SharePoint 2013 Preview: A Few Changes That Might Surprise Users (If Not Planned For Appropriately)

by Richard Harbridge on September 25, 2012


SharePoint 2013 Preview has been out for some time now and quite a few of my clients and colleagues have been working with it. There is a plethora of great content talking about why SharePoint 2013 is awesome (and it is!) but I wanted to take a moment and point out several examples of things that could surprise people when working with SharePoint 2013 in the current preview.

This is by no means a complete list of the changes or things that may very well surprise users. There are a few other resources that highlight other changes like this one Changes from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013.

1. The removal of the design view in SharePoint Designer 2013.

The most significant change that will impact super users, or end user champions who build business solutions leveraging SharePoint is the removal of the design view in SharePoint Designer 2013. This significantly complicates the management and further development of existing SharePoint Designer customizations by those who are not comfortable working in code view.

There is a great thread that discusses this between community members here and it is well worth a read (or at least a few long glances): http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/sharepointitpropreview/thread/8f8e2cb3-a90f-4653-9d22-050f9f0d8612

Remember that there are workarounds such as using a blank ASPX page to build out the look and feel of a dataview webpart, but anything that references the MasterPages won’t support visual design using SharePoint Designer.

I am extremely happy with the move (generally) away from XSLT and towards HTML based design (modifying the look of search results and refiners as an example is much much easier than previous versions), but this one is going to be a significant change and should be planned for accordingly. Remember that your super users are often your evangelists internally. So make certain you have workarounds and an effective support plan.

2. SharePoint 2013 by default has no breadcrumb (in the default site).

There are a plethora of changes to the UI that will take some time to adjust to. One feature that many users are in the habit of using in 2007 and 2010 are the breadcrumb controls. These allow a user to quickly navigate up and down tree structures or go back to where they came from. In 2010 multiple breadcrumbs were available such as the ‘up one level’ control as well as the general breadcrumb that displayed in browse mode.

Keep in mind this is preview, and that it’s very easy to add the breadcrumbs to your MasterPage where appropriate.

3. The ‘create sub site’ option is in a very different place.

This may be a wonderful benefit for those who are struggling with site proliferation. The previous default of it being a significant and easily found option often resulted in users creating sub sites on a regular basis, even if a better solution might be a document library or folder structure.

It can now be found under Site Contents on the quick launch (at the bottom of the resulting page).

4. Removal of sign in as a different user option.

This may seem like something that only technical users do (when testing workflows, or other activities). Remember that many super users (whether they should or not) do test their SharePoint Designer workflows using alternative accounts. Additionally there are quite a few people who ‘log in’ on a colleagues machine. Without this option it will be exceedingly difficult for users to work on each others machines (or shared machines).

There is a post (actually a couple posts) that discuss this. In Nick’s he outlines a potential workaround http://nickgrattan.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/sign-in-as-different-user-and-sharepoint-2013/.

What about you?

Were you surprised by changes as a user in 2013? What were they? How should we plan for the change they bring to other users?

Hope this helps,
Richard

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