Wowzas! This conference was packed with so much information about the new SharePoint 2010 features that my head nearly exploded. In my opinion Microsoft actually proved to us that they do listen to the voice of the customers and in particular the SharePoint community. This was proven session after session with presentations (levels 1-400) covering breadth and depth across everything that is going to be SharePoint 2010 even before the public beta is released! Alright, enough of that mumbo jumbo – here’s a list of features that I am definitely looking forward to, how they had evolved and how you’ll be able to utilize them for your business.

In no particular order…

Cross-Farm Managed Metadata Services

Previously metadata definitions and properties were handled through the usage of Content Types. That was a good thing but unfortunately the scope of a Content Type did not span across Site Collections! That proved to be quite a barrier for enterprise taxonomy folks especially when they also had to take into consideration best practices like content database sizing, site structures and information sharing. Going forward metadata can now be managed as an enterprise wide service. What that means is we will no longer have to figure out how to sync Content Types across disparate Site Collections and even across disparate farms within the enterprise. That’s taken care of by the Managed Metadata Services.

FSHTTP and other New Protocols

In SharePoint V3/2007, documents that are uploaded and downloaded from SharePoint Document Libraries are transferred as the entire file. This is an issue not only for large files on the local LAN but proved to be extremely detrimental for geographically dispersed environments with unpredictable latencies to the client. SharePoint 2010 along with the Office 2010 Clients introduce some new transfer protocols that will greatly reduce the amount of traffic that gets passed from the client to the web front ends. This is done through the new FSHTTP protocol and what it basically does is only transfer the document deltas to and from the server with the help of local client caches.

The Client Object Model

I actually have mixed feelings about this one. It greatly enhances the flexibility of the Object Model to be able to interact with JavaScript, WPF, SIlverlight and other remote applications enabling them to interact with SharePoint List Data (and other data). Where I’m a little weary about this awesome new power is… with great power comes great responsibility! While this lowers the entry barriers for developers of other disciplines (Silverlight devs, Javascript devs, WinForm devs, etc.) to more easily work with SharePoint, this new wave of developers using SharePoint as an application development platform will have to quickly learn to be cognizant of the yet to be determined pitfalls and best practices. This will also put great pressure on the infrastructure teams to keep an eye on stability and performance metrics which leads me into the next cool feature…

The Developer Dashboard and Resource Throttling

All I can say about this is sweeeeet. There’s no longer a need to question the performance of a customization nor wonder how out of control customizations can be controlled. The Developer Dashboard gives both developers and administrators the ability to look at very specific key performance indicators to help them zone in on specific operations of the application that is not performing up to par. With this kind of insight, the team can decide whether or not to try and optimize the code or even perhaps throttle some of the resources being used, like the return size of SharePoint List queries.

Business Connectivity Services

Formerly Business Data Catalog, I would consider this new feature quite revolutionary. The idea may not be revolutionary in itself but the integration and ease of use provided by SharePoint Designer 2010 really knocked my socks off. Currently many organizations have been wanting to surface information from their legacy or line of business systems but may have found it difficult to create and configure BDC definitions for MOSS 2007. With SharePoint Designer 2010, you’ll be able to click through some very intuitive wizard interfaces that will create External Content Types that can be used by a native SharePoint List interface to create, read, update and delete data that is stored in any non-SharePoint content database. Now that is huge! But there are some drawbacks – SharePoint workflows, events receivers, and a few other native functionality will not be available for these kinds of lists. In that case you’ll want to handle that logic at the data level as SharePoint is only being used as a user interface.

Now those were just some of the new and upcoming features coming to SharePoint 2010 that caught my attention. I’m sure I’ll be coming across plenty more but until the beta release in November, I’ll leave you with some pictures I took (mostly notable slides I wanted to remember).