What’s New in SharePoint Online from SharePoint Blog

What’s New in SharePoint Online: November 2011 Update
by                                                  sharepointblog@live.com                                         on                11/29/2011 11:52 PM

                Category:  Announcements SharePoint

Our first update to SharePoint Online (SPO) since the launch of Office 365 (O365) became generally available on June 28, 2011 is now complete worldwide. We thought it would be a good time to share information about the new features and fixes available as part of this service update. On a broad level, this update enables greater reach to both people and external data, while at the same time increasing the number of supported devices and Web browsers. We also added some self-management recovery capabilities. But there’s a lot more, too.

Business Connectivity ServicesAt SharePoint Conference 2011 (Oct. 3-6) in Anaheim, CA, Jeff Teper (Corporate Vice President of SharePoint engineering) announced, “Business Connectivity Services (BCS) is coming to SharePoint Online by the end of this calendar year.” Available now to all Office 365 midsize and enterprise customers worldwide, BCS in SPO enables them to connect to external data sources via Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) Web Services endpoints in both read and write modes.

Now, you can design solutions that extend collaboration capabilities that include external business data, such as line-of-business (LoB) applications that sit behind customer firewalls, or are being transitioned to the cloud (think SQL Azure). Best yet, you can download SharePoint Designer 2010 for free to help make the connections.

And for BCS experts, SPO now also supports external lists and data columns, the Business Data Catalogue (BDC) service for WCF connectors, and the Secure Store Service partitioned at the tenant level within customers’ SharePoint Online Administration Center. What is not yet available: external data search, rich client integration, profile pages and direct connectivity to SQL Azure without a WCF endpoint.
Want more information? Check out Steve Fox’s (Azure CoE) informative blog post. In addition, we’ve recently published new SPO BCS related documentation on MSDN:
External Sharing

BCS is all about breaking down the boundaries to external data. Now let’s turn to breaking down the barriers when you work with people. This service update adds support for working with people who are not part of your company, such as vendors, trusted business partners, and customers. With these external sharing capabilities, a company can invite external users to view, share, and collaborate on their SharePoint Online sites. This feature is turned off by default, but a SharePoint Online Administrator can enable external sharing for the whole company. Then, individual site collection owner administrators can decide if they wish to share externally.

Please note: External users may sign in to the service using a Microsoft Online Services ID and/or a Windows Live ID. Live IDs may include @Live.com, @Hotmail.com and @MSN.com user names, plus regional derivations.
 
For more information:
·    Learn more about how to use external sharing within Office 365 for small businesses or within Office 365 for enterprises
 
With the release of Windows Phone 7.5 codenamed “Mango,” Office 365 users can now access list items and work on documents stored in SharePoint Online lists and document libraries—in addition to email, calendar and contacts. This new support applies to all Office 365 plans, including those for small businesses and professionals (http://-based) and enterprises (https://-based).
 
For more information:
·   Read the original Windows Phone TechNet blog post when Office 365 support was announced at TechEd 2011.
·   Watch this video to see how easy it is to connect Windows Phone 7.5 to Office 365 services.
 
Better connections
In addition to earlier versions of Internet Explorer and Firefox, SharePoint Online now officially supports Internet Explorer 9 and Chrome. No matter which browser you prefer, you’ll get a better experience. Just launch your favorite browser. Then, hit your favorite SharePoint Online team site or intranet company site, work with Office Web Apps, and more.
 
Connections to other services are also better. For instance, Microsoft Dynamics CRM customers can now take advantage of the rich SharePoint Online document management functionality directly within the Microsoft Dynamics CRM application. As a result, users can create SharePoint Online Document Libraries dynamically within CRM—when and where they are needed. Companies can also add Document Management capabilities to entities such as Accounts, Opportunities, Cases or even custom entities in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
 
For more information:
·   Get high-level details in the blog post here,
·   Get more technical details in the blog post here.
 
Recycle Bin
Lastly, SharePoint Online makes it easier to recover from accidental deletions. This service update gives site collection administrators more control by significantly improving all site collection recycle bins. In other words, you can now restore an entire sub site (or document, list, library, etc.) within a few clicks, and within a few minutes.
 
Fixes
This update to SharePoint Online also includes numerous fixes. Many of these fixes were driven by customer feedback and Office 365 Support requests. We’re listening and appreciate your feedback. Some of the key fixes include:
  • Companies using SharePoint Online for small businesses will no longer be able to delete their root site—a   great benefit considering that this offering is based around a single site collection.
  • SharePoint Online-based Public Websites will no longer prompt unauthenticated users for credentials on their mobile devices.
  • When Windows Phone 7.5, codenamed “Mango” was released, customers that applied a vanity URL to their Office 365 tenancy could not connect to their SharePoint Online site via the “Locations” section of the Office Hub. Now they can.
  • The “-my” root site collection—the parent site collection to all of a tenant’s My Sites—has returned to the SharePoint Online Administration Center within the list of site collections. It is again possible to allocate server resources, assign owners, and now this site collection cannot be deleted.
 The SharePoint Online service description has been updated to reflect all the new features and changes.
 
The boundaries continue to break down; ever closer to collaboration from anywhere, with anyone, on any device. We hope all who are already enjoying the service will like all the new capabilities of SharePoint Online. And if you’re not yet using the service, try it today risk free for 30 days! To the Cloud!
 
Thanks, The SharePoint Team

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