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Group site for developer blogs dealing with (usually) .NET, SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2010, Office 365, SharePoint Online, and other Microsoft products, as well as some discussion of general programming related concepts.

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Corey Roth [MVP]

A SharePoint MVP bringing you the latest time saving tips for SharePoint 2013, Office 365 / SharePoint Online and Visual Studio 2013.

May 2016 - Posts

  • Office 365 Groups or Team Sites? No need to have that discussion any more!

    Any time Microsoft releases a new feature that has an overlap with a new feature, we see a flurry of fluff in the form of blog posts and even sessions on which feature to use when?  When Office 365 Groups came out, this was no exception.  What has changed?  At the Future of SharePoint event, Microsoft announced that every group in Office 365 will benefit from an associated Team Site.  Every Office 365 Group you create will get a new modern Team Site provisioned that shows a clear linkage to the Group.

    image

    That’s pretty cool and should help eliminate the confusion on what to use when since you no longer have to make a decision.  Microsoft has also stated that existing Office 365 Groups (as in the ones you have now) will also get a Team Site associated with them as well.  This means whatever you are doing now, it’s ok.  You’ll be in good shape when the new features are rolled out.

    The updated Team Site home page provides a quick way to find the most important and relevant content on the site.  Content and news can be pinned to the front page and the Office Graph is baked right in to highlight activity relevant to you.  What’s even better is that you can even access it through the new SharePoint mobile app.

    Another exciting change from the new Team Site experience is that they will be provisioned faster.  Whereas, it used to take several minutes to provision a site collection, now it should only be a matter of seconds. 

    Between the Office 365 Group, the new team site home page, and existing team sites, we haven’t seen quite how all of this ties together yet.  It will be interested to see where things go.

    This isn’t out yet, where should I put content right now?

    Ok, so the conversation is not quite dead yet.  For now, if you need features that are only in Team Sites such as workflow or metadata, use a Team Site.  If you don’t care about Metadata and the document library in Office 365 Groups is good enough for you, then use that.  As you can see, Office 365 Groups is really starting to tie everything together.

  • One key takeaway from SharePoint 2016 General Availability

    This morning at the Future of SharePoint event, Microsoft announced the General Availability (GA) of SharePoint Server 2016.  While many customers have transitioned to the cloud with Office 365, on-premises SharePoint is still very real and alive.  As an end user, you might have looked at SharePoint Server 2016 and wondered “Why bother?”.   There really isn’t many new features that the end user is going to get excited about.  Yes, you’ll get a nice new suite bar, but most of the rest of the features the user cares about are linked to hybrid scenarios.

    What you should take away from today’s event is that you are not upgrading to SharePoint Server 2016 for what you get today.  You are upgrading for what you get in the future.  Whereas previous versions of SharePoint Server were very much static and didn’t change over the three year release cycle, this version is very different.  This version lays the foundation for new features to be delivered through Feature Packs.  These Feature Packs will bring new features to your on-premises SharePoint farm without having to wait until the next big version.  Microsoft even plans on delivering a set of capabilities specific to the needs of on-premises customers.

    Don’t worry, new features won’t just show up overnight like in Office 365.  Instead, as a SharePoint administrator, you’ll be able to have control over which features you enable in your farm.  This will give you time to plan and communicate change accordingly.  For whatever reason you run on-premises SharePoint, this should be an exciting announcement as it means you won’t get left in the cold waiting for the latest killer feature.  Does that mean, every feature from Office 365 is coming down to on-premises? No.  Some features simply aren’t feasible on-premises.  That’s why the hybrid story is so important.  However, it does mean, you’ll get updates on-premises faster than ever before.

    Feature Packs will be delivered through the public update channel starting in 2017.  Microsoft will announce more details about the upcoming Feature Packs in the coming months.  To get the new Feature Pack, your company will have to have purchased SharePoint with Software Assurance.  For Enterprise customers, that’s probably most of you.  You’ll notice this is similar to the model that Windows 10 is using and the way it updates as well.

    There is an exciting road ahead for SharePoint.  Be sure and read everything about it in case you missed any of it.

  • About to start a major Intranet project? Take a step back and see what’s coming to SharePoint

    For years, enterprise have been spending huge amounts of money and time building their Intranet on top of the SharePoint platform.  Intranets take lots of planning and development even to get the most basic of functionality.  Throw in heavy branding and responsive design and you’re looking at a significant investment.  Launching a new Intranet has just been too long of a process with too many technical hurdles, but things are going to improve.

    SharePoint team site and mobile app

    Microsoft has announced a new page publishing experience that will make a lot of publishing scenarios much simpler.  It provides an updated page authoring canvas that allows for simple branding and page layouts while still having some extensibility hooks.  Best of all what you create here is responsive and works seamlessly with the new SharePoint app.  Out-of-the-box you will be able to quickly creates pages without a bunch of up-front configuration first.  Remember what you had to do before?  You know, create content types, page layouts, master pages, workflows, page libraries and more.  Not to mention, Microsoft has been telling you to stop customize master pages for some time now.  You want to go back to that?

    SharePoint becomes a first class citizen in Office 365 – a few years ago, you might nave noticed that references to the actual term SharePoint were few and far between in Office 365.  The only real entry point to SharePoint was through the Sites link in the app launcher.  That’s changing.  The link will now say SharePoint in it and so will the navigation in the suite bar.  Clicking on the link will take you to the new entry point or SharePoint Home which pushes sites that you frequent right to the center.  It also tracks sites you are following as well as provides links to other sites.  This should make it easier to find many of the sites you need without an organization having to put a lot of thought into the information architecture.  While it won’t outright replace it.  It’s a great starting point for organizations who have never bothered to really set anything up like that.

    SharePoint home page with activity - 100 percent

    But my Intranet *MUST* do X or we can’t use it – great!  Keep doing what you are doing and customize the whole thing the way you used to.  However, if your requirements are flexible, the first release may be just what you need.  If you are looking for a simple page authoring canvas with little ramp-up, I think you are going to like it.  This upcoming release, I think will come close to hitting the “80%” mark where it’s good enough to get people publishing content quickly and easily.  If you have advanced needs and you find that you need something more, then you are probably going to have to go back to the conventional publishing model while you wait for new features to come online in future releases.

    The Intranet, not just for huge Enterprises any more.  I have worked at a number of consulting companies and there is good money in helping clients build out elaborate Intranets.  Sure a lot of that comes down to the planning and design, but the implementation was just overly complex.  Just as Office 365 has brought features like Team Sites and Exchange into small organizations years ago, the new modern pages experience is making the Intranet broadly available to smaller organizations.  That’s pretty exciting.

    SharePoint-the-mobile-and-intelligent-intranet-7-and-8

    We are about to start a big Intranet project or are in the middle of one – This is a tricky place to be in and your organization will have to make decisions about timelines.  The new SharePoint Home entry will be here soon but the modern page publishing features are further out in 2016.  Although there is limited information right now.  Try and take a look at your requirements and see if the new Modern pages experience will meet your requirements.  If you don’t think it will, them continue implementing your new Intranet as usual and take another look at it in the future.  If you think it does meet your requirements, then maybe take a step back and see what happens and use this as an opportunity to fully vet out your define phase.  Ultimately, it comes down to your organization’s priorities, requirements, and timelines.

    The future of SharePoint is bright.  Today has taught us that Microsoft is continuing to invest in the product as a core.  If you missed any of the announcements, be sure and read through them to find out everything that’s coming.

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