The SharePoint 2013 preview has been announced and there are some interesting new features, although from my perspective, this is less a revolution than SharePoint 2010 was based on what has been announced so far.

Here are some of the highlights that I think will interest our enterprise customers:

Site Based Retention

There isn’t much change in the RM model in SharePoint 2013, but one of the key new features is site based retention.  This allows for a retention cycle for a site that supports the concept of a project site first being “closed” and then “expired”.  When a site is expired, it is then automatically deleted.

Introduction of “Community” into Social Enterprise Model

MySites in SharePoint 2010, while significantly improved from 2007, was still fundamentally an individual based paradigm.  There was no concept of a “community” in SharePoint 2010 except perhaps to create a team site with a discussion board.

SharePoint 2013 introduces the concept of a Community Site. Communities use categories to organize discussions. Visitors can view the discussions and become members of the community if they want to contribute to those discussions. Moderators manage the community by setting rules, reviewing and addressing inappropriate posts, marking interesting content as featured discussions, and so on. Moderators can also assign gifted badges to specific members to visually indicate that the member is recognized as a specific kind of contributor in the community, such as an expert or a moderator. Each community contains information about member and content reputation, which members earn when they actively post in discussions, and when their content is liked, replied to, or marked as a best answer.

MySites in SharePoint 2013 also now supports micro-blogging (e.g. think of Twitter).

Improved Client Side Programming Support

SharePoint evolved in the days when server side programming ruled and JavaScript was used primarily for small spot pieces of functionality.  In the last five years, client side programming has taken off and many public facing web sites are primarily driven through client side technologies such as JavaScript, JSON, HTML 5, etc.  In addition, the rise of mobile phones has pushed more client side code with mobile apps in various forms.

In In the SharePoint 2010 release, Microsoft provided a client side object model that you could use to interact with the SharePoint 2010 platform with JavaScript.  This has been extended and hopefully improved in the 2013 release.

All new controls in SharePoint 2013 Preview are rendered client-side. Data is written to the controls in a client-side JSON array, and you can display content using JavaScript, CSS, and templates. As a designer or a developer, you have control over how content is rendered on the page, and you can use various design techniques to get the look and behaviors you want on your published pages with features like the Content Search Web Part and display templates.

New features for publishing sites in SharePoint Server 2013 Preview minimize the special SharePoint knowledge that is required to successfully design and brand a SharePoint site. To brand a SharePoint site, designers just create a site design as they typically would, by implementing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Designers can create these files by using their design tool of choice, whether that is Adobe Dreamweaver, Microsoft Expression Web, or some other HTML editor. You don’t have to use SharePoint Designer or Visual Studio 2013 to brand a SharePoint site.

Improved Mobile Support

SharePoint 2013 offers improved mobile support through the introduction of several features:

  • Updated mobile views that support the latest HTML 5 technologies and mobile browsers
  • Support for customization of views to target mobile devices and tablets
  • Introduction of a geo-location field that can tag list entries with longitude and latitude
  • Ability to view certain kinds of dashboard content on iPad devices
Cross-Site Publishing

SharePoint 2013 introduces a new concept of a Catalogue.  The intended target for public facing web sites are lists of products.  For intranets, these could be used for knowledge base articles.  Catalogues can be authored once and then surfaced through multiple site collections.