SharePoint Server is a great tool that gives you more control over SharePoint’s behavior and design. Although it receives less frequent updates than SharePoint itself, SharePoint Server runs on your customer’s infrastructure. The wide set of features and customization can make your life much easier.
SharePoint Server comes in three editions: Standard, Enterprise, and the free Foundation (which was discontinued in 2016). Here, we’ll take a look at the improvements Microsoft is making for its 2019 update.
Whether you’re working on a tablet, a phone, or a computer, SharePoint Server’s new design will translate perfectly across all platforms.
This fast, familiar, and intuitive interface gives you instant access to the people, content, and apps you find yourself working with most. This way, you’ll spend less time searching for information, and more time working with it – regardless of which screen and platform you choose.
Better User Experience
User experience has always been one of Microsoft’s biggest concerns, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that SharePoint 2019 will feature improvements in this area. Mainly, the update will improve document libraries and navigation constructs in SharePoint Online, making it consistent with Office 365.
The interface Microsoft has been testing in Office 365 (with great rates of user adoption) will now be a part of SharePoint Server as well. With the cloud serving as a baseline, Microsoft aims to improve communication and collaboration for SharePoint Server customers.
Updates will include the introduction of Communications Sites, Team News, and a modernization of Team Sites, which will now include Lists and Libraries. This will support broader data mobility and reliable access to documents, no matter where you are or what time it is.
Better Business Processes
Customers all across the globe use SharePoint for tools that support collaboration, searches, business process automation, and customer applications. Many of these same customers rely on SharePoint Server for critical workloads.
Microsoft is aware that it’s not always easy to move a business to the cloud. Thus, they’ve invested in supporting process automation and forms – through technologies such as Power Apps and Flow – to connect on-premises data with SharePoint Server 2019.
To go with these systems, Microsoft has also announced new native support for hybrid scenarios that can be configured during deployment. This feature alone is a huge improvement if your company still has a significant amount of its business on-premises, while also having assets in the cloud. If you have libraries containing huge amounts of data, Microsoft has also improved the OneDrive sync client included with this new iteration of SharePoint Server.
Other new key features for SharePoint Server 2019 include:
Modern Sites, Pages, Lists, and Libraries
OneDrive Sync Client
Improved hybrid support and scenarios
New developer options
Flow/Power Apps integration
Microsoft’s InfoPath is a widely used tool for creating forms, but has been showing its age. Although it will still be supported in SharePoint Server 2019 to ensure compatibility with SharePoint Server 2016, Microsoft is trying to phase out this depreciated tool in favor of their new PowerApps and Flow. PowerApps provides wizards and templates for developers that make creating web and mobile apps easier. Microsoft Flow is a tool specifically for workflows.
With the newly available tools, SharePoint Server 2019 will provide integration with Microsoft Flow and other PowerApps. According to Microsoft, this will allow for a more familiar, consistent view of information, collaboration, and processes, while also providing a comprehensive, easily managed, and integrated platform that meets the needs of your business now – and in the future.
What Isn’t Included?
Sadly, not everything available in Office 365 will make it into SharePoint 2019. Some of the features Microsoft says won’t be included are:
Hub Sites: Hub sites are loved by everyone who uses them, and they fundamentally change how you should structure your SharePoint sites. Sadly, hubs are still too new and untested to make it into the 2019 release.
PowerBI: You can export your SharePoint lists and bring them into PowerBI for analysis, but the new PowerBI web component that exists in Office 365 is not coming to on-premises software in the near future.
Most of the newer web parts: Microsoft was able to jam plenty of new stuff into SharePoint 2019, but a lot of it was meant to be left out. Any web part in Office 365 that has (preview) next to it will likely not exist on-premises, especially those that heavily rely on the cloud (like the aforementioned PowerBI web).
It’s very possible more new features of SharePoint 2019 will be announced. Microsoft certainly did a fair amount of more “hidden” optimizations when they launched SharePoint Server 2016, so it wouldn’t be far fetched to expect the same for its 2019 successor.
Although the specific release date hasn’t been announced, it’s expected that Microsoft will release a public preview of SharePoint Server 2019 this summer, with more news to come during their Ignite conference in September. As far as we know, the release will be announced then, and SharePoint Server is on track to be available sometime during the fall.
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