One new ECM feature that not too many people have talked about is the concept of default values for site columns. It turns out that you can use default values to do metadata inheritance. The way it works is that if you have a custom content types for your folder and child items, you can set default values on the folder and when a new document is created it will automatically set those values on the child content type. We used to have to write code to do this back in MOSS 2007.
After hearing about this new feature, I decided to go to the HOL while I was at SPC and see if I could get it to work. I created two new content types and created a new folder. When I brought up the ECB for the folder I saw a new item that said something to the effect of Set Default Values on this Folder. Here I was able to set values on my site columns. I then uploaded a document to the folder and viewed the properties and sure enough it had the default values I specified. I then used the new document button inside the folder and I noticed that the Document Information Panel did not have the default values. I saved the document to see if they would get set then, but they in fact did not. Now I don’t know if that is a bug or is by design or not. I guess only time will tell.
Either way, I think this is a good start and will definitely eliminate some code we have to write in the future. What I would really like to see next is an option to apply default values to all child items when there is a change (kind of like how you can apply changes to a content type).