SharePoint Conference #SPC14 What you need to know

Posted on 3/5/2014 @ 6:32 PM in #SharePoint by | Feedback | 3870 views

Before you ask (and I’ve gotten > 100 emails asking this), I am not at SPC. I’ve skipped every SPC so far, this wasn’t any different
As a small business, I cannot justify the cost of 5 days off of work, hotels, airtickets, plus I am working putting out fires as they speak.
But I am glad you are at SPC. In this connected world of the internet, I’ve decided to leverage the internet to stay on top of SPC.

So bookmark this, as this post will continue to be updated. And please retweet this, and add comments below, community knowledge will improve and correct what I couldn't capture.

Here are my takeaways

  1. This is not a surprise, but cloud cloud cloud! I have said this before, and it should be pretty damned clear, on-prem is going is the step child going forward. Office365 and cloud are the darling puppies now, and on-prem is the stray dog being thrown bones until it dies.
  2. The next version of on-prem will be in 2015. Avoiding the cruft of marketing and carefully chosen words, I expect this to be an incremental release, with as I said, bones left over from the new puppy (cloud) thrown to on-prem to give it a better quality of life as it dies, a.k.a. hospice.
    1. Mary Jo has some opinions on what this means for Office client and Office for mac. Worth reading.
    2. The next version of On-Prem SharePoint will support farm solutions (link).
  3. Office Apps have been a focus clearly. I have been diving a lot into it lately myself, and with SP1, I see some improvements. I am tweeting about SP1 improvements I discover bit by bit at @sahilmalik. If you can look past my crass humor, sometimes I may tweet useful stuff.
  4. A number of new Office 365 APIs enabling you to build much richer apps targeting file/folder operations, Mail, Calendar and contacts, Authentication  and Authorization using the common consent framework, discovery service, and more.
    1. For more information on the new Office 365 APIs, see here.
    2. You can install new tools Office Dev Tools for Visual Studio 2013 and Office 365 API Tools for Visual Studio 2013.
    3. These APIs are RESTful thankfully. I’ve never been a fan of CSOM because it seems like a home-grown Microsoft only concoction. I’m much happier to see Microsoft invest in open standards such as REST and OAuth. Good!
    4. Azure AD OAuth available for developers in Office 365 (preview for now). This was going to happen sooner or later, Azure AD is replacing ACS, and if you have Office 365, you already have Azure AD – dumb easy decision for Microsoft to expose it to the outside world for extensibility.
    5. OnPrem –> Hybrid –>  Cloud. And don’t underestimate the complexity of this move, and as a CIO, start talking to techies who know, rather than non-tech managers who don’t. Knowledge is power.
  5. New Office Web Widgets, people picker and list view, available as nuget packages. I am thrilled to see SharePoint leverage Nuget.
  6. A new open source Android SDK for Office 365, available on github for you to fork or spoon.
    1. Unfortunately I don’t see an iOS SDK, but if you need iOS help on Office 365 apps, hit me up. Though I can’t imagine Microsoft would ignore this for long – either way, SDK or no SDK, it is definitely possible for us to write iOS apps targeting Office 365 today (hell its been possible for the past year or so).
  7. Yammer conversations surface up right inside of Office Apps now.
  8. The keynote by Bill Clinton was a waste of time unless you are a fan of Clinton and into politics. It had zero technical value from my point of view. XPOTUS Clinton is a pretty damned good speaker, so I’m not surprised to see all the positive reaction, still I think from a SharePoint Office 365 point of view, save 45 mins in your life and skip that in the keynote. He didn’t even mention SharePoint.See my tweet below,
  9. Yammer has been integrated into Dynamics CRM, which will be further enhanced in the spring 2014 release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
  10. Yammer has been a part of Office 365 enterprise plans since November 2013. This spring, Yammer will also be a part of Office 365 Academic and Midsize Business plans.
  11. Yammer and Office 365 authentication has been integrated, which will allow Microsoft to put a yammer tab on the top suitebar in an Office 365 SharePoint site – enabling seamless transition from one to another.
  12. SharePoint 2013 SP1 released in Feburary 2013, also makes it possible to connect on-prem to Yammer.
  13. Office 365 Graph, is Yammer’s enterprise graph expanded to Office 365. Connected to that is Oslo, which is a new app. Oslo is how users will use Office Graph. Unclear at this time what the API of Office graph will be like, and what it means to developers, partners, and customers. We do know that it will have an API though (link). Codename Oslo can be best described as flipboard for SharePoint powered by search/Office Graph. Neat, but not worth the attention it is getting IMO.
    1. Remember Yammer still has a lot of integration challenges with SharePoint and Office 365 in general. I view the announced improvements as giving a drop of water to someone who just had hot indian chicken curry. Its gonna take a lot more Microsoft. See my views on yammer and sharepoint social challenges here.
    2. The next version of SharePoint in 2015 will still have the social features – but they will be unchanged, exactly the same as what you have in 2013 today. No changes! No improvements. This is still a sore thorn in customer’s donkey’s IMO, to “Go Yammer” as Jared Sptaro puts it, you have to go cloud. Many customers are not ready for 100% cloud yet … not an easy transition either.
    3. However, if I was a customer of SharePoint today, and if I could get my mind out of the “why we can’t mentality”, and instead look at “why we should” – seriously, go Office365 + Yammer. I think its time!
  14. Groups in Office 365, is a pretty neat feature. Creating a new group in will create an inbox, social feed, calendar, and document library that group members can use to get the job done. Remember we had all those social site definitions that were deprecated in 2013? This seems to take its place. Except, instead of using SharePoint features, it is going to leverage email and yammer.
    1. This also underscores another strong belief I have – Microsoft wants to gradually remove its dependence on current gen on-prem SharePoint architecture, and move to a sturdier, more reliable platform, while making the transition as smooth as possible, users will only notice a better and improved featureset. I whole heartedly support Microsoft in this endeavor. SharePoint in it’s current form is unfixable, but yet it is what brought us this far. The future “SharePoint” if they still call it that, in Office 365, many years down the road, will be radically different than what you see today on-prem.
  15. Improvements to Visual Studio tools -
    1. Cloud Business App, which my next code-magazine article will talk of, was introduced with VS2013.
    2. Support for SAP Netweaver Gateway for SAP data connections
    3. New templates to support new app types and end points.
    4. Start Action – now lets you launch Office Desktop Client, making debugging easier for Office Apps.
    5. Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2013 – March 2014 Update (link)
    6. Napa while still not a serious dev tool, also keeps getting MSLove and improvements (link).
  16. My Apps and Store links integrated in Office Ribbon, pushing the store on us, encouraging us to put apps in the store.
  17. A new Office 365 Video portal coming this year – allowing you to create an enterprise youtube in your organization supported by azure media services.
  18. Microsoft will open up the API for self-service site collections in Office 365 (link).
  19. Access 2013 is going to play in increasingly big role. This is something I have been a proponent of, instead of InfoPath. To be clear, not Access Services 2010 – but as it exists in the 2013 release. But it needs a lot of good thought and planning on the server side for good execution.
  20. Microsoft is doing weekly updates on Office 365, with 99.98% uptime. That is impressive (link)
  21. Microsoft will introduced elastic scale in Office 365 – 1TB per site collection, and infinite scale per tenancy. Perhaps I’m too old and jaded with marketing promises, so I take this with a grain of salt, I’ll believe it when I see it, until then I’m putting this in the category of fartware. (link)
  22. Compliance and eDiscovery features of on-prem SharePoint being leveraged in Office 365 to create a new compliance center. I guess this will keep some BAs employed, I am not that impressed by this. Meh!
  23. OneDrive for Business as a stand alone service – its cloud only. 25GB per user, Promotional pricing: $2.50 per user per month in all licensing agreements/programs (50% discount). For customers with Office with SA or Office 365 ProPlus: $1.50 per user per month; agreement types included: Open, Enterprise Agreement, and MPSA. (link)
  24. SharePoint App store now supports subscriptions (link)
  25. File extension definition as a custom action in SharePoint hosted apps, allowing you to open files in a document library with your app. Pretty good for say, “import excel sheet into my ERP system” for instance ..
  26. Community Source Code location for the Office App Model Samples, also read Vesa’s intro here and as far as the new “Browser mimic pattern”, read this conversation between Vesa and me here.
  27. PowerBI connectivity to SAP business objects via PowerQuery
  28. Lync and Skype presence will be brought into Yammer (link).
  29. InfoPath will be replaced by a mixture of 4 technologies, List Forms (designed in the browser), Structured documents (designed in word), App Forms (designed using MS Access), and Excel surveys (designed in excel).
    1. Highly advisable not to invest any further in InfoPath IMO (InfoPath future)
    2. If you are using InfoPath in Office 365 – don’t. You’ll loose support in the near future (they say next major release)
    3. If you are using it on-prem – don’t. Supported until 2023, but do you really want to invest in what is essentially a dead product with no future?
    4. No migration path from InfoPath to next gen (whatever it will be) – not right now atleast
  30. The ListForms is the true replacement for InfoPath, it’s all HTML5, but its also quite basic and new right now. See roadmap.
  31. A pretty good resource for Yammer’s REST API, good for creating Apps targeting Yammer.
  32. Not a new resource, but anyone serious with search must check this out -
  33. Office Apps in SP1 have gotten a lot of improvements (link)
  34. Nice Infographics (download here)
    1. Introductory Material
      1. What is SharePoint? (link)
      2. Why build apps for SharePoint? (link)
      3. What can you do with apps? (link)
      4. Mapping SharePoint concepts to apps (link)
      5. SharePoint API landscape (link)
    2. App Patterns
      1. SharePoint-hosted apps (Link)
      2. ACS, provider-hosted apps (link)
      3. High trust, provider-hosted apps (link)
      4. Cross-domain, provider-hosted apps (link)
    3. Design Choices
      1. Hosting options (link)
      2. App types at a glance (link)
      3. Data storage in apps (link)
      4. Data access options in apps for SharePoint (external data) (link)
      5. Data access options in apps for SharePoint (SharePoint data) (link)
      6. SharePoint workflows (link)
  35. Microsoft will allow you to hide SharePoint online suite bar links (link)

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