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Community Sites in SharePoint 2013 Promise Better Support for Team Collaboration

Community Sites are a new feature exclusive to SharePoint 2013. We read a case study on an upgrade from SharePoint Server 2010 to 2013 for Aeroports de Paris (ADP). This case study notes the customer’s interest in the new Community Sites feature when they decided to upgrade.

We took a look at the feature with our SharePoint Server 2013 RTM VM (which we kindly credit to Gaurav Mahajan for offering to the SharePoint community). At the same time we reviewed a video tutorial, Community Sites in SharePoint 2013, authored by Asif Rehmani, SharePoint MVP and MCT, on SharePoint-Videos.com.

A Community Site adds another dimension to the new, collaborative look of SharePoint 2013. Setting up a Community Site is a very simple process. A click on the “Site Contents” link at the bottom of the left side of the Local Team Site takes a user to the Site Contents page, where an option is available to create a new subsite.

Once the “New SharePoint Site” page is served, a user is presented with a series of options, including adding:

  • a title and description for the site
  • a specific web site address
  • a template type, in this case a Community Site template
  • permissions (an explanation of what this setting can do is provided on the page)
  • specific navigation options
  • and, finally, navigation inheritance

Each of these settings should be useful and certainly within the range of end users serving as site owners to configure without a lot of support.

When we visited the community site that we built, we couldn’t miss the focus of the site, which, as Asif Rehmani notes in his training course on the topic, is the Discussion panel, which takes up the center panel of the web page. On the right hand side of the page a user can access a range of “Community tools”, together with a summary of other ongoing discussions, and a list and ranking of key contributors. In the next post to this blog we will look further at how these community tools can be used to promote teamwork.

Ira Michael Blonder

© Rehmani Consulting, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved