Thoughts on SharePoint 2016 (from a guy who uses a lot of SharePoint)
In the world of SharePoint there are really 4 distinct roles that are involved:
- IT Professional
- Power User
- End User
SharePoint 2016 ultimately is a big step up for:
- IT professionals responsible for setup, maintenance and administration of SharePoint
- End users interacting with the environment
SharePoint 2016 is pretty much a “draw” at this point for developers and could even be seen as a step back for power users, which might actually be a good thing.
There are numerous hybrid options to enable more efficient interactions with SharePoint Online, MinRoles during the Farm Configuration process to easily enable a specific server to handle an Application Role and even some new site templates surrounding compliance. All of those items will help IT Professionals responsible for SharePoint have a better experience in the initial setup and the hybrid options will make the end user experience that much better moving forward.
Developers will see a very familiar model with SharePoint 2016 as not much has changed (at least as of the Release Candidate version) from SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint Online. The one thing that might impact some developers is that SharePoint 2016 will not have a corresponding SharePoint Designer version. Most developers are not using SharePoint Designer much anymore with the exception of workflow creation and SharePoint 2013 Designer can still be used with SharePoint 2016, so there isn’t really much of an impact.
The fact that there will not be a SharePoint Designer 2016 will be far more impactful for the power users in the SharePoint community. In general power users are not necessarily considered IT professionals but have some basic technical experience and are very familiar with SharePoint. In my opinion this is a move that has been consciously made by Microsoft to pull back some of the “power” of power users, not unlike the announcement of InfoPath’s future demise when SharePoint 2013 was released.
One of the biggest issues in SharePoint On-Premises environments are poor customizations and in many instances these can be a direct result of a power user making customizations to SharePoint that do not necessarily conform to best practices. Obviously this is a very generic statement as there are certainly power users who are more than capable of implementing customizations to SharePoint in a proper manner. However, putting that power into IT professional’s hands should help to eliminate some of the issues created by poorly planned/implemented customizations.
Two excellent references on SharePoint 2016 and what it brings to the table: