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Microsoft SharePoint 2013

Sharepoint 2013 is the latest of Microsoft’s powerful collaboration and sharing tools. It offers organisations the features that are required to bring together remote and local workers as well as suppliers, joint venture partners, and others. The 2013 release provides additional benefits in branding, business intelligence, and mobile device support. As more and more people connect to the Internet and work using mobile devices, Sharepoint development has also improved its mobile services. There are a number of mobile display options available as of 2013 and users are able to work on devices ranging from mobile phones to tablets and laptops.

New Features in SharePoint 2013
Microsoft uses the term Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) to refer to a group of components that includes :

1. My Sites
In SharePoint Server 2010, My Sites provided a central place for users to store personal and shared documents, in addition to promoting their user information and expertise, tagging content, and communicating with others by using the Note Board. Through people search, users were able to connect with one another and benefit from expertise of others in their organization.
In SharePoint Server 2013, My Sites continue to provide the benefits from the previous release. However, the user interface is completely redesigned and modernized to give users an inviting and intuitive experience. A key change to the user interface includes a simplified and unified navigation experience for your own and others’ My Sites. Additionally, My Sites contain the new Microblog and Newsfeeds features. These features allow users to engage in short, public conversations, and keep up-to-date on activities from content and people in which they are interested.

The idea of storing personal documents in My Sites, rather than local drives, has always made sense. You can access files from multiple devices as well as easily share files with teammates using links, rather than sending copies via email. Using a My Site for storing my documents also ensures that files are in a managed environment, rather than residing on intrinsically fallible local hard drives.

The good news is that in SharePoint 2013 saving documents into My Sites is a lot easier. In fact, it is the default location for saving documents from Office 2013. There is a single document library, not two as in SharePoint 2010, and the permissions have been simplified, making it a cinch to share documents with colleagues.
Better still, the My Site document library can be synced with a local drive to enable offline access so you can access your documents even when the server is unavailable. With this capability SharePoint 2013 My Documents can mount a strong case to be your "SkyDrive for Work."

2. App Store
In an interesting move that will at one stroke empower end users, reduce load on overworked IT operations departments and add fuel to the already active after-market for SharePoint add-ons, Microsoft is introducing an Apps Store model with SharePoint 2013. Initial app offerings are already being promoted by Microsoft. Site owners used to being turned down by IT or having to endure extended waits when seeking new capabilities will love the new-found independence the Apps store promises.

3. Whats new in Social Computing
Perhaps the most exciting changes in SharePoint 2013 relate to social capabilities. The list of new features is extensive: micro blogs, activity feeds, community sites, Following, Likes and Reputations are the standouts.

Of these I really like Following, which adds the ability to "follow" people, sites, documents and topics, with subsequent actions of the followed entity appearing in the user's activity stream. Keeping up to date with the activities of colleagues in SharePoint has never been easier.

Microblogging and feeds
In SharePoint Server 2013, the Newsfeed page in the My Site continues to provide an aggregated view of activities from content and people the user is following. However, the feed is improved with new microblogging functionality that enables users to do the following:

  • Participate in conversations by posting comments and replies.
  • Post pictures and links.
  • Use tags (starting with the # symbol) to define keywords that users can follow and search for.
  • Use mentions (starting with the @ symbol) to tag users in posts and replies.
  • Indicate agreement with comments and replies by clicking Like.
  • Follow people, documents, sites, and tags to customize their feed.

In SharePoint Server 2013, a new in-memory cache known as the Distributed Cache (which uses AppFabric for Windows Server) maintains the Newsfeed. AppFabric is installed and configured as part of the SharePoint Server 2013 prerequisites. For more information about SharePoint Server 2013 prerequisites,

In SharePoint Server 2010 and SharePoint Foundation 2010, you could add a Discussion list to sites to facilitate discussions among members of the site. SharePoint Server 2013 and SharePoint Foundation 2013 continue to provide this Discussion list, but also expand on the discussion concept by introducing two new site templates named Community Site and Community Portal.

Community Sites offer a forum experience to categorize and cultivate discussions with a broad group of people across organizations in a company. Community Sites promote open communication and information exchange by fostering discussions among users who share their expertise and use expertise of others who have knowledge in specific areas of interest.
With Community Sites, you organize discussions in categories. Visitors can view the discussions and become members 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 Site, such as an expert or a moderator. Each Community Site 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.

4. Mobility and Mobile Devices
Recognising the massive rise in use of mobile smart devices, Microsoft has done some nice work to make it easier to access SharePoint content from mobile devices. Adding to the existing classic view, SharePoint 2013 offers two new views for mobile devices, including a contemporary view for optimized mobile browser experience and a full-screen view which enables the user to have a full desktop view of a SharePoint site on a smartphone device. SharePoint Server 2013 offers new, optimised viewing experiences across different mobile platforms. Additionally, several new features were added to help improve both worker productivity and usability on the device. This functionality includes the following:

  • Optimized mobile browser experience For smartphone mobile devices SharePoint Server 2013 provides a lightweight, contemporary view browsing experience for users to navigate and access document libraries, lists, wikis, and Web Parts.
  • Device channels - You can render a single published SharePoint site in multiple designs to accommodate different device targets.
  • Push notifications A push notification service on a SharePoint site can be enabled to send device updates such as a tile or toast notification to a Windows Phone device.
  • Location - SharePoint Server 2013 supports a new geolocation field type that can be used for mobile application development.
  • Business intelligence content - Certain devices are now able to view business intelligence content such as PerformancePoint Web Parts, Excel Services reports, and SQL Reporting Services reports.
  • Office Web Apps - You can view Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents in mobile browsers with additional functionality in SharePoint Server 2013.
5. Business Intelligence
Business intelligence (BI) in SharePoint 2013 provides comprehensive BI tools that integrate across Microsoft Office applications and other Microsoft technologies. These BI tools are: Excel 2013, Excel Services in SharePoint 2013, PerformancePoint Services in SharePoint Server 2013, Visio Services in SharePoint, SharePoint 2013, and Microsoft SQL Server.

Excel Business Intelligence
Excel BI provides the capabilities to analyze and visually explore data of any size, and to integrate and show interactive solutions. In SharePoint Server 2013, Excel BI offers certain new features to support business intelligence applications.
These include the following:

  • In-Memory BI Engine (IMBI): The In Memory multidimensional data analysis engine (IMBI), also known as the Vertipaq engine, allows for almost instant analysis of millions of rows and is a fully integrated feature in the Excel client.
  • Power View Add-in for Excel: Power View ("Crescent") enables users to visualize and interact with modeled data by using highly interactive visualizations, animations and smart querying.. Users can present and share insights with others through rich storyboard presentation capabilities. PowerView is powered by the BI Semantic Model and the VertiPaq engine.
  • Decoupled PivotChart and PivotTable reports: Users can now create PivotChart reports without having to include a PivotTable report on the same page.

Excel Services
Excel Services enables people to view and interact with Excel workbooks that have been published to SharePoint sites. Users are able to explore data and conduct analysis in a browser window just as they would by using the Excel client. For more information about Excel Services in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, see Excel Services overview (SharePoint Server 2010) on Microsoft TechNet.In SharePoint Server 2013, Excel Services offers certain new features to support business intelligence applications. These include the following:

  • Data exploration improvements: People can more easily explore data and conduct analysis in Excel Services reports that use SQL Server Analysis Services data or PowerPivot data models. For example, users can point to a value in a PivotChart or PivotTable report and see suggested ways to view additional information. Users can also use commands such as Drill Down To to conduct analysis. Users can also apply the Drill Down command by using a single mouse click.
  • Field list and field well support: Excel Services enables people to easily view and change which items are displayed in rows, columns, values, and filters in PivotChart reports and PivotTable reports that have been published to Excel Services.
  • Calculated measures and members: Excel Services supports calculated measures and calculated members that are created in Excel.
  • Enhanced timeline controls: Excel Services supports timeline controls that render and behave as they do in the Excel client.
  • Application BI Servers: Administrators can specify SQL Server Analysis Services servers to support more advanced analytic capabilities in Excel Services.
  • Business Intelligence Center update: The Business Intelligence Center site template has been streamlined. It not only has a new look, it is easier to use.

PerformancePoint Services
PerformancePoint Services enables users to create interactive dashboards that display key performance indicators (KPIs) and data visualizations in the form of scorecards, reports, and filters. For more information about PerformancePoint Services in SharePoint Server 2010, see PerformancePoint Services overview (SharePoint Server 2010) on Microsoft TechNet.In SharePoint Server 2013, PerformancePoint Services offers certain new features to support business intelligence applications. These include the following:

  • Dashboard Migration: Users will be able to copy entire dashboards and dependencies, including the .aspx file, to other users, servers, or site collections. This feature also allows the ability to migrate single items to other environments and migrate content by using Windows PowerShell commands.
  • Filter Enhancements & Filter Search: The UI has been enhanced to allow users to easily view and manage filters including giving users the ability to search for items within filters without having to navigate through the tree.
  • BI Center Update: The new BI Center is cleaner, and easier to use with folders and libraries configured for easy use.
  • Support for Analysis Services Effective User: This new feature eliminates the need for Kerberos delegation when per-user authentication is used for Analysis Services data sources. By supporting Analysis Services Effective User feature, authorization checks will be based on the user specified by the EffectiveUserName property instead of using the currently authenticated user.
  • PerformancePoint Support on iPad: PerformancePoint dashboards can now be viewed and interacted with on iPad devices using the Safari web browser.

Visio Services
Visio Services is a service application that lets users share and view Microsoft Visio Drawing (*.vsdx) and Visio 2010 Web drawing (*.vdw) files. The service also enables data-connected Visio Drawing (*.vsdx) and Visio 2010 Web drawing (*.vdw) be refreshed and updated from various data sources.

  • Maximum Cache Size: A new service parameter, it is located on the Central Admininstration Visio Graphics Service Application Global Settings page. The default value is 5120 MB.
  • Health Analyzer rules: New corresponding Health Analyzer rules have been added to reflect the new Maximum Cache Size parameter.
  • Updated Windows PowerShell cmdlets, Set-SPVisioPerformance: This cmdlet has been updated to include the new Maximum Cache Size parameter.
  • Commenting on drawings supported: Users can add meaningful comments to a Visio Drawing (*.vsdx) collaboratively on the web via Visio Services in full page rendering mode.

6. Workflow
SharePoint Server 2013 brings a major advancement to workflow: enterprise features such as fully declarative authoring, REST and Service Bus messaging, elastic scalability, and managed service reliability.

SharePoint Server 2013 can use a new workflow service built on the Windows Workflow Foundation components of the .NET Framework 4.5. This new service is called Workflow Manager and it is designed to play a central role in the enterprise. Processes are central to any organization and workflow is the orchestrator of processes.

The key areas of Workflow improvement are :

  • Two SharePoint workflow platforms
  • SharePoint Designer enhancements
  • Workflow Manager capabilities
  • Windows PowerShell cmdlets that manage workflow

7. Search Features
SharePoint Server 2013 brings a major advancement to Search capabilities including ways to configure and monitor the system and improve search results.

Search user interface improvements
Without having to open each search result, users can quickly identify useful results in ways such as the following:

  • Users can rest the pointer over a search result to preview the document content in the hover panel to the right of the result.
  • Users can quickly distinguish search results based on their type. For example, Microsoft Office documents display the application icon in front of the title of the search result. Newsfeed conversation results display the number of replies and the number of likes to the right. Site results list the top links that users often click on the site. People in results show the picture and the Lync availability status to the left.
  • By default, certain types of related results are displayed in groups called result blocks. A result block contains a small subset of results that are related in a particular way. For example, results that are PowerPoint documents appear in a result block when the word "presentation" is one of the search terms. Administrators and site owners can also create result blocks to group other results. Like individual search results, you can promote result blocks or rank them with other results.

Relevance improvements
A search result, suggestion, or recommendation is more relevant when it better satisfies the intent of the person who issues the query. SharePoint Server 2013 improves relevance in areas such as freshness of search results, linguistics, and document parsing. It also improves relevance in the following areas:

  • New ranking models
  • Analysis of content and user interaction
  • Query rules
  • Result sources

Changes in crawling
SharePoint Server 2013 includes many changes and improvements related to crawling content.
Continuous crawl
In SharePoint Server 2013, you can configure crawl schedules for SharePoint content sources so that crawls are performed continuously. Setting this option eliminates the need to schedule incremental crawls and automatically starts crawls as necessary to keep the search index fresh. Administrators should still configure full crawls as necessary.

Host distribution rules removed
In SharePoint Server 2010, host distribution rules are used to associate a host with a specific crawl database. Because of changes in the search system architecture, SharePoint Server 2013 does not use host distribution rules. Instead, Search service application administrators can determine whether the crawl database should be rebalanced by monitoring the Databases view in the crawl log.

More flexible search schema
By defining crawled properties, managed properties, and the mappings between them, the search schema determines how the properties of crawled content are saved to the search index. Crawled properties and how these are mapped to managed properties define how to transform crawled content into managed properties. The search index stores the contents of the managed properties. The attributes of the managed properties determine the search index structure.

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