SharePoint Server 2010's search capabilities are "bigger, faster and stronger," Doyle said. Indexing can be split over multiple servers, there's a wildcard built in, and phonetic searching makes finding people easier. With Visual Best Bets, administrators can create keywords and synonyms and assign images or URLs to them. These images and URLs then will be displayed in the search results.
Installing Office Web Apps on the SharePoint server allows thumbnails and previews to be displayed in searches—a popular feature that users "really like," he noted.
With FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint, a section of relevant information is displayed in addition to search results for keyword terms. You can also sort results based on managed properties or rank profiles using FAST Query Language (FQL). "Anything you can think to do with 'search,' you can do with FAST," Doyle stated. FAST benefits include unlimited facets and greater scalability, but people may be put off by the steep price tag and the required separate license and server per FAST instance.
In SharePoint Server 2010, application services are customizable; "providers can build their own service apps," Doyle shared. "It's a new model of how SharePoint provides additional functionality."
Excel Services enable users to see Excel data via Web pages. They are an "easy way to provide up-to-date data and analysis," he said, and bridge the gap between SharePoint and Excel. Although Excel Services haven't changed significantly from previous versions of SharePoint, they can handle more complicated Excel sheets, he noted.
New to SharePoint 2010, Visio Services enable users to publish Visio diagrams to SharePoint, a nice tool for creating workflows, Doyle added.
InfoPath Forms Services
Users don't need a license or an InfoPath application on their desktop. The new InfoPath Web Part enables dynamic InfoPath apps to be built. Doyle points out that the Get Form From list is new.
External Content Types
External content types (ECT) are "a huge leap forward in exposing external data to SharePoint," Doyle stated. Data now can be updated, not just read, and it can be viewed as a SharePoint list. Use SharePoint Designer 2010 to create new ECTs. "Once you've done it a few times," Doyle said, "you can create an external content type in 15 minutes."
This feature allows a document to be found after it has been moved to a different location. Each document gets assigned a unique ID across the entire site collection through the Document ID Service feature, found in Site Settings > Site Collection Administration > Site Collection Features. (It's turned off by default.) Locate a missing document using _layouts/DocIDRedir.aspx?ID=<Document ID>.
Another great document feature, document sets allow a group of documents to be treated as one unit. To use this feature, turn it on at the site collection level. It's possible to create a Document Set content type and add it to a document library, Doyle stated; just make sure it's the only or default content type to prevent users from having to choose it each time.
Chart control "is back and better than ever," Doyle noted. It's "extremely" customizable and can connect to multiple chart data.
Taxonomy "helps to bring order out of chaos," Doyle stated. It is often talked about but rarely implemented. "It's the one thing people don't use and the one thing they can get benefits from," he said. Taxonomy keeps data consistent and helps with search. Doyle recommends building it outside of SharePoint and then importing it.
This is another service app and site collection feature that can be used for a variety of business intelligence (BI)-related operations. Doyle notes that this has a "vast" improvement over BI in SharePoint 2007, but he points out that claims-based authentication doesn't work with PerformancePoint.
Another big improvement from previous versions, My Sites feature tags and notes and "greatly expanded" newsfeed options. Although user adoption varies—"Some people love them, some people hate them," Doyle shares—they are designed to improve collaboration and to give users a sense of community.
For more information about the new features in SharePoint Server 2010, visit the product home page or the resource center, or view a comparison chart of SharePoint 2010 editions. For more on Michael Doyle, read his blog or follow him on Twitter.
Check out our full coverage of the Best Practices Conference 2010:
- Dux Raymond Sy on 'SharePoint as a Gov 2.0 Platform'
- 'Enabling Social Media through Metadata' in SharePoint 2010 with Christian Buckley
- Mark Eichenberger on 'Making Social Networks Successful in SharePoint 2010'
- Managers' Quick Guide to SharePoint Server 2010
- Mark Miller Explains 'How to Build a Community in SharePoint'
- 'SharePoint 2010: An Administrative Odyssey' with Lori Gowin
- Building Solutions That Users Get
- 'Making SharePoint 2010 My Sites Work for Your Organization' with Michael Doyle
- Best Practices in Leveraging Microsoft Project 2010 With SharePoint 2010 for Project Management
- Building SharePoint Applications with InfoPath and SharePoint Designer with Darvish Shadravan
- SharePoint 2010 Workflow with David Mann
- Cathy Dew Answers the Question, 'SharePoint Branding – Where Do You Even Begin?'
- How to Best Gather Requirements for SharePoint Projects
- SharePoint End User Adoption with Kay McClure
- BPC Keynote: 'What the Masters Think About SharePoint 2010,' Facilitated by Spence Harbar
- Greetings from the Best Practices Conference! (AKA, Bill English Sets the Tone with His Introductory Remarks)
- The Coolest SharePoint T-shirt of the Year So Far
- Live Blogging Archives