On Wednesday 16th December, Jeff Teper, corporate vice president of Microsoft for OneDrive and SharePoint, announced the availability of their Next Generation Sync Client and several other new capabilities, not to mention the much talked about and already reported updates to their OneDrive for Business storage plans.
Next Generation Sync Client for Windows and Mac
Jeff Teper said that “after a successful preview program, we are happy to report that the OneDrive for Business Next Generation Sync Client is now available for deployment. Our top priorities for this release were improved reliability and performance, as well as delivering core capabilities such as selective sync, support for large files up to 10 GB in size and removing the 20,000 file sync limit.”
For IT Professionals, Microsoft have provided the ability to silently deploy and configure the client on behalf of end users. The OneDrive for Business Next Generation Sync Client is available for Windows 7, 8 and 10 and Mac OS X 10.9 and above. Mac OS X support is a major shift for OneDrive for Business, which previously only offered a sync client on Windows. Windows 8.1 support is a little behind surprisingly but will be added shortly in or about the first quarter of 2016.
The Windows client is available today with the Mac client being available before the end of December 2015.
With this initial release, the Next Generation Sync Client only supports OneDrive for Business at the moment, but support for SharePoint document libraries will be added in future releases.
In the mean time, if customers require sync for both OneDrive for Business and SharePoint document libraries, the Next Generation Sync Client is designed to work side-by-side with the existing sync client.
Microsoft are are actively working on other important features including Office integration to support the co-authoring of documents and sharing scenarios (planned for the second quarter of 2016), as well as a more seamless experience for users who are migrating from the existing sync client (planned for the first quarter of 2016).
With the release of this new sync client, OneDrive for Business now uses the same syncing code behind the previous consumer version of OneDrive. This code version is faster and more reliable, in addition to including new features like the ability to selectively sync only selected files and folders from Microsoft’s cloud onto a local device.
In addition to Microsofts updates on their desktop offerings, they have made several improvements to their mobile apps. Firstly, they have recently released a new OneDrive app for Windows 10 Mobile. This app offers all the essential capabilities to view, edit, delete, share and upload files onto both your personal OneDrive and OneDrive for Business storage services.
The OneDrive for iOS app will now support offline storage. You can selectively flag files for local availability and open them when disconnected. The updated app will be available before the end of December 2015. Microsoft had first released offline storage on Android in September 2015 and will go on to take this same capability to Windows 10 Mobile in the second quarter of 2016.
Microsoft has also improved Office Lens for iOS and it now supports uploading your content directly into OneDrive for Business. Office Lens is essentially a mobile scanner that lets you to take pictures of printed documents, business cards, expense receipts and even whiteboards, with automated cropping, trimming and searching of those images. Microsoft will add OneDrive for Business support to Android and Windows 10 Mobile in the first quarter of 2016.
New SDK and new capabilities for developers
Lastly, Microsoft have released a new SDK for developers which they hope will offer even more value. A new OneDrive for Business API has been created, that allows developers to programmatically access OneDrive for Business files. The API includes support for thumbnails, search, large file upload and sync changes.
Developers can write directly to the OneDrive for Business API or access it via the Microsoft Graph. There are new tools and SDKs for Universal Windows, iOS and Android—including support for simple “file picker” integration that enables import and export of OneDrive for Business content.