SPTechCon: The New Pillars of SharePoint 2010, with Paul Swider

For my final session of SPTechCon Boston before departing for the airport and home, I selected Paul Swider‘s presentation on The New Pillars of SharePoint 2010.  I’d already seen Paul “onstage” at the start of the day when he joined Joel Oleson as a surprise guest during Joel’s “Making SharePoint Social” session, so ending the day with one of Paul’s own sessions served to provide the day with some unanticipated symmetry. 

Paul Swider presents at SPTechCon Boston 2010Paul began his session with a slide calling out the core aspects of each of the six pillars of SharePoint 2010 (Sites, Composites, Communities, Insights, Content, and Search) and, save for referring back to that slide, the entirety of the remainder of the session was dedicated to demonstrating many of the features and applications associated with each pillar.

Beginning with the Sites pillar, Paul explained that the out-of-the-box team site in 2010 is a wiki default, pointing out the Ribbon in the process, and noting that it possesses “all the functionality we’d hope to have when editing a wiki.”  Paul went on to demo the ease of adding links, images, and Web Parts to the 2010 team site.  Paul also called out the context-sensitive aspect of the Ribbon, mentioneding the “periodic auto-save of the wiki page” that happens default when editing a wiki in 2010.

Mentioning that “It’s much more of a page-centric model” in 2010 (as opposed to the more list-centric model of 2007), Paul demonstrated that the creation of a new page is a simple “two-click” process.  As a result, Paul suggested that administrators should “Expect to support more of these pages in your sites.”  Under the Site Actions features, Paul showed that new sites can be created “based on the site definitions available to us.”

Taking a look at the Document Center, which Paul pointed out as being a Web Part page, we saw that, default, it includes Web Parts which serve up the Highest Rated Documents, Newest Documents added, and more.  Speaking of documents, Paul then discussed the Content Organizer in 2010, explaining that it’s available for you “to hand off the content to the system, and it will go where it needs to go.”  Paul described the Content Organizer as being “really a must-have with larger repositories.”  Paul went on to demonstrate that a Drop Off Library is created upon activation of the Content Organizer, and it’s the Drop Off Library where documents get added and routed appropriately to their final destination (based on specified metadata and conditions).

Moving on to the Communities pillar, Paul demonstrated many of the new social features available in SharePoint 2010.  In addition to features that he had demonstrated during Joel’s session earlier that day, Paul also touched on some new areas.  Regarding managed metadata, Paul explained that any changes made in the term store will propagate everywhere, and that tags can be designated as “Make Private.”  Wrapping up the Communities pillar, Paul provided a walkthrough of the different sections of the My Site in 2010.

In the Content pillar, Paul spent some time on the topic of Enterprise Content Types, noting that they’re Enterprise-wide in 2010, unlike in 2007 where they exist only in the context of a site collection.  Paul recommended as a best practice that you “Create a site collection to do nothing more than hold all of the content types you want to make available throughout your organization.”  Paul also said that “metadata navigation” provides a way for users to navigate to content quickly, and Document Sets, a “fancy content type,” allow you to treat documents individually or as a single entity.

Discussing the Search pillar, Paul noted that it has “been improved as well,” citing the addition of FAST as being bundled with SharePoint (as an additional Enterprise license).  Paul’s demo was of the Federated search experience, as opposed to FAST, but he pointed out that elements of FAST, such as search refiners (which allow users to easily refine and navigate search results) are now available in the Federated SharePoint search experience in 2010.

Regarding the Insights pillar, Paul referred to this pillar as representing SharePoint 2010’s “business intelligence features.”  Paul discussed and demonstrated the ability to create a Report Center including libraries, PerformancePoint dashboards, and key performance indicators, ultimately showing howe to publish to the library, and disseminate reports.

Finally, Paul covered the Composites pillar, explaining that “The idea with Composites is you can build solutions that map to business processes as quickly as possible, without writing code.”  Composites tools which allow users to accomplish this include: SharePoint Designer, Visual Studio, InfoPath, and BCS.

As I was preparing to depart for the airport after an excellent and information-filled session (and conference), I got to thinking about the timing of this session of Paul’s.  Upon reflection, from a scheduling perspective, it struck me as somewhat odd that Paul’s tour of the new pillars hadn’t been scheduled to take place near the beginning, rather than near the end of the conference, given that his content offered a foundational “tour” of the new platform.  But then I realized that scheduling such a session such as this one to take place near the end of the conference could also serve to place the growing collection of out-of-the-box features (and related features and applications) in perspective in the minds of conference attendees.

It was around that time I decided I was probably over-thinking things … which is, of course, a recognized hazard when one’s brain has been overstuffed during three straight days of intensive SharePoint sessions presented some of the world’s foremost experts.

And with that, I’ll sign off saying, simply, see you in San Francisco!


 Bamboo Nation’s complete coverage of SPTechCon Boston 2010:

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