The following are the best 10 features and resources of Sharepoint 2010:

1. Social Media Investments – status integration with my sites, newsfeeds, my network, all that social media work around my site. You will expect to see this area really expanded through the public beta in terms of best practices and community awareness.  We hope to see some real effort from the community around helping establishing how to take advantage of these features.

2. External lists .  Showing a SQL table with contact information subsequently shown in a SharePoint external contact list, taken offline in the SharePoint Workspace, and contact objects shown in Outlook.  BDC becomes BCS (Business Connectivity Services) with even much easier systems integration.

3. Large lists – the list throttling was shown off in SharePoint 2010, but the real list sizes showing real scale and control from the farm administrator was impressive.  This was definitely used by the competition in the previous version to suggest that SharePoint didn’t scale.  Despite the ability to scale to 5 million items in a list in the 2007 version, the 2000 item limit per view was often suggested as a limit for the list due to poor use by end users of the features such as indexed columns, limiting the views or using folders.  Now with multi column indexes, and better control over item limited views, you can ensure that the queries are optimized and the list throttling and viewing will be better managed for performance of the server and the list.  The happy hour controls is a happy medium for those needing to break out to do queries that are not the best.  

4. Better Network Differencing & SharePoint Offline in SharePoint Workspace.  It’s still far from the 100% offline browsing experience,  that may be a pipe dream with what can be done with webparts and search.  But now we get lists, and external lists offline as well as what we had before.  The peer to peer is still there, but the SharePoint uses are much more core to the product.  The licensing model pushes this tool mainstream with Office 2010 deployments.  What’s it missing… you gotta know:  Blogs, Wikis, Pages… Of course you can get Blogs RSS feeds in Outlook.  So really it comes down to Wikis and Pages. 

5. High Availability/ Disaster Recovery Innovation. The now built in to be mirroring aware, and the removal of fault tolerance of the services such as scaled out indexing will make it TONS easier and more reliable to backup.  The configuration based backup is huge too.  If you’re not a SharePoint 2007 admin you don’t realize how crazy the backup and unreliable SSP backup/restore was. 

6. Unattached Recovery – We think it’s pretty big deal that the product team decided to invest in the ability to recover from a restored database. The UI is in central admin.  Essentially there is now an API for recovering data out of a database that isn’t in the farm.  This is huge for pulling data out of a snapshot, and really reduces the need for a recovery farm, while we don’t think it fully eliminates that need due to discovery, but that’s another blog. 

7. Admin Insights through the Logging & Usage database, and dev dashboard – The logging database with published schema!  Thank you!  That’s awesome.  The ULS logs were such a pain, definitely looking forward to seeing all the right stuff getting logged and throttled into a database that does know what filling up drive with pure chattiness means.  Those types of things do matter!  On the internet you do likely want to keep it off.  (Use STSADM or powershell to toggle the setting.)  Better to have people convinced the slowness is them or the wire, not the page or the server.  It would be over most heads of the people browsing an internet page anyway who would want to blame your server or SharePoint. 

8. Service Applications – The service oriented architectures and the buzz words of what SOA has become get a huge boost in SharePoint 2010.  We’d like the search from the central portal, the profiles from the social media farm, the taxonomy and meta data from the ECM environment, and analysis and access services from the Finance deployment.  As farms have become more specialized in large enterprises so have the expertise of those that run them.  The one off custom farms that may end up departmentalized, don’t have to be limited in their services.  They can get the richness of the global indexing and not have that be redundant indexing.

9. SharePoint Designer Enhancements like portable workflows, and granular delegation.  The huge innovations in SPD are exactly addressing the feedback that they were asked to implement, but only the SPD fans heard it.  Portable workflows is huge, so is that ability to have people use SPD in the way you want them to.  Only want them to use the FREE, yep still free tool for workflows, fine.  Only want the design team to use it for design, that’s cool.  The NDA kept us from telling you that SharePoint Designer really makes some big moves in the right direction around portability, control, and delegation.  The same areas, that we thought it needed most.  Let alone the even further flexibility of further integration, and BCS integration.

10. Sandbox Solutions – now solutions built from the SharePoint Designer and Visual Studio are all .WSP.  Great to see that consistency, but beyond that now SharePoint administrators can control the resources consumed from these client deployed sandboxed solutions which don’t require the admin to deploy.  While in the past SharePoint administrators needed to deploy any solution, this option, yep it’s an option, allows you to throttle the system resources and allow those who own/administer sites to deploy solutions.  The delegation and control is there.  We think we’ll see much more best practices from more usage of sandboxed solutions, but now custom farms can still run out of the box software.  It will be very interesting to see what can be done with these and how well the throttling of system resources works with these solutions.