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What's New in User Profiles and Audience Targeting

SharePoint 2007

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 adds several new features to user profiles and audience targeting. The following sections briefly describe the major features.

Property Improvements

Office SharePoint Server 2007 offers the following property improvements for developers building solutions using the User Profile store:

  • Multivalued properties   Properties now support multiple values. There are many scenarios in which this improvement can be useful; for example, when defining a user’s interests and declaring one’s expertise.

  • Properties with open or closed choice lists   With this feature, you can tie user profile properties to a vocabulary constraining the list of possible values. Also, the list can be open, meaning that users can add new choices, or closed, meaning that only administrators, and not users, can add choices.

  • Property mapping from external data sources other than Active Directory   When you create a new property for a profile instance, you can map the property to an external data source, such as to an entity registered in the Business Data Catalog.

  • Property privacy policies   You can now assign privacy policies to properties that restrict who can access the property. Using this feature, you can set policies to restrict access to Only Me, My Manager, My Workgroup, My Colleagues, or Everyone, and to enforce that a property is required, optional, or disabled.

User Profile Import Improvements

Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 supported the import of user profiles only from the Active Directory directory service. For customers who did not have Active Directory deployed, there was not an easy way to bootstrap the profile database as well as to keep it up to date in SharePoint Portal Server.

Office SharePoint Server 2007 addresses this issue by bootstrapping and importing profile information from all of the following data sources, in addition to Active Directory:

  • LDAP directory (which is not Active Directory)

  • Databases

  • Enterprise applications (like SAP or PeopleSoft)

NoteNote:

Office SharePoint Server 2007 supports the last two types of data sources by integrating with Business Data Catalog. Also, Office SharePoint Server 2007 treats Business Data Catalog data sources only as a supplementary data source, meaning that it uses the data only to provide additional user information not available in the master connection. It can import user profiles only from the AD and LDAP directories.

My Site Profile Page

The Profile page of a My Site page shows a user’s colleagues and memberships, as well as what’s common between the user and a user visiting the My Site of another user. It also shows an aggregated view of the user's documents, Web log, and privacy-sensitive profile properties.

Personalization Sites

Personalization sites in Office SharePoint Server 2007 provide personalized views of a site to you. These sites use audience targeting to display personalized information to you such as "My HR" and "My Sales".

Memberships

Office SharePoint Server 2007 shows the Microsoft Exchange Server distribution lists (DL) and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 sites a user is a member of. The list of site memberships is available in the My Links control, which appears in the top navigation bar on sites associated with the current Shared Services Provider (SSP), and in the Microsoft Office clients in the File/Open dialog under My SharePoints.

Colleagues

Office SharePoint Server 2007 automatically adds your manager, your peers, and your direct reports as your colleagues. In addition, Office SharePoint Server 2007 allows you to add colleagues (people you know), so you can easily navigate to your colleagues’ My Site public pages. Office SharePoint Server 2007 also provides a Colleague Tracker Web Part on My Site, which tells you what changed about your colleagues. Also, when searching for people in your company, you can group by social distance so that your colleagues are displayed to you first. 

Shared Context

When a user visits another user’s Profile page, Office SharePoint Server 2007 shows all the commonalities between the two users, such as:

  • Their common manager

  • The DLs and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 sites they are both a member of

  • The colleagues they have in common

    NoteNote:

    The object model allows you to find commonalities between any two user profile instances.

Web Services

Office SharePoint Server 2007 now provides Web services that can write to the User Profile database. Office SharePoint Server 2007 also provides additional Web services to discover all servers in the farm that are running Office SharePoint Server 2007, find sites that are targeted to a user, and other tasks.

Change Log

The User Profile store maintains a change log that records the changes to the user profiles in the database. Office SharePoint Server 2007 provides a Web service and an object model to access the change log programmatically.

Privacy and Security

Office SharePoint Server 2007 enables you to set privacy policies on user profile properties, colleagues, and memberships, and to restrict who can access personal information. You can limit the visibility of properties, colleagues, links, and memberships to Only Me, My Manager, My Workgroup, My Colleagues, or Everyone.

Audience Targeting

SharePoint Portal Server 2003 supported targeting based on rules. Office SharePoint Server 2007 supports targeting based on rules-based audiences, Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 groups, and distribution list memberships. In addition, Office SharePoint Server 2007 provides the ability to target any list item, not just listings.

NoteNote:

Office SharePoint Server 2007 also provides a Web service that finds all the Office SharePoint Server 2007 sites that are targeted to a particular user.

People Search

Office SharePoint Server 2007 provides a search scope for just people. You can find people by name or by the user's public profile properties. The Enterprise Search feature in Office SharePoint Server 2007 supports property-based querying, social distance grouping, search refinement, and richer search results.

Customizable Picker Design

The People Picker and the Audience Picker in Office SharePoint Server 2007 are based on the generic customizable picker, PickerDialog. These pickers are defined in the Microsoft.Office.Server.WebControls namespace.

Robust User Delete Processing

Office SharePoint Server 2007 now has a robust process for deleting stale user profiles. It eliminates the problems SharePoint Portal Server 2003 had with deleting stale user profiles. Office SharePoint Server 2007 also offers an eventing model to track deletions and other actions on the user profiles.

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