SharePoint is one of the platform to which Microsoft has been increasingly focusing, as it has turned out to be a game changer in the corporate world, especially for those who were looking for some advance, collaborative intranet tools.
Since the Ignite conference 2017, it was very clear that Microsoft was working on the next version of SharePoint and will present it with the Office 2019 generation. However, until the release of SharePoint 2019, it was completely unclear that what Microsoft has planned in terms of innovations and changes. With SharePoint 2016, the large wow effect did not occur for many users because the scope of the innovations was limited. Microsoft was too busy developing Office 365 at this point, the on-premises server had to run on the side. With SharePoint 2019, it is a little different again, especially since Microsoft SharePoint has recently become the focus again as a brand and technology stack.
Against this background, it Microsoft has brought some innovations. The following main topics are found to be of great importance to users:
Customizable forms are a basic requirement for many SharePoint users within lists and document libraries. In the past, Microsoft established InfoPath as a universal solution for this, but in the meantime Microsoft has discontinued the product. To date, there is no clear successor strategy, but at least InfoPaths’ support guarantee until 2026 will still be an option for the 2019 generation.
However, it would be better if Microsoft expanded its new PowerApps into a form for the SharePoint solution. So far, the focus has been on mobile apps that can exchange data with SharePoint. The logical next step would be to connect to SharePoint lists and libraries.
In this context, the version 2019 has brought improvements to lists and libraries, with features such as customizable columns and unlimited scrolling down.
Microsoft has launched Office 365 and SharePoint Online as an “all-round carefree package” in the course of its cloud campaign. In reality, however, the path to the cloud proved to be a rocky one, especially for larger companies. Hybrid operation has now been hailed as a solution for all of the less smooth scenarios. Here, simple workloads are quickly hoisted into the cloud, while more complex cases remain on the company’s servers for the time being. In practice, however, the complexity trap often strikes, usability, user acceptance and administration always cause problems.
For SharePoint 2019, the operation of hybrid environments is much easier for both IT and users.
With SharePoint 2016, Microsoft introduced the redesigned Modern UI on the Office 365 / online side. Lists and libraries in particular benefit from the new look, but Classic remains an important option for the time being due to its currently larger range of functions. SharePoint 2019 should be consistently expanded in this direction and appear as standard with the new user interface, including all existing page layouts.
The new communication websites promise a big leap towards a more modern intranet. They are based on the new SharePoint Framework SPFx, which significantly simplifies the individual adjustments of the user interfaces. It offers quite extensive possibilities for developing apps and SharePoint web parts not only for Microsoft, but also for developers.
SharePoint 2019 brings new apps here that make it easier for customers to switch from traditional page layouts. SPFx is expected to become the standard for all kinds of SharePoint customizations, but developers still have access to the well-known server-side techniques.
From the outside, a prediction about the further existence of the on-premises SharePoint would be pure speculation, and even Microsoft should not have any fixed plans internally. However, it is recommended that users do not wait until Microsoft discontinues the product, but rather deal early with Microsoft Office 365 and a cloud strategy.
As with every SharePoint version change, Microsoft started with the 2019 version with the knife and cut away unnecessary areas, and pushed certain functions onto the siding. There were no big surprises, because a lot has already emerged from the development of SharePoint Online, for example the website mailboxes or the news feed. Here is an overview of the discontinued and removed functions:
The following table shows all components in SharePoint 2019 that were classified as discontinued compared to 2016 and will therefore expire in the foreseeable future:
|Function Name||Description||Possible Alternative|
|Access Services 2010 and 2013||Both services were discontinued in Office 365 some time ago. In the on-premises server, too, they are now considered to be expiring.||PowerApps and Flow|
|News feed on MySite||The news feed has been discontinued and is only functional to a limited extent.||Yammer Newsfeed, Team News or Communication Sites|
|Custom Help||Discontinued in favor of the new help engine, which keeps the content up to date via the cloud.||Office365 Cloud Help Engine|
|Groove Sync Client||Discontinued in favor of the Next Generation Sync Client (NGSC).||NGSC for OneDrive|
|InfoPath Services||The InfoPath client was discontinued in 2014, and now it affects the associated server components.||PowerApps|
|List Web Services||Few endpoints that were earlier used by the old OneDrive Sync client have now been discontinued.||–|
|Machine translation||The machine translation service and the supplementary automated processes are terminated.||–|
|PerformancePoint services||Due to the dependency on Silverlight and its expiry in 2021, this service is now being discontinued.||PowerBI|
|Site mailboxes||The mailboxes website, which was introduced in 2013, has not been supported in SharePoint Online for some time, and will no longer be on-premises in the future.||Public Folders|
|Site manager||Site Manager, an old tool that has been around since SharePoint 2003, allows you to move and copy sites. The main functions are now available via File Move in the Modern UI.||Modern UI file move|