Introducing Microsoft SharePoint Online

I’ve recently been talking a lot about Microsoft SharePoint Online – part of the new Microsoft Online Services. As I’ve mentioned, you can sign up today for a beta version and get 5 fully functional seats and test it out for yourself. In fact, I’ve heard that there is transition support for folks on the beta so that come October they’ll be able to use everything they’ve done during the beta.

So, what exactly is SharePoint Online? It is MOSS! It is not WSS. It is MOSS Standard in the cloud. I’ll say it again, MOSS in the cloud. MOSS Standard hosted by Microsoft and supported by Microsoft.

While I don’t work for Microsoft, I’ve read and heard quite a bit about SharePoint Online. This is my current understanding (please provide feedback):

It is MOSS Standard, but it is currently limited (surprised?). What does SharePoint Online not include? Here is a list of items that I’ve noticed so far…

  • No Anonymous access!

  • No vanity URLs!

  • No My Sites!

  • No custom code!

  • No email enabled lists!

  • No Presence!

  • No Site Directory!

  • No Business Intelligence (no Excel services, no BDC, no Filter web parts, etc.)

  • Limited Search capabilities. Search works great within your site, but…

    • No People Search

    • No Custom Content Sources

    • No cross site collection searches

    • No admin of search/index/etc.

  • No Content Deployment

  • Missing Site Templates from MOSS

  • No Publishing Site Templates

  • No Search Center Template

  • No Records Repository Template (no records)  

Wow, that is a big list of things that are not included. But there is an even bigger list of what is included!

WSS Site templates are there, MOSS Publishing Features are there (just no site template), Search is there, SharePoint Designer support is there, branding support is there, Workflow is there, Data View Web Part is there… Surveys, Document Libraries, Page Layouts, Variations, Slide libraries, Forms libraries, Mobile support, and great Office integration is there!

As you can see, there are many of great things included, and there are more features on the way. I would hazard a guess, though, that there is enough included out of the gate that will make a majority of organizations happy.

By John Stover

John Stover Bio.

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