Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio are available today! So announced Richard Riley, Microsoft’s director of SharePoint product management, in his keynote address Tuesday morning at SPTechCon in San Francisco.
Riley touched on changes in the developer ecosystem for SharePoint 2013, as well as improvements to the end-user experience (which he called “a massive leap in interacting with content and getting docs in and out of SharePoint”), and the sharing of content in SharePoint with other people in and out of the organization, using the Office suite tools to get that done.
He cited SkyDrive Pro, Microsoft’s enterprise answer to Dropbox, as “one of the biggest pluses to my productivity in SharePoint. SkyDrive Pro makes it drop-dead simple to get content into SharePoint.”
Riley demonstrated a new sync engine (based on the old Workplace engine) that enables users to copy documents from SkyDrive Pro into SharePoint with a drag-and-drop interface.
He also spoke about Yammer and how the new social tooling revolves around newsfeeds. “You can follow content or people, and when there’s an action on them, that populates the news feed,” he explained. Documents and videos can be previewed inline in the newsfeeds using the new Office Web Apps.
Riley also said that SharePoint search and FAST Search have been merged into a single search engine that includes recommendations “to help you find things you didn’t know about.” Further, if the engine recognizes a search query term, it will return the results of the last search you made using that term.
“People search the same thing more than once,” Riley explained. “This will take you straight back to the document you used last.” And, new query rules allow you to tell search, for instance, that “deck” means PowerPoint, so it should only return results with a .pptx extension. Additional deep linking enables search to surface the specific slide inside PowerPoint that is most relevant to the query terms.
Riley also laid out a road map for Yammer. Today, he said, users can use the REST interfaces to weave social capabilities into CRM systems, for example. In the near future, Microsoft will add deeper connections to feeds, documents and identity, and down the road, connected experiences will combine social, collaboration, e-mail, instant messaging, voice and video.
For developers, SharePoint 2013 redefines how you develop on top of SharePoint, Riley said. “The days of full-trust code are over,” he declared. While noting you can still write code in that way for on-premise applications, the new app model that is disconnected from SharePoint enables developers to use any Web tools to create apps for SharePoint. “There is now a consistency in the development approach for [on-premise] and online apps,” he said.
Finally, Riley announced that Napa tools for Office—a Web-based version of Visual Studio—has also been recently made available for developers who want some additional power behind their Web applications.
With more than 1 billion users of Office, SharePoint or both, Riley said, “There’s an enormous market for developers to target.”