Earlier this week, Julia White from Microsoft posted a great blog post that covered Microsoft’s vision of SharePoint and Office 365 and how they are evolving together. A primary announcement was made in this blog in which they have confirmed there will be another version of SharePoint on-premises. The announcement also released the name of the new version, SharePoint Server 2016. I am actually a little surprised by the new name. If I would have had to guess the new name I would have led to towards a branding shift to the “Office” realm. Overall this is good news in my opinion as there are multitudes of companies which are either not ready or may never be ready for the cloud. This announcement is showing that Microsoft is listening to the large SharePoint community and you can you voice your opinion as well on the Customer Feedback portal for the Office Developer Platform.
Here are some of my thoughts about her message:
Consistent user experience
The term “Experiences” was used a lot and I believe that is a good way to look at these solutions moving forward. This term shows that they have the end user as a central part of their development strategies. As new services and solutions are released they are working on “blending experience across Office 365 and blurring the lines across traditional product silos.” I believe that as these solutions evolve the end user should not need to know what product they are on but simply how they can effectively get work done. End users should not need to say go to SharePoint to get that document.
HYBRID, Hybrid, hybrid
With the release of a new version of on-premises, upgrades in the hybrid space were a requirement. Currently the feature set is not very robust and can be complicated to set up depending on the way you are moving information. The new version was “designed, developed and tested with the Microsoft Software as a Service (SaaS) strategy at its core.” And for hybrid Julia states “we’re focused on robust hybrid enablement in order to bring more of the Office 365 experiences to our on-premises customers.” This is great news for companies as the world of SharePoint evolves.
Lots of new info at Ignite
Microsoft Ignite is occurring May 4-8 in Chicago. This is a new conference from Microsoft which combines conferences such as TechEd, Exchange, Lync, & SharePoint. Bill Baer (Senior Product Manager for SharePoint) has posted a blog about the top 3 sessions to learn more about SharePoint Server 2016. Hopefully we will get to see and learn about some of the features they have planned for this new on-premises version. I will say that I believe their will not be many new features released for the product that aren’t currently in Office 365 but I do hope to see the changes for the IT Professionals on the management side. Here is a list of SharePoint specific Ignite sessions.
A large SharePoint community
There are millions of users (9.2 million Office 365 subscribers) who interact and work with the SharePoint community. There were some other blogs & articles that I wanted to highlight as I believe they are a great read as we all are adapting to the changing technical world of Microsoft.
InfoPath & 2016
Last year around this time the Office Team at Microsoft posted a blog entry to update everyone about InfoPath. This announcement let everyone know that InfoPath was going away along with the timelines for removal of InfoPath Form Services components of SharePoint and SharePoint Online. This post has recently been updated with an editors note:
“Specifically, InfoPath Forms Services will be included in the next on-premises release of SharePoint Server 2016, as well as being fully supported in Office 365 until further notice. Customers will be able to confidently migrate to SharePoint Server 2016 knowing that their InfoPath forms will continue to work in their on-premises environments, as well as in Office 365.
The InfoPath 2013 application remains the last version to be released and will work with SharePoint Server 2016.”
This is good news for all of us who are still using InfoPath. This still does not tell us whether or not there will be a new forms solution in SharePoint Server 2016 alongside InfoPath. So InfoPath will continue to live on, it will still be the last version, and we are all still waiting to hear about the future of forms with Microsoft.