Hi Everyone! It’s been awhile since I posted about the next release of Chatter for SharePoint so I wanted to bring you up to date on the development progress. I’m going to share some screenshots of the solution, talk about the updated and new features in this version, the beta and release schedule and finally licensing and pricing.
Disclaimer – the screenshots are from the upcoming beta release. The CSS is not quite finished yet so there will still be some fit-and-finish improvements.
Above: The Chatter Feed Web Part
The UI is all new in Version 2 of the solution – a simple and clean design which focuses on content. As promised, all of the key elements have CSS tags and the branding can be tailored to fit your needs. Speaking of content – the screenshot above illustrates one of the many new features: Metadata scraping of links embedded in posts. Image and description tags are parsed from compatible pages and the rich content is rendered in the feed post.
The solution was also completely refactored and restructured. A new middle-tier library has been created that encapsulates the Chatter API calls and other common code. Next to the new CSS/UI this has been the most time-consuming aspect of the project.
Above: New Search Results Web Part
Another new feature is the Chatter Search Results web part – which is designed to be used with the Search Center. This replaces the fairly-complex Federated Search Connector configuration with an easy plug-and-play web part that you drop onto the Search Results page. The web part doesn’t require any configuration beyond the setup of the solution. This new approach addresses the limitations in the Federated Search configuration of SharePoint 2013 dealing with authentication.
- Redesigned and customizable UI
- New jQuery animations and transitions during Ajax postbacks
- New middle-tier API library
- New Search Results Web Part (replaces Federated Search components and related issues with permissions delegation)
- Localization support (English only at launch but other languages are now possible)
- Performance improvements for feed load times and postbacks
- Support for RSS output of feed data
- Trending Topics (In Progress)
- Follow (In Progress)
- @mention auto-complete (In Progress)
- Encryption of user tokens within SharePoint
- New licensing modes – Evaluation, Standard and Enterprise + Users
- Custom Installer
- 3rd party signed binaries for the ClickOnce Authorizer
Removed features: SharePoint 2007 Support, ‘Share on SharePoint’ feature
Deprecated features: The Federated Search Connector is not included in version 2.x – however any existing connections will continue to function in this release. I strongly recommend switching to the new Search Results Web Part as soon as possible.
BETA and Release Plans
Looking to release the BETA version to customers during the week of September 15th. This will be a time-limited version that will allow you to test all of the features. I am requesting any testers provide feedback by the end of September so I can remediate issues and promote the code to production.
If all goes well with the BETA I will look to finalize the code, supporting documentation and related components through September for a mid-October release.
Licensing and Pricing
As previously stated, the licensing model for this release is changing. There are now two offerings: Standard and Enterprise. The Standard license grants you the right to use the Feed Web Part only. All other features are not available with this license, including: Upload to Chatter, Search Results, Ribbon Integration (Sharing of pages, items and documents; Finding items in feeds), RSS Feed, and Profile Sync. This license is per-farm with an unlimited number of users.
The Enterprise license includes all of the solution functionality and is licensed per-farm plus per-user licensing. The user-count is calculated based on the site collection with the largest number of users.
Pricing for the Standard License is $299 per farm. Maintenance on the Standard license is $1000/yr per license.
Pricing for the Enterprise License is $599 per farm + per-user licensing. Maintenance on the Enterprise license is the greater of $1000/yr or 20% of the total license cost per year; Per user licensing starts at $1.50 per user for less than 1000 users. Contact me for a quote. Note – non-production farms can be licensed for $599 per farm (no additional per-user costs) as long as your production farm is fully licensed.
Current customers under maintenance will be grandfathered into the new Enterprise licensing model for this version at no additional cost. Version 1.x customers not under maintenance will need to re-purchase the 2.x solution under the new licensing terms.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions and look for the BETA of Chatter for SharePoint 2.x to be released during the week of September 15th!