Office SharePoint is one of Microsoft's biggest success stories in the corporate world. SharePoint 2007 is still a solid performer for a variety of tasks, but it has been showing its age. eWEEK Labs' tests of the SharePoint 2010 beta show that Microsoft has done a good job of bringing the server squarely in step with the times, providing business-oriented social networking features and a new interface as well as beefed-up capabilities for the kinds of tasks for which businesses have been counting on SharePoint.
Ask businesspeople what the best and most useful product made by Microsoft
is, and you may be surprised to hear many skip past the more obvious
choices-such as Windows and Office-and go right to SharePoint.
Introduced as a modest set of online extensions for a variety of online and
collaborative tasks, SharePoint is arguably the most successful Microsoft
product of the last 10 years, especially in the corporate world. In many ways,
SharePoint has become the core on which Microsoft has based most of its online
Need a corporate portal? SharePoint. Want a collaboration system?
SharePoint. A document management system? Web publishing system? For those and
many other tasks, companies have made use of the SharePoint platform.
All of this isn't exactly what Microsoft had in mind for SharePoint-users
have continually pushed the platform past its original design goals and have
used it for tasks such as enterprise content management and records management.
However, while the current version, SharePoint Server 2007, is an excellent
product (and the winner of an eWEEK Labs Analyst's Choice award), it is
definitely showing its age. To put it into perspective, when Microsoft was
developing SharePoint 2007 in 2006, Twitter was just starting to leave its
prototype stage and Facebook was just opening up to non-college students.
I recently tested the beta of the newest SharePoint server, which is due in
the first half of 2010. I found that it has definitely caught up with the
times, including capabilities such as Twitter-style microblogging and social
networking. However, in my tests of the SharePoint 2010 beta, I also saw a much
improved interface that takes advantage of rich Web technologies (and that also
works well on non-Internet Explorer browsers), and I saw many new enterprise
features that take into account the advanced applications for which businesses
have been using SharePoint.
Jim Rapoza, Chief Technology Analyst, eWEEK.For nearly fifteen years, Jim Rapoza has evaluated products and technologies in almost every technology category for eWEEK. Mr Rapoza's current technology focus is on all categories of emerging information technology though he continues to focus on core technology areas that include: content management systems, portal applications, Web publishing tools and security. Mr. Rapoza has coordinated several evaluations at enterprise organizations, including USA Today and The Prudential, to measure the capability of products and services under real-world conditions and against real-world criteria. Jim Rapoza's award-winning weekly column, Tech Directions, delves into all areas of technologies and the challenges of managing and deploying technology today.