Thoughts from day one at the SharePoint Conference

As opposed to writing a nice well-structured blog post I thought I would document a few thoughts from day one:

  • The keynote was a little lackluster... I've seen Ballmer speak before and he is usually a dynamic and entertaining speaker. He seemed a little off and was reading from his script more than usual. The first demo focused on how to develop a Web Part in 2010 and the sight of code at the beginning of the keynote seemed to freak out the audience a little bit.
  • Ballmer stated in his keynote that SharePoint is becoming a platform like the operating system.
  • SharePoint Workspace (the old Groove) is interesting to me as it illustrates the difference between Microsoft and Google. Google (through Google Gears) is extending the browser to run their online scenarios offline, while Microsoft has created a desktop application. Not sure if one is better than the other — they are just different.
  • A number of the keynotes have talked about improved browser and accessibility support including Firefox and Safari. Microsoft talked about this during the SharePoint 2007 launch but didn't really deliver — hopefully they have spent some time on this and users that are using a Mac have a good 2010 experience.
  • The new SharePoint 2010 UI is a big improvement! The overall look and feel is nice and clean and Microsoft is using the ribbon concept which they introduced in Office 2007. One thing I have to dig into deeper is if SharePoint gives you the ability to anchor the ribbon to the top of the browser window. Hopefully this is possible — when editing a large page of content it would be a little awkward to have to scroll to the top of the page to add a link, change text styles, add a heading, etc.
  • The development, debugging and deployment scenarios have been much improved. The product will include a developer dashboard which surfaces diagnostics including database calls and other performance data. You can also run a report of your slowest performing pages to easily optimize the performance of your site.
  • There was a lot of focus on Internet scenarios during the keynote. There are also three SKUs which include SharePoint Server for Internet Sites Standard Edition, SharePoint Server for Internet Sites Enterprise Edition and SharePoint Online for Internet Sites, where you can host your SharePoint site in the cloud. I still have to dig into the details, but hopefully this will make SharePoint accessible to more organizations! Ballmer did hint in his keynote that they have priced SharePoint for Internet Sites 2010 to facilitate the building of Internet sites in SharePoint.
  • There is a new upgrade process that will allow you to upgrade the product but use the old UI until you can check to make sure everything looks okay visually. This allows you to benefit from all the back-end enhancements in 2010 without worrying if you are going to break something.