As part of the new features of SharePoint 2016 On-Premise there are some bold promises that have been causing issues with my customers for a long time that are supposedly fixed.
I intend to create some post that tries out these known limitations and see the results.
For this, I have created a standard Team Site out of the box and not turned on any features that are not turned on by default (yet…).
Here is a quick summary of what I shall be looking at for the next set of posts:
- Document Library Accessibility (https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/Mt346121(v=Office.16).aspx#doclib)
- Durable Links
- File names – expanded support for Special Characters (https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/Mt346121(v=Office.16).aspx#file)
- Image and Video Previews within a document library (https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/Mt346121(v=Office.16).aspx#preview)
- Large file support (https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/Mt346121(v=Office.16).aspx#largefile)
- Open Document Format (ODF) support (https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Set-Open-Document-Format-ODF-as-the-default-file-template-for-a-library-bf30a61d-1601-486e-8fa2-924bc5ea303e)
That’s quite a lot for a single post, so this may end up being a multi part situation, but you have probably already gathered, I tend to write these blogs as I try things out. So without further ado…
1. Document Library Accessibility
For this test I am using the standard Shared Documents, document library that is created with the team site by default.
Accessibility it always a hot topic for me as I used to work a lot in the education and charity / not for profit sectors when I was back in the UK. Accessibility mattered especially when working with the blind.
Keyboard shortcuts are provided for the following document tasks according to the documentation provided by Microsoft. Let’s give them a go:
- Alt + N – New – This worked with no issues and in a standard document library, I got the Upload Document dialog. This is dependent on the behavior of the default content type on the library. (Site Pages creates a new Wiki Page for example)
- Standard Document Library Example:
- Site Pages Example:
- Alt + E – Edit – In IE11, I could not get this to work as it kept invoking the edit menu in the browser. Tried CTRL + E, CTRL + Alt + E with a document selected and not selected but to no avail.
- Alt + U – Upload – Same functionality as Alt + N in the Shared Document library. Under the Site Pages library, it activated the upload dialogue. So it is slightly different.
- Alt + M – Manage
- Alt + S – Share – Either having a document selected or not, this always highlighted and set focus on the Search Box for me
- Alt + Y – Synchronization – Opened the One Drive for Business web dialog to start the sync
- Sync Example:
This is the Technical Preview, so maybe it will change with the full release or perhaps I am not doing something right. These tests were carried out with Accessibility mode turned on and off. The results were the same in both cases.
So I have had this post going on an off for a couple of days now, so it will definitely be multi part. Let’s get this one out there and we will work on Durable Links next time around.
Till the next time…
So I am running a project internally at the moment about moving away from a vended product to a capability in Office 365 / SharePoint Online using out of the box functionality as much as possible (cost saving exercise) – The Oil & Gas industry is hitting hard times if you haven’t seen commodity prices lately!
Anyway, this interim / temporary solution requires me to send an email to an external user.
With the SharePoint 2010 workflow engine, you could do this with a standard SharePoint Designer workflow.
In SharePoint 2013 they essentially deprecated the SharePoint 2010 workflow engine and introduced a new Azure based version.
This newer workflow engine requires the user that you send an email to an authenticated user with Active Directory / Azure Active Directory. This causes me an issue for my temporary solution in SharePoint Online!
Can Nintex Help?
I initially thought… perhaps Nintex Workflow for Office 365 Workflow can help?
Alas, it is based on the SP2013 Workflow engine, so no luck there…
(To be fair, you can’t really blame Nintex for supporting the current standard… I would do the same)
What are my options?
1. Add the external users to Azure AD – Not really an option in this case right now
2. Create a 2010 platform workflow with a single step – Email User. Call this workflow from the 2013 workflow and hope it stays supported – For this temporary solution, this may work but we all know how temporary often becomes permanent.
3. Create my own code / action to call a web service and send the email – This would work but for this temporary no code solution, it feels overkill. A good backup however, if the solution turns permanent.
4. Find a 3rd party product that can add actions. PlumSail has a package: https://plumsail.com/workflow-actions-pack/. $400 per year. – This is also a good option but there is of course this gotcha!
There isn’t going to be a SharePoint Designer 2016.
SharePoint Designer 2013 however still works.
Now that I have my newly installed SP2016 On-Premise environment and I can confirm that this is still currently available when you connect SharePoint Designer 2013 to a SP2016 On-Premise server.
I can also confirm that as of the time of writing, it is also still available in SharePoint Online.
So for this “temporary” project, this is likely the way we will go, knowing full well, it might go away at some point.
Stay tuned for more posts about SharePoint 2016 as I answer my own questions about the real business issues I face.
Part 2 of my mini blog posts as I install SP2016 Technical Preview over this Labor Day weekend.
We’re installed! I chose Single Server Install right now as I have limited resources on my host and it is my intention to turn this into a DEV box for future App Model (Add In) projects.
Click Finish and Central Administration starts to load…
by all means send my info to the Customer Experience Program… it’s what this early access is all about!
Lastly, as you can see, Central Administration looks pretty familiar. For this Single Server Install I shall kick off the configuration wizard and see which managed services it installs by default.
Stay tuned for the next post as I kick off this process and blog the results…
Just a quick post to say that I am installing the SP2016 Technical Preview on my personal Hyper-V environment as I write this.
So lets look at the specs I am using.
Host: Windows 8 Pro, Core I7-4770 (3.4GHz Quad core with 8 logical CPU’s), 32GB RAM
NB: I haven’t gotten round to upgrading this PC to Windows 10 yet, but I will when the time is right.
Virtual Machines’s x 3:
- VM001: Active Directory, 2CPU, 1024GB RAM, Windows Server 2012 R2
- VM002: SQL Server 2014, 4CPU, 12288GB RAM, Windows Server 2012 R2
- NB: I initially set it up with 2CPU & 8192GB RAM and it failed during the installation of the binaries just like SP2013 does when you install it with a lack of power
- VM003: SharePoint 2016 TP, 2CPU, 12288GB RAM, Windows Server 2012 R2
All of this, with internal network switching setup and external access for patching etc…
Lastly, given that there is a lot of waiting about, I am watching the Last Ship on my Plex environment whilst I install 🙂
Stay tuned for more details…
Putting things in context…
If you have followed this blog over the last few years, you will know that I am no longer part of the Microsoft Partner Network and I now find myself working on the other side of the fence.
Rather than looking for the very latest technologies and keeping myself up to speed to aid my customer’s requirements, I now have a specific customer in mind, with specific requirements.
Right now I manage a team of .NET and SharePoint developers and contractors with a heavy emphasis on wanting to know how to develop in cloud based technologies such as Office 365, Azure etc.
Anyway, so lets talk about the sessions (multiple blog posts to come) and discussions at the Office Expo area (vendor stands)
SharePoint 2016 Roadmap and New Features
Delve and the Office Graph API
So they are bring SharePoint 2016 to the On-Premise environment with the key feature that Microsoft is bringing down is Delve and along with that the office graph API.
For those not in the know… Delve has been around for little in the Office 365 space but this will be the first time bringing the technology to the On-Premise environment and if you are to believe the hype in the conference… Delve and more to the point the Office Graph technology is the future in bringing disparate information to the end user from most technologies in the Microsoft Online space.
So lets talk about the Office Graph API… essentially it is the API to their machine learning engine behind the scenes, designed to bring together the information that is relevant to you!
Delve is the current front-end view of this API that surfaces the information from SharePoint, OneDrive, Search, Office 365 Video, & Exchange for now… but the API is in place for you to add your own custom apps!
New Blog Experience / Next Gen Portals
Along for the ride is new terminology called Next Gen Portals. Designed to be a single consistent experience for a particular piece of functionality.
- Blogs with the ability to drag images into the page that automatically get uploaded and stored
- Knowledge Management portals
- You Tube like Video Portals (O365 Video API’s are coming we are told!)
- New Personal Profile (as part of Delve) – the Me Contact Card
The theme being very much, why do all this customization to your portals, the 1st class experience is available out of the box and will be available On-Premise as well as on Office 365.
Hybrid Cloud Search
Introduced with the 2016 release will be a new Managed Service that will allow us to combine Office 365 Search and On-Premise Search into a single set of results (yes, all refiners will work across both indexes!). This is to help with Office 365 adoption in hybrid scenarios.
This coupled with the fact that the Office Graph API (built on top of search) essentially means you can inject search results and have them surface up in delve makes the whole proposition very powerful.
This hybrid Managed Service capability is also coming to SharePoint 2013 later this year!
The Document ID is no longer limited to a Site Collection and now works across the Farm. This is now known as Durable Links.
The User Profile Service is dead! long live the User Profile Service!
So what on earth do I mean by that? Well it will no longer be a Managed Service within SharePoint 2016. AD Import will still exist within SharePoint but if you want to still use the User Profile service, you will need to setup FIM (Forefront Identity Manager) as a separate server outside of the SharePoint Farm.
Personally I believe this is a good thing… FIM was cut down within SharePoint caused no end of troubles!
Testing / Reliability
Also highlighted was the amount of testing that has gone into SharePoint 2016. It is clear that this version is only a step change compared to SharePoint 2013 but as a result, we have better experiences that are well tested from the various learning and implementations of the Office 365, SharePoint Online solutions.
Distributed Cache has been vastly improved in reliability.
As part of this, there is a solemn promise that One Drive for Business Sync will be improved with a brand new version coming soon. (Thank goodness for that – no more Groove / SharePoint Workspace related products please!)
Installation and setup changes
You can now build servers with specific roles from the Product Config Wizard… this includes roles such as:
- Web Front-end
- Distributed Cache
- As well as other, depending on your need.
This is designed to minimize workloads for specific purposes and although you could do this before… it certainly makes life easier!
Zero downtime patching
It has been recognized that patching is a nightmare nowadays with the bi-monthly patches often being bigger than SharePoint’s initial install to allow for differences in patch versions.
Install’s are long and the farm is out of commission whilst doing so.
It is also recognized that patches need to be tested thoroughly still, due to the amount of changes inside them.
So to help improve this situation for On-Premise… they introduced the idea of Zero downtime patching with SharePoint 2016. Patches can be applied without downtime of the servers.
Not too much more was said about this during the roadmap session but I suspect to learn more throughout the week!
Lastly, what we all really wanted to know and confirm! The release schedule for SharePoint 2016
- SharePoint 2016 Beta 1 – Q4 2015
- SharePoint 2016 Release Candidate – Q1 2016
- SharePoint 2016 RTM (Release To Manufacturing) – Q2 2016
Ok that’s it… more to follow when I get time…