Top 10 (+1) New Things in SharePoint Designer 2010

I attended a great session on day one of the SharePoint Conference by a guy called Asif Rehmani, MVP MCT. Asif is the co-founder of and a mixture of trainer and solution architect for SharePoint and perhaps it was this training background that helped him deliver such a fantastic session. I strongly recommend checking out as there is already SPD 2010 content up there!

The introduction to SharePoint Designer 2010 was a demo of the top 10 cool new things that you can do in the product. Here they are:

10) Restrict SPD as needed
– It’s possible to set permissions at the web application or the site collection level as to who can use (and what they can do) SPD 2010.

9) New user experience with summary pages, ribbon and quick launch navigation
– SPD 2010 has had a re-design along with the rest of office. The key element for me is that it is now a highly integrated experience with SharePont. For example you can browse the content types and site columns available in a site direction from SPD.

8) Create SharePoint content
– As you’d expect you can create new pages, sites, lists etc all from within SPD.

7) Configure site security
– Previously it was only possible to configure the permissions of a site through the browser, but now SPD also provides this functionality.

6) Create new content types and attach to lists directly

5) Create site assets to store files needed for the site
There’s a new type of library called ‘site assets’ in SharePoint 2010 and this can be populated via SPD. Assets such as CSS, XML or JavaScript files can be stored here.

4) XSLT List View Web Parts… Everywhere!
– A new web part for 2010 is the XSLT List View Web Part which is a mix of the old XSLT Data View Web Part and the List View Web Part from 2007. This provides fantastic functionality such as conditional formatting etc in a really well integrated web part – that can now also be configured via the browser.

3) Connect to data sources outside of SharePoint
– Databases / XML files / Server-side scripts / Web Services are all external data sources that can be easily dropped into a page and presented to the user via SPD.

2) Create Business Connectivity Services external content types
– The BCS is the evolution of the Business Data Catalogue and has been fully integrated into SPD. It’s possible to quickly, with no code, link to an external data source (e.g. SQL) and present this information as an ‘External Content Type’ in SharePoint 2010. This can then be viewed and edited in SharePoint via a new list type ‘External List’.

1) Create powerful reusable workflow
– There are now three types of workflow available in SPD:
– List Workflows
– Reusable Workflows
– Site Workflows
– The impressive thing is that SPD workflows now no longer need to be tied to a specific list in a specific site! They can also be saved out as a WSP or exported to Visio.

These are all fantastic features – and the implicit one in all of them is the great usability of SharePoint Designer is. As with other areas of the SharePoint experience there have been huge efforts at increasing productivity. It’s obvious to see that its matured as a product – and to such a level that (pending further investigation!) I’d be comfortable recommending using SPD for day-to-day activities of site administration – on the production environment!

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