Monday, October 18, 2010

SharePoint 2010 Enterprise Content/Web Content Management Features

New Enterprise Content Management (ECM) /Web Content Management (WCM) features in SharePoint 2010:

Ref #
Business Function
·         Interactive Search Experience – A richer search experience providing flexible navigation, refinement and related searches. Both Standard and FAST Search for SharePoint get query completion, spell checking, wild cards and more.
·         FAST Search - Seamless integration with FAST Search enhances the search experience enabling feature content for common queries and providing more flexible navigation and document thumbnails and previews including in slide navigation of PowerPoint presentations which is a common end user scenario.
·         Relevance – Search includes Out-of-box ranking and relevance factors including social data such as tagging and usage (clicks). FAST Search adds more configurable set of relevance inputs for custom applications and specialized corpuses.
·         People Search – People finding based on social networking and expertise algorithms and tailored user experience for people including getting views of authored content. As users frequently do not know or recall the spelling of people’s names, search includes a new phonetic search algorithm that works much better than previous approaches to spell checking for names.
·         Connectivity For data that lives outside SharePoint, search is expanded and improved with connectors to index web sites, file servers, SharePoint, Exchange, Lotus Notes, Documentum and FileNet. The updated Business Connectivity Services (previously the BDC) described below makes it much easier to index an arbitrary source such as a custom database. You can create this search connection without code using the new SharePoint Designer.
·         Scale and Platform Flexibility – Significant performance and scalability improvements through the new search technology. It also includes partitioned indices and scale-out query servers in SharePoint search. FAST scales-out even further and has significantly more pipeline extensibility to handle the largest collections and most complex value-added processing and search applications. The new capabilities support hundreds of millions of documents with great index freshness and query latency.
·         Managed Metadata - Companies often require the use of approved terms from a centrally controlled taxonomy. The SharePoint 2010 response is managed metadata, which is the ability to create, manage, and publish term sets across the enterprise from a single point of reference.
·         Term sets - Term sets are hierarchical trees, internally connected structures that display parent-child relationships. Term sets and content type galleries are available to any site collection that can securely access the url for the managed metadata service.
·         Folders based metadata- Folders are now first-class objects in SP 2010. Documents and subfolders can inherit metadata from their parent folder making it easier to find documents when metadata is automatically added, instead of forcing users to add the same value over and over to the hundred documents they just uploaded.
Document Management & Classification
SharePoint 2010 adds scale and depth in the areas of Enterprise Content Management well advancing the user experience. ECM features are as follows:
·         Large Lists and Libraries – Support for much larger document libraries with metadata driven navigation to help users go quickly to the content that is most important to them. Libraries will scale to tens of millions and archives to hundreds of millions of documents. This is a key investment for high-end document and records management but also helps organizations with lots of smaller sites. Enhancement of the workflow capabilities and tools in SharePoint Designer.
·         Enterprise Metadata – Support for enterprise wide content types and taxonomies not only across sites but also server farms. Applying this metadata is made easy (and valuable to users) in both the SharePoint and Office client user experience. The top-down taxonomy and bottoms-up social tagging (sometimes called folksonomy) combine to help improve search, navigation and people connections.
·         Document Sets – A new way to manage a collection of documents as a single object for workflow, metadata, etc. within SharePoint and Office so experience more closely models your work product (e.g. a proposal that may contain a presentation, budget, contract, etc.).
·         Web Publishing including Digital Asset Management – A number of key improvements to make it easier to publish rich sites on the intranet or internet. The new browser ribbon and editor experience to speed site customization, content authoring and publishing tasks. Support for digital asset management features like thumbnails, metadata and ratings for images as well as video streaming from SharePoint.  Improved content deployment robustness from authoring to production for larger scale sites.
·         Governance and Records Management – Compliance is an increasingly important requirement for organizations. Enhanced Records Managements features in 2010 building on the scalable storage and enterprise metadata support described above. Just a few new features include location-based file plans, multi-stage dispositions, in-place records and e-discovery.
·         Social Feedback and Organization – SharePoint 2010 provides a consistent experience for organizing, finding and staying connected to information and people including bookmarks, tagging and ratings. It encompasses a new holistic approach across search, navigation, profiles, feeds and more. Bringing together informal social tagging with formal taxonomy described below so you can choose the right approach for a given set of content.
·         SharePoint Mobile Access – Improved the experience for mobile web browsers and are introducing a new SharePoint Workspace Mobile client so you can take Office content from SharePoint offline on a Windows Mobile device. These clients let you navigate lists and libraries, search content and people and even view and edit Office content within the Office Web App experience running on a mobile browser.
·         Content organizer - Content organization is largely a matter of individual upload decisions. Administrators could help guide those decisions, but ultimately, it was up to the contributors to decide where the content ended up. The new Content Organizer allows routing decisions to be centrally organized. It takes these decisions out of the hands of users and ensures that items are well organized. Users are guided to enter appropriate metadata rather than being allowed to dump documents wherever they like.
·         Granular Lists, Libraries, and Sites audit management – Granular Audit management/logging settings enables you to track opening or downloading documents, viewing items in lists, or viewing item properties, editing items, checking out or checking in items,
moving or copying items to another location in the site, deleting or restoring items. Includes editing content types and columns,
searching site content, editing users and permissions .
·         Audit Log Trimming - You also have the ability in 2010 to enable Audit Log Trimming which includes storing the current audit data in a Document Library.
·         ULS logs - ULS is improved through several facets including the introduction of a new and extensible Logging database, configurable noise suppression (Event Log Flood Protection), throttling, correlation Ids, and control of the amount of disk space used by logs as well as native compression of said logs - at the end of the day you can expect an approximate 50% savings in size of ULS logs as a result.
Workflow Management
·         Site and List level association - SharePoint 2010 workflow instances can be associated with a list item or a site.  
·         Reusable workflows - Reusable workflow points to content type (including base item content type), so it can be associated with any list. You need to prudent on associating the workflow to content type as content type associated columns will be available to the workflow.
·         Document Sets - Associate workflows with multiple documents using the new content type: Document Set (basically it is collection of documents).
·         Integration with Visio - Workflow can be imported and exported between SharePoint Designer and Visio. Visio only allows Sequential workflows. Stencils in Visio will have conditions, actions and connectors. Saves as standard Visio (.vsd) file. File menu allows export to workflow file (.vdi) file which is a compacted set of “xoml” file.
·         SharePoint Designer (SPD) Enhancements
a. Allows you to export as WSP or solution package. Can use .aspx or InfoPath forms in the workflow. Nested actions – step inside a step, conditional logic statements, look ups etc. Out-of-the box workflows (like Approval Workflow) is configurable using SPD. SPD allows you to create Workflow tasks.
b. Approval Workflow is configurable using SPD. SPD allowing you to create Workflow tasks.
c. Easy to create no-code workflow solutions with built-in ready-to-use workflow activities.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Best Practices for developing Web Content Management (WCM) Portals using SharePoint 2010

Best Practices to consider while developing Web Content Management (WCM) portals using SharePoint 2010:

1. Prepare wired-frame diagrams for depicting screen layouts, developing a Proto-type in SharePoint is even better. It gives tremendous clarity to all the stakeholders and it becomes easy to communicate to your developers as well. Use Visio for this purpose.

2. Plan your web application topology well in advance. Identify when to use a site collection and when to use a subsite.

3. Define your taxonomies/folksonomy, use the SP 2010 managed metadata services.

4. Maintain separate content databases per  site collection, whenever you feel that your site collection can grow beyond 50 GB of data, move it into a separate content database, it becomes easier to manage and take back-ups and restore your web-application. SP 2010 recommended limit for content databases is a maximum of 100GB per site collection.

5. Always use content types, site columns for all your applications. Avoid creating columns directly in list/library.

6. Always limit the number of items in a List View using Filters.

7. Keep a very simple and a neat user interface with a user friendly navigation scheme.

8. Deploy your custom web parts, user controls, delegate controls, custom workflows as a feature solution package

9. Always prefer inheriting permissions for child sites, since they can be broken later.

10. Rigorously monitor your Application health using the new SP 2010 Developer dashboard for page response, memory leaks etc. ULS Diagnostic logging for errors etc.

11. Monitor your Content database size so that it does not exceed 100GB per site collection.

12. Use the new SP 2010 Folder Partitioning rules when your Document Library View items exceed the recommended 5000 item limit.

13. Always use Power Shell scripts to perform Solution installation, BackUp/Restore operations, Content database attach/detach, creating/deleting site collections and other Admin related operations.

14. Have atleast one Indexed column in your Lists for a performance reasons.

15. For moving content from staging to production environment, prefer using the new SQL Server 2008 Enterprise edition, Database snapshot technique which takes a quick snapshot of the Production farm and then ships it to the Destination farm.

16. You might convert your existing site collection to a solution file using SPD 2010 and open the solution using a Visual Studio 2010. and enhance it further. This is a faster way to build site definitions.

17. You can edit all List forms using InfoPath 2010, provided you have Enterprise edition of SP 2010. In this way you will be able to modify your New/Edit/Display forms using InfoPath 2010.

18. Use the advanced Record Management Rules for archiving, moving or marking documents as records. Alternatively InPlace records management is also available for declaring documents as records.

19. Prefer creating a Visual Webpart for better control over layout and ease of programming.

20. Prefer Creating Site Columns and Content Types programmatically over Features, the reason is when you add/update site columns in your custom content type, newly added/modified columns do not become immediately visible in the List/Page Content Type from the Parent Site Content Type.

Will keep updating this post with a lot more best practices in the future.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

SharePoint 2010 Resources

SharePoint Products and Technologies (2010)

Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 Evaluation Guide

SharePoint 2010: Getting Started with Development on SharePoint 2010 Hands-on Labs in C# and Visual Basic

SharePoint 2010: SharePoint Developer Platform Wall Poster

SharePoint 2010: Developer and IT Professional Learning Plan

SharePoint 2010: Professional Developer Evaluation Guide and Walkthroughs

Search Environment Planning for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010

Design Search Architectures for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010

Search Architectures for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010

Getting started with business intelligence in SharePoint Server 2010

Topologies for SharePoint Server 2010

Hosting Environments for SharePoint 2010 Products

Cross-farm Services in SharePoint 2010 Products