Tom Rizzo kicked off this morning's keynote at the SPC by joking that he was "just a little bit of a filler" during his introductory remarks before bringing out Steve Ballmer to deliver the keynote proper. Tom's opening remarks included some of the stats for the Conference, including that there are: over 7,400 attendees at the sold out show; over 160 exhibitors; 240 sessions of brand new content; and even 2 weddings taking place during the conference. Hey, it is Vegas, after all. Perhaps most remarkably, Tom noted that the growth in attendance at this SPC versus last year's offering in March of 2008 represents a whopping increase of over 90%.
During Steve Ballmer's keynote, Tom was called back to the stage twice to perform extended demos of SharePoint 2010. The first of these was a demo of the capabilities of developers productivity enhancements. Kicking off with what proved to be the first of several big applause lines, Tom announced that Windows 7 and Vista are now supported for developers. Tom demonstrated how SharePoint Designer (which, as with all 2010 releases, features a contextual Ribbon UI) can be used in conjunction with the Business Connectivity Services (BCS; formerly known as the BDC) to connect back-end SQL Server databases using External Content Types. Using the External Content Types feature, users will now be able to connect to LOB databases without writing so much as a single line of code ... and there's even a setup wizard application to help walk users through the process. Once connected, this back-end data can be surfaced seamlessly to users in, for example, Outlook. Once connected and surfaced, the database content is editable, and since there is no coding required, end users won't know (or need to know) that they're editing a database at the back-end when they interact with the data.
In moving to Visual Studio, Tom briefly noted the new Server Explorer and Solution Explorer features. Included in Visual Studio is a graphical designer which Tom showed off, to great response, by creating a custom Web Part within minutes. Simply pick the objects you want to appear on your Web Part (a button, an image, a label, etc.), and let Visual Studio take it from there, up to and including the opening of a Web Part page for you to view and test the Web Part. As well, there is a Developer's Dashboard feature at the bottom of this Web Part page which shows the SharePoint call stack and includes a debugger for the testing of a new custom Web Part. As well, Tom briefly demonstrated some of the new sandbox solutions functionality, mentioning that it's available both on premises and in SharePoint Online.
Later in the keynote, Tom returned to the stage to demo some of the end user enhancements in SharePoint 2010, such as the contextual Ribbon UI, the Web Edit functionality which allows direct in-line editing and creation of the content on SharePoint pages, and includes live preview functionality. All of which is also available when using SharePoint to create Internet sites, and in his demo, Tom did just that, creating a new Internet site in minutes. For those (like myself) who tend to author their content in Word rather than directly in the browser, it's now possible to easily copy and paste rich text directly from Word onto a SharePoint page. Speaking of Word, in 2010, there is even a spell-check feature in SharePoint which you can run prior to publishing your content (there's also a Draft Check which will ensure that you don't have any broken links within your content). Adding a Media Web Part to surface rich media experiences directly on your page is now a matter of just a few clicks.
Tune in for a report from the SharePoint 2010 Drilldown keynote, delivered by Jeff Teper.
Catch up on all of our SPC '09 sessions coverage:
Oct 19 2009, 05:08 PM
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