Monthly Archives: August 2014

What’s New in SharePoint 2013 for End User

In one of my previous post on SharePoint Interview Questions for Dummies, we talked about New features of SharePoint 2013 at high level for all type of users including End User, Administrators and Developers. In this post, we will try to explore End User specific new and exciting features in SharePoint 2013.

Following are the key features of SharePoint 2013 for End Users:

  • Social Computing Features: SharePoint 2013 has introduced many good improvements with respect to Social Computing including Communities, Micro blogging, My Sites, Activity Feeds,Yammer Integration etc.
    • New Site Templates are introduced for Community sites in SharePoint 2013.
    • SharePoint 2013 has Micro blogs – It allows a user to broadcast a message publicly at a central location where other users can respond.
    • My Sites design has also been improved for better navigation.
  • Enterprise Content Management (ECM): As we already know thatSharePoint is primarily an ECM (Enterprise Content Management) System, so every versionhasimprovedit’s capabilities with respect to Content Management.SharePoint 2013 has improvement as ECM e.g. Site MailBox, Site-Level RetentionPoliciesandeDiscovery Capabilities etc.
    • It’s always been desired to Keep relevant and important emails in SharePoint. Now, it’s easy to keep emails and documents with SharePoint Site Mailbox.
    • Moving documents from one location to another in SharePoint by defining a Policy which is basically a set of rules.
    • eDiscovery capabilities is a key feature for End Users;  i’ts a better and improved way to protect Business.
  • Mobile
    • HTML 5 support in SharePoint 2013 extends it’s usage for Mobile devices.
    • Office Mobile Web Apps for Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
    • Push Notifications
    • New Geo location Field Type to store map coordinates.
  • Search: Search has always been a very important feature for End-User in an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) System,soSharePoint improved a lot in version 2013 as:
    • More powerful and unified search. It gives more functionality to search with results coming much faster.
    • Relevant and personalized Search on the basis of a user’s search history.
    • Document preview on search result without opening document.
    • In order to keep the index current (maximum possible), continuous crawl feature is introduced.
    • and much more to it that requires a complete separate post.
  • Business Connectivity Services (BCS):
    • Support for OData.
    • Improvements to Online SharePoint Business Connectivity Services.
    • REST based Object Model for Web and Mobile application developers.
    • Improved support for sorting and filtering of external Lists.
    • Export external list data to an Excel workbook.
    • Improvements to Event Listeners.
  • Business Intelligence (BI): SharePoint 2013 has presented Business Intelligence tool as a way to integrate all Microsoft Office Applications as well as other Microsoft technologies.
    • Visio Services.
    • Excel Services.
    • Performance Point Services i.e. Dashboard Migration, Filter Search, Support for Analysis Services,  Support for Performance Point on iPad.
  • SharePoint 2013 Apps

This SharePoint for dummies post clearly explains key new features in version 2013 for End Users. Later on this blog, we will discuss new features for Developers and Administrators in SharePoint 2013.

Other SharePoint and related Articles:

A MUST HAVE SharePoint Interview Questions

What is SharePoint?

Microsoft SharePoint is an extensible platform that provides a range of products that can help organizations with solution for a variety of business needs. Primarily, SharePoint was introduced as an Enterprise Content Management System but later on Web Publishing, Collaboration, Business Process Management (BPM) and Business Intelligence (BI) features were introduced through a variety of ways.

What are the Core features of SharePoint?

With every new version, new and exciting tools were added to SharePoint platform but core of the tools that makes SharePoint an outstanding platform for Content management, Business Process Management, Collaboration and Web Publishing are:

  • SharePoint Sites facilitates to create websites.
  • SharePoint Communities plays it’s role to collaborate with other peoples.
  • Contents makes SharePoint a true CMS (Content Management System)
  • Search Engine provides smart and efficient searching of enterprise contents.
  • Insights brings information together from different data sources.
  • Composition makes SharePoint an extensible platform and extends it’s capabilities by using different tools like SharePoint Designer etc.

Can you briefly explain SharePoint Version History?

Latest version of the product is SharePoint 2013 but if we look into version History, it will be as follows:

SharePoint Version History

What’s new in SharePoint 2013?

New and exciting features are released with every version of SharePoint. SharePoint 2013 also bundled with lots of new features. Few of them are listed here:

  • Improved Performance
  • Cross-Site Publishing
  • Design Manager for Publishing Sites
  • Improved and better Search
  • Changes in SharePoint Workflow Architecture
  • Office Web Apps Server
  • Improved Social Computing Features
  • Optimized User Interface for Mobile Devices
  • Shredded BLOBs for Storage
  • New Features to BCS (Business Connectivity Services)
  • and much more…

For details on new and updated features in SharePoint 2013, please follow here.

What specific features Improve Performance in SharePoint 2013? Kindly elaborate.

SharePoint 2013 introduces following features that improves performance significantly.

  • Distributed Cache Service
  • Minimal Download Strategy and
  • Shredded Storage by introducing Shredded BLOBs.

What is a SharePoint Farm?

SharePoint Farm is a collection of one or more SharePoint server(s) working together in order to provide a set of
SharePoint Services. Servers in a SharePoint Farm normally share common resources and owns a single Central Configuration database.

Web Applications Vs Site Collections Vs Sites in SharePoint.

SharePoint Site basically is a website. SharePoint allows us to create websites of specific types like Personal site, a Team Site, a social media site, a blogs or a Wiki Site etc.

On the other hand, a Site Collection in SharePoint is a collection of SharePoint sites that share common features like Content types, Templates, Site columns, permissions, Web Parts etc.

A Web Application is a collection of Site Collections in SharePoint OR in order way a site collection resides in a
web application. Normally a SharePoint web application is corresponds to a website in IIS means when a SharePoint Web application is created, it creates a WebSite and an application Pool in IIS .

Above can be understood by following diagram:

WebApp Vs SiteCollection Vs Site

What is the concept of Content Type in SharePoint?

SharePoint is about Contents, so Content Type is a reusable collection of settings and metadata to represents a certain type of content. For Instance, a Student Content Type may have set of metadata like Student Enrollment ID, Name, year of enrollment etc.

Content Type in SharePoint facilitates to organize contents in more meaningful way. It supports inheritance of properties, behaviors and appearances.

What is a Theme?

Themes are used to apply customization to a SharePoint Site and applying a lightweight branding by changing overall site layout, colors, fonts, background image etc. In SharePoint 2013, Microsoft has extensively improved  theming Engine. Now, Theme customization is available by creating Font Schemes and Color Palletes. Further, we can add custom themes to Theme Gallery.

What are Master Pages in SharePoint?

Master Pages in SharePoint serves the same purpose as that of ASP.NET Master Pages. Certain parts of a web page normally remains same like header, footer or navigation bar etc. So, We create Master Pages with these common parts in order to achive a consistent look and feel for a SharePoint Site.
Using Master pages provides lots of benefits including:

  • Common Controls in one location only
  • Writing less Code and Centralized Updating
  • Better User Experience
  • Flexibility
  • Easier management of SharePoint Sites

Important Note:

  • A SharePoint Farm can have one or more Web Application(s).
  • A SharePoint Web Application can have one or more Site Collection(s).
  • A SharePoint Site Collection can have one or more Site(s).
  • A SharePoint Site can have one or more List(s).
  • A SharePoint List can have one or more List Item(s).