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SharePoint Conference 2009 Keynote

Watching the opening keynote at the SharePoint Conference 2009 event and things unfolded pretty much as I expected. There was a broad, fast-moving series of demos and presentations, complete with caffeine-taut delivery. Microsoft Director of the SharePoint Group Tom Rizzo has a future as a horse race announcer or at least an auctioneer.

As for SharePoint itself. Perhaps it's no surprise that Microsoft is working as hard as it can to work SharePoint into every unfilled nook, cranny and crevice in the business. But as Steve Ballmer gleefully listed one SharePoint-viable scenario after the next, I could not help but think of the old Saturday Night Live commercial spoof about Shimmer Floor Wax. Honestly, if Ballmer had finished his list with "It's a dessert topping and a floor wax," I wouldn't have been surprised.

Because as far as I can tell, Microsoft's SharePoint strategy pretty much consists of doing everything. This thing can run on-premise, as a hosted service or in the cloud on Microsoft's Azure servers. It can power intranets, Internet web sites and internal processes. It can provide business social networking and enterprise search and content management and video streaming and extended database access via the Office front end and… well, you get the idea.

Tellingly, on the same day that Microsoft announced it was shaving the number of Visual Studio SKUs down from nine to four, to address customer confusion and frustration, SharePoint 2010 is arriving with a passel of SKUs. It could be as many as 10, though I need to sit down and count them all. The proliferation reflects the unprecedented range of SharePoint, which has flourished since SharePoint 2007 into a full-fledged platform. Certainly dedicated SKUs like SharePoint FAST Enterprise Search reflect the expanding mission.

One interesting bit of re-branding: Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) has officially been renamed SharePoint Foundation. I think this will help clean up the branding a bit.

For .NET developers, the most exciting news is the expected arrival of native SharePoint development tooling and support within the Visual Studio 2010 IDE. As Tom Rizzo noted, SharePoint developers will now be able to launch SharePoint projects directly within Visual Studio, taking advantage of Team Foundation Server source code control and enjoying the benefits of one-click deploy and debug. SharePoint developers will no longer be consigned to working as second-class citizens in the Microsoft tool stack.

Oh, and in a bit of news that is sure to warm the icy hearts of SharePoint developers everywhere, Rizzo notes that SharePoint 2010 developers will be able, finally, to work in Windows Vista and Windows 7, rather than having to have the SharePoint environment hosted on Windows Server.

What are your thoughts of the news on SharePoint 2010 and integration with Visual Studio 2010? Email me at [email protected].

Posted by Michael Desmond on 10/19/2009

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