SharePoint 2010 Musings

December 12, 2009

After messing about with SharePoint 2010, I have a few comments.

Ribbon – It’s extensible, and supports MUI (multilingual user interface).  Stays pinned to the top when scroll.  Not sure I like that it stays pinned to the top.  While it is useful for editing (a user wants to insert an image near the bottom of a long page and doesn’t want to scroll to the top to get to the “insert image” button), the positioning (under the banner) chews up some valuable real estate, plus the CSS involved is not pretty.  Trying to do a sticky footer with this is… unpleasant.  Still, the idea is that the ribbon allows for fewer page refreshes as you’re editing different things.  I like this concept.  As for permissions, individual items on a ribbon are NOT security-trimmed.  For example, a visitor to a site can see the “Library” ribbon tab, which has items such as “E-mail a link” and “Open with Explorer”.  However, they can also see ALL the other items they don’t have permission to do (they’re grayed out), such as “Create view”, “Edit Library”, “Form Web Parts”, etc., which are things that I do NOT want a user to have to see. 

CSS – “!important” qualifiers are all over the place in the corev4.css.  I’m very disappointed in this.  Not a good practice.

Web parts – You can insert web parts within content blocks now as a default.  This is good or bad, depending on your point of view.  If I have a situation where I want to restrict where web parts can go, I have to nail things down.  Another interesting side effect is that you can actually style the contents of the web parts using the editing toolbar (only of web parts that were inserted into a content area).  Which again, is good and bad.  I liked the AJAX options that are available (make a refresh button available, allow for timed asynchronous refreshes).  Lastly, even users that are “visitors” are able to hover over a web part and see a checkbox in the top left of the web part area.  However, they don’t have permissions to do anything with that checkbox, so it’s just confusing.  Hopefully this is something that will be fixed before release.

Editing experience – When editing, pressing the Enter key doesn’t create a new paragraph, it creates a new div.  Very interesting choice.

Master pages – A few pages (login, error, etc.) can have a custom master page applied via PowerShell.  Haven’t tried this yet.  In addition, for pages that leverage application.master (it’s actually applicationv4.master now), looks like you can update that master page.  According to the official Microsoft documentation (provided at the SharePoint Conference):  “Administrators will be able to specify whether the system pages in the _Layouts folder are rendered using the site master pages provided by site owners or by default master pages available across the system. In SharePoint Server 2007, pages rendered from this directory used application.master. This presented a challenge to organizations who wanted to create a custom UI — since application.master is a system file and there was no option to use a custom master page for this, the only options available were to modify the system file or to style the page with a custom theme. It should be noted that customizing application.master was not recommended because in the event that something unfortunate happened to this master page, none of the system settings for a site could be accessed. Not only does SharePoint 2010 add greater flexibility for how to apply branding to these system pages but it also provides a fail-safe mechanism. If there is an error in the master page used for pages in the _Layouts, SharePoint will reference the default.master file so that system pages can still be accessed.”  I’m hopeful, but will provide an update once I actually get into this deeper.

Visual Upgrade – SharePoint 2010 will be able to use SharePoint 2007 master pages and CSS.  Here’s another blurb from the SharePoint Conference book:  “By default when a content database is upgraded post upgrade the sites will be displayed using the Office SharePoint Server 2007 visuals, giving the user their familiar look and feel. An upgrade site can then exist in one of three states: Office SharePoint Server 2007, SharePoint 2010 preview mode, and SharePoint 2010. This allows the site administrator the ability to first view the site with the SharePoint 2010 user interface before committing to it. This setting is at the Web level allowing for a very granular, flexible experience.”

XSLT – I’m also eager to examine the XSLT support that is provided for views.  Supposedly better editing in SharePoint Designer, too. 

Browser support – IE7, IE8, FF3.5 and Safari4, but NOT IE6.  I like the dance of celebration regarding this here:  http://blog.drisgill.com/2009/11/sp2010-branding-tip-5-handling.html  That blog post also mentions a cool control that can be leveraged, as well:  <SharePoint:WarnOnUnsupportedBrowsers runat="server"/>. 

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