Tuesday, 5 January 2010

SharePoint 2010 - The Story Continues

So we enter a new year and a new decade. We have said goodbye to 2009 a year that saw the first nearly black US President, Tiger Woods playing a few extra rounds, MPs fiddling more than Nigel Kennedy, Michael Jackson never performing at the O2 and England cricketers regaining that little urn. It seems impossible to believe that it has been ten years since the Millennium celebrations, but I suppose a lot of things have changed in those ten years (apart from Ryan Giggs, of course). The biggest change has probably been in technology with smart-phones, digital cameras, Ebay and of course ‘Social Networking’ becoming such a big part of our lives. Interestingly SharePoint is a product of the ‘noughties’.

SharePoint began with its first version in 2001 which was hardly a great success before really starting to make an impression with a revised version in 2003. This is when I first became a fan and started to understand the real potential of this Microsoft product. A system that allowed full text searching, let companies turn network drives into Intranets, encouraged collaboration, allowed version control of documents and so much more. I was hooked on SharePoint and after leading several projects as an IT Manager in 2007 decided to become a Specialist SharePoint Consultant. Yes the first decade of the twenty-first century saw a number of life changes for me; I got married, gained a step-daughter, my mother sadly died and I became a SharePoint Consultant with Office Talk. Unfortunately despite lots of promise the Villa failed to win a trophy in the decade (first time this has happened since 1940’s).

The most successful change for SharePoint was in 2007 when Microsoft introduced Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (still a free download) and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. These are the versions of SharePoint that have became popular and been so beneficial to so many companies and organisations across the globe. With the additional functionality of Item Level Security, Blogs, Wikis, Email integration and a closer relationship with Office 2007 this really is a product that everyone should have. The rapid growth of SharePoint over the last two years has seen it introduced to many schools, hospitals and workplaces around the world. The 2007 version has become the standard with so many excellent third party add-ons now available to enhance its performance. Websites like www.sharerpointreviews.com have appeared as a valuable source to find the very best SharePoint products. If you haven’t yet experienced SharePoint then why not start 2010 by downloading the free Windows SharePoint Services from the Office Talk website.

So what of the new decade (is it the ‘teenies’?) and what will it bring. Hopefully Aston Villa being champions of Europe again. Maybe we might even see a male King. If Prince William became King and David Cameron becomes Prime Minister then we would have a country run by Villa fans. One thing we know is that sometime this year the new versions of SharePoint will be released. SharePoint Foundation 2010 is replacing WSS, but it is not yet known if it will be free. SharePoint Server 2010 is due mid-year (otherwise it might need a rename) and promises much including being easier to customise and a faster search all with a dash of Silverlight. You can download a copy of the beta version by visiting http://sharepoint2010.microsoft.com/try-it/Pages/Trial.aspx now.
The main drawback with SharePoint Server 2010 (apart from the fact it isn’t available yet!) is that it needs both 64 bit hardware and Windows Server 2008 (oh, and doesn’t support IE 6), so it will require some financial investment. I also believe it will take a year for many of the third party vendors to start creating add-ons for 2010. So I would recommend at the moment that companies, or organisations, who are looking at SharePoint this year, do stick with installing the current 2007 version. They will be able to migrate to the 2010 version later on. There is a pre-upgrade checker available to see which webparts or add-ons will upgrade to 2010.

For the New Year a bumper bundle of SharePoint Templates have been released by Office Talk that are a great starting point for anybody currently starting to use SharePoint. Built to easily install on either WSS 3.0 or MOSS this set of 9 includes IT, HR, Finance, Safety and many more.

So let’s raise a glass to the new decade and wish all of you a belated Happy New SharePoint Year.

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