SharePoint 2013 A Quick Look

My experience with SharePoint 2013 came from downloading from Microsoft TechNet.  I Installed on Windows Server 2012 running within Oracle Virtual Box 4.1 on top of Windows 7, 64 bit.  I gave the virtual box 4 gb of ram and 50 gb of hard disk. I installed Windows Server 2012 that as always was configured for a workgroup, this isn’t supported to run SharePoint 2013.  But I tried it none-the-less, no joy.  It actually wasn’t supported in previous versions so this is no surprise.  So, I added domain services and promoted it to a domain controller.  I didn’t want to muck around with any existing Server 2008 R2 domain. Then I found that SharePoint 2013 no longer offered to install in standalone mode, again not a surprise, so I installed SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Express w/tools.  This worked with a notable error message indicating the installer threw an exception but I pressed on with no other errors, I continued to reinstall SharePoint 2012 and configure it.  Having done this I went on to follow the install wizard creating all services and the site collection using a team site and the 2013 user interface.  I did notice a new service application – Access, I hope I’ll be able to look at that further.  I have to comment, the old “working…” dialog has been replaced with a “working on it… sorry to keep you waiting” dialog.  At least it’s very polite!  I came across the brand new site and I see the “Get started with your site” web part on the default page.

As you mouse over each image, a description of each is displayed.  Notice the “Add lists, libraries and other apps” – interesting.  In SharePoint 2013 each of these objects are considered apps.

As you can see, these are broken into “Noteworthy” and “Apps you can add”

Looking at “Apps you can add”, these are the same objects we have seen for some time within SharePoint.  However there are a couple new “apps” if you page through.  One application of note is the missing service from the Office applications in previous versions of SharePoint: Microsoft Office Access application service – seemingly this item “Add an Access app” allows you to accomplish this, very interesting!  Clicking on app details displays the following:

Interesting, I hadn’t seen the settings menu previously, however I noticed it after adding and naming the Access App.  Well, notice on my Site Contents screen the new icon next to “Test Custom Access App” – saying “Sorry, something went wrong with adding the app”.  Interesting I didn’t do anything except name the app, so maybe the name I chose broke a rule or something.  I’ll “Click to retry”.  Unfortunately that yielded the same results.  Maybe Access apps can’t be created in a 4gb of ram environment.

Back to the start page and I notice this is an application page…  The url for those interested is: http://win2012sp2013/_layouts/15/start.aspx#/  obviously this is relative to my test machine, but I notice that it runs from the _layouts folder, this is an application page as opposed to a web part page.  A couple of items that jump out to me are the NewsFeed, SkyDrive and Sites links.  These link to your MySite for MySite default, all documents and all sites (showing sites your following).  Its quite interesting I think that the SkyDrive links to your MySite all documents.  This seems synonymous with the “Cloud” or internet based SkyDrive but using organic resources.  We all knew that’s what we’d use the MySite for, but this is an interesting rename for the functionality.  Another notable user interface addition is the “Focus on content” button.

This reduces the page to content only.  This is a nice feature that I’ve seen our customers implement before.  It’s nice to see that Microsoft’s product team picked up on this desired functionality and implemented it in the latest release.  There is so much to see here with SharePoint 2013.  I’ll go into more detail in later posts.  Thanks for reading!

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