SharePoint 15

February 7th, 2012

SharePoint 15 will continue to have these great features;  Excel Services, Access Services, InfoPath Forms Services, User Profile Service, Search Services, Business Connectivity Services and PerformancePoint Services. It will also have these new / greatly improved features; Content Management Service, Translation Services, Workflow Services, SharePoint Quiz Client-Side Object Model Protocol, Education Services and Work Management Service. SharePoint expert Bjorn Furuknap has said he sees SharePoint Education an interesting step for Microsoft. He goes on to suggest that Microsoft is moving into this area to compete with other platforms such as Moodle and Blackboard. You can follow Bjorn on Twitter for other SharePoint news (@furuknap).

We will update this page as more details are made available.

February 1st, 2012

With news of the preview of Office 15 comes a preview of the next major version of SharePoint, currently code named SharePoint 15 and only available to selected customers. It may also be known as SharePoint 2013, however the name of the software has yet to be announced. Little is known about SharePoint 15 at this early stage.

Why I’m starting to dislike Office 365

When I was hired, I was told that we would mainly be looking at migration into Office 365. Five months’ in we were told that instead, we will be looking closer at SharePoint Server 2010, and I couldn’t be happier.

We have now been using 365 for over 5 months’, to begin with it was terrible, service interruptions for days at a time, style sheets wouldn’t load properly, and we got an error for almost every other page click. In time, Office 365 began to be more stable, and it began to work great for what we were doing, until we wanted to see how far we could go with it. Turns out, it can’t really go as far as we wanted it to, despite being built for enterprises. In my opinion, Office 365 is just a shadow of SharePoint Server 2010, despite the fact that SharePoint Online is modelled from 2010.

One of the biggest losses on SharePoint Online is the use of Windows PowerShell, PowerShell is a powerful command line administrative tool that can remove repetitive tasks using scripts. These scripts can also be activated by workflows, allowing complex administrative tasks to be completed quick and easy, even by a user without the appropriate permissions’.

SharePoint Online also lacks a great many other features that come with SharePoint 2010, we have gone through these in a previous post.

As well as these missing features’, I’m finding that the service provided by Office 365 is deteriorating, the website has gradually become slower and slower, errors’ are becoming more common, and Microsoft don’t admit to any service interruptions on the health check page. The support staff don’t appear to know anything about problem solving, we’ve had to deal with them on multiple occasions for problems that have occurred in the past, these service requests can last weeks at a time, the task is often swapped between service staff who then ask the same question the previous person did.

All in all, Microsoft Office 365 is a very frustrating platform to work with, and despite Microsoft’s 99% up time guarantee, is very unstable. I cannot imagine any business, let alone a university, using Microsoft Office 365 as a long term solution. Unfortunately, until we get a copy of SharePoint Server 2010 installed on a university server, we’re stuck with Office 365.


Microsoft Online Services Failure

Today Microsoft has suffered a second major failure of some of its online services, including Office 365. The main outage occurred very early in the morning, however some intermittent problems have continued throughout the morning. Microsoft say they are still working to determine the cause of the problems, but believe that the Internet’s DNS address system is to blame. This is the second time that major problems have troubled Microsoft in the short time of two months that the service has been up and running. These two high profile failures in such a short period of time will no doubt make people question whether they can trust the cloud services over there own on premise systems in order to obtain the anywhere anytime work environment. Again this could cost Microsoft a fair amount of money if the outage time breached the SLA.

Microsoft OneNote

Following our introduction session with a handful of other colleagues, two topics arose that we had not previously looked into. One of these is Microsoft OneNote integration. OneNote has good integration, joining the other three applications that Microsoft offers through the Office 365 service. It is really simple to create a new note within the desktop application and then save it directly to a SharePoint site. All you need is the web address of the library you wish to save the file to. Once saved the document will then appear on the SharePoint site. Users are then able to edit the document directly within the browser. As with all the Web Apps some of the functionality is limited, and OneNote is no exception. As shown below the Web App is unable to show some parts of the document. It is unable to show drawings and the highlighting. Apart from this all the text remains, and enables the user to continue working when access to the client app is not available.

The screenshot below shows the document created in the client application.

The screenshot below shows the document as viewed in the Web Application.

Office 365 is working again

As you may have seen in some of our posts, we have been receiving and pretty consistent and pretty annoying error for the last month and a half . Microsoft have been on the case for the last 3 weeks and I finally got an email last night, the email gave me very simple instructions to a very simple problem, it took an entire 10 seconds to fix the site. The problem with the site was that the default master page was not set to v4 (something I may have accidentally done when fiddling with it) and all I had to do was right click and “set default”, I’m a little annoyed it has taken a month and a half for Microsoft to give me this solution, however, I am relieved that the site is now fully functional again.