Kirk Liemohn is a Principal Software Engineer in the Transformation Practice at ThreeWill. He has spent nearly a decade helping clients transform and migrate their content from one platform to another (typically to Microsoft 365) with a focus on the more complex scenarios. Prior to his transformation focus, Kirk led several key SharePoint integrations at ThreeWill including Jive, Polycom, and Confluence.
So much SharePoint, so little time…
I didn’t get to see all of the sessions at the SharePoint 2012 conference (spc12) that I was interested in. I was quadruple booked for every one, so there are plenty more (recorded) sessions that I want to watch, not to mention digging in and getting dirty.
Regardless, here are my initial impressions.
I absolutely love some new usability features that I have seen in SP2013:
- Minimal Download Strategy – by default when you navigate from page to page within a SharePoint site, very small changes are downloaded instead of the entire page. For example, the quick nav and global nav don’t change and are not part of the HTTP response. The result is a much faster and smoother experience for the user. I think this is really going to help people “like” (dare I say “love”) navigating around in SharePoint.
- Focus on Content – a simple icon is available which removes the navigation elements (quick nav and global nav) and just shows the body of the page. This should be very handy for when you are viewing lists with a lot of columns and rows.
- Drag and Drop – yes, you can drag and drop documents into a document library.
Yes, they are for real. It’s not clear to me how quickly and how much they will take off, but I think you should consider creating an app anytime you are doing SharePoint development. The good news is that these are not taking away any options for developers. We can still do Farm Solutions. Sandbox solutions are even an option, but not recommended (oopsies). Some great aspects of apps are:
- There is a public store hosted by Microsoft but you can also have an on-prem catalog for apps specific to a company.
- Apps use underlying API and infrastructure to allow for server-to-server communication within apps as well as client side cross-site messaging (e.g., resize the IFrame).
OK, this doesn’t excite users, but it should excite developers; esp. developers that have connected SharePoint with other systems. ThreeWill does a lot of this and this should make our life easier if the other side handles OAuth as well.
Now SharePoint workflows are built on top of Windows Workflow Foundation 4 and are hosted outside of SharePoint. I think the biggest deal here, though, is that SharePoint Designer workflows have a lot more power. They can have much more sophisticated capabilities with the ability to loop and jump to different areas of the workflow. I see this being very useful at ThreeWill.
I hadn’t heard any buzz on search going in, but there were around 26 sessions on search and there are plenty of things to be interested in. The big news is that FAST is now part of core search. This will have some pain because certain things are deprecated, but I think the positives will well outweigh the negatives. A few things to note include:
- Query Rules – these give you a lot of power on how search results are presented. I think this will open up the possibilities for search-based applications.
- Display Templates – this should make it a lot easier and less intrusive to provide a different display for custom content returned from search results. These are very powerful for displaying list content outside of search as well.
- Security Trimming (something near and dear to my heart) – you can now have a pre-trimmer in addition to a post-trimmer. The post-trimmer is similar to ISecurityTrimmer2 in SharePoint 2010. The pre-trimmer will let you provide claims information and map it to claims that can now come in from the BCS crawl. A much improved and faster approach than the post-trimmer (if feasible for your situation).
- Access – its baaaack! … or maybe it never left. But this appears to be more useful for real applications. I can’t believe I just wrote that, but the fact that is uses actual SQL Server tables looks promising.
- Remote debugging for SharePoint!
- Napa Microsoft 365 Developer Tools – looks pretty interesting; it’s a browser based development environment for O365.
- If I see one more Bing Maps demo I think I will throw up.
What did you takeaway?
Feel free to share some of your takeaways from the conference in the comments section – I’d love to hear them.