Monday, October 29, 2012

SharePoint 2013 - Adopt it or Not?

You may have just finished with upgrading your SharePoint to 2010 version and now we are hearing about SharePoint 2013. What is this all about? And are you going to adopt it or not?

Microsoft releases a major version of SharePoint every three years. SharePoint 2013 is a significant release with many new great features. However, you may find it hard to justify moving on to 2013 release in the near future, unless you can find a business justification for spending the time and money it will take to make the transition.

I am going to highlight new features of SharePoint 2013 to help you with this decision.

Reuse Content Across Multiple Sites

One of the pain points experienced in previous versions of SharePoint was around the fact that content that was created within one site collection could not easily be reused in a separate site collection. Since many organizations required multiple site collections, this limitation created a few cases where duplicate content was required.

With 2013, the concept of Cross-Site publishing has been introduced. When using this feature you can store and manage content in one location and then display the content in other site collections. Using this approach you can display the data in as many places that are needed, while still only managing and maintaining one single point of truth.

Navigation and User Friendly Links

There are new navigation features and the ability to base a navigation structure of an existing term set. This allows organizations to centrally manage their content and to provide meaningful navigation structures within the multiple site collections. You can also create friendlier names when linking to pages and content within SharePoint.

In previous versions of SharePoint you were required to have longer URLs that contained references to the specific location you were trying to access. Within SharePoint 2013 you can now configure the URL so that it can be more easily referenced.

An example of this would be the following two URLs:

Previous SharePoint Versions:

http://www.contoso.com/Pages/Computers.aspx#/ID=453&Source=http%3A%2F1010101

SharePoint 2013 Friendly URL: http://www.contoso.com/Computers/model101

You can see that by removing the required URL parameters for ID and Source you are able to create friendly, memorable URLs for your sites and pages.

Changing Web Parts

There is a need to be able to "gather" and "present" data to users. In previous versions of SharePoint this was done through either the Content Query Web Part or a custom Roll Up solution.

Because of limitations in performance, the Content Query Web Part was restricted in how it could be utilized across organizations. If you had many users who needed to roll up a large amount of content it is likely that you could experience performance issues in using the web part.

SharePoint 2013 adds a new web part that will allow you to provide the same functionality as the Content Query Web Part, but is instead based on the search functionality available within SharePoint. Because this web part is based on search, many of the existing limitations have been reduced.

Design Changes

In SharePoint 2013 there are many new techniques that can be used to aide in the branding and customization of your sites. One of the biggest impacts is the ability to create a SharePoint custom design in any design tool of choice. This means your designers are not limited to only working within SharePoint Designer to build their custom design.

Social Features

The list of new features in Social Enterprise include: micro blogs, activity feeds, community sites, Following, Likes and Reputations.

Community templates have been designed in a way that allows anyone within the organization to join a community and to begin discussions on things relevant to the community. These communities are a great way to share information in a collaborative way, at the same time making intellectual property with the organization available to a larger audience.

In addition to making it easier for people to come together, SharePoint community templates also provide some features that allow for them to be easily managed, including built-in moderation features. This means that you can still maintain a level of control within the discussions that are had over certain sensitive topics.

With the newest microblogging features, users will be able to start threads that include tags of other people and links to relevant content.

Following adds the ability to "follow" people, sites, documents and topics, with subsequent actions of the followed entity appearing in the user's activity stream. By following other users within the organization users will be able to see items within their feeds and follow things that are relevant to them.

My Site

In SharePoint 2013 saving documents into My Sites is going to get a lot easier. There is a single document library, not two as in SharePoint 2010, and the permissions have been simplified, making it easier to share documents with colleagues. My Site document library can be synced with a local drive to enable offline access so you can access your documents even when the server is unavailable.

Mobility

It is easier to access SharePoint content from a mobile device in the 2013 version. Adding to the existing classic view, SharePoint 2013 offers two new views for mobile devices, including a contemporary view for optimized mobile browser experience and a full-screen view which enables the user to have a full desktop view of a SharePoint site on a smartphone device.

Site Permissions

SharePoint 2013 includes new, simplified sharing based model for site permissions management.

Themes

SharePoint 2013 will bring richer themes and even the ability to add a background image to the page.

Metro

Microsoft is using the new term "Metro" to describe its new, radical UI design of SharePoint. It is supposed to be easier to use. Microsoft is planning to use Metro as the default UI for SharePoint as well as user tools like Office, Windows, Xbox and mobile devices.

1 comment: