The Revelations of SharePoint or my recap of Ignite

First off, the event was huge! Ignite was able to draw over 24,000 attendees from all over the world and the content (ranging from SharePoint and Office 365 to Exchange and Azure) was top notch!  I really enjoyed getting to catch up with so many people in the community and help launch the new Nintex vTE (Virtual Technical Evangelist, read MVP program). It was a truly awesome experience! I’m still not sure about the musical selection for the Attendee Celebration though…

While there were numerous developments, so many in fact that you’ll simply need to visit Microsoft’s Channel 9 to get caught up, I’d like to focus on my post from last week where I threw a couple of things out there that I thought may come out of the sessions in relation to deprecated functionality and feature announcements as far as SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint Online were concerned. Let’s see how that panned out…

1. Don’t expect a forms announcement because Microsoft is focusing on platforms and not end user tools. *CONFIRMED*

Microsoft focused on “experiences” at Ignite. The various components of Office 365 (OfficeGraph, PowerBI, O365 Groups, OneDrive, Delve, etc.) will be easier to integrate with on-prem installations but the tooling for these systems was not discussed outside of Visual Studio.  Plus, not only was no replacement for InfoPath named, during one of the last sessions of the conference (UPDATE: The session recording has since been removed. But Bill Baer (Senior Technical Product Manager at Microsoft Corporation) confirmed this today during a SharePoint community YamJam) Mark Kashman said during his SharePoint UNPLUGGED session that there will be no SharePoint Designer 2016.

Gadzooks! So what does this mean for the would-be solution builder in SharePoint v.Next? Well, SharePoint Designer 2013 (not to mention InfoPath 2013), albeit deprecated, should continue to function in SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint Online. This doesn’t bode well for many enterprise IT shops that would like to be working with tool-sets that are not only supported but still receiving feature enhancements.

Some further speculation below. Perhaps…

  • Microsoft’s dev elves are still working hard on crafting some new tools for us.
  • Microsoft will be acquiring a firm that specializes in this area
  • An all new way of building no code apps is on the horizon (e.g. Project Siena)
  • Only time will tell as far as how Microsoft will proceed in this space. Stay tuned!

2.  Full trust code will still be supported in SharePoint 2016. *CONFIRMED*

This development came to light a week prior to Ignite during Bill Baer’s session at Microsoft Build 2015. Custom solutions and those that leverage the legacy workflow foundation, Timer Service, etc. will still be supported inside of SharePoint 2016. Additionally, SharePoint 2016 will require the now deprecated Windows Server App Fabric 1.1. Obviously, we can see that Microsoft is still very much pushing developers to adopt the app model for their solutions going forward.

To check out the entire SharePoint Roadmap session (Where you’ll learn about roles, the need for a discrete SQL instance and much more!), follow this link to Bill Baer’s “Evolution of SharePoint…” session. Oh and another interesting piece of news that goes hand in hand with this is there will not be a SharePoint Foundation in the 2016 release.

3. Migration, migration, migration! *CONFIRMED*

Microsoft announced its investments in SharePoint Online with the new Migration API. This will allow organizations to leverage blob storage to quickly move content in between environments (On-Prem -> O365 or O365 -> O365) without having to use CSOM. This is a much more efficient (and faster!) was to move content and addresses the realistic needs of organizations to embrace hybrid deployments. Check out the Ignite Session here: http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Ignite/2015/BRK3153

Following on this news is the recent announcement of Nintex and Sharegate working together to offer on-prem customers a way to migrate their workflows to Nintex Workflow for Office 365. Additionally, users looking for ways to migrate legacy Lotus Notes apps with ease, Dell is now offering the ability to migrate a Notes database forms to a Nintex Form with virtually zero effort. Simply map your fields in the Dell Migrator for Notes to SharePoint 6.5 release and export a pre-built Nintex form!

Final analysis

These are exciting times for everyone working in the Microsoft ecosystem. There will be some uneasiness but overall I firmly believe that the functionality to build world class end user experiences will improve and allow for solutions to business problems that defy current thinking. Oh, and naturally, Nintex has solutions to these problems today.

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About Brad Orluk

Brad is a Nintex Technical Evangelist with over 15 years of IT architecture, administration and sales experience. As an Information Architect at a Fortune 500, he has worked on business and IT process improvement and automation on a variety of real world global projects and productivity initiatives.  Brad’s unique, technical yet business focused, background gives him the ability to help users leverage technology to drive value to their businesses.

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