SharePoint v3 Collaboration and Tracking Features

Notes from a terrifc session today at PDC. I expect to post notes from other sessions, the main delay will be converting from ink to text and doing a bit of proof-reading. All in all, it's beena  grat day for SharePoint, and I hope this gives you a good taste of what's to come.

Core improvements to List architecture

Version history for all Lists, shows changes to the item for each item.

Will have line-by-line diff-ing for text fields.

Append-only comment fields.

Multi-valued lookups

Large list indexing support

Update Issue Tracking template

Integration with Windows Workflow Foundation


Project Tasks List

Lightweight project management functionality

Gantt charts for visualization of project plan (or any series with date fields)

Charts have drag and drop for moving events around



SharePoint lists can now receive e-mail. Discussion Boards, Calendars, DocLibs, Announcements accept incoming mail. Discussion boards maintain e-mail threading and full html messages. Calendars process incoming iCals, DocLibs map attachments to documents.


There is extensible support for custom "e-mail handlers." So custom lists can support e-mail by writing a handler. SharePoint handles the routing of e-mail, and your code can map e-mail data to fields in a list.


An SMTP Server is integrated with SP, or you can use Exchange.


There is also Distribution List support. Site groups can have an associated DistList. You can create a distribution list for site members on site creation. SPSites will talk with directory services to create or manage DistLists. The interface with DS is pluggable through SP directory management Web service interface. An AD directory management WS provided with SP. There is also approval and management that can be added to this, so that only a manager can create or manage DistLists.


Outlook and Syncronization APIs

Outlook allows one to work with personal and team data in one place. It's now a true 2-way sync with R/W access to SP datatypes (Calendar, tasks, contacts, discussions, and documents). And, there is sync for offline support. The ChangeLog APIs are optimized for synchronization. E.g. GetListItemChangesSinceToken - Web service method that returns a list of items that changed (adds, updates, deletes). The ChangeLog is stored as a separate log, so the original data doesn't need to be re-queried. The mailbox is polled every 2 minutes (by default, didn't say whether this is configurable).


There is a now a SP object picker that lets you select objects from AD, for example, to add members to a site -- so you no longer need Outlook installed locally to pull up an address book.


The UI for side-by-side item display in Outlook is finally what you'd expect, and the experience will be similar between SP and Outlook. The teams are working together on the design to ensure the consistency.


Keeping Informed

Alerts can now be filtered, and there is richer information about what's changed.. There is a way to customize the formatting of events and alerts. You can also assign alerts to other people. The granularity is also much deeper. For example, you can be alerted if anything changes, or only for certain conditions (e.g. the president changes a list item). The alerts are stored as xml in a sort of prefix nesting. Everything can be rendered out as RSS.



Breadcrumbs (from

Security-trimmed UI so users only see options they can assert

The QuickLaunch is now on every page, and it's easier to navigate to sibling nodes in the path.

Lists can be filtered, and the refreshes use Atlas to fetch and update. These features now work cross-browser too.

There is a new Actions and Settings menu (Site Actions), these are also drop-downs. The drop-downs also include help text to provide help in context.

To add features to the standard menus, you can deploy changes without touching the files shipped by SharePoint.



You can subscribe to a feed on any list, and even choose which columns will be part of the feed. For calendar items you'll be able to subscribe to iCals, it's all good.



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