Wednesday, February 13, 2013



1. Everything is an app!
Lists, libraries, sites and even calendars are now ‘Apps’.
In an interesting move that will at one stroke empower end users, reduce load on overworked IT operations departments and add fuel to the already active after-market for SharePoint add-ons, Microsoft is introducing an Apps Store model with SharePoint 2013.
App vs a classic solution:
  • They provide users with the easiest discovery, purchase, and installation process.
  • They provide administrators with the safest SharePoint extensions.
  • They provide you with the simplest marketing and sales system based on a Microsoft-provided online app store.
  • They maximize your flexibility in developing future upgrades.
  • They maximize your ability to leverage your existing non-SharePoint programming skills.
  • They integrate cloud-based resources in smoother and more flexible ways.
  • They enable your extension to have permissions that are distinct from the permissions of the user who is running the app.
  • They enable you to use cross-platform standards, including HTML, REST, OData, JavaScript, and OAuth.image
  • They enable you to leverage the SharePoint cross-domain JavaScript library to access SharePoint data. Alternatively, you can use a Microsoft-provided secure token service that is OAuth-compliant.
  • They can extend SharePoint Online websites as well as on-premises SharePoint websites.

Initial app offerings are already being promoted by Microsoft.

2.     Cleaner Messages and a brandable Central Admin
3.  Icons, Design Mapper and Image Renditions
Design Manager - This new feature is so important that Microsoft even added it as a top level selection under Site Actions in Publishing sites! It includes links to a lot of common design tasks including some of the previous topics I’ve discussed but it also includes the following new features:
  • Create and Edit Master Pages - This is probably the biggest change for SharePoint branding folks. From here you can create a minimal master page or convert an existing HTML design. Did that get your attention? Yes, you can actually add an HTML design with CSS and images to the Master Page Gallery and then use this feature to convert it to a functioning master page. You also get a preview of the new master page and a snippet gallery that allows you to copy and paste SharePoint functionality (like navigation, search, web parts, etc.) right into your HTML based design.
You no longer have to edit .master files; you can continue editing your HTML file in whatever editor you like and every time you hit save SharePoint will notice the changes and update the corresponding .master file.
Does this mean that SharePoint branding is so easy now that anyone can do it? Yes and no, if you need to make a branded SharePoint site you probably can do it all from the Design Manager with converting an HTML design and using snippets. However to make a fully branded portal or web site you will still need to understand a lot of SharePoint CSS and you still need to understand how Content Placeholders and a variety of other SharePoint specific technology works.
I'll be very curious to see how the SharePoint branding community reacts to this feature and see where we land with what newcomers can do with SharePoint branding on their own. I tend to think the Design Manager is a great starting point that changes things so that there is no middle level effort branding... either there is branding that anyone can do with the Design Manager or there is advanced branding that you need to understand the underpinnings in order to make things work the way you want.

Convert HTML to Master Page

  • Create and Edit Page Layouts - When you create a page layout from the Design Manager you get an HTML file that contains a minimal page layout and all the fields that come from the content type that you base the page layout on. When you make changes to this HTML file the corresponding .ASPX page layout is updated behind the scenes
  • Create a Design Package - Export your entire design from one place to another (even a completely different server). You can then import the design package to another site collection or server from Site Actions > Import Design Package.

Image Renditions -
Image Renditions are one of the new capabilities of the SharePoint 2013 platform that can help you improve the user experience of your website by optimizing images. Using Image Renditions you can have original (large) images stored in your website and then define a number of scaled variants to be used throughout the website.
By default there are already a few renditions defined but you can define your own renditions as well.
After defining renditions, the last step is to specify for every image how its renditions should look like. Although SharePoint 2013 automatically sizes the image to match renditions’ dimensions, you can also crop your image to ensure that the important details are not lost.
You can edit renditions for your images by navigating to your Image Library, selecting your image, opening its menu and choosing the Edit Renditions option.
On the Edit Renditions page you can see how the particular image looks like in all the different renditions and you can edit specific renditions as well.

As mentioned before, when editing renditions you can not only just resize an image but you can crop it as well to ensure that the important details are preserved. With that the process of configuring Image Renditions is completed and you can start using optimized images on your website. After you insert an image, you can use the Pick Rendition option to choose the Image Rendition you want to use.
4. Tablet View
Regular View
Tablet View

Mobile browser experience

SharePoint Server 2013 Preview offers improvements to the mobile browser experience with the introduction of a new contemporary view. Depending on the mobile browser, users have one of the following browsing options:
  • Contemporary view   This view offers an optimized mobile browser experience to users and renders in HTML5. This view is available to Mobile Internet Explorer version 9.0 or later versions for Windows Phone 7.5, Safari version 4.0 or later versions for iPhone 4.0, and the Android browser for Android 4.0 or later versions.
  • Classic view   This view renders in HTML format, or similar markup languages (CHTML, WML, and so on), and provides backward compatibility for mobile browsers that cannot render in the new contemporary view. The classic experience in SharePoint Server 2013 Preview is identical to the mobile browser experience of SharePoint Server 2010.
  • Full-screen UI   There is also the ability to have a full desktop view of a SharePoint site on a smartphone device.
The following figure shows a classic, contemporary, and full-screen UI rendering for a smartphone browser.
Figure: Classic, contemporary, and full-screen UI on a smartphone browser
Views of a smartphone browser
5. Drag and Drop documents
On any document library you can simple Drag and Drop the document and it will be upload with a quick progress bar. Here is how this feature works
Simply select a document from local and drag it towards the document library. The window will change to “Drag here”
6. Cleaner and Less Cluttered Ribbon
7. Easier on the eye context menus
8. ASP.NET 4.5, SQL 2008 R2, WCF 5.0 and Other new base technologies like the new workflow engine.
9. Metro
Last, in this super 7 list is Metro, the Microsoft’s big user interface bet that’s easier to use, snazzy and well, different (in a good way). While there appears to be some uncertainty over the ongoing use of the name "Metro" to describe its new, radical UI design, there is no doubt that the concept itself will be around for a while — Microsoft are planning to use Metro as the default UI for SharePoint as well as user tools like Office, Windows, Xbox and mobile devices.
10. Social Enterprise
Perhaps the most exciting changes in SharePoint 2013 relate to social capabilities. The list of new features is extensive: micro blogs, activity feeds, community sites, Following, Likes and Reputations are the standouts.
         Of these I really like Following, which adds the ability to "follow" people, sites,    
        documents      and topics, with subsequent actions of the followed entity appearing in the 
        user's activity stream. Keeping up to date with the activities of colleagues in SharePoint 
        has never been easier.

       As an aside, it is worth noting that the social tools market is white hot and feature   
      advances    are coming fast and furious. In this environment, Microsoft's three year product 
      release cycle seems like an anachronism, leaving it constantly lagging behind its