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SharePoint Server 2016 Feature Pack 2 Released with SharePoint Framework

Microsoft is delivering the SharePoint Framework to organizations running SharePoint Server 2016 by releasing Feature Pack 2 today.

The SharePoint Framework, originally released in February with "general availability" support for the SharePoint WebParts component, is Microsoft's new client-side development environment for SharePoint. It features the use of open source lightweight tools with REST-based APIs, and is largely supplanting the older .NET server-side development approach.

Happily, Feature Pack 2 now permits organizations running SharePoint Server 2016 to "create and deploy Client-Side Web Parts to SharePoint On-Premises sites," according to Microsoft's September update description page.

Feature Pack 2, released as a September "public update" at this page, also includes Feature Pack 1 capabilities. It's not necessary to install Feature Pack 1 before Feature Pack 2, according to Microsoft's description page. Microsoft first released Feature Pack 1 late last year, but it was pushed out again in Microsoft's Aug. 8, 2017 update for SharePoint Server 2016.

Feature Pack 1 brings IT pro perks such as admin action logging and MinRole enhancements, among others. It also brings the OneDrive for Business "modern" experience -- in other words, a bunch of user interface improvements -- but only for organizations that have up-to-date Software Assurance contracts in place.

Software Assurance used to be an annual contract that assured upgrades to the next software product release within the contract period. It also provided a few educational perks for organizations. However, in Microsoft's more agile software release world, Software Assurance is getting associated with certain feature update releases. At least that seems to happening on the SharePoint side. Likely, that'll be a trend to watch for organizations using other Microsoft server products.

Update 9/15: Microsoft has provided SharePoint Management Shell scripts that can be run to check if the OneDrive for Business modern experience is being used, which gets "turned on by default" if Feature Pack 1 or 2 installed. The scripts are described in this blog post.

The September public update also brings a few quality improvements and fixes for some software flaws. For instance, it fixes a problem where "you can't access the SharePoint Admin site after you create a farm," which seems important. Also, SharePoint Server 2016 administrators "can now add and remove other users from the User Profile Service Application administration" with this update. Microsoft also added a few fixes for Project Server 2016 in this release.

Microsoft's Feature Pack 2 description was bare bones. However, Bill Baer, senior product marketing manager for SharePoint, suggested that more would be discussed in this upcoming Microsoft Ignite session, happening later this month.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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