Introducing SharePoint Server 2013: What is in the box?
Since February rumors have been a big part of the online discussion in the global SharePoint community. Microsoft – quite early – released documentation for some of the API’s for the forthcoming version of SharePoint products and Technologies – at the time known as SharePoint 15.
Rumors are always fun, but not that useful. Even if some of the post out there have been pretty close to what now finally is revealed to be reality, Microsoft have been very successful in preventing too many details getting to the public, and through that preventing the type of damage this could do to their own business, and the business of system implementers.
A question that is interesting to ask, is why people are really that aggressive when it comes to pushing what is – in most cases –undocumented and speculative testimonies into the blogosphere. Nobody – except maybe the smart norwegian Bjørn Furuknap (that story is covered in so many other places that I don’t need to do it again) is really making any money out of these speculations, and even so, we all attracted to all kind on news we can get. In many ways SharePoint 15 has been to the SharePoint community what like Justin Bieber is to my teenage daughters. They have a cardboard Justin in the room – so perhaps is should get one of those things – a cardboard Jeff Teeper – for the office?
Today is the day where we can finally validate all the rumors, so for most of us who are SP-addicts (there should be a cmdlet…) this is a special day. Either because you can now finally see what is inside the box and start thinking about how to persuade your boss to get this thing installed – or if you have been playing around with early bits – you can finally start to talk about it.
In February was in Redmond for a 5 day training on SharePoint 15. Since then me and a team of bright Scandinavian guys been working our way through 2 Beta versions and I am just as exited like everyone else to start to talk about this in our community. It’s been a trip with many up’s and downs – and my expectations for the Beta 2 release, is absolutely that a good part of the latter has been taken care of.
I am the architect in a global roll-out of SharePoint 2013, serving up to 30.000 users with brand new capabilities for knowledge sharing and search. This is a major project and we have a great team of professional that have been analyzing SharePoint 2013 and building a massive infrastructure (40+ servers in 7 farms planned at launch time) and some quite heavy customization of the new MySites and the brand new Community Sites – all stitched together by a set of new social capabilities and a “real” Enterprise Search implementation, that is kicking…
Going into details here, would be far to much information for a single post, so I am not going to do that. But over the next few months, I am going to post more detailed articles of each of the areas in SharePoint 2013 where I have made some experiences and where Microsoft have made a progress that will make a difference. And I can tell you already now, that there are a lot of these areas.
Social in SharePoint Server 2013
The biggest game-changer is really the new social capabilities. SharePoint has been missing this but now it’s there. The Newsfeed/Activity feed of users makes the case for making MySite your new startpage, and the information you now get on a person – in MyProfile – is also now driven by the social network and activities that person is engaged in. With some easy tricks, you can have Newsfeed on every site, and these are automatically connected to your personal stream. And – of course you can tag topics with # and do “at mentions” of people with @ – all is neatly integrated with the managed metadata store that has also learned a few new tricks; metadata-based navigation, custom term properties etc.
User Profiles are still at the heart of Mysite, but a new Active Directory import mode, will make it easier for most companies to get their users in there.
Search is at the heart of everything…
Search is the next big area is Search; Fast Search is no longer a product of it’s own, but the enterprise functionality has been built into the SharePoint Server product, and most of the advanced search functionality has been made much more accessible through the SharePoint UI. Search is going to be driving much more content in the in SharePoint 2013, and Microsoft has built things like a search driven version of the popular “Content Query” webpart breaking down barriers of site collections and much more. There’s a lot of great stuff in that area and I think that Search will be right in the center of most great solutions that will be built on SharePoint 2013.
Brand new UX – and branding toolset
Finally branding has gotten a lift – bigger than you probably imagined. The ribbon is still there, but the rest of SharePoint is “not to be recognized”. The work that I have done on SharePoint 2012 so far, included a lot of of UX and we have had a string of meetings with Microsoft UX people that have told us about how Metro design principles and guidelines have been used to create a cleaner and more responsive user experience.
There are lots of other things that qualify as “big new areas” – the SharePoint AppStore; a possible game-changer for SharePoint add-on vendors, the new work management service application and naturally Office Web applications, which are not a part of SharePoint anymore, but a separate product.
Much more to come on these – I am looking forward to talk about these things with all of you. If you want to get fed my SharePoint 2013 stuff automatically – just sign-up for the newsletter. If you want to have a say in what gets done when – go to the poll.