SharePoint Virtual Summit 2017 in Review

Just a few hours ago, Microsoft wrapped up their SharePoint Virtual Summit 2017, a follow-up to their May 4th, 2016 “Future of SharePoint” event. After watching the Summit keynote, I quickly jumped over to the OnDemand technical sessions, like “Updates to the SharePoint Framework with SharePoint Framework extensions” presented by Mike Ammerlaan, “An overview of SharePoint communication sites” presented by Andy Haon and Alyssa Danesh and more.

Get caught up

If you missed the keynote, start there for sure. You can watch the keynote directly at: http://aka.ms/sharepointvirtualsummit. Although, if you want the full interactive experience, plus the ability to view the technical sessions, head on over the main registration page—register and then learn away.

What I learned

Office 365 and SharePoint continue to grow at an amazing rate with insane growth. As Jeff Teper, Corporate Vice President Office, SharePoint and OneDrive, said, “this has truly been the biggest year for SharePoint”.

OneDrive continues to improve

During the keynote, Jeff started off by showcasing updates to OneDrive, in particular, selective sync and more powerful sharing tools. I really like the upcoming UX for sharing files that’s more in line with granular options found in other cloud storage options like DropBox. As my company has been migrating to OneDrive we’ve experienced frustrations around the OneDrive sync client and sharing. I’m happy to say I’ve already seen great improvements to OneDrive, although I must admit I eagerly await the further enhancements to sync and share.

A new SharePoint Site Template – Communication Sites

The SharePoint Modern UI was first released to lists and libraries and then was eventually added to team sites as well. I’m stoked about the new SharePoint site experience for communication sites—a site experience geared towards broad communication to a wider audience than what a Team site can provide. Communication sites are designed to be dynamic sites that pull together information for a group and share that across the organization.

One might ask are Communication sites a replacement for organizational portals, such as Intranet and Extranet portals, and my opinion is no, they are not. While team sites are good for teams to work and communicate amongst themselves, a communication site is best for a group that seeks to speak to the organization. An organization can still benefit from a customized portal when the SharePoint homepage has gaps in an organization’s requirements. Plus, communication sites do not appear to have the customization ability that many still seek from Publishing portals yet.

SharePoint Framework Extensions

You’ll find a great technical session from Mike Ammerlaan on “Updates to the SharePoint Framework with SharePoint Framework extensions“. Although this was announced a few days ago, prior to Build 2017, the technical session is one of our first real looks at this new offering. Extensions are going to be great—a near perfect replacement to JSLink. Currently, extensions will provide three new hooks, the ability to target our code to trigger at the application level (ApplicationCustomizers), Field level within a list (FieldCustomizers) and within command menus (CommandSets). Mike provides a much better overview than I can here, but suffice it to say, extensions will remove a large roadblock with our transition to #SPFx.

Time to Discuss

There’s so much information packed into the SharePoint Virtual Summit, that combined with the ever increasing speed of change, you might be confused. Myself and many in the community will be doing our best to sort this out.

First up, Wednesday May 17th at 9am PST, Christian Buckley is hosting the #CollabTalk tweetjam, where we will be discussion via a twitter tweetjam the Virtual Summit.

Next up, on Thursday, May 18th at 11 am PST, PixelMill is hosting an online panel, “Do the SharePoint Virtual Summit Announcements Affect You?“, where myself, Christian Buckley (6-time Microsoft MVP, Founder/CEO of CollabTalk LLC), Ryan Schouten (Microsoft Certified Trainer, SharePoint Developer for ZAACT) and Peter Allen (Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist, Senior Consultant for Kiefer Consulting) will be taking your questions and discussing what the announcements made at the Virtual Summit mean to us, our organizations and our clients. Be sure to join us.

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