The next version of SharePoint, aka SharePoint 2009 or Office Server 14, is scheduled for release sometime during the second half of 2009. Various blogs have already listed some of the presumed new features, like these:
- 64-bit only
- Silverlight UI / Web Parts
- Better support for dealing with large lists (must-have!)
- Groove integration
Recently I heard of a new feature that I hadn’t seen on any of these lists: SharePoint 2009’s default web interface will be using the (in)famous Ribbon interface. I was told this information comes from a SharePoint Product Manager at Microsoft, so it should be reliable.
Now I don’t really know what to think about this. I still have a love-hate relationship with the Ribbon ever since Microsoft released it with Office 2007. For basic Office usage it works very well, but for some tasks it find myself scrolling between Ribbon tabs like a madman.
On the other hand, SharePoint 2007’s UI isn’t that good either. The menus are all over the place and rather complicated, especially for first time users. Use of a Ribbon could improve on this. And considering the fact that SharePoint (i.e. Microsoft Office SharePoint Server) belongs to the Office family, it makes perfect sense to give it an Office-like interface. This would definitely enhance the integrated experience.
Now that I think about it, Microsoft’s Office website has been using a Ribbon-like interface for some time now and I must admit it looks nice. Maybe that’s the exact same Ribbon that’s going to end up in SharePoint 2009? Who knows… Maybe they’ll even implement it using Silverlight, so it will respond to my mouse’s scroll wheel, so I can continue that scrolling between Ribbon tabs like a madman 😉
Update: I’ve received several e-mails from people claiming they already have the Office 14 alpha bits and they all confirm SharePoint 2009 / Office Server 14 is using the Ribbon for its menu’s.