• Why Migrate to SharePoint 2013?

    What changes and enhancements in SharePoint 2013 make it worth migrating from SharePoint 2010? Speaking from a purely business perspective, there are a number of features in SharePoint 2013 that are probably worth making the investment to upgrade. There are also some features that might not be worth the effort, at least for the majority of SharePoint users.

    In this blog post we will summarize a few of the new features in SharePoint 2013 that might justify upgrading from SharePoint 2010. The features we’ll overview are: Design Manager, Device Channels, HTML5, Community Sites and Community Portal, the new Search experience, Content Search Web Part, and Web Content Management. These features can be configured by a trained in-house SharePoint developer or a professional SharePoint consulting firm can be contracted to do the work.

    Design Manager

    This tool will help make your website look as if it was custom designed, and ensure that your brand is presented how you choose rather than looking like SharePoint. Design Manager makes it much easier to create customized, pixel-perfect design while using the design tools most designers are familiar with. With Design Manager you can also optimize your site’s design for a certain class of smart phones or tablets. Depending on what device channels you define, you may want several designs.
    Design Manager lets you create your design, implement the design and manage the website design.

    Device Channels

    With Device Channels, you can render a single publishing site in multiple ways by mapping different designs to different devices. Each channel can has its own master page that links to a style sheet that is optimized for a specific device. Each channel specifies the user agent substrings for one or more devices, such as Windows Phone OS. There are rules that determine what devices are included in each channel. When visitors browse your site, each channel captures the traffic for its specified device or class of devices. Visitors see your site in a design optimized window customized for their particular device.

    HTML5 and CSS3

    HTML5 has several new features such as: the < video > and < audio> elements for media playback in the bowser’s default player; support for local storage which gives the user the ability to use web apps or read content while offline; and new content-specific elements like < article>, < footer>, < header>, < nav>, and < section>. These tags allow for better SEO content indexing, organization and standardizations for all designs. HTML5 lets developers target the most number of devices with the least amount of development effort.

    In addition to HTML5, CSS3 opens up even more branding opportunities. CSS3 includes: the @font-face property to render font file references in a live environment; the border-radius enables the ability to make rounded corners on boxes and other objects; box shadow generates a shadow on elements; and dynamic widths for proportional sizing on multiple screen sizes. CSS3 also gives designs that need dynamic widths the ability to re-size proportionally based on the screen resolution or the size of the device.

    Community Sites and Community Portal

    There is a new site template called Community Site, which is a site that promotes discussion between members based on site specific topics. It also allows for the use of common social media techniques like ‘@’ to mention and ‘#’ hashtags to tag with categories.

    The Community Portal Site Collection template automatically aggregates community sites for easy viewing and access. This is very similar to the Linkedin-groups concept. Community Sites can be created to support different subject matter and then a Portal can be created to access sites individually.

    New Search Capabilities

    Search in 2013 enables users to find relevant information quickly and easily and makes it easy for Search administrators to customize the search experience. It also provides several API sets for advanced customizations and solutions. There have been a wide variety of improvements in the Search capabilities of SharePoint 2013 from SharePoint 2010. With the newest version, Search has been re-architected to a single enterprise search platform. The search architecture consists of the following areas: crawl and content processing, indexing, query processing, search administration, and analytics.

    Content Search Web Part

    The Content Search Web Part (CSWP) is a Web Part introduced in SharePoint 2013 that uses various styling options to display dynamic content on SharePoint pages. The CSWP displays search results in a way that they can easily be formatted. Each CSWP is associated with a search query and shows the results from that search query. Display templates can be used to change how search results appear on the page. CSWP can return content that is as fresh as the latest crawl of your content.

    Web Content Management

    SharePoint 2013 includes new and improved features to manage web content and simplify how you design publishing sites and enhance the publishing process. Content authors can copy content from Word, paste it directly into a Rich Text Editor Web Part or an HTML field control on a page, and have the resulting semantically correct HTML markup display in the styles that were defined by the designer.

    In SharePoint 2013 the variations feature is used exclusively for multilingual sites. The variation feature makes content available to specific audiences on different sites by copying content from a source variation site to one or more target variation sites, and tracking relationships between sources and target content.

    Cross-site publishing lets you store and maintain content in one or more authoring site collections, and display this content in one or more publishing site collections. When the content is changed in an authorizing site collection, those changes are then displayed on all site collections that are reusing this content.

    The overall experience of WCM combining Apps, Search, Devices, Design Manager significantly enhances our ability to manage the publishing of pages and the environment to make that happen.

    Wrap up

    If you are thinking of switching to SharePoint 2013, there are a number relevant, business-oriented, features to consider. We presented a few of the features in the blog, but to get an complete picture of all the features that might be relevant for you, it is advisable to speak to a SharePoint Consulting professional.

    SharePoint Engine

    If SharePoint experience is one of the keys to end user satisfaction, then SharePoint Engine will get a gold star. As a SharePoint Consulting company in business for the past 7 years, they have successfully completed more than 100 projects. Many of the SharePoint Engine developers have been working with the platform since it was launched in 2001. The depth of their knowledge is substantial and can be used to design and build an exceptional SharePoint solution.

    If you would like to talk to a premier SharePoint Consulting firm with the experience and vision to design your ideas and business objectives into SharePoint, please send us an email at Info@SharePointEngine.com or call 678-956-1780.

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