With the release of SharePoint 2013, Microsoft is clearly showing its commitment to the current social media revolution. SharePoint 2013 is packed with different social features designed to function in ways familiar to avid social media users (which, let’s face it, is most of the global workforce these days).
Paul jumped in talking about SharePoint integration with Office 365. Almost anything social on SharePoint can be tested on an Office 365 site. On the SharePoint site, users must create a My Site in order to interact with others through the new social features. To me, it seems the best addition is the newsfeed. Paul explains how users can follow people, documents, and sites and have all the pertinent change information show up in a consolidated newsfeed. This allows users to quickly see what is going on with particular projects throughout their farms. This all happens through a Consolidated Feeds Web Part pulling from a micro feed list, social list, and the velocity cache. Whenever a change is made, it is stored in the velocity cache and any appropriate list. This allows the Consolidated Feeds Web Part to be able to quickly and easily display changes in a user’s newsfeed without having to pull data from across the farm. Of course, all these social features come with security measures requiring permissions to be set up as normal in SharePoint.
Community sites now allow for the creation of categorical groups and pages. This allows you to break down a community into specific areas of work or interest. Community sites in SharePoint 2013 are merely common wiki pages with no specific API, making them just like any other page from a developer’s viewpoint. Ratings and reputations are available in communities and must be set up for each community. That said, using feature stapling allows developers and admins to create consistent ratings and reputation criteria across community sites which can then be consolidated into a single rating and reputation for any given user. With this setup, users can earn badges for overall performance, and not just per community.
Extending the social features requires a choice of architecture model, be it a farm, sandbox, or the new App model. For the nitty-gritty details, refer to Paul’s slide deck (linked below) starting at slide 27. Also in his deck are template ID numbers, and handy bits of code to help you set up and manage social features on SharePoint 2013.
Paul ended each session by reminding people that these features are available now, and can be tested through Office 365 sites, making the process that much easier.