SharePoint Then and Now: A Look at the Decade-Long Evolution
The first post in our SharePoint blog series, "Journey to SP 2019," took readers back to the humble beginnings of Microsoft's flagship collaboration platform and what we’ve learned from it since its inception. In case you missed it, check out the blog here: "The Journey to SP 2019: Lessons Learned from the Start."
In part two of the series, we’ll take a look back at the different SharePoint versions released over the years and how the tool has evolved to meet the needs of a modern workforce.
How It All Started
During the 90s, Microsoft already had several efforts at targeting information access and sharing. Earliest iterations allowed end users to (via FrontPage and Office Server Extensions installed on web servers) create and edit web sites, load Office documents, take part in discussions, and more.
I say “end user” very carefully, as most of the development on SharePoint was only possible for “end users” in later versions. Implementation of solutions was mostly managed and carried out by the IT team.
In 2009, Jeff Teper (aka SharePoint’s Founding Father) shared SharePoint’s history, vision, and lessons learned. This was just before the release of SharePoint 2010—and from this article, it was clear that we were destined for greatness, and that SharePoint would be my tool of choice moving forward.
It’s been 17 years since the first official release, and I’m fortunate to say that I’ve been part of that journey for the past 10 years. In the image below, you’ll see that we’ve come a long way:
- 2001: SharePoint Portal Server 2001 / SharePoint Team Services for Collaboration
- 2003: Windows SharePoint Services (WSS – SQL + .NET) & Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003
- 2007: Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) & Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS)
- 2010: SharePoint Foundation & Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 (MSS)
- 2013: SharePoint 2013 (On-Premises) & SharePoint Online (incremental, continuous updates)
- 2016: SharePoint 2016 (On-Premises)
End of Support
On October 10, 2017, Microsoft announced the End of Support for SharePoint Server 2007. This means no more technical support, bug & security fixes, and time zone updates. These support lifecycles typically last ten years, and they give an indication of the version you’re on.
A Look at the Last 3 SharePoint Versions From an End User Perspective
For me, SharePoint 2010 was a game changer. This was where the evolution started changing SharePoint into the product we know and love today.
Enhanced capabilities allowed for better integration with Office, early social features were introduced, central admin had a facelift, and the Office Ribbon was brought into SharePoint. We could also work across multiple internet browsers such as Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0 and 8.0, Firefox 3.0, and Safari 3.0.
Sharing capabilities, Newsfeed, Community sites, OneNote integration with Team Sites, and “Change the Look” (theme) were only some of the improvements and new features. The ability to Drag-and-Drop documents into libraries from your file explorer, Sync libraries, and Quick Edit is what set SharePoint 2013 apart. These are the additions that had the biggest impact on end users across the world.
SharePoint mobile apps, faster site creation, compliance center, greater sharing abilities, large file support (10 GB), hybrid features and search, app launcher, accessibility features in document libraries, and image and video previews were some of my favorite improvements in SharePoint 2016. What’s more, using the “&” character in file names was made possible!
Comparing SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint 2016 (On-Premises)
Below, you’ll find the content features comparison list between SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint 2016 (including the Standard and Enterprise features).
|Content Features||SharePoint Foundation 2013||SharePoint Server 2013 Standard CAL||SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise CAL||SharePoint Server 2016 Standard CAL||SharePoint Server 2016 Enterprise CAL|
|Accessibility Standards Support||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Asset Library Enhancements/Video Support||✗||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Auditing & Reporting (e.g. doc edits, policy edits, deletes)||✗||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Document Translation in Word Online||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Email enabled lists and libraries||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|External Sharing: External Access||✗||✗||✗||✗||✗|
|External Sharing: Guest Link||✗||✗||✗||✗||✗|
|IRM using Azure Rights Management||✗||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|IRM using Windows Server AD RMS||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Managed Metadata Service||✗||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Office Online (edit)||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Office Online (view)||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Office Web Apps Server integration||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|PowerPoint Automation Services||✗||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Preservation hold library||✗||✗||✓||✗||✓|
|Recycle Bin (SharePoint admin center)||✗||✗||✗||✗||✗|
|Recycle Bin (site collection)||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Rich Media Management||✗||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Shared Content Types||✗||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|SharePoint Translation Services||✗||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Unique Document IDs||✗||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|WCM: Search web parts||✗||✗||✓||✗||✓|
|WCM: Cross-Site Publishing||✗||✗||✓||✗||✓|
|WCM: Designer Tools||✗||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|WCM: Faceted Navigation||✗||✗||✓||✗||✓|
|WCM: Image Renditions||✗||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|WCM: Managed Navigation||✗||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|WCM: Mobile and Device Rendering||✗||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|WCM: Multiple Domains||✓||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|WCM: Search Engine Optimizations (SEO)||✗||✓||✓||✓||✓|
|Word Automation Services||✗||✓||✓||✓||✓|
The greatest difference between SharePoint Online and SharePoint in-premises is that the Online version is a cloud-based subscription model.
You'’'ll need less resources (i.e. people, hardware, etc.) to run your environment, as Microsoft takes care of this as part of your subscription. Your information will be hosted in one of the many datacenters across the world (based on your choice and availability). Updates are done and deployed automatically by Microsoft, including regular feature updates and improvements.
SharePoint Online includes:
|Automate work||Automate business processes with alerts and workflows.|
|Communication sites||Broadly share and communicate your group’s message across the organization with beautiful, dynamic communication sites.|
|Content management||Organize and manage content in libraries and lists with metadata, records management, and retention policies.|
|Discovery||Discover relevant people and important content when you need it most.|
|DLP capabilities||Use advanced data-loss prevention (DLP) capabilities to identify, monitor, and protect sensitive information.|
|eDiscovery||Find content in electronic format for litigation or audit scenarios.|
|External sharing||Securely share files and content with people inside and outside your organization.|
|File sharing and storage||File sharing and at least 1 TB of OneDrive storage per user.|
|Intranets||Inform and engage your organization with intranets and sites to tell your story, announce your news, share resources, streamline processes, and engage people.|
|Mobile apps||Access intranets, team sites and content with the SharePoint mobile app for Android™, iOS®, and Windows and OneDrive mobile apps for Android, iOS, and Windows.|
|Search||Customize your enterprise search and results with enhanced features to surface resources across Office 365.|
|Team sites||Provide a place for your team to organize and collaborate on content, data, and news to stay on the same page.|
SharePoint Online Subscriptions
SharePoint is available as standalone Plan 1 and Plan 2. It’s also included in the Office 365 subscriptions, which gives you the best of both worlds —SharePoint and all the Apps and Services to transform your business.
Due to performance, compliance, or legal constraints, you might not be ready to move to the cloud.
SharePoint 2019 on-premises is due to be released mid-2018. Keep an eye out for our next blog post on what to expect from this new version of SharePoint!
- SharePoint’s Founding Father, Jeff Teper, Talks About the SharePoint History, Vision, and Lessons Learned
- SharePoint 2013, 2010, 2007 & Office 365 – Features, Editions and Plans Comparison
- New and improved features in SharePoint Server 2016
- SharePoint 2016 Feature Comparison for Content Feature
- What's new in SharePoint Server 2016
- What’s new in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013
- What's New in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
Tracy is a Microsoft MVP and an energetic, hyperactive adrenaline junkie who sees challenges and issues as opportunities and thrives on improving processes, environments and the general quality of life. Her broad knowledge about IT and Business gives her the ability to communicate on both levels and convey meaningful requirements and narrow the (ever present) gap between the two.