Improved Content Management
We were interested to find that we could create Project Tasks in team-based sites using Sharepoint Server 2007. While most tasks in SharePoint tend to be fairly basic, Project Tasks offer more robust project management capabilities, included a Gantt chart built right into the task list. We see this as yet another sign that SharePoint Server is replacing Project as Microsofts preferred project management solution. SharePoint Server also is shaping up as a viable content management platform. You could use previous versions of SharePoint Server for content management, but the system wasnt really a good fit for the task. SharePoint Server 2007 adds publishing sites that make it a much more capable option for managing a corporate Web site (if not a threat to vendors such as Vignette).In general, we were impressed with SharePoint Server 2007s workflow capabilities, which can be used for everything from Web and document management to team projects to forms routing. The workflows are easy to create, will address most enterprise business needs, and are well integrated with Office applications. SharePoint Servers document management features are basic, especially when compared to products like EMCs Documentum, but they will meet the needs of a wide number of companies. And with SharePoint Servers improved workflow and integration with Microsoft rights management and records management features, companies will find it easier to control how documents are routed and to track usage and access for compliance needs. Much of the business intelligence in SharePoint Server 2007 boils down to better online integration with Excel spreadsheets, including the ability to have live spreadsheets running on a SharePoint Server system. SharePoint Server 2007 also does a good job of searching across various data services, making it possible to build much more powerful reporting and information portlets (or Web Parts, as theyre called in SharePoint Server parlance). For site administrators, some of the most welcome new features in SharePoint Server 2007 are on the management side. In general, we found the new administration interfaces to be much more intuitive and friendly, with much less menu digging necessary than in previous versions. High-level administration tasks now have their own interface that smartly splits into areas such as operations and Web applications. It also is now much easier to manage large farms of SharePoint Servers, to port content or replicate servers, and to connect across different content areas. A small but very welcome addition is a Web-based interface for backing up SharePoint Servers. Those who like the command-line backup options can still go there, but we were happy to have the Web-based interface for this task. Labs Director Jim Rapoza can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
Most helpful is the ability to lock down portions of a site template so that users can change only the content areas of a site that designers want them to. SharePoint Server 2007 also adds some nice built-in WYSIWYG editor capabilities and good, if somewhat standard, features for adding content to Web pages.