For a while now I’ve been thinking about what should I write about in the very first post about SharePoint 2010. If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you probably know, that I’m passionate about Web Content Management (WCM) in SharePoint. For three years now I’ve been working with SharePoint WCM. Although it’s sometimes challenging, it’s great to build WCM solutions on the SharePoint platform. And now SharePoint 2010 offers an even richer foundations for custom Web Content Management solutions. So what’s new in SharePoint Server 2010 Web Content Management?
SharePoint Server 2010 ships with a rich set of functionality for developing Web Content Management solutions. Some of this functionality has been crafted specially for SharePoint Server 2010 but some of it is being reused from the SharePoint Foundation 2010.
User Experience à la 2010
Probably the very first thing that you notice, while looking at SharePoint 2010, is the new User Experience. The SharePoint team has now included the Ribbon in SharePoint making it easier for the end users to do content authoring. Not only does the ribbon allow the quickly access the most common functionality, but is also uses context information to display the functionality that applies to what the user is doing at that moment. For example while editing text you will get the text formatting options, but while working with the Silverlight Media Player, you will see the various video settings that the player supports.
Another great improvement in SharePoint 2010 is the Modal Framework. One of the investments of the SharePoint team was improving the User Experience and allowing users to do their job without losing the context. Using the Modal Framework SharePoint not prompts users for information without performing any extra redirects.
Both these improvements are done at the SharePoint Foundation level, so you can benefit of them even while using the basis content publishing functionality.
SharePoint 2010 strictly accessible
One of the most important things is leveraging the web standards and accessibility for developing WCM solutions. The markup have been revised at the SharePoint Foundation level, so all controls render now not only XHTML strict compliant but also WCAG 2.0 AA accessible markup! Hopefully this will not only make developing accessible websites easier but it will also reduce complexity and simplify the life-cycle management of accessible Web Content Management solutions.
2010 spelled AJAX
One of the optimizations that cannot be seen, but that are quickly noticeable while working with SharePoint 2010 is leveraging asynchronous processing. To improve loading and rendering, SharePoint 2010 heavily uses AJAX to do partial loading and processing of pages. This not only helps SharePoint 2010 to work faster but also limits the usage of bandwidth.
2010 is not the number of pages in new SharePoint version
MOSS 2007 suffered a lot from the 2000-items myth, according to which it would break after storing more than 2000 pages (items) in a list. While the myth wasn’t really true, there were scenario’s when you could experience some performance decrease after storing a large amount of pages in a single site.
SharePoint 2010 has not only been optimized to better deal with large number of items in a single list, but it also allows you to organize them. For more information about the new Content Organizer check out the post by Andrew Connell.
Pushing the limit of the number of items in a single list is not the only scalability improvement in SharePoint 2010. The SharePoint team did a lot of work to optimize working with both Variations and Content Deployment. Both mechanisms are now more robust and reliable.
Creating of Variations and Variation Hierarchies have now been fully moved to Timer Jobs. This makes the provisioning process more reliable as it doesn’t depend on the IIS worker process anymore.
Content Query Web Part v14
Another great improvement in the WCM area is the new version of Content Query Web Part (CQWP). The new CQWP simplifies working with Item Styles by introducing slots. A slot is a marker in the Item Style Template which is being filled with the content on runtime. The Content Query Web Part allows you to set the mappings between the slots and the fields using the property pane what allows you to create more semantic and reusable Item Style Templates!
Another great feature of the new Content Query Web Part is the Content to Content concept. Content to Content introduces two tokens that can be used in the Content Query Web Part filters. The PageQueryString token allows you to include in the query a value from a query string parameter and the PageFieldValue token gives you the possibility to filter the query results using a value of another field on the same page. This makes it extremely easy to provide functionality such as related content.
SharePoint Server 2010 ships with numerous improvements to the Web Content Management functionality. Using the new features you can now not only easily build solutions with richer functionality but also make them more robust and reliable.