My Top 5 Favorite Things About SharePoint 2013

Over the past few weeks Microsoft has put out a ton of information related to SharePoint 2013. Jeff Teper recently blogged about the new SharePoint 2013 customer preview milestone and the SharePoint team blogs regular updates.

Hopefully you’ve also been able to review the various IT Pro and Developer resources available and have signed up for a SharePoint Online (Office 365 Enterprise) trial and/or setup a local SharePoint 2013 environment. Vesa Juvonen has also done a great job summarizing all of the free SharePoint 2013 training resources Microsoft has made available to help you get started.

Personally, I’ve been working with Scott Jamison and Sue Hanley on the “Essential SharePoint 2013” book and have been spending most of my “free time” (also known as nights and weekends!) working on that project - and helping my wife chase around our 4 kids! Winking smile

Here is a quick summary of 5 of my favorite things about SharePoint 2013 (so far …):

1. Social – Microsoft made significant investments in social computing in SharePoint 2013. Key highlights include micro blogging (with interactive newsfeeds for @ mentioning people, replying, tagging posts, liking, etc.); social search improvements; the ability to mark posts and replies for follow-up; mobile support; and modern community sites that include features such as badges, moderation and reputation scores. In addition to the great work done in SharePoint 2013, Microsoft also recently acquired Yammer, a leader in enterprise social computing.

2. Search – With this release, Microsoft has fully integrated the SharePoint and FAST search engines into a single search platform. This search platform not only powers SharePoint 2013 but Exchange 2013 search as well. Search has become core to many of the key SharePoint use case scenarios – more than just document search – but also being used to drive recommendations; social; analytics; and web content reuse.

3. Web Content Management – There are significant updates in web content management. Some of the highlights include “channels” for targeting content at different browsers and platforms; native support for HTML5 and CSSv3; the ability to use the design tool of your choice (no longer just SharePoint Designer or Visual Studio); the new content by search web part (for aggregating content across sites); metadata driven navigation; and automated language translation services.

4. SharePoint Online – SharePoint Online has come a long way in this version – its 3rd major service update/release. There is now near feature parity between SharePoint Online and on premises including richer support for business intelligence. There are also new related services built on top of SharePoint Online including Project Online and tighter integration with Windows Azure (e.g. Access Services).

5. New store and application model – SharePoint 2013 adds a new application store and development model. This article on MSDN does a great job summarizing these new capabilities.

I’ll continue to post periodically to this blog and my Twitter feed. I also look forward to seeing many of you at the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas in November 2012.