7 SharePoint 2010 Sleeper Features

By Caroline Marwitz

1. Access Services
Access Services lets user-generated databases in Microsoft Access become part of SharePoint for easier management by IT. When a user creates an Access database and publishes it to SharePoint, the Access tables become SharePoint lists and the Access forms become ASP.NET pages in SharePoint. The data stays in SharePoint, accessible via a browser, and Access acts as a client for data manipulation, reporting, and viewing.

2. SQL Server PowerPivot for Excel and SharePoint
PowerPivot lets users work with very large volumes of data and publish their work to SharePoint for others to view and interact with by using a browser. Workbooks published to SharePoint can be managed as you would a SQL Server Analysis Services application. PowerPivot for SharePoint displays data via a gallery based on Microsoft Silverlight, and there’s also a dashboard for monitoring and managing the PowerPivot environment. ln addition, there’s a Web Service that ports PowerPivot data via XMLA to external applications such as Report Builder. It requires SQL Server 2008 R2 in addition to SharePoint 2010.

3. REST API
Using the REST API, Microsoft says, is about as hard as creating a URL, yet it’s also a powerful developer tool. It’s a protocol that defines entities and how you access them. Basically, it opens SharePoint up to interoperability with other systems. It lets the user access data and objects via hyperlinks.

4. Developer Dashboard
With this new feature, IT pros and devs can identify issues common to both (for example, where a value exceeds acceptable ranges), and how to resolve these issues. Developers can also use the dashboard to monitor code and diagnose bugs. The dashboard offers a view on the bottom of each page that includes http request details, the time each request took, web server details, database queries, and more. You can set it to on, off, or on-demand.

5. Ribbon UI
Reducing the learning curve for users and admins, Microsoft says, could be as simple as standardizing the so-called Ribbon UI and putting it in every application that users touch, including SharePoint 2010. This implies that users find the Ribbon UI a satisfactory UI to begin with, of course. SharePoint pros might find that the Ribbon surfaces features and abilities they didn’t know existed.

6. Visual Upgrade
When you upgrade to SharePoint Foundation 2010, a new feature in the upgrade lets an admin choose among the following upgrade options:
• Adopt the new look for all sites during upgrade
• Let site owners decide the look after upgrade
• Keep the old look after upgrade

If the admin decides to let the site owners make the decision after upgrade, a preview option becomes available in the site UI after the upgrade is finished. If the site owner likes the visual upgrade, he or she can accept it. If the site owner likes the previous look, the site can be changed to the previous Windows SharePoint Services look.

7. Content Organizer
When you activate Content Organizer in SharePoint 2010, this new and improved routing feature lets you automatically shuttle documents to different libraries and folders within those libraries. It can also help you regulate document library size to prevent libraries from burgeoning out of control.