The road to RTM is littered with dead features…

Now that the Office 15 bandwagon has started it’s journey, information is bound to crop up here and there. Can you trust this information? Maybe. I would not be making any life altering decisions based on it until just before the SharePoint Conference in November. At that point in time, the relase should hopefully be so close that they have locked down the feature set. Until then, anything is up for grabs, or in this case, ends up on the cutting room floor. The only thing we can be fairly sure about is that the stuff that worked in SharePoint 2010 will most likely be around in SharePoint 15.

One of the central features of SharePoint is the user profile system; this allows you to import information from Active Directory and present it through the My Site feature. In SharePoint 2007 it was trivial to add new user profile properties. When SharePoint 2010 was launched, the API’s had changed considerably. Now it looks like an overengineered grapefruit. The reason for this can be found in Central Administration; Organization profiles. It looks like the idea was to introduce profiles for Organizations that leveraged the same property structure as user profiles. The only reference to Organization profiles is in Central Administration, nowhere else. By the look of things, this was something they were working on, and had to cut in order to ship in time. If this will be completed in SharePoint 15 or completely removed again is anybody’s guess.

The fact that something exists in a version doesn’t guarantee that it will continue in the next. The first version of Windows Home Server had a feature called Drive Extender; this allowed you to merge a lot of physical disks into one big logical one. In the latest version of WHS, this feature is no longer present. Apparently it was causing some issues with some other functionality, so they decided to cut it. A lot of people were not happy.

Late last year I attended a course on Duet Enterprise; an integration product between SharePoint and SAP. One of the core pieces this code depends on is the claims based authentication. The instructors told us that at one point during the development cycle, the SharePoint team was considering to cut claims authentication. Since the SAP integration was an important strategic choice, they managed to keep it. Just imagine what we wouldn’t be able to do had the decision fallen the other way.

It’s rather appropriate that the next conference is in Las Vegas. Until then it’s pretty much a betting game if features will make it or not. Since SharePoint 15 will include everything from on premise to cloud solutions, it’s not unthinkable that something gets cut if it prevents one or the other from working. If the community shouts loud enough, any missing pieces might make it into a feature pack or service pack. At this point in time, who the hell knows. I doubt even Microsoft knows.


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