SharePoint: Classic vs Modern Sites 

In this blog, we look at the vital differences between the classic and modern versions of SharePoint, along with some of the other recent SharePoint developments.

SharePoint: What is the difference between modern & classic?

Over the last 3 years, Microsoft have made many changes to SharePoint online. When Microsoft first launched the Office 365 version of SharePoint online, it was the same offering as the on-premise version you install on your own server. Now that the Office 365 service is maturing, Microsoft are focusing on integration within other areas of Office 365.

“In 2016, we introduced a new “modern” experience for SharePoint, bringing extensibility, accessibility, and responsive design to a complete overhaul of the user experience. Since then, modern has been the centre of innovation in SharePoint and OneDrive, although classic mode remains supported and available.”

The older implementation of SharePoint, referred to as Classic, has the following components available:

  • Pages
  • Webparts
  • Lists
  • Libraries

Modern SharePoint Templates

These components have all been updated to, what are referred to, as “modern” components. Currently you can switch between classic and modern, however the default for a new Office 365 SharePoint site will use modern. Microsoft has allowed Office 365 tenant administrators to opt out of the modern interfaces and stick with classic, but this will be changing soon.

“We’re making some changes to how environments can opt out of modern lists in SharePoint.
Starting April 1, 2019, we’re going to begin retiring the ability to opt out of modern lists at the tenant level.”

From a usability perspective this makes sense as classic pages don’t work well with high resolution displays or modern mobile devices like smartphones and tablets.

SharePoint Online Developments

The other area where Microsoft has made changes is in the architecture or layout of the sites with in SharePoint online. In the classic SharePoint environment, you would typically have site collections that have sites and subsites that look something like this:

SharePoint Classic Overview

Another common way to architect classic sites could look like this:

Classic SharePoint Sites Example

Each of these layouts have pros and cons, however Microsoft have a new way of creating SharePoint online structures. With the introduction of “modern” SharePoint comes new templates.

Creating New SharePoint Sites

These new templates have a different layout than classic and are treated as separate sites that can be connected to another root site (Hubs). As a result, it might look something like this:

Modern SharePoint Sites

When creating a modern site using the built-in templates you are asked for a site name. SharePoint then creates an Office 365 group associated with the new team site. Once the new site is provisioned you can connect it to a Hub site. Following this, it will inherit the navigation from all the other sites connected to the same Hub site.

Setting up a new modern SharePoint site

Check out our SharePoint Templates

SharePoint based systems and templates from Betasoft use fully modern interfaces and, in most cases, are configured to integrate with other areas in Office 365.

We are now running a limited time promotion on our Organisation Intranet Portal (RRP £995), which now comes free when you purchase our other SharePoint Modern Site Templates. Not only does this give you the basics to get started with SharePoint, but it is the most affordable route to modernising and optimising your business systems. Get in touch to find out more and don’t forget to follow us on social media for more daily SharePoint tips.


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