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SharePoint 2010 Offers More for Developers

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SharePoint 2010 Offers More for Developers

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SharePoint 2007 didn't seem to be very popular with developers.  The 2007 version was often criticized for a lack of well integrated development tools and having a complex architecture that didn't resemble other ASP.NET-based web applications.  Microsoft is trying to turn things around in SharePoint 2010, which is now available in beta form.  SharePoint 2010 will allow ASP.Net developers to build, host, and maintain large customized sites and web apps.   In the new SharePoint, developers won't need to write as much code and flexibility will still be preserved.  

The first major highlight of SharePoint 2010 is better Visual Studio tools.  Visual Studio 2010 gives developers twelve SharePoint 2010 project types in C# and Visual Basic languages.  The empty projects can be used as containers for multiple controls, workflows, and other project items.  Visual Web Part is one example of a new project type.  It combines a Web Part class with an ASP.NET user control, but it can't be deployed to a sandbox.

Empty projects in VS 2010

SharePoint 2010 adds new capabilities for workflows.  Workflows can be sequential or state machines, and they can also be one-offs or parameterized reusable workflows. In SharePoint 2010, workflows no longer need to be associated with a list.  The new version allows them to be site-level workflows with their own start pages.

In SharePoint 2010, sites can be viewed in Visual Studio 2010's new Server Explorer as a tree format.  This will allow developers to have quick access to SharePoint artifacts and see all of SharePoint's settings directly from the IDE.  The Visual Studio Server Explorer won't block the code in the middle of the window because it ordinarily pops up in the left column.

A Developer Dashboard is also included in SharePoint 2010.   The new tool displays webpage timings and performance statistics.  The dashboard goes down to the function level and allows developers to see events from the HTTP POST request to the database queries and the rendering event handlers.

A Business Data Connectivity (BDC) model in SharePoint 2010 is a straighforward way to connect an external database or a line-of-business application to SharePoint through a .NET class. The external content types created by BDC can be used like native SharePoint content types.  Lists and searches are two examples.

BDC Method Details

APIs might be the biggest enhancement to SharePoint 2010.  The new APIs allow developers to:
  • Use the pop-up dialog framework
  • Generate new SharePoint project items
  • Create a Silverlight Web Part and bind it to SharePoint lists
  • Use SharePoint lookup fields to display related data
  • Make a Business Connectivity Service class that can bring in data from your CRM or ERP system
  • Use LINQ to SharePoint in a familiar way
  • Make your own XSLT views to create new views of SharePoint data.
  • Write an Event Receiver to help you hook various SharePoint events as they happen.
  • Use the Client Object Model from JavaScript.
  • Use Web services or REST to integrate with other servers, even if they run PHP on Linux.

With these new APIs, Microsoft allows developers to integrate with SharePoint in convenient ways, using open, standard methods.

The final release of Share Point 2010 is scheduled for the first half of 2010.  You can download the SharePoint 2010 betas here.

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