IS Department


SharePoint Products and Technologies Talk

Posted in Network,Programming by Brian Russell on November 9, 2006

Under the Covers: SharePoint Products and Technologies by Tom Rizzo

He started off by announcing to the crowd that Office 2007 and SharePoint 2007 have gone gold, and are being readied for shipment.  This means that the product has been sent to manufacturing and is feature complete.  We should be seeing it shortly.

He stated that they hope to get a virtual machine image with the newest SharePoint stuff all set up and downloadable in order to test with.  He was hoping they would get it out by the end of the year.  Don’t hold your breath though, it didn’t seem like concrete plans to me.

The SharePoint future has Exchange Public Folders being migrated over to SharePoint.  Exchange will never drop the Public Folder feature (at least not any time soon), but they are going to start pushing customers in that direction.

Search has been greatly improved with the new SharePoint version.  The cool thing is it has hit highlighting, security trimming (pairs the results to what you are authorized to view), and query correction (did you mean ____?).  It will also group documents that are very similar so you can try to find duplicates and/or ones that have slightly changed.

SharePoint includes the server based Excel engine and viewer.  This allows Excel files to be used in a dashboard concept.  Users can view the data, but not edit it.  They still need to open the files in Excel for editing.

It has workflows integrated in the product.  There are several canned workflows out of the box, but developers can build custom ones if needed.

InfoPath forms can be imported into SharePoint and they are turned into web based forms for users to fill out.  Pretty neat stuff.

Templating and skinning is easier now days.  There are more included in the box and there are even more on the web.  It uses ASP.NET functionality such as Master Pages, so the developers can more easily modify them.

There is a two stage recycle bin.  First, there is the users recycle bin.  After the user empties that, the item goes to the administrators recycle bin.  This helps the admin to get items back the user deleted.

Firefox and Safari are supported for viewing and using the SharePoint sites now.  Admin sections still require IE6/7 though.  Also, some functionality is lost for normal users if they are not using an IE based browser, but nothing that stops them from getting the job done.

There is offline document support in Outlook.  You can get the latest versions of your documents, edit them while on the road, and synchronize them when you get back.

There is now Wiki, Blog, and RSS integration.  This could bring some good collaborative functionality to your business.

You can overlay SharePoint team calendars over top of your personal calendar.  You can fix conflicts in your schedule and update the SharePoint calendar all from Outlook.  Outlook 2007 that is.  The overlay feature is part of Outlook, but the team calendar functionality is part of SharePoint 2007.

There is this cool feature in SharePoint 2007 that allows you to manage slide libraries.  This means you can check in Power Point slides and have them available to other presenters to grab and use.  Think of storing slide templates for your organization.  When ever someone is going to create a presentation, they can create slides from a slide library.  They will have the standard look and feel.  Going further with this, people can subscribe to the contents of the slides, so when they change, you will get notified.  Even going further, if you grab a slide from the slide library that contained content, if at the next point in time when you open that slide deck you created and the slide you used from the slide library has changed, you will be notified and be given the choice to update the slide in your presentation with the newly updated slide.

I walked away from this talk thinking that SharePoint 2007 is huge.  So big that you really need some deep training to fully leverage and learn the application.  You almost have to live in it to take full advantage of it.  It is cool though.

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