Cool and Codeless – SharePoint 2010

Content is king, or queen, or maybe just the Count of Monte Codeless. Many of my students this week will probably go straight to Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 rather than the Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) 3.0 or Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 which we were focusing on this week.

Even with SharePoint 2007, the degree of dynamic behaviors which can easily be configured into web sites seemingly without writing code in the classic sense is quite powerful. The newer SharePoint 2010 offerings coming up from Microsoft soon (perhaps June 2010), go even further.

At the bottom of the SharePoint 2010 line-up is the successor to Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. So you think it’s called Windows SharePoint Services 4.0? Well, that’s just not a cool enough name; the new name is SharePoint Foundation 2010, but it’s like WSS 4.0 by any other name – sweeter than WSS 3.0 actually. For example, the blog and wiki features which were introduced in WSS 3.0 have been substantially upgraded and polished for greater ease of use. This makes generating easy-to-read relevant content even less painful. Announcement lists, syndicated (RSS) feeds, and these updated blog and wiki versions can be a powerful mix together for enhancing communication and collaboration among employees, suppliers, customers, or any community.

If SharePoint Foundation 2010 is not powerful enough to meet the needs of your department or organization, or at least not for all SharePoint server farms that you’re deploying, like the relationship between WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007, SharePoint Foundation 2010 has a bigger sibling as well – more than one actually. Like MOSS 2007, there are Standard and Enterprise editions of SharePoint Server 2010, or are there? The standard and enterprise degrees of SharePoint 2010 functionality beyond the SharePoint 2010 Foundation are distinguished by the Standard and Enterprise types of Client Access Licenses (CALs) for SharePoint Server 2010. Many organizations can benefit from that flexibility when some people in the SharePoint community need the business intelligence and workflow support of the enterprise edition and others simply needs SharePoint services at the standard level.

Due to the growth and maturity of using portals for Internet-facing and project-protected deployments, Microsoft is expected to release SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites, also in Standard and Enterprise editions, yet not just differentiated with different CALs, but with distinct server licenses for each edition. This should allow deployment to fast-changing user communities without having to count the growing number of users who need CALs on a daily basis.

Think about this line-up for a moment. Small workgroups or even large deployments which just need basic Foundation level functionality can use SharePoint Foundation 2010. For communities like corporate or government employees, which are hopefully fairly stable, client access licenses for Standard or Enterprise functionality beyond the foundation level can be purchased for use of services hosted on SharePoint Server 2010. For potentially massive degrees of users, two levels of functionality can be purchased of SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites, Standard or Enterprise editions.

But how do you author content for all of these types of environments? Of course, Microsoft Office 2010 client applications, or cloud-like Web App versions of them, email, SOAP, plain-old browser access and many other methods can be used to store, retrieve, convert, and otherwise work with documents, information, records, messages, graphics, videos, Silverlight, Flash, and more.

What about structured forms-based content and applications? As a portal, SharePoint 2010 can be used for accessing back-end applications in foundation, standard, and enterprise styles like WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007. Naturally InfoPath 2007 or the newer Office 2010 version could be used to work with form layouts. SharePoint Workspace 2010 (think Groove 2010) for offline editing of SharePoint sites, Expression Web 2010 for rich web content (with or without SharePoint), and of course SharePoint Designer 2010 can be used for working with SharePoint Foundation, Server, and Server for Internet Sites versions of SharePoint 2010.

As SharePoint evolves, the elements of it, and the other software which works with it (which come from different origins, not all within Microsoft) comes together and stands to enable more powerful, fluid, usable collaboration between us humans. Are you ready for the coming wave? Uh, no, I wasn’t talking about Google Wave, the article was about Microsoft SharePoint, right?

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