Thought so. Unfortunately we don't have the answers -- at least not any you probably haven't heard already. But there are others who are starting to offer up what they believe SharePoint "14" will and won't have. We thought it interesting enough to pass along.

Can't We Name This Baby?

To be honest, probably the most annoying thing about not knowing what's coming with the next version of SharePoint is what Microsoft is going to call it. Some refer to it as SharePoint "14", others SharePoint "next". It would be nice if Microsoft would just bite the bullet and share that little piece of information -- a real name -- so we can refer to it intelligently.

Until then, we choose to call it SharePoint 14. And here's what we have heard is certain about the next version:

  • It will be 64-bit only, so started developing your apps as 64-bit now
  • Visual Studio 2010 will provide enhanced development support for it out of the box
  • FAST for SharePoint will include both an internal and external solution

Okay, so that's not much. Perhaps what is more interesting is what others think SharePoint 14 will and won't have.

What SharePoint 14 Won't Have - Maybe

Kathleen Reidy is a Senior Analyst for the 451 Group. She covers the SharePoint beat extensively and has some thoughts on what won't be in the next version of SharePoint.

Social Software

Reidy thinks that because Lawrence Liu, former Microsoft's social computing evangelist, is now working at Telligent, that Telligent's Community Server roadmap is a good indication of what SharePoint won't have. This is because Community Server has a tight relationship with SharePoint and offers a number of integration points.

Reidy thinks that because Community Server is strong in areas such as community analytics, bridging internal and external communities and feed aggregation, that you won't see these features in SharePoint 14.

Of course Liu comments on Reidy's blog that she shouldn't speculate on SharePoint 14's features based on Telligent's roadmap. And Liu is a Microsoft MVP -- keepers of SharePoint 14 secrets -- so we might want to listen to him.

Web Content Management

Don't expect to see much improvement in Web Content Management. It hasn't exactly been one of the big selling points for SharePoint -- at least not by Microsoft. Reidy believes Microsoft is much more interested in content-based collaboration, which is more inline with social software than web content management.

Records Management

Look for other vendors to offer integrated solutions for records management instead of Microsoft building it in. Solutions from enterprise content management vendors like Open Text are more likely to be used.

What SharePoint 14 Will Have - Maybe

Guy Creese has some thoughts on what SharePoint 14 will have. He gets asked this all the time by his clients. His response, "Here's an educated guess at what I think will be in the next version. This takes into account how Microsoft thinks about the world, current product holes that need to be fixed, and weaving together disconnected comments made by Microsoft."

Ubiqitous Information

Creese believes SharePoint 14 will be all about the information worker and gathering the information they need no matter where it comes from. Which means tighter integration between Office and SharePoint (knew that), but also a broader reach that includes the cloud, mobile worker and devices, etc..

Consolidated Administration

SharePoint needs to provide more consolidated administration across server farms if it really wants to get past the department mentality that currently exists for the platform. This includes not only basic server/site administration, but also unifying taxonomies and site design.

Learning Opportunities

Hosted vs In-House

Creese thinks the lines between the hosted version of SharePoint and the in-house version will blur and capabilities between the two won't be that different. He also believes customers will be able to move easily between the two.

SharePoint Search

We already know some of this as fact. SharePoint 14 will include FAST search: FAST Search for SharePoint (internal) and FAST Search for Internet Business (external). In addition, we should see the Search UI and the people finder UI improved.

Social Software

We all know that SharePoint 2007 does offer blog and wiki capabilities and they are okay. But more often than not, customers are looking to integrated third party tools to offer these social capabilities. Creese thinks Microsoft will likely step up to the plate here -- or he hopes -- and grab some of that market share back internally.

While You Anxiously Wait

There's no time to sit back and chew your fingernails waiting to hear what's coming. There's still work to be done. 

According to Arpan Shah's blog, Service Pack 2 is around the corner, possibly by the end of April. You also need to start working on a 64-bit platform and should get up to date with the latest releases of all the associated technology required, like database server, operating system, .NET framework, etc..

Shah was at the SharePoint Conference last March and gave a SharePoint Overview presentation that we think is worth taking a look at. It may actually hold the key to some upcoming features in SharePoint 14 -- although he isn't saying that.

So sit back, have a good read and torment your boss like hell to get you on a plane to the SharePoint Conference planned for October -- where you really should be if you want to know what's in store for SharePoint and you.

Have any predictions or secrets you want to share?