Unless you've been living under a rock or get your email from GroupWise or something — the big news in the past few weeks is that Microsoft released the SharePoint 2016 Release Candidate. That's right, we're one step closer to that (release-to-manufacturing) RTM nirvana that we've been thinking about for the last two or three years.
About two days after SharePoint 2013 dropped, it seems like we were all looking forward to SharePoint version next at that point. But we're getting closer.
Microsoft said for a while now that they plan on releasing this the first half of 2016 and I think we're on the road. It looks like it's going to happen.
Closer and Closer
So the release candidate came out on Jan. 20, which I thought was kind of in poor taste. I think they should have released it on the 21st, which is of course my birthday.
One thing that was a little odd: normally Microsoft releases these things when I'm traveling so that I can't blog them a timely fashion. But this time they did it while I was at home.
So we're getting closer, a whole lot closer.
The previous build that we had publicly was SharePoint beta two. We originally had the SharePoint 2016 IT preview. Now we have Release Candidate.
Just a Patch
One unexpected thing about the release candidate is that it is just a patch from the beta two. What's crazy about that is in the past, with previous betas of SharePoint and every other major product until this last round with Windows, every time you installed a beta — when the next beta came out, you had to wipe and reinstall.
But now, if you've got beta 2, the release candidate is just a patch. So that download is really small.
And you've already got your farm set up. You've already got things in there (not production stuff because this is beta software.)
But you just drop this patch on there. You run a new prerequisite installer, run the patch and run the config wizard and your Beta 2 Farm is magically upgraded to the Release Candidate. Now that's cool for a couple of reasons.
One of the reasons is because you don't have to lose all your stuff. The other thing is it shows us where patching for SharePoint is headed.
We have been hearing from Microsoft's Bill Baer about how patching is getting better in SharePoint 2016. We've heard all that. But now we're actually being able to patch through versions of the beta.
I think Microsoft is serious about this patching thing. I think it's really going to be a lot better in the next version SharePoint.