1.The User Interface is more or less the same : the ribbon still plays an important role and Central Admin is pretty similar. However we can leverage the metro UI.
2.The architecture is very similar to SharePoint 2010 : farm, web app, site collections, sites, services apps, jobs,…; many improvements, but basically the same architecture.
Funny that I like things that don’t change, am I becoming old ? no really : I believe that some kind of stability is important for the SharePoint Community (which includes customers).
3.The concept of Apps with 2 marketplaces (1 corporate, 1 public) and the App Model
The App Model : customized code can be decoupled from SharePoint and can run in another context; Azure is becoming more and more attractive for SharePoint developers. For more details read my previous post. For developers, this is the most important topic !!!
4.Improvements in workflows :
a new and very robust workflow host coming from Azure; but workflows can run in Azure or on premise.
- workflows can now leverage the new .Net 4 workflow model, very different than the old .Net 3.5: we now have flowchart workflows more flexible than state machine workflows, a new workflow designer, new activities.
- we can create flowchart workflows (this kind of workflows can go back to a previous state) with SharePoint Designers : we couldn’t do that in the past and this will probably make SharePoint Designer the primary tool for creating workflows.
- We can also have loops in SharePoint Designers workflows. Only SharePoint Designer workflows can run in Office 365, however workflows created with Visual Studios can run in Azure (or on premise). I think the best practice will be to leverage the Azure platform as much as we can for workflows and for apps in general because Azure is more robust and flexible than Office 365. Also the Visio interface can be embedded in SharePoint Designer and can be used to create workflows.
- We can run workflows on external lists items.
5.Search : the Fast Technology is now part of the default SharePoint Search engine, search plays an important role in many areas; many web parts are now search oriented, which make them more performant (less Caml queries), like the Content By Search Web part.
6.Web Content management has been improved :
- we can design a web site in pure html with any designer tool (like DreamWeaver, or Microsoft Expression, or Notepad ) and this code can be imported by a tool called the Design Manager which will generate the master page; no need to mess up with the master page concepts, the design part of our sites can be outsourced to people who don’t have to learn the SharePoint stuff.
- Rollups are now powered by the search engine, like the Content By Search Web parts.
- new type of list (“Catalog”) with content that can be shared/reused across several site collections.
- Navigation can now be based on a taxonomy defined in the Managed Metadata Services.
- Search Engine Optimization has been…optimized😉
7. Business Intelligence (yes this is important for developers who have to grew up a little bit)
- the Vertipaq engine is automatically loaded in Excel.
- we can have links between Excel tables, we can have leverage links between tables in normal pivot tables and this can be leveraged in Excel Services.Fields can be manipulated in Excel Services
- PowerView can be used in Excel rich client; workbooks with Powerview pages can be deployed to Excel Services.
- PerformancePoint : we can easily skin PerformancePoint dashboards, we can move dashboards, we can search in PerformancePoint filters.
- Visio Services can be connected to SQL Azure.
8.BCS support for OData, paging and sorting on the server (in the data source) instead of running in the we front end->more scalable.
9.We can have event handlers on external lists items (and External Content Types); (Remote Event receivers).
10 New controls return JSON : search results, listViews, ContentBYSearch,…
…I feel frustrated there many other things to cover…