Microsoft's SharePoint Server 2019 is now generally available for users after the server product was first introduced at Microsoft Ignite earlier in 2018.
Built on the same core platform as SharePoint Server 2016, the latest product gains a wide range of improvements that are aimed at making it easier to use, according to a recent post by Bill Baer, a Microsoft senior product marketing manager, on The SharePoint Community Blog.
"As we developed SharePoint Server 2019, we paid close attention to trends in team collaboration, user experiences across devices, and how the cloud can be blended into existing on-premises scenarios in new and compelling ways," wrote Baer. "SharePoint Server 2019 represents a whole new generation of SharePoint, one born in the cloud, and representative of the ease of use we delivered in SharePoint Online."
Key to the redesign of the product is the addition of new features for users, while keeping them intuitive and familiar, he wrote. "Great experiences are those that both look great and work flawlessly, entertain and engage, with rich, contextual and relevant content. The improvements to the SharePoint Server 2019 user experiences are those that are easy to use, and ensure reliability, performance and security under real-world pressures of scale and complexity."
Among the improvements are team sites that are more collaborative and that connect with Office 365 Groups, which allow simpler permissions models for content viewing. The new redesigned home pages, which are called "modern" pages, also get new sections for things like news, quick links, site activity and a document library, while the old versions included announcements, calendars and links.
The modern team sites are used in the way SharePoint pages have always been used—to connect teams with the content, information and apps they need for their work. Users can then enable sharing and communication within the team and across the organization.
"In SharePoint Server 2019 you'll find a modern team site experience, with an engaging home page personalized by the power of SharePoint search," wrote Baer.
Also new in the latest version are redesigned "modern pages," which are built to be easier to create and less structured than the previous pages, wrote Baer. "Modern pages provide a fast, easy way to build responsive pages using the functionality of modern web parts. Pages are similar to classic web part pages and publishing pages," which were used in previous versions of SharePoint Server. Using the new modern pages, users can share ideas using images, Excel, Word and PowerPoint documents, embed video content and take other actions. Pages can be created and published and then displayed on any devices.
The "modern" libraries and lists in SharePoint Server 2019 also get redesigns, with easier, faster and more intuitive ways to create new folders and upload files in the browser.
"SharePoint Server 2019 introduces a modern list experience that simplifies how people create, curate, and interact with information with a rich set of capabilities that work across devices and browsers," wrote Baer. At the same time, SharePoint Server 2019 provides a better experience for document libraries as well.
The updates allow users to create new folders and upload folders the same way they do in OneDrive, using the command bar instead of the ribbon. Users can also easily copy and move files using the command bar. In addition, users can pin documents to the top to highlight them, add files as links instead of copying them between sites, while also being able to resize, sort, filter and group columns and create custom views. Other improvements include being able to quickly change file information and easily access previews and additional details, while improving the display of lists with column formatting.
"The new experience supports the themes, navigation, and custom buttons that were created in the [earlier] classic experience," wrote Baer. "However, some features can only be used in the classic experience."
Also updated in SharePoint Server 2019 are improved communication sites that feature a new mobile and intelligent intranet, which allows users to communicate to people throughout an organization with beautiful, dynamic, mobile-ready communication sites and pages that keep everyone informed and engaged, wrote Baer.
Support for uploading files up to 15GB is now part of SharePoint Server 2019, as well as the ability to use # and % as supported characters in file and folder names across document libraries in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business. In addition, SharePoint Server 2019 increases the URL path length restrictions from 260 Unicode code units to 400.