First look: Microsoft SharePoint 2010 beta spreads the wealth
Major upgrade to Microsoft's Web site, intranet, and collaboration platform offers numerous and significant improvements for end-users, IT professionals, and developers
A Business Data Connectivity Model is a way of connecting SharePoint to a line-of-business application or an external database through a .Net class. It creates an external content type that can be used like a native SharePoint content type -- for example, in lists and searches.
Solutions and views
WSP packages, or SharePoint Solution Packages, are a handy way to deploy all of the files of your SharePoint project to your Web servers. They can, for example, be created as prototypes in SharePoint Designer and then into Visual Studio for implementation.
An extensibility API allows developers to create new SharePoint project items. I did not test this facility.
Visual Studio 2010 can view SharePoint sites in its Server Explorer as a giant tree view. This gives the developer a view of all SharePoint settings directly from the IDE. It also allows quick programming access to SharePoint artifacts. The Visual Studio Server Explorer typically pops up in the left-hand column of the window, allowing the programmer to find a server object without obscuring the code in the middle of the window.
SharePoint Designer also has a site dashboard. In keeping with the spirit of Designer, this dashboard expands to full screen and is easy to navigate and understand.
A Developer Dashboard is part of SharePoint itself; it is basically a detailed tracing and performance profiling tool. When active, the developer dashboard displays performance statistics and timings related to the code that executed to produce the page. This display can take you down to the function level and lets you quickly get an idea of everything that happens from the HTTP POST request for the page to the database queries and the rendering event handlers.
APIs and openness
Developers can use Visual Studio 2010 to enhance SharePoint 2010 through numerous APIs. Do you need to pop up a dialog? Use the pop-up dialog framework. Need a fancy widget? Build a Silverlight Web Part and bind it to SharePoint lists. Need to display related data? Use SharePoint lookup fields.
Need to bring in data from your CRM or ERP system? Create a Business Connectivity Service class and use it to populate a SharePoint list or expose it to search. Want to write strongly typed queries against SharePoint data that are tightly integrated with your code? Use LINQ to SharePoint in much the same way as you would use LINQ to SQL or LINQ to XML. Want to create new views of SharePoint data? Create your own XSLT views. Need to hook various SharePoint events as they happen? Write an Event Receiver, using a wizard to help you trap just the events you want.
I have to compliment Microsoft for this new degree of openness. In the past, the company has hesitated to offer open interfaces to its server products, leaving the impression that it wanted to lock developers and customers into its platform. Now, Microsoft has allowed developers to integrate with SharePoint in whatever way is most convenient for the application at hand, using open, standard methods. Right on.
- Office suites in the cloud: Microsoft Office Web Apps versus Google Docs and Zoho
- Office 2010 looks solid and smooth
- SharePoint Workspace: The renamed Groove has gotten groovier
- Don't upgrade to Windows Server 2008 R2 until you read this
- Don't be caught without a SharePoint recovery solution
- An early look at SharePoint 2010
- 8 key tips for transitioning to Exchange 2010
- Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 highlights
- First look: Exchange 2010 beta shines
This story, "First look: Microsoft SharePoint 2010 beta," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in Windows, applications, application development, and IT product reviews at InfoWorld.com.