They have been mum on the details of the SharePoint roadmap. But with a SharePoint 14 Conference planned for October it was only a matter of time before they started giving us tidbits on the road ahead.
Not the first SharePoint 14 announcement, but certainly one of the most interesting so far is that Microsoft's FAST Search will be integrated with SharePoint 14.
FASTforward’09 Announces it First
If you are hanging out in Vegas at FASTforward’09, then you were the first to get the news: SharePoint is getting a new search server in the forms of FAST ESP.
FAST Search for SharePoint
FAST Search for SharePoint will be released when the next version of Office (which is expected to include the next version of SharePoint) hits the street. Microsoft claims that the integration of FAST will enable a whole new world of business applications.
If the thought of SharePoint and FAST together makes you all giggly, you don't have to wait. Microsoft is making available today a special offer called ESP for SharePoint. This solution allows customers to buy into a starting point for the FAST/SharePoint integration with a defined licensing path to the real deal when it becomes available.
FAST Search for Internet Business
In addition to the new SharePoint integration, FAST Search for Internet Business will extend FAST ESP to provide public websites with flexible, search driven capabilities which include content integration and interaction management.
We doubt that this news had anything to do with former FAST CEO turned Corporate VP of Microsoft Enterprise Search resigning in late January, but we thought we'd mention it anyway. (He couldn't have hated SharePoint that much could he?)
Performance Server Moving to SharePoint
Along with the addition of FAST Search in the next version of SharePoint, Microsoft has also announced that PerformancePoint Server is also headed into the upcoming SharePoint Platform.
Currently a standalone product, PerformancePoint Server offers business intelligence in the form of dashboard, scorecard and analytical capabilities. However, the roadmap for this product has changed based on feedback from customers.
According to Kurt DelBene, Senior VP of the Office Business Platform Group, customers want to reduce their expenditures by using the tools they use everyday (like SharePoint) yet still have features like business intelligence to help them make the best decisions. This to us means, PerformancePoint Server was too expensive and/or complicated to use and Microsoft needed to offer a simpler, ease to use solution to be competitive.
And so the PerformancePoint Services for SharePoint has been born. In mid-2009, the final service pack for PerformancePoint Server will be released (SP3) and then there will be a PerformancePoint Server no longer.
What Else is Expected for SharePoint 14?
We don't know. We do know that there is so much speculation in the development community that SharePoint seems to have a lot of improvements/enhancements to live up to. Some examples of what might come include Silverlight Media WebParts, WCF services, Master Data Managment, CMIS Support and FAST Search Integration (hmmm....maybe it's not all speculation).
What is also confirmed for certain via Technet is that SharePoint 14 will be 64-bit only.
Attend the SharePoint 14 Conference
Hopefully we won't have to wait this long, but all the need to know SharePoint 14 details will be told at the SharePoint 14 Conference announced for this October in Vegas. Early bird registration is happening now.
If you are still trying to get a handle on this whole SharePoint thing, keep plugging along. It's unlikely that everything you have learned and will learn will go to waste. We'll do our best to keep you informed. We only ask that you do the same.