions. In SharePoint 2010, the available commands will vary depending on your access rights on a particular site or page. The upshot of this is that a user will have to click fewer times to get to certain destinations, such as workflow views or the People & Groups settings for a site – pages which currently require quite a lot of navigating.
- Alerts in SharePoint 2010 will be far more flexible. There will be more controls governing the frequency and scope of the alerts, but even better will be the ability to customise email alerts with rich XHTML content.
- Branding a SharePoint site or sub-site is made easier for developers. Separate CSS files exist for different applications within a site. The upshot of this is that designers will find working with the environment assets more fluid and controlled, and they won’t have to trawl through a long file of style rules.
- SharePoint 2010 will provide much better support for large lists. Previously, search servers struggled to correctly index a large list.