3 Things about SharePoint 2013 Preview for Developers

3 Things about SharePoint 2013 Preview for Developers

This is your brain on SharePoint 2013

Imagine if SharePoint 2010 had never existed. What if you woke up in the summer of 2012 having used only SharePoint 2007, and then, boom, that day, SharePoint 2013 Preview was released? How much catching up would be you be doing? Oh, wait—

With SharePoint 2013 Preview, there's a lot to sort through. Even if you've kept up with SharePoint's evolution. Even if you're a 2010 genius. It's enough to make your head explode.

So for a quick dive—and some reassurance--I contacted a SharePoint developer who's been working with SharePoint since the days when it was known as SharePoint Portal Server 2003. Ulysses Ludwig is a Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer and SharePoint architect who has worked with SharePoint 2003/2007/2010—and, as important, can explain SharePoint.

I asked for his take on three things about SharePoint 2013 Preview.

SharePoint Pro: What is the biggest misconception or expectation devs might have about SharePoint 2013 Preview?

Ulysses Ludwig: Most developers might be expecting a revolutionary new SharePoint that requires complete code rewrites and a completely new API to learn. While SharePoint 2013 does have new APIs to learn, those APIs support new functionality such as the App store, the Azure Framework, Remote Event Receivers, and enhanced client object models while most of the original functionality and APIs have remained relatively intact.

In fact, most code I have tested in my lab requires little to no updating other than minor adjustments to the UI and SharePoint references.


SharePoint Pro: What is the biggest potential issue awaiting them with SharePoint 2013 Preview?

Ludwig: SharePoint 2013 is significantly more difficult to install and configure. Once installed, there's a whole new set of frameworks to learn and little to no documentation. Furthermore, there are some things, like the RESTful interface, that are tremendously powerful but not fully baked.

For example, the RESTful interface requires a token for the client application to make a request--however, Microsoft has yet to develop a platform-independent (or wholly JavaScript) version of the TokenHelper that would make these interfaces useful outside of .NET.


SharePoint Pro: What are some interesting or helpful things you see for devs in SharePoint 2013 Preview?


Ludwig: Visual Studio 2012 has been streamlined to have fewer project choices along with matured feature sets for "feature" management within SharePoint itself.

Deployment and debugging works seamlessly with SharePoint's server and client object models, and the tool has been updated to allow for GUI-based Content Type and List editing. Of course, the move toward a touch-friendly interface deserves a shout as well.


Ulysses is teaching an e-learning class that starts this week on SharePoint 2013 Preview for developers. He aims to strengthen your 2010-related skills in how to use the server-object model (and the best way to approach typical projects), and the client-object model (plus using Ajax and jQuery to create static html pages outside of SharePoint that dynamically access the SharePoint object model).

He'll also show you what's new in SharePoint 2013, what's been taken away, and how to prepare your code—all with the goal of giving you the ability to comfortably approach any situation, no matter what the scenario.  To learn more about the class, check out this website.

It's a little weird to be appreciative of SharePoint 2010 solely for its place as a stepping stone in SharePoint's evolution. But just think of all we've learned about SharePoint development because of it—learning that can now be applied to SharePoint 2013 Preview. I'm already anticipating the new neurons making connections inside our brains. Well, my brain. Maybe.
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