Our first update to SharePoint Online (SPO) since the launch of Office 365 (O365) became generally available on June 28, 2011 is now complete worldwide. We thought it would be a good time to share information about the new features and fixes available as part of this service update. On a broad level, this update enables greater reach to both people and external data, while at the same time increasing the number of supported devices and Web browsers. We also added some self-management recovery capabilities. But there’s a lot more, too.
At SharePoint Conference 2011 (Oct. 3-6) in Anaheim, CA, Jeff Teper (Corporate Vice President of SharePoint engineering) announced, “Business Connectivity Services (BCS) is coming to SharePoint Online by the end of this calendar year.” Available now to all Office 365 midsize and enterprise customers worldwide, BCS in SPO enables them to connect to external data sources via Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) Web Services endpoints in both read and write modes.
Now, you can design solutions that extend collaboration capabilities that include external business data, such as line-of-business (LoB) applications that sit behind customer firewalls, or are being transitioned to the cloud (think SQL Azure). Best yet, you can download SharePoint Designer 2010 for free to help make the connections.
· Introduction to Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint Online
· What's New for BCS in SharePoint Online
· SharePoint Online Developer Resource Center
BCS is all about breaking down the boundaries to external data. Now let’s turn to breaking down the barriers when you work with people. This service update adds support for working with people who are not part of your company, such as vendors, trusted business partners, and customers. With these external sharing capabilities, a company can invite external users to view, share, and collaborate on their SharePoint Online sites. This feature is turned off by default, but a SharePoint Online Administrator can enable external sharing for the whole company. Then, individual site collection owner administrators can decide if they wish to share externally.
· Learn more about how to use external sharing within Office 365 for small businesses or within Office 365 for enterprises
· Read the original Windows Phone TechNet blog post when Office 365 support was announced at TechEd 2011.
· Watch this video to see how easy it is to connect Windows Phone 7.5 to Office 365 services.
· Get high-level details in the blog post here,
· Get more technical details in the blog post here.