This week I attended the launch of Office 2010 which included the launch of SharePoint 2010 and the other Office programs such as Project 2010 and Visio 2010. There is much to love about the new range of Microsoft products, and much to be wary of also, so I thought I’d share some of my thoughts about it.
The SharePoint Conference is coming up in Sydney on June 16 and 17. It is a community run conference (so not an official Microsoft event), but there is a number of great speakers. They will cover a lot of the new stuff in SharePoint 2010 and will cover SharePoint 2007 versions also. Part of the idea for writing this post is a great competition that SBTUG and SWUG are running to give away a ticket to the conference, which I would very much like to win.
There is so much that I want to learn about SharePoint 2010, and so many great new features – but I am uncertain about diving in right now. I just don’t think that it’s going to have the level of adoption in the next few years to warrant learning all about it right now. I think SharePoint 2007 (MOSS) is here to stay for another few years yet, until organisations are willing to tackle the upgrade.
The issue is, that to get the benefit out of SharePoint 2010, you need to upgrade a huge amount of software and hardware. You will need:
- One (or more) 64bit server(s) running Windows Server 2008 (and preferably Windows Server 2008 R2 to get the most out of some of the new features).
- Office 2010 for all staff that want to use documents stored on SharePoint (which is probably ALL staff), as the cool new features such as multiple document authors and some of the really cool new OneNote features.
- Windows 7 because Office 2010 runs so much better on Windows 7 and the cool new features in Server 2008 R2 such as Branch Caching work only with Windows 7
- Exchange Server 2o1o because there are some great features in Outlook 2010 that only work with Exchange 2010, and I’m sure there are some SharePoint features that only work with the new Exchange also.
- Viso 2010 because the new Workflow features in SharePoint integrate so well with Visio 2010 – and not just any Visio – it has to be the Premium version of Viso. Also, the new data driven diagrams and diagrams that can be published directly to a SharePoint site make it a must-have for the power users in the organisation.
- You probably want to also invest in Visual Studio 2010, only because if all the end users are going 2010 then the developers are going to want to too, but also because it also integrates very nicely with the new Workflow features in SharePoint 2010.
- Probably SQL Server 2008 R2, especially if the organisation deals in very large files – because there is a great new feature in SharePoint 2010 called Remote Blob Storage which allows you to store large files on the file server, rather than inside the SharePoint database. (Yes, it only requires SQL server 2008, but as you will be building this new infrastructure now, you will get R2).
- And if you are going to go this far, you may as well go the whole hog and get the new version of Office Communicator (not quite out yet) and Project Server 2010 as it integrates with SharePoint nicely too.
So after you have spent all that money, you may think, well SharePoint 2010 is free with Server 2008 so I don’t have to worry about that – well start worrying. To get many of the really cool new features of SharePoint, you really need the Enterprise Edition of SharePoint 2010 – this gives you Excel Services, Performance Point Services, InfoPath Forms Services, Visio Services, and the advanced features of the new FAST Search. And then why not integrate your external website with the Intranet and run SharePoint as an externally facing website. Thankfully the licencing for this has come down a bit in price (due to the External Connector Standard Licence), but it’s still a hefty amount in anyone’s language.
But Wow! If you did do all of these upgrades and got it all humming, that would really be a nice set of tools to work with, and you can call me to come and work with you :).
So after saying all this about SharePoint 2010, why would I want to go to the SharePoint conference and learn much more about SharePoint 2010? Because it rocks! There are so many cool new features in the whole 2010 suite of products, that it is like the Office suite has grown up – they were previously just playing around, and now they’ve gotten serious. And for large organisation that wants a really fantastic integrated suite of products, they will just have to get 2010!
Some of the really cool features that I want to learn more about are:
- Integration with Office Web Apps
- The whole range of new Business Intelligence features with Performance Point Services, Excel Power Pivot and the new Business Data Connectivity features (formerly the BDC).
- The Services (eg Excel, Word, Access, InfoPath, PerformancePoint, Viso Services) and how to use them – eg automating the creation of Word documents behind the scenes with Word Services.
- All the new Social Networking features – I’m not sure they will be a “facebook for the office” but they will be a start into social apps for the enterprise.
- The new accessibility features, which I don’t think are 100% accessible yet, but they are built in – not an afterthought like SharePoint 2007.
- All the new design tools and theming of SharePoint, including XSLT styling of lits and being able to import themes from Powerpoint.
- Integrating Silverlight into SharePoint – it will be very interesting to see what’s possible with that in the future.
- The new workflows engine and the integration with Visio and Visual Studio.
- The FAST search and what is possible now for full enterprise wide search with SharePoint.
So I think that there is enough really cool new things to keep me busy for two days at the SharePoint Conference, and I really hope that I can get to play with these new tools in a real live environment sooner, rather than later.
Note: There is not a lot of hyperlinks to the Office 2010 stuff as the new Office site was not live at the time of this post (even though it was a few days after the official launch), and the SharePoint 2010 site is still lacking a lot of detail around specific features.