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8 Features in SharePoint 2010

1 -- Business Connectivity Services.

The Business Connectivity Services (BCS) used to be called the Business Data Catalog (BDC).  It provides access to your external data sources such as databases, external business systems and web services.  Using BCS, External Content Types can be created that allow read/write access back to the external data sources.  External lists, which operate much like normal lists can be created in SharePoint from these External Content Types so you can have access to these external systems right inside of SharePoint.

Client applications such as office or third party applications can also connect to the external data source using the ECT without writing any proprietary code.  There is also an offline caching mechanism, to enable offline access to External Content Types.

2 -- List Validations.

List validations are a very powerful way to validate not just documents but any content before it goes into a list.  This feature improves column property entry, which in the Document Imaging is called indexing or in the collaboration world, often called tagging.  List Validations were very limited in SharePoint 2007, but have major improvements in SharePoint 2010 that can be leveraged:

  • Hidden Columns – This setting is unique per content type, not just by the site column, which makes is very granular.
  • No Duplicate Values – This will enable lists to act like databases, forcing items to be unique.
  • Column Validations – Column validations will force column data to meet conditions before content is added to SharePoint.

3 -- Enterprise Managed Metadata.

The Enterprise Managed Metadata Service allows you to centrally define taxonomies that can be leveraged across farms to quickly classify and find content.  There are two main features of the service, the first being the ability to publish content types to other site collections and farms and the other being the taxonomy term store.

The Taxonomy Term Store allows two new columns to be used in lists.  The first being terms allows a static list to be created and used to validate during data entry.  The second is managed keywords, which allows freeform entry of multiple values using existing keywords as suggestions.

4 -- Search.

Search has certainly evolved since SharePoint Portal Server 2003 as the scalability of the architecture has improved.  You can have multiple index servers and index partitions can represent a portion of the index and live on the query server.  Partitions can be spread across multiple query servers but can also exist on multiple query servers for redundancy and load balancing.  SharePoint 2010 can scale to 100 million documents and FAST search will take us beyond 100 million!

5 -- Remote Blob Storage.

External BLOB Storage (EBS) has evolved into Remote Blob Storage (RBS), and helps provide a more scalable architecture.  RBS allows BLOBS (documents) to be stored in external systems in order to keep the database size smaller and more manageable.  Transactional consistency allows for update capabilities and allows Write Once Read Many (WORM) mode devices to deny a delete or modify operation.  RBS is completely transparent to the SharePoint API so existing custom and third party code will continue to function as expected.

6 -- Audit Trail.

Audit trails are not just for workflow anymore as they were in SharePoint 2007.  The audit trail functionality applies to most events pertaining to documents and it is extensible.  The audit trail can be used to track all scanning events so documents will have a consistent audit trail from the moment of capture until they are archived.

7 -- Document IDs.

Document IDs is a new capability that assigns a unique identification number to a document.  It is embedded with a special URL and can be used to retrieve a document regardless of where it is moved within a site collection.  This is very useful because in many third party scenarios it was very difficult to create links to documents as there was no permanent ID attached to content in SharePoint unless you added the data yourself or used searching scenarios.

8 -- Document Sets.

A Document Set enables grouping of documents belonging to a workflow, project or other similar group together into a single working set.  Document sets allow these documents to have one consistent set of meta data, can be downloaded as single ZIP file and can be work flowed as one unit.

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