Microsoft’s SharePoint Conference 2014 started yesterday in Las Vegas with a keynote by Bill Clinton, followed by the usual suspects, Jared Spataro, Jeff Teper and Arpan Shah, presenting all the new stuff. This year I was unable to attend the Conference in person, but I got to watch the keynote live on Channel 9, and here’s what I’ve learned from it (and from a bunch of additional sources such as tweets, blog posts, and the like).
As the conference started, a few posts were published on Office Blogs:
- Technology is enabling new ways of working by Jeff Teper
- Work like a network! Enterprise social and the future of work by Jared Spataro
- The Office 365 platform —new opportunities for developers by Arpan Shah
Cloud vs On-Prem
Make no mistake – feature-wise, SharePoint On-Premise will start to lag behind SharePoint Online / Office 365. The only way is up. Here are some facts that support this claim:
- The next SharePoint Server version will be out in 2015. Meanwhile, Office 365 is getting updates almost on a weekly basis, and maintaining a very impressive 99,98% uptime.
- SharePoint “2015” will still include Social features but these will remain unchanged from SharePoint 2013. No investment will be made to improve it (more on this below).
- SharePoint SP1 (released in February 2014) adds support for hybrid scenarios where an on-premise SharePoint farm can have personal sites stored on OneDrive for Business (formerly SkyDrive Pro) in the cloud, and better Yammer integration with Yammer feeds instead of SharePoint Social feeds (more information here).
- Office 365 will have a new site template for Video Portal which will allow you to create a YouTube-like experience for your enterprise based on Azure Media Services.
- Elastic scale will come to Office 365, which will support site collections of up to 1TB (additional fees apply) and infinite scale per tenancy.
- OneDrive for Business will be released as a standalone service, competing directly with Dropbox and similar services (more information here).
Yammer will eventually replace SharePoint’s native social features so, according to Jared Spataro, we should all “Go Yammer”.
- Yammer is now integrated into Dynamics CRM
- Yammer is now accessible directly from the suite bar on Office 365, without requiring additional authentication
- Yammer conversations will be completely integrated with Outlook.com showing up as you click on a document, email or contact.
- Yammer will be a part of Office 365 Academic and Midsize Business Plans. It was already part of all Enterprise Plans.
- Microsoft expanded Yammer’s Enterprise Graph and built the Office Graph, which maps relationships between people and information by recording posts, likes, emails, replies, shares and uploads.
- A new app named Oslo will unleash the Office Graph potential and allow you to navigate through these relationships and discover new information.
- Yammer groups will become a cross-Office 365 concept. Creating a group anywhere on Office 365 will automatically provision a corresponding inbox, social feed, calendar and document library that group members can use. This new feature effectively replaces SharePoint’s workspaces.
- Yammer will be integrated with Lync and Skype.
With Office 2013 Service Pack 1, Office Apps gain additional features:
- PowerPoint and Access now support the new App Model.
- Outlook now supports a new type of App – Compose App – which allow you to interact will email messages or appointments when you are creating them.
- New Office Web Widgets, ListView and PeoplePicker, available as a NuGet package (more information here).
Tooling and Development
- New APIs for Office 365 focused on files/folders, calendar and contacts (more information here). It will also be possible to provision site collections on Office 365 programmatically.
- New open source Android SDK for Office 365 to help developers access data in Office 365 from Android Apps (more information here).
- New Cloud Business App project template on Visual Studio 2013 helps you create SharePoint Apps that leverage Windows Azure.
- Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2013 – March 2014 Update (get it here).
- Napa Development Tools were updated and improved
At the Conference, Joel Oleson organized a funeral procession for InfoPath, and that was about all I heard about Microsoft’s new approach to form solutions. I read somewhere that Access will have an important role in InfoPath’s replacement but, so far, nothing specific. Since this is one of the topics that SharePoint professionals and clients are most worried about, I was expecting it to be addressed during the keynote. I believe there will be, at least, one breakout session on this topic so let’s wait and see.