SharePoint is a great product and has grown bigger and bigger over time. However, one thing that has become apparent is that, as SharePoint has moved to the cloud, the core stack has changed a little to allow for better scalability, performance and support. There are certainly many enhancements to SharePoint in the new 2016 version, but some features have been deprecated or removed.
Here are the features and options that are now deprecated.
1. SharePoint Foundation
SharePoint Foundation has been included in all previous releases and stands as the free, slightly cut-down version of SharePoint. All of the core functionality for this is now built directly into the core SharePoint product, so this is now no longer available.
2. Stand-Alone Installation
In a recent post I outlined the SharePoint 2016 MinRole approach introduced in SharePoint 2016. Due to this change and update, the idea of a "stand-alone" installation is not supported as it has been with other builds. If you want to create a self-contained development or test environment, then simply choose the “Single Server Farm” role during installation. You will, however, have to esure that everything else you need, such as SQL, is already installed and configured.
3. ForeFront Identity Manager Client (FIM)
In previous versions of SharePoint, ForeFront Identity Manager (FIM) Client was used to synchronize between Active Directory and SharePoint. The new release of SharePoint does not use it at all. The standard way of importing users now is via Active Directory Import. You can still use third-party products, as well as the new Microsoft Identity Manager 2016 version.
4. Excel Services in SharePoint
So, this is a big one, or maybe not. During the past few years, functionality that is really Office- and Web-rendering based has moved to Office Web Apps rather than inside of the core SharePoint stack. In SharePoint 2016, Excel Services and its associated business intelligence capabilities have been removed. The Excel Services piece has moved into a new Office Web Apps product, Office Online Server, which is now in preview. Not only has functionality been moved, but certain features have been completely deprecated. These items include Excel Services PowerShell commands, Trusted Data Providers, File Locations and Data Connection Libraries. Feature such as Viewing and Editing Excel data in the browser now requires the new Office Online Server.
5. Tags and Notes
This feature is completely deprecated for SharePoint 2016. You will no longer be able to create new tags or notes, or even access existing ones. Microsoft has, however, documented how you can archive existimg notes.
Finally, we are seeing the demise of “stsadm.exe”, in all fairness we should have been using PowerShell instead for everything possible for the past couple of versions. Even though it is deprecated it is still there for those backwards compatibility moments that will of course appear as
A Note about BI Capabilities and AppFabric
A very interesting issue you may face is the need or desire to run the SQL Server 2014 Power Pivot and Power View Add-ons for SharePoint. You cannot get this to work as of now, but this will be available in the future via updates for SharePoint 2016 and SQL Server.
It's also important to note that Microsoft will end support for Windows Server AppFabric 1.1 in April 2016. This wouldn't be a problem, except that SharePoint 2016 is built with it. So, this feature is not technically deprecated because it is needed for the product. For now, at least, it will be maintained and looked after. In fact, Bill Baer mentioned this very thing earlier this year: “Our partner team that develops AppFabric is committed to continued support of AppFabric embedded in server products such as SharePoint; as such AppFabric remains supported with SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint 2016 thru their respective lifecycles. This announcement is specific to standalone AppFabric scenarios.”
Moving Toward a More Powerful Solution
This post might seem kind if doom and gloom, as some features you enjoy are now getting removed or deprecated. However, when you think about it, ths is a good thing because it shows that SharePoint 2016 will be a decent overhaul of the core platform. Removing features or moving them to other platforms allows for better updates, changes and--overall--a more powerful solution.
The big thing I have come away with is that SharePoint is not as much a platform as it is a service that needs to be consumed as needed. No longer do we need to talk about the big platform; now we need to talk about how we consume a set of services, whether in the cloud or on-premises.