First Thoughts SharePoint 2016

I am attending a conference on SharePoint, put on BZMedia.com called SPTechCon.
I originally began this post on linkedin but I felt like the content authoring experience was not quite what I wanted, so I moved my content here:

I can’t keep up as a single author but something else to read as well:
http://sharepoint-community.net/profiles/blogs/the-big-sharepoint-2016-resource-list

Disclaimer: This is not based on any installation experiences (yet…) but only things I have read from “Official Sources”: (I will update as I go along..)
SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview Quick Start Guide:
(http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=48714)

SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview Datasheet:
(http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=48715)

TechNet SharePoint 2016:
(https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc303422(v=office.16).aspx)

Today, perhaps timed for #sptechcon (although not a MS conference), or even funnier, the 20 year anniversary of Windows 95, Bill Baer (@WilliamBaer), announced the release of the #SharePoint 2016 IT Preview, which is the first step along the path of a full release. These summary thoughts are based on the links above and links I quote:

Initial Thoughts:

I see stabilization and modernization with a few big hitters, like the hybrid cloud search (see below, (eventually…)) but I don’t see a lot of people talking about new features (think managed metadata in 2010 or design manager in 2013). I hope to be proven wrong over the next fews days as I attend #SPTechCon and try out #SharePoint 2016

Excel Services …has changed and moved

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt346112(v=office.16).aspx

I think this is the first step in a long progression of “conversion/migration” of functionality that was available on-premise, then became available in the Office 365 offering and now is not available on-premise. I see this happening often in the future, although the fact that this is the first to go is a surprise to me and will hamper many upgrades for companies and “strongly encourage” Office 365 subscriptions. (After a conversation with @harbars, “some” of functionality has moved to Office Web Apps (which will work on-premise) not sure how that will boil out in reality)

Internal Forefront Identity Manager (FIM) …is gone

Previous versions of SharePoint used an internal version of Forefront Identity Manager (FIM) to help get data to and from SharePoint and to and from Active Directory. The default is now Active Directory import which means one directional data. MS promises to release guidance and tooling to help get data in and out of SharePoint data stores. I think this is another example of the “conversion/migration” to a simpler product that is acted upon instead of acting on its own; more like the service where data is read from and written to instead of background processes that are obtuse and difficult to configure or diagnose (see Spencer Harbar FIM articles: @harbars). To quote: “You should only use SharePoint Active Directory Import for profile synchronization.” What this means to me is you need to re-imagine getting data in and out of SharePoint user profile data sources if its custom data. Maybe REST or CSOM…

SharePoint Foundation …is gone

While this destroys my hope of hosting some family websites using SharePoint, I doubt the expense of creating, maintaining and supporting (at some level) many products is easy to justify this decision. I doubt many companies were using foundation and then paying for other MS products. With the Office 365 offering at low price entry points, I can see their decision and their reasoning behind it.

Tags or Notesis gone

Another little used feature that can be easily replicated using other services. (Azure websites, DocumentDB) or even maybe parts of Office 365…

Branding and UI … seems the same

I can’t really add to what experts have already said, but not much is new:

Eric Overfield

http://ericoverfield.com/sharepoint-2016-preview-released-a-first-look-at-branding/

Randy Drisgill

http://blog.drisgill.com/2015/08/sharepoint-server-2016-it-preview-whats-new-in-the-ux.html

Server Side Object Model Code. …is more

I think this is obvious since, at some level, to run Office 365 (and its derivative SharePoint 2016) Microsoft had to write more server side code, but according to Bill Baer (@WilliamBaer) in an ITUnity video, its something they are proud of ..(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koqYf6Ksy-A). My hope is the object model is not sealed, private classes but a continuation of the API that you might have to use when its appropriate and nothing else will do. I haven’t checked but my guess is it is compiled against the .NET 4.5.2 API…

Workflow ….seems the same

Not a lot seems to be published around any changes so I would imagine the workflow engine from 2010 is still there and the integration with Azure Workflow Engine is still there.

Apps …seems the same

Same or different? I am guessing limited changes here but will update.

Social (SharePoint) …seems the same

The news feed seems to still be present, based only on other scuttlebutt around #SPTechcon, Yammer and “SharePoint Social” still seem to be battling for usage.

Infrastructure

MinRole. …is new

From the infrastructure perspective, MinRole is a great idea. Instead of having to define the topology for your farm, SharePoint appears to have defined the most common topologies and will configure (and control…) the provisioning of services into some well-known, common buckets. The best part is you can override these buckets using the common MinRole when you have a good reason. What also seems interesting is all servers host central administration by default except the Common MinRole. Maybe this is part of the concept that services will engage local instances of services first, instead of “talking” to the farm and then the server, reducing the number of conversations between the various nodes. (https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/mt346114(v=office.16).aspx)

Databases   …seems the same?

According @ReneHezser, (https://twitter.com/ReneHezser/status/636202124515389440) SharePoint 2016 still does not respect the model database configuration. That means you still have to “tune” a database after you create using the SharePoint tooling or use pre-tuned databases.

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