Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
Launched on the 17th of April 2010, SharePoint Server
2010 is the fourth version of Microsoft's
Collaborative Platform. According with Gartner's
2010 September report, SharePoint Server 2010 places
Microsoft as the clear leader of the Magic
Quadrant for Horizontal Portals, ahead of all other
With over 17 thousand customers and over 100 million licenses sold, SharePoint Server 2010 is becoming a crucial component in corporations all over the world, thanks to the quality and diversity of its functionalities and also to its extensibility features.
SharePoint 2010's features aim to address customer needs in 6 main areas:
Sites are the basis for all information management in SharePoint. Whether it's a team site for the company's employees, an extranet site for partners or an Internet site for clients, sharing and editing content is simple and easy. Some of the features that contribute to make this such a familiar task are:
- The web parts which come with the product allow the user to present the information in lots of different ways and can be inserted or removed from the web page with just a few clicks.
- The new Ribbon interface, introduced with Microsoft Office 2007 and improved in Microsoft Office 2010 allows quick access to every functionality available at any given time.
- SharePoint 2010's administration tools, reports and scalable architecture make its infrastructure and resource management much more efficient task.
- SharePoint 2010's Multilanguage User Interface allows the user to interact with the product in his preferred language, without the need to perform additional technical developments or to duplicate existing content.
- Support for all the common browsers like Firefox and Safari, besides Internet Explorer, as well as micro-browsers used in current Smart Phones.
- Integration with Microsoft Office and Microsoft Office Web Applications allows the user to quickly view and edit documents in his browser without losing functionality while at the same time enabling real-time editing over the same document.
SharePoint 2010's Communities allow the users to share ideas, find colleagues and experts and to create social content. Some of the Communities' features are:
- Using blogs, discussion forums and wikis to share ideas and information in an informal way;
- Constructing a user's own profile (My Profile) with his photo, personal and professional information; SharePoint also stores information about his network of colleagues, his place in the company's hierarchy and each employee's area of expertise so that it can easily be indexed and searched.
- Integration with Office Communication Server and Exchange Server;
- The Current Status feature allows each user to share what he is doing or thinking at any given time, just like Facebook or Twitter. The Tags, Notes and Ratings features also allow any content to be tagged, commented and classified by anyone;
- The personal area, My Content, in which each user can store his private contents or share them with his colleagues, and where he can also view his colleagues' activities on the company network;
Nowadays, given the amount of information that is stored, shared
and how fast it is generated, content management has become a
priority for most organizations.
Also, the compulsory adherence to legal standards can turn document access rules into a rigid procedure for information management, so quick access to information is even more important.
In this difficult context, SharePoint presents itself as a reliable and scalable platform for content management, by using features such as:
- Adherence to legal procedures such as document retention policies, document numbering or auditing;
- Automatic document forwarding by using the Content Organizer feature;
- Support for shared taxonomies by using the Managed Metadata Service, which allows indexing and navigating across contents classified in those taxonomies (Metadata-driven Navigation);
- Optimized management for rich contents such as video, audio or images, with streaming support;
- Managing and editing Word documents by using Word Automation Services.
Composites are a new feature of SharePoint, which allows the fast development of collaborative applications by integrating and configuring out-of-the-box functional software blocks. This is a very clever way to enable end users to build business applications without the need for a direct intervention from the technical team, while at the same time allowing the technical team to remain in control of the system. Some of the functional blocks that can be used in this context are:
- Several site models, such as Blogs and Dashboards, InfoPath forms; these functional blocks, as well as several out-of-the-box web parts, can be customized directly by using the SharePoint web interface.
- SharePoint Designer 2010 allows more advanced customizations, including the use of reusable workflows or XSL-T models to modify the way in which the information is presented.
- Visio Services allow the generation and sharing of diagrams directly in SharePoint, enabling the user to view them in the browser;
- Access Services allow the publication of a Microsoft Access 2010 database and the use of its forms and reports directly in SharePoint, enabling the user to view them in the browser;
- Business Connectivity Services (BCS) allow SharePoint to connect to external business information, presenting it as normal lists and enabling their manipulation and update by using SharePoint's familiar interface. Additionally, this technology enables external information to be presented in Microsoft Outlook 2010, Microsoft Word 2010 and Microsoft SharePoint Workspace 2010 without the need for custom software development.
SharePoint 2010's Insights feature makes it easier to analyze structured and unstructured information in order to offer the user a rich, friendly and accessible experience of Business Intelligence by using technologies such as:
- Excel Services, which allow the user to edit Excel documents directly in SharePoint, by exposing the information using web parts in normal web pages or through the use of a rich programming API.
- PerformancePoint Services, which are a natural evolution of PerformancePoint Server 2007, enabling the user to develop dashboards and rich, dynamic scorecards, which can be viewed directly in the browser. It also makes it possible to gather information from multiple sources in order to analyze it for statistical tendencies and patterns.
- The new Chart Web Parts, which enable the user to create graphics by using his browser and the information stored in lists and Excel documents.
- The Status Indicator Lists allow the user to create and manage KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) in order to present project performance data compared to its initial goals.
Searching is still one of the main focuses of SharePoint, helping the users to find the information they need in a customized and effective way. SharePoint's search feature has been greatly improved by functionalities such as:
- The search refinement panel allows the user to reduce the expected results by using meta-information (Metadata-driven refinement);
- Determining how relevant a search result is by favoring the most clicked results for a certain set of search parameters (Click-through relevancy);
- In SharePoint's previous versions, people and expertise search allowed the user to find people through the information on their profile. However, SharePoint's new version allows the user to search by using phonetic information or nicknames, taking into account for phonetic similarities;
- Integration of SharePoint search results into Windows 7 search results;
- The search feature's corporate scalability allows it to index approximately 100 million documents.
By using FAST Search for SharePoint, it is also possible to use more advanced search funcionalities such as:
- Advanced document content processing which enables the extraction and creation of metadata in order to improve sorting and search refinement capabilities of the system.
- Multiple ranking profiles allow the system to adapt how relevant results are according to the customized settings for the organization;
- Thumbnails and previews allow the user to view a miniature version of certain content types;
- Extreme scalability, maintaining a response time below 1 second;
- Contextual search allows the system to choose search results and refinement options according to the user profile or target audience.
SharePoint 2010 can be used in a wide range of scenarios, ranging from Intranets, Extranets or public Internet sites and it is without a doubt the most widespread, flexible and powerful platform in the market today.
For more information on Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010:
- Official Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 site