New SharePoint 2016 Features: Improved User Experiences
With several months of experience within the TAP program and with the latest releases, it's time for us to share our experiences. Over the next few weeks we'll focus on the new features within SharePoint 2016 across three investment areas: Improved User Experience, Cloud Inspired Infrastructure and Compliance & Reporting. This is our interpretation of the features within the areas, even if they don't match perfectly with Microsoft's marketing materials.
Without more fanfare here's the first (of two) blogs about Improved User Experiences. These features span the advancements in on-premises capabilities along with the hybridization that is possible with Office 365. Let's dive in.
App Launcher & Cloud UI
The key phrase around SharePoint 2016 is 'born in the cloud' and a direct result of this is the movement of Office 365's user interface down to SharePoint 2016. This will be a point-of-time snapshot of the code that is used within Office 365 and differences in coding will exist as Office 365 continues to be updated at a rapid pace. However, we get the benefits of the app launch, the additional document library ribbon and upgrades in coding that were created to increase performance. Because the app launcher is the same in both SharePoint 2016 and Office 365 you are able to have a single experience, and move seamlessly from on-premises to the cloud and back.
OneDrive for Business
Certainly not in alphabetical order, we continue with one of the advancements that has been a key driver for Office 365 over the last year, OneDrive redirection from on-premises to Office 365. This was first included in SharePoint 2013 SP1 and continues strong in SharePoint 2016. As it was then, it is now, when you choose to redirect your OneDrive for Business a user is sent to the cloud when s/he clicks on the OneDrive icon in the app launcher.
This feature crosses lines of being for the end-user and as a piece of infrastructure. For the end-user on-premises only they will see much quicker returns on items as the scaling has been increased behind the scenes. In a hybrid scenario, there is now the capability to fully combine the search results so users only see one search result that combines both on-premises and cloud content.
Sharing & Durable Links
Continuing to adapt to commercial product best practices Microsoft has made some updates to the sharing capabilities. First, they've allowed the ability to share a folder and allowed you to see who that folder is shared with when viewing it. Next, they worked on improving the email invitations and allowing a one-click capability to approve or deny a request for access. Finally, there is a new feature called Durable Links. This feature is actually powered by the Office Online server, formerly known as Office Web App Server (thank you Microsoft for not continuing to use OWA for both Office Web Apps and Outlook web access). With the server in place the link that you share will always be the same - which can be broken currently if a document is changed or moved.
Durable Links provide a resource ID based link for Web Application Open Platform Interface Protocol (WOPI) documents served by SharePoint and Office Online Server. The resource ID assigned to individual documents is stored in the content database related to the source document. Using Durable Links, when a user selects a link to a specific document, SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview looks up the file by the resource ID and opens it in Office Online Server Preview. Durable Links allow documents to be moved and renamed without affecting the integrity of the linking Url associated with a document.
If you'd like to share your opinions please reach out over twitter @collabadam and ask some #SharePoint2016 questions. The second Improved User Experience blog will cover the hybrid following of team sites, business intelligence, excel services, profile redirection, mobile, new thresholds, and new limits.
Adam is a Group Program Manager of Secure Collaboration at Exostar and a Microsoft MVP advocating for collaboration by connecting business needs with the right technology. Prior to Exostar, Adam was a Product Manager for Migration at a market leading ISV and a Practice Lead for Office 365 in a cutting-edge Microsoft Consulting firm. Over the last decade Adam has been responsible for moving customers to the cloud, designing and implementing information architecture (SharePoint Farm and content) and increasing user adoption. Adam is an ongoing member of the SharePoint Saturday DC coordinating committee and active speaker at many national events.