Today is Day 2 of Mindsharp SharePoint 2010 Power End User (Beta) class, taught by veteran instructor Kay McClure. Kay will also be speaking at the upcoming SharePoint Best Practices Conference in Reston, VA. (See you there, Kay!)
SharePoint and Office – BFFs
We started the morning with a lab on adding and managing documents in a document library, to review the last section in yesterday's class.
The first new topic for the day is Microsoft Office integration. This is seriously beefed up in SharePoint 2010, with links to Office and other Microsoft products scattered all over the Ribbon. It's clear Microsoft is launching a serious campaign to make SharePoint ubiquitous in the Office user's daily life. My interest is now piqued, and I plan to go and learn a lot more. As an end user, I've pretty much ignored Office integration with anything other than Word and "Export to Excel" up to this point, and now I'm wondering what I've been missing. For those who are wondering, Kay did say (in response to a classroom question) that SharePoint 2010 and Office 2007 do play nice together, but I'd be willing to bet there are some key limitations.
We have the Office 2010 applications installed in our classroom images, so I got to play around a little. There's too many integration features to mention here, and quite honestly, I could have spent half the day playing with them in class. Random trivia: The infamous Office jewel's 15 minutes of fame is up – it's been replaced with a new File panel. I guess old habits are hard to break, and Microsoft conceded. But not without a wink and a nod – the File panel is not just a simple menu, and it's your key to all things SharePoint.
Let's Work Together! (…and the Perils of Power)
After a quick lab and a break, it's on to collaboration sites. Think Document Workspaces, Meeting Workspaces, Blogs, and – new for SharePoint 2010 – Group Work Sites. That last one is actually pretty interesting, especially its Group Calendar feature. Kay and her on-site support guru came through with answers to some pretty good student questions about that one. The lab for the Document Workspace site had some hiccups, but Kay's looking into it – I love her commitment to follow-up.
Time to look at More Options when creating sites. I'm salivating over all the new site templates! Kay shared some best practices for creating sites and setting site permissions, and we also talked about deleting sites. Kay took one for the team and demonstrated how site collection administrators can really make their mark by deleting a site and all its sub-sites in one go (still). Her personal classroom image will never be the same!
SharePoint Permissions (It's not as bad as you think!)
After lunch, we waded into SharePoint Permissions, always a daunting topic. Maybe the instructional material I've listened to about SharePoint permissions over the years has reached critical mass, or maybe SharePoint 2010 has finally made permissions a little easier to manage. Either way, SharePoint permissions seemed easier to understand this time around – great job, Kay! I will say that I did a little chair dance when I saw the new Check Permissions tool, which lets you check what access a user or group has in a site and how they got it. Kay gave us lots of great information on Permissions best practices, and we got a couple of cautionary Tales from the Trenches. The lab was a nice reinforcement of the concepts.
Need a Permissions cheat sheet (or other SharePoint wall art to impress your colleagues)? If you take a Mindsharp class, you get access to their Premium Content site and can request a copy of their cool SharePoint posters, including one on Permissions. I'll definitely be ordering mine!
Every Conceivable List and Library Setting (Part 1)
Next up is the start of Every Conceivable List and Library Setting. Whew! This is a lengthy, but necessary section. Pay attention! There are a TON of new settings, all kinds of things to make your lists and libraries much, much easier to use. My favorite is Metadata Navigation, which automatically adds a tree view menu and filters for your list or library, all using your item metadata. Also of note are Validation, Column defaults, and a tick in the "neat" column, Ratings.
List and libraries settings to be continued tomorrow…
My favorite topic for today was definitely Metadata Navigation. As someone from the class pointed out, this particular feature could tip the scales in the battle to make users understand why they need to enter document metadata instead of using Folders EVIL. Metadata, against all probability, could finally become the new Folder.
Missed the Day 1 wrap-up? Check it out here.