In my opinion, lists and libraries are the heart and soul of SharePoint. When I first installed the Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Technical Preview, the first thing I did was create a new list just to see what the most obvious changes were. Note: This post and all scresnshots are from the Technical Preview and things may change before SharePoint 2010 is released to the public.
I use custom lists for lots of things, so I started by creating a new custom list. The creation process wasn’t very different from the process in SharePoint 2007.
The List Ribbon:
Very quickly I noticed that the familiar toolbar at the top of the list had been replaced by a ribbon, similar to the one in the Office 2007 applications.
The default view of the ribbon after creating a list is the List ribbon. Although I’m used to using the menus, the ribbon allowed me to more quickly create views, create columns, change list permissions, go to list settings, and much more.
The New Item Form and the Edit Ribbon
To add a new item to the list, I switched to the Items ribbon and clicked the New Item button. Instead of switching to a new page to add my new item, a new form appeared in front of my list and it appeared the lights were dimmed on SharePoint and new form had a spotlight on it. The new item form had a ribbon itself with quick access to Cut, Copy, and Paste commands, a button to attach a file, a spell check button, as well as the expected Save and Cancel buttons.
The Items Ribbon
When I checked the box beside one of the items I added in my list, I saw options to work with that item in the Items Ribbon. From here I could view the item, edit it, delete it, and change its permissions. I cold have done more if my simple custom list had more functionality.
Allow Duplicate Values?
One of the things that has always frustrated me is that I didn’t have a good way to keep people from entering the same item multiple times in a list. In the Additional Settings section for the Single line of text, Number, Currency, Date and Time, Lookup, Person or Group, Business data, and Managed Metadata there is a setting for Allow Duplicate Values.
If you select to not allow duplicate values for a particular column, and you try to add a new item with an existing value in that column, you will receive an error and have to fix the error to proceed.
In the past, we didn’t have any way to validate a user’s input in lists and libraries. When you add new columns of type Single line of text, Choice, Number, Currency, or Date and Time you will see a section called Column Validation. Here you can enter Excel type formulas that must evaluate to True before the user can add the item to the list.
If the user’s input doesn’t validate according to your formula, the User Message you entered will be displayed to the user.
There are also validation settings on the list itself that work similar to the validation settings on the columns.
In SharePoint 2010 we’ll be able to better locate our data based on its metadata. This can be configured separately on each list and is a whole other blog post in itself. I thought you might want to see a screenshot of the settings though, so here you go!
In the past, if you wanted to change the way a form looked in SharePoint for entering new information or editing information, you had to create a whole new form using SharePoint Designer. Now, all those forms are InfoPath forms and selecting the option to edit the form opens it in InfoPath where you can make any changes you want, then just republish the form.
I’m sure that as we all dig deeper SharePoint 2010 we’ll find even more goodness there, but these were the first things that caught my eye and I wanted to share these with you. I think these are all significant advances over lists in SharePoint 2007. What do you think?