People arguing the benefits of JavaScript versus inherent weaknesses with the language. How search has been revamped by the fusion of FAST search and SharePoint’s capabilities. What the new application model will mean. Why branding STILL is not pleasing.

These were some of the discussions heard at SPTechCon last week, as experts and others who have downloaded the SharePoint 2013 preview tried to figure out how the new software will impact users, administrators and developers.

Our SharePoint 2013 panel was fairly well attended, albeit later in the evening, and the Boston SharePoint User Group meeting also focused on the next version. Yet looking through the breakdown of the conference last week, the introductory courses were still the best attended. That brought to mind a conversation I had with Jon Frost of Jack Frost Design, a company that does, well, design for websites. We were talking about the new emphasis on social tools in the next version. “Folks are still on documents and libraries, and social is so far off their radar,” he said. “Microsoft is building out [SharePoint] to stay ahead of other CM vendors, not necessarily to meet user needs. Worldwide companies are talking about [social]. That’s about it.”

As the community delves more deeply into the beta release, it will be interesting to see what other areas Microsoft might have forsaken, or overplayed. One of the Microsoft MVPs I spoke with indicated that Microsoft will release software with a certain feature still lacking maturity, with the intention of improving it in the next release. And, he noted, it usually does (BDC to BCS is an example). In some cases, though, Microsoft gets caught up in new features, or new pressures are put upon it, and some features remain immature.

Looking at the beta? What are your first impressions? Comment below, or e-mail me at

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Two weeks ago, when I broke the news that SharePoint 2013 would ship on the following Monday (which it did), I asked what kind of plans folks had for evaluating or adopting the new version. I received this reply from Marshall K. Heller, who answered my question with a few of his own. (It’s in the comments section under the article. And leave one of your own, if you’re so inclined!)

— David