SharePoint Server 2019, which is the on-premises version, is currently in development and expected mid-2018.
Yes, that is around the corner, but do not expect a fully functional ready for mass adoption version till at least early 2019.
In addition, like all SharePoint releases, there are high expectations and massive speculation as to what will be released in this next version.
From our trusted sources, this will also certainly not be the last version of the on-premises version of SharePoint. A updated release in 2022 is expected. #longliveonpremise
So what can we expect from SharePoint Server 2019?
- InfoPath revival. Many people have hinted at the return of InfoPath. This really frustrates me as I went to the InfoPath funeral at the SharePoint conference three years ago and had a blast. InfoPath has not been improved for at least four years; and while the tech was good in its day, it is the same as using a horse and cart on today’s modern highways amongst a fleet of Tesla’s. Its dead for a reason and should not be allowed to rise like it is. So, my wish is to not allow backwards compatibility to InfoPath in 2019 and drive a big silver stake through it once and for all. Move on and use PowerApps and make sure PowerApps can integrate going forward;
- Hybrid workloads. Microsoft introduced the first SharePoint hybrid connections back in SharePoint 2013 with Office 365 Mysites integration. I am not going to get into why that was not a big hit so let’s move on to SharePoint 2016. In SharePoint 2016, the hybrid integration is better and much anticipated. However, if Microsoft really wants to make an impact with 2019, they need to allow for true hybrid workloads; and I think they get that. So lets expect Logic Apps and Flow integration for workflow. OneDrive overflow to save space on local architecture with a flip of a switch and next level sync tech;
- A modern UI. Actually, I’m not going to say modern. Let’s rather say next level; completely not Microsoft more Apple based user experience. Yes, I said it. I really think Microsoft will bring their best game and provide a uniformly good user experience that aligns with their online version to take on-premises to that next level look and feel. It really is time, and I think while not upgrading the look and feel might scare people away from using on premises, it might just scare them away from the platform all together. Microsoft really needs to make sure this time round the UI is amazing;
- OneDrive on-demand with offline sync – yes you can get it on SharePoint Online and Office 365 now, so lets be sure to add this feature;
- Mixed reality. This is a stretch, so take it with a bit of sugar, but just think about this for a second. Microsoft’s investment into HoloLens and all the other vendors jumping on the bandwagon means the tech is growing, and the way we interact with our current platforms will change. If Microsoft ensures SharePoint has this integration and feature on release, it will leapfrog the competition and take the brand and the platform a cut above the rest. Traditionally however, MS wont see this gap and wait for a smaller firm to exploit the market and then either buy them or try play catch-up;
- SPFX . The SharePoint Framework to create full packages solutions that work on premises and allow full control and access rights. Yes, we still need that for integration and real enterprise solutions;
- Updated Admin Experience. This was done for Office 365 and not for on-premises, so we can expect that a strong alignment will be made between the two for 2019.
What not to expect
Here is what not to expect.
- In-depth granular user usage analytics. I do not see Microsoft playing in this space and SharePoint Vitals covers this anyway;
- Advanced server performance and reporting. It has never really been part of the Microsoft offering, and they have some tools which already do this job. I still believe Umlindi is a far superior tool and manages this area exceptionally well for anyone wanting to manage the performance, uptime and maintenance of their SharePoint farms including SQL;
- Two-Factor authentication. This is totally a win for online systems and I do not see Microsoft implementing this for on-premise. SharePoint One Time Pin however is most certainly a clear alternative in this space designed and dedicated to SharePoint.
That is my predictions as of 23rd April 2018. I am happy to hear your thoughts, wish lists and concerns; even if you may disagree with me.