The changes made to SharePoint Search in SharePoint 2013 are too numerous to describe in a single blog post, but I’ll try to provide an overview of some of the major improvements ,with the intent of emphasizing the central role played by search in the new platform. Our future solution architectures for applications will likely have search as a key design consideration. The search-related sessions that I attended at SPC 2012 were well filled to capacity, so there does seem to be a great interest in the future to SharePoint Search.
In his session on building search-driven applications, Scot Hillier made the point that we should no longer think of search in the limited scope of what occurs when a user types in a search term in a search box and the corresponding results that appear. Rather, we should think of search as a data access technology, in the same vein as CAML, REST and CSOM. In fact, he went as far as to say that search is the data access technology because, as he put it, “Search knows where all the skeletons are buried.”
We’re out at the SharePoint Conference 2012 this week and learning a ton about the new features of SharePoint 2013. One of particular interest to the IT pros should be the introduction of PowerShell 3.0. There are a number of new features available in PowerShell 3.0 not to mention the cmdlets!
I just attended the “Delivering Winning Projects in SharePoint with Microsoft Project” breakout session, and Project 2013 (along with SharePoint 2013) brings some compelling new and improved functionality to those managing and working on projects.
Some of the goals of the latest version of Project were to make it easy to quickly set up a project, improve collaboration and provide flexibility in managing and consuming project data. The session was largely demo-driven with each of these goals highlighted throughout.
Project and SharePoint 2013 are much more tightly integrated now than they were in the past. Project schedules can be built in either the Project 2013 client or in a SharePoint 2013 task list, and changes are synchronized in both directions. When creating a new project schedule, a project manager can create a SharePoint 2013 project site from the Project 2013 client by using the “Sync with SharePoint” option on the “Save As” menu. This will create a new SharePoint project site, create a task list (populated with the tasks from your project schedule), and also upload the project file to the new project site.
SharePoint enables collaboration with your project team and the new task list in SharePoint 2013 will significantly enhance this capability. The new task list is much less cumbersome to work with, especially the new datasheet view which is rendered completely in the browser and no longer is dependent on having Office or Access installed. Sub-tasks can be created, keyboard shortcuts are supported, and tasks can be completed simply by checking them off in the datasheet sheet view.
The entire experience is very similar to managing tasks in the Project client. As many project managers know, collecting status updates on development tasks is not always easy, but with the new streamlined SharePoint 2013 task list and the ability to seamlessly sync with Project, this becomes much easier. Custom fields can be created in your project schedule using the Project 2013 client, which will in turn create those fields in your SharePoint 2013 task list. These fields can also be mapped and synchronized selectively, so the project manager can prevent overloading the project team working on tasks with data.
Other new Project 2013 features include:
- Full-featured reporting capabilities, with around a dozen charts available out-of-the-box and the ability to create ad-hoc reports and graphs to report on the status of your projects.
- The Team Planner view which provides a visualization of the tasks that are assigned to each resource in your project schedule, making it simple to identify and correct resource utilization problems.
- The Task Path feature makes it easy to visualize and assess the impact that a single task has on a project schedule.
I am definitely looking forward to using these new features of Project 2013 (and using the new SharePoint 2013 task list) to manage my project.
During yesterday’s breakout sessions, I attended Sean Livingston’s session on SharePoint 2013 Upgrade. A few minutes into the presentation, Sean offered up a quip that is certainly true across any platform level migration: “Upgrades lead to unpleasant feelings between the users and the IT staff.”
To be fair, upgrades bring “new stuff,” which often the users are clamoring for. However the process of designing, engineering, implementing and provisioning the upgrade tends to be long running, particularly where large blocks of content must be migrated from one version to another. Upgrade plans must carefully balance the run times required to upgrade the content, training time for users and other background tasks against the need to keep serving up content through the transition. Migrations can be a headache from start to finish. However, several features in SharePoint 2013 aim to ease the upgrade process, if not completely avoid all headaches.
In the eBook, Vishwas presents app solutions for different scenarios, with perspectives from a cast of characters which includes a power user, a developer, an administrator and an industry analyst. In these scenarios, the following questions will be answered:
• Why are apps needed?
• What nagging problems are they designed to solve?
• What kinds of apps can we expect to see in the marketplace?
• How will SharePoint apps be secured?
• What are the various revenue models supported?
• Would in-app purchases be allowed? What about ads?
• What is the difference between a public app store and a corporate app catalog?
“I decided to write a story about friends and co-workers and their day-to-day productivity challenges,” said Vishwas, “and how Office and SharePoint 2013 —combined with the cloud —will change the way they all do business.”
The eBook is available at Amazon.com, and is FREE during the SharePoint 2012 conference.
During the Microsoft SharePoint Conference keynote yesterday morning, there weren’t a lot of surprises (if you’ve been paying attention for the last few months, that is). However, you can always learn something from the emphasis that Microsoft puts on certain topics. The biggest “announcement” was that the enterprise features of Yammer are now included with Office 365 E Plans and SharePoint Online. SharePoint 2013 also went up for sale (at least for some customers) yesterday. The rest is all about the cloud and apps.