SharePoint Framework Context Explorer web part

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The new SharePoint Framework developer preview is available now and you can check out how to get started over in the Microsoft GitHub repo here: https://github.com/SharePoint/sp-dev-docs/wiki

Follow through the setup and tutorials if you’re new to the SPFx and how it all hangs together.

With the new SPFx we get given a context object as part of the core which provides properties we can leverage inside our web part. This example is super simple and is aimed just to provide an easy to consume view of the context.

The full technical document is found  here

We can run the web part in the WorkBench hosted on localhost to see something like this

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When we run the same web part within a SharePoint online hosted WorkBench it updates to show something like this

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Extend the render

We inject some additional code into the render method to display the various properties.

Helper functions

There are a couple of additional functions to help deal with the objects and enums.

Clone and extend

Hopefully this will help you get familiar with some of the properties you have access to. Feel free to clone the code from my repo SPFx Context Explorer Repo.

Smile

How is the Delve Yammer feed configured?

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Delve is a great way to discover content and people across Office 365. One of the best social features within Delve is the ability to take part in a Yammer conversation directly against the content.

The Delve conversations experience

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As you can see each Delve card has a menu in the bottom right which provides employees with the option to ‘Talk about this in Yammer’.

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The conversation panel then pops out and displays all the conversations about that content within your Yammer network.

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So how do you need to configure the Yammer Embed widget to match the settings seen in Delve?

Delve makes use of the same Yammer Embed widget as you would anywhere else within Office 365, or other web pages. Using the html inspector in your favourite browser you can see the settings passed by the hosting page to the iframe widget.

Digging deeper you can see that the Delve feed iframe is configured as follows:

(example)

src=”https://www.yammer.com/embed-feed?
container=%23yammerRender
& feedType=open-graph
& objectProperties%5Burl%5D=https%3A%2F%2F<tenantname>.sharepoint.com%2Fsites%2Fnewsdev1%2Fuk%2FPages%2FKatherine%2520Grainger%2520Is%2520Britain’s%2520Most%2520Successful%2520Female%2520Olympian.aspx
& objectProperties%5B
private%5D=true
& config%5B
promptText%5D=Talk%20about%20this%20on%20Yammer
& config%5B
defaultToCanonical%5D=true
& config%5B
header%5D=true
& config%5B
hideNetworkName%5D=true
& config%5B
footer%5D=false
& config%5B
showOpenGraphPreview%5D=false
& config%5BuseSso%5D=true
& bust=1471035190502″

So the settings are:

  • Feed type: open-graph
  • Private: true
  • PromptText: Talk about this on Yammer
  • DefaultToCanonical: true
  • Header: true
  • HideNetworkName: true
  • Footer: false
  • ShowOpenGraphPreview: false
  • UseSSO: true

So these settings mean that it is defaulted to using the open graph mode. This converts the content url into a rich object in Yammers social graph. Private being true means it requires either a group or people to be mentioned to show to those selections. The prompt text appears in the text box. Header being true makes it show, combined with hiding the network name makes it show ‘Yammer Conversations’. No footer is being shown, so no ‘log out option’. Interesting they choose not to show the open graph object previews. This makes a little sense as that can’t see internal Office 365 data, although you might still want this to be ‘true’ in the case where an employee posts a url that is public. Finally the default to canonical (crazy name for this) means it will seek to use your accounts ‘home’ network rather than default to whichever network you last visited. That’s quite useful as you don’t want to accidently share private corporate links to another network. Use SSO being true means it uses the SSO.

So there you have it, simple settings correct for the context of Delve. Useful to know if you want to have the same experience elsewhere.

The Future of SharePoint paradigm series – Using Visual Studio 2015 to build a SharePoint Framework client web part

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Microsoft announced the new SharePoint Framework at the Future of SharePoint event on May 4th 2016. You can read about the full announcement here: https://blogs.office.com/2016/05/04/the-sharepoint-framework-an-open-and-connected-platform/

Dan Kogan, principal group program manager, covers the SPFx in his video from the event. Watch this if you haven’t already as it details all the cool new things that the SPFx will bring.

Most of the demo’s and blogs have focused on using Visual Studio Code. You can still develop using Visual Studio 2015 if you choose. This article will explain how to hook up the SPFx solution and use Visual Studio 2015.

This article is based on the SharePoint Framework preview and is subject o change for the GA. Any information is correct at the time of publication, but you should check with the latest Microsoft information.

Getting Visual Studio 2015 ready

The SPFx experience is normally used from VS Code so we have to add a few things to Visual Studio 2015 to enable it to use the node and npm tech.

First step is to install the Visual Studio 2015 update 3 (https://www.visualstudio.com/news/releasenotes/vs2015-update3-vs), this takes about 20 minutes and requires a restart.

Once the update is installed the Node.js tools for Visual Studio (https://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/features/node-js-vs.aspx) need to be installed.

Creating your solution

Create a new folder which will contain the generator output. I’ll call mine WebPartExample1

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Run the SPFx Yeoman Generator

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For the preview I need to add the next step of an alias

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This will then pull in the node modules and begin running the generator

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For this example we’ll choose the client side webpart

 

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Give the web part a name

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Add the description

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Choose your Framework of choice. I personally prefer other frameworks than React so i’ll choose Vanilla.

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And the generator is done.

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If we check our file system we can see the new files

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Importing this Yeoman output into Visual Studio

From Visual Studio 2015 create a new project.

From the TypeScript list choose Node.js and then select ‘From Existing Node.js code’.

It is important to select the folder your Yeoman output was in.

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Then you need to name the project the same as your SPFx client side project.

If you need to find it check the package.json

{
“name”: “web-part-example-1”,
“version”: “0.0.2”,
“private”: true,

“engines”: {
“node”: “>=0.10.0”
},

“dependencies”: {
“@ms/sp-client-platform”: “0.0.20”,
“load-styles”: “^2.0.0”
},

“devDependencies”: {
“@ms/ms-core-build”: “0.3.23”,
“gulp”: “^3.9.0”
}

}

It will be listed in there.

Now click OK to run the wizard.

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Again select the right folder and click next.

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If you have the right folder you should see the gulpfile.js.

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Click finish to complete the project import.

The project

Let’s take a look through the new project and solution.

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We can see that there is an npm node which allows us to explore the node modules. There are also plenty of regular files like tsd.json, tslint.json, package.json etc. These should be fairly recognisable from common web dev projects. Remember that SPFx is expecting you to have working knowledge of modern web dev like TypeScript and gulp.

Fixing gulpfile.js for Visual Studio 2015

We need to just change the gulpfile.js to use var instead of let.

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Setting up for F5 running

We need to modify the project settings to include the node module gulp and argument serve.

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Once you make those changes F5 will build and run the server files and open the SharePoint Workbench

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As I stated earlier these are steps based on the DevKitchen pre-release SPFx bits and will almost certainly change for GA. It hopefully shows how you can still make use of Visual Studio 2015 and don’t have to move to using VSCode if you’d prefer VS2015.

I hope you found this info useful and onwards to the Future of SharePoint

The Future of SharePoint paradigm series – First look at the SharePoint Home

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On May 4th we got an insight into the Future of SharePoint from Jeff Teper and team, you can read my event summary here: http://weshackett.com/2016/05/whats-new-with-sharepoint-microsofts-future-of-sharepoint-event-round-up/ In this article I outlined three areas of this series, this article falls within:

User Experience

Exploring the implications for organisations of the new UI and experiences being pushed into service.

During the Future of SharePoint event we saw the announcement of the new SharePoint Home experience. You can read more about the wider announcement about the ‘mobile, intelligent intranet’ from the Office Blogs. In the video Adam Harmetz, Group Program Manager, SharePoint experiences, talks about all the amazing new user experiences coming to SharePoint and Office 365. About 40 seconds into Adam’s video we get the first glimpse of the new SharePoint Home experience.

A little history

Since the launch of the SharePoint 2013 visuals on Office 365 back in 2013 we’ve had a page called ‘Sites’. This is a first level navigation item which appears in the Application Launcher. As you can see in the image below the ‘Sites’ page forms a key element of the SharePoint navigation experience. It provides a strip of corporate links along the top, your personally followed sites, recent sites you have visited, and finally sites that are recommended. The Office 365 version is slightly more advanced than the on premises version.

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The Future

Today Microsoft began the rollout of the new SharePoint Home. First Release tenants will begin to get the new experience as it rolls out across the service globally.

Lets take a closer look.

The welcoming experience.

You employees are guided into their first use with the key elements being highlighted. As you can see in the image your employee is introduced to the ‘frequent’ strip of sites and groups.

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Next up your employee is shown the value of ‘following’ and ‘recent’ sites and groups.

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Next is explanation of the ‘links’ section.

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The final section is the ‘suggested’ sites and groups.

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After the intro you’re in and the new SharePoint page is there in all its new shiny glory. You can see in the image below the main content areas match the replaced ‘sites’ page. This is good from one aspect as employees will be familiar with the sites and groups listed within each area.

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Cards

Let’s take a closer look at each of the visible card types.

The site card:

The site card is picking up the site logo or name abbreviation if the logo was the default SharePoint logo. It has the ability to be followed via the star in the header strip. The site title is also being displayed. There are also three items of activity being listed. This is giving you insights into activity within that site.

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The blog card:

Delve blogs you write for or read are listed. Notice the lack of following ability on blogs, it’ll be really great if this feature gets added in at some point.

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Video channel card:

Video channel displays the video activity in that channel. You can follow that channel from the card.

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Now a couple of interesting observations. First this card colour matches the video channel selection which is a good thing. Second is that you can follow the channel on the SharePoint Home, but not from within the channel itself. This scenario needs to get closed within the Video portal, I think the user experience should be consistent between the pages. This would reinforce the value of following the content through both experiences. Seeing a page experience within the Video portal which is the ‘followed channels’ would be a good extension to an already good experience. Many customers use the Video portal channels to group videos into a context for employees, such as technical walkthroughs, news, community and product information. Allowing an employee to follow a channel and see that from both SharePoint Home and the Video portal consistently.

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While we look at the cards, you’ll notice that they have colours that are seemingly random. The team site above is using the default blue and white SharePoint theme, yet appears green in the SharePoint Home. This will hopefully become joined up as the new Team Site user experiences and branding rolls out later this year. I’d certainly like to see consistency between the two. Often themes on collaboration sites are set by business unit or type of function and having this visual cue consistent between both would again be a cool addition.

With all the cards the clicking/tap launches the site/group/channel into a new tab. The activity line items provide a link to each document or video which launches into a new window. I think I’d still use Delve to get to my documents based in activity scenarios.

Seeing all your Following and Recent

So in a normal enterprise you will be following and visiting a largish number of sites and groups. It’s not unusual to have 20+ in your personal following. In the SharePoint Home you can view them all by clicking the ‘see all’ link in the left hand menu.

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The discoverability of this was not as clear as I think it could be. For me the ‘see all’ is visually associated to the ‘recent’ section so it took a few clicks to discover that it also showed all my ‘followed’ sites. Personally I’d like to see either the headings become clickable or a better information scent for each section, even if it just links to a bookmark of the section in the unified listing experience. As you can see from the image below this page from the ‘see all’ link lists all the sites I’m following.

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The ‘recent’ section appears below the ‘followed’ section as you can see in this image.

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This page doesn’t list out the activity within each site. I’m guessing there would be a pretty huge performance implication if every card was to display the activity list. Is this missing some of the value though? Should this be a place you can see activity across every site you follow. The Office Graph is driving a lot underneath, maybe there will be some exploration by Microsoft in bringing an activity addition to these cards as well. Although does this begin to clash with and dilute the value of Delve as an experience? I know customers are already asking about the search in the SharePoint Home they’ve seen in the videos and how Delve fits into this story. Delve is already an awesome experience and in many peoples opinion solves that ‘Goggle like’ search experience that we’ve been asked for for years. The way it can predict what you might be looking for before you search is proving to be of huge value in high performance organisation cultures for many customers. Is SharePoint now competing with Delve? The SharePoint Mobile app is also gaining document and site searching, the Delve app can do the same. Where and when will this become clear? Lets hope this gets addressed soon.

There also is no obvious back link on this page so I’m relying on the browser back to navigate.

Search

The existing ‘sites’ page provides search, the new SharePoint Home also allows a search experience.

The search box has a type-ahead feature as you can see below.

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Typing something in like ‘exec’ in this example and you get this.

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Clicking on ‘see all’ gives us an extended page.

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At the time of writing my tenants weren’t showing the full experience Microsoft published via their support article. I’m assuming this is still rolling out behind the scenes.

SharePoint Home Search Results

You can switch back into the SharePoint search center clicking the link to ‘go to classic results page’. This auto switch isn’t remembered and has to be invoked each time. Another consideration here is that if you’ve invested in configuring and tuning your SharePoint search experience this new page is getting in the way between your initial search and the configured one. Possibly something to consider and feedback to Microsoft on.

Just for comparison lets look at the same ‘exec’ search in Delve.

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Personally I would stick to using Delve for my initial search as it just provides a more useful experience for my working patterns. Board and Yammer features just add the value I need during a discovery scenario.

Links

The links are managed in the same way as before through the page if you are an admin or via the SharePoint Profile service in tenant admin.

Putting the links into edit mode

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Adding a new link is simple

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New site

Finally there is the ‘new site’ link, which still launches the existing SharePoint create new experience. We’ll see the new provisioning interface later when the new team sites arrive I guess. Still plenty of value to be had from your PnP provisioning investments, but plan for how this change will impact you.

Summing it up

So it’s a big improvement to the ‘sites’ experience. As with everything first release it’s not perfect, or complete, but jumping into User Voice https://sharepoint.uservoice.com/ and sharing ideas, improvements and new features will help the team get more from the service.

You can read the official support information here: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Find-sites-and-portals-in-Office-365-6b85097a-87e0-4611-a29a-dfd49b1a1220?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US which is a good place to start to understand the mechanics of how to configure the page and the information available.

Dealing with this change inside your organisation also needs some considerations. Start to prepare you internal communications team to publise these features. Key highlights should include:

  • Reassuring employees that existing data reminds the same and that the experience is additive
  • Explaining the features and how they support working scenarios
  • Explaining the options with Office 365 for searching and which is appropriate in certain scenarios

I hope you found this info useful and onwards to the Future of SharePoint

What’s new with SharePoint? Microsoft’s Future of SharePoint event round-up

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Today Microsoft hosted a Future of SharePoint event, sharing publically for the first time what the SharePoint roadmap has to offer in 2016 and beyond.

It did not disappoint. The event placed SharePoint and OneDrive’s soon-to-be-released simple user experience and rich mobile capability front and centre of Microsoft’s Office 365 offering. Another point of emphasis was the huge leap Microsoft have in empowering employees to be more productive, with significant investments having been made in the document lifecycle experience.

What does this mean for Office 365 customers? Let’s take a closer look.

Improving SharePoint Online’s user experience

There has been a proliferation of intranet-in-a-box products built on SharePoint Online over the past 5 years that aimed to make the SharePoint Online experience more intuitive to employees. Their popularity in the market did not go un-noticed by Microsoft, who have listened and responded to customer demand, with heavy investment being made in SharePoint as a “mobile and intelligent intranet,” as Adam Harmetz, Principal Group Program Manager at Microsoft, informed us today. In 2016 some fantastic new Graph powered enhancements will be introduced to deliver a personalised intranet experience to employees, including a recent activity capability and a recommended sites tool, driven by the actions of those you work with day to day. Team sites will also enjoy a series of updates, in my opinion, making them virtually feature complete from a collaboration standpoint. Favourites, KPI monitors, members, files and spotlights will make up the core team site offering before the year is out.

Microsoft have taken the bold step to reintroduce the SharePoint name into the Office 365 experience and will be swapping out the ‘Sites’ tile for a ‘SharePoint’ tile which comes through to your home experience. This modern and responsive user experience puts all the important sites and groups at your fingertips across your organisation.

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Team sites have a huge overhaul and now provide a crisp and mobile ready experience. Your team can now highlight news, documents and announcement updates right on the home page experience.

Team site home 1

Within these Team sites pages gain the beautiful canvas editing experience from the Delve blogs. This will help teams share those important contextual articles about their work and outputs.

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The improvements to SharePoint Online’s user experience has been supported with a new SharePoint mobile app experience which delivers an “intranet in your pocket” experience.

SharePoint app users will have on-the-go access to their sites and portals, files, search and people discovery as well as their work stored and managed in SharePoint. What’s more, the new app will also leverage office graph to highlight sites, content and people that are most relevant to the individual.

The SharePoint mobile app comes first to iOS, followed by versions for Windows and Android in the second half of 2016.

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Empowering employees to be more productive

Document collaboration has long been the cornerstone use case for SharePoint Online and One Drive for Business. Microsoft are upgrading this experience so that when employees need to bring in files from OneDrive for Business or publish files between document libraries, users can click Move to or Copy to move or copy files to other locations across Office 365, without generating unnecessary versions of the same files. As such, moving a document from One Drive that you may have been working on in isolation, to a team site for wider consumption, will become a quick and easy process.

The Future of SharePoint paradigm series

I’ve been aware of the roadmap announced today for SharePoint Online for a number of months as I was lucky enough to be invited to attended the Developer Kitchen in Redmond at the start of February to play with some of the new tech talked about today. This has kept my company, AddIn365, ahead  in developing products for Office 365 that deliver value over and above what the platform has to offer and the direction of travel for services like SharePoint Online we heard about today. Today’s announcements will exert some much needed pressure on the wider Microsoft SharePoint eco-system to bring harder working value-add solutions to market.

Over the next couple of weeks I’ll be publishing articles on three key areas:

Mobile

How the Microsoft mobile offering has transformed the use cases for SharePoint, OneDrive and Office 365 for organisations.

User Experience

Exploring the implications for organisations of the new UI and experiences being pushed into service.

SharePoint Framework

A personal favourite, we’ll explore the implications for design, build and tech approaches in readiness for it’s release later this year. Whispers…. TypeScript and Framework wars enter the SharePoint dev conscious (React against AngularJS)

The full Microsoft roundup

For the full details check out the Microsoft blogs:

Vision & Overview Blog

The Future of SharePoint – https://blogs.office.com/2016/05/04/the-future-of-sharepoint

SharePoint Server GA & Feature Packs

SharePoint Server 2016—your foundation for the future – https://blogs.office.com/2016/05/04/sharepoint-server-2016-your-foundation-for-the-future/

SharePoint mobile app, SharePoint home, team sites, Microsoft Flow & PowerApps integration

SharePoint—the mobile and intelligent intranet – https://blogs.office.com/2016/05/04/sharepoint-the-mobile-and-intelligent-intranet/

SharePoint Framework

The SharePoint Framework—an open and connected platform – https://blogs.office.com/2016/05/04/the-sharepoint-framework-an-open-and-connected-platform/

It’s great to see that Microsoft are being pro-active in claiming the intranet space as part of their SharePoint Online offering. This will add a lot of value to the Office 365 service for subscribing organisations and will provide one more reason to those thinking about a move to Office 365, for doing so. The new user experiences, fantastic new SharePoint app and enhancements to the document experience fill some feature gaps and benefit from being both simple and intuitive.

Driving engagement with your organisation through the Office 365 Video Portal

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Back in November 2014 Microsoft announced the release of the Office 365 Video Portal. This was the first of the so named NextGen portals Microsoft aims to release. We gained an internal Video portal within each Office 365 tenant backed by the power of the Azure Media services platform. This was also the first time we had received a service at MVP (minimum viable product) stage. So the community and customers alike began to watch the Office 365 teams roadmap closely and provide feedback via their UserVoice channel.

Introduction to the Video Portal

I won’t spend a huge amount of time explaining every detail about the Video Portal, but if you’re new to Office 365 here is a little more about the Video Portal services.

Video Portal

The Video Portal is the main ‘Hub’ experience, it is the entry point when you navigate to the Video Portal from the application launcher tile. It displays a spotlight of selected videos, trending video aggregation, upto three video channel video aggregations and a channel directory. Video Portal admins can make various settings changes such as the spotlight video selections and the permissions for the portal.

Video Channel

The Video Channels are logical collections of videos. They feature a spotlight, trending aggregations and actually store the videos (for the technical amongst us it’s a little more complex than that). Each channel has settings like the spotlight video selections, Yammer group selection and colour for the header, plus permission.

Video playback page

The playback page is where you can watch the video, discuss it on Yammer, see suggested videos.

Microsoft published a good overview…

Read about the service from the Office 365 site.

To find the indepth help and instructions for the Office 365 Video Portal visit the https://support.office.com site.

Office Mix

At the same time that the Video Portal was announced a little known app called Office Mix also gained the ability to publish directly to the portal. Office Mix is an awesome addition to PowerPoint which helps employees to create interactive video presentations, you can read more about the features over in the tutorial section of their site. Combining both Office Mix and the Office 365 Video Portal opens up many new opportunities to leverage the powerful Office Mix capabilities and still use them within Office 365.

So where can Office Mix help your organisation?

You can use Office Mix when:

  • You need to prepare a presentation for your team, customer or partners and have read-only mode with the animations and transitions
  • You need to improve knowledge sharing, adding voice, video and digital ink to your slides
  • You need to understand who watched which portions of your content, and survey your audience to gain feedback and insights
  • You need to support e-Learning scenarios, turn PowerPoint into a tool which saves time and money allowing experts to produce and publish their content
  • Share pre-recorded mixes for the meeting presentation prior to the meeting, freeing up the meeting time for discussion and actions

You can find out more about Office Mix for business here.

So you can see the this collaboration between Office Mix and Office 365 Video Portal will allow your employees to produce content in a more interactive fashion. This is an area of your Office 365 rollout which really supports employees during their working processes. Publishing these videos into the Video Portal then makes them easier to discover via Delve and other sites.

Where do you use the videos?

So hopefully your organisation has made use of the Video Portal and has a vibrant collection of channels. It’s always better to bring those videos into other information contexts.

You can embed a video anywhere across your SharePoint Online, and with hybrid on-prem SharePoint. Microsoft have a great article on their support site which details the steps. This will help your employees make use of video to support other content. Examples like a mobile phone video uploaded with a site visit, then embedded on a best practices team site for discussion.

Delve is a great way to discover video content being produced across your teams and departments. Using Delve you can add those to Boards or Favourites so you can find them later.

The videos can also be embedded into the Delve modern blog articles, again helping to make those articles much more media and context rich.

Understanding the stats

Just released are the video statistics. You can find all the details here.

The most exciting part of the new stats is the ability to see inside the viewing stats. Video is such a rich media that simple view counts don’t really cut it. The new stats (from Feb 19th 2016 onwards) will begin to show a breakdown of the viewer engagement.

An example from the launch article:

Office 365 Video Viewer Engagement

Why is this cool?

Well lets imagine you have a month all hands meeting in which your CEO talks about the business strategy, sales wins and various reward announcements. These meetings are often recorded and published by the internal communications teams. The comms team will already be promoting the video via existing channels like Yammer/Slack and email. Now they can also understand the true engagement with the video and act accordingly. Imagine that at 48 minutes into the video the CEO made the most significant announcement which the comms team wanted people to see. From the graph above they can quickly see that less than half the viewers made it to that time in the video. This gives them opportunity to tailor new messaging about the missed communication.

Wrap up

Hopefully this has shown you a few options, features or tid-bits about the Video Portal that you can dove tail into your engagement and communication strategy within your organisation. Making better and deeper use of your existing Office 365 investments.

Document conversations does not equal hover panel post

DocConv

Back in June 2014 Microsoft/Yammer announced the arrival of a new feature call ‘Document Conversations’. Available at the time of writing in some tenants (full roll out is in progress) this feature adds a fly out panel to Document Libraries in Office365. The full details of the feature can be seen on the Office Blog here: http://blogs.office.com/2014/06/03/yammer-brings-conversations-to-your-onedrive-and-sharepoint-online-files/

Our Office365 tenant is setup with ‘First Release’ which provides upcoming updates about two weeks prior to their formal rollout. Over the last month we’ve seen the Document Conversations feature coming and going. Hopefully it will be fully completed at some point very soon. During this rollout I took the time to try out the feature and get a feel of how it works.

Document Conversations in action on OneDrive for Business

Browsing to my OneDrive for Business page nothing different appears on the display. As you can see below it still looks the same as when the ‘Site Folders’ rolled out earlier this year.

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So to invoke the ‘Document conversation’ window you have to actually browse to the document. As you can see below a new right-hand slither has appeared with the Yammer logo and an indicator to click to expand.

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Clicking the Document Conversations bar expands it into the right-hand pane, much like the Apps for Office do in Office 365 Pro. On first use or when you’ve not signed into Yammer you will be prompted to sign in. The screen grab is once sign in has been done. First thing to note here is it isn’t displaying any threads, that’s simply because I had newly created this document for the purpose of this article.

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Next lets create a new ‘Yam’ from the ‘Document Conversation’ pane. At this time it allows the user to select a group to post the ‘Yam’ into, interestingly there is no way to setup a default for this. I think it would be awesome if Microsoft had provided a ‘default group’ setting on the hosting Document library settings, as i suspect the feed is using the Yammer Embed which has the ability to set a default group. That way users could configure their defaults and avoid everyone posting into the ‘all company’ group.

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After posting the ‘Yam’ it can be seen in the ‘Document Conversation’ pane. Note how its being presented as an OpenGraph object and not a url.

DocConv

Below is an example of a reply to the conversation thread.

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This is the same conversation thread within Yammer.

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Posting from SharePoint to Yammer

Before the ‘Document Conversation’ feature was designed and built one of the first Yammer integrations with SharePoint was the ‘Post’ option which appeared on the document hover panels. The screenshot below shows the ‘Post’ option on the same file we just used for the ‘Document Conversation’ demo.

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Clicking ‘Post’ launches a modal window with a url in the message body so you can type a ‘Yam’. As you can see from the screenshot this is a pretty basic UI.

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The screenshot below is the ‘Post’ in the yammer group.

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Comparing the two approaches

So we’ve seen how both approaches seem to work. The one thing that i found puzzling was in the Yammer group i’d seen two threads about the same document. One from the ‘Document Conversation’ pane and one from the ‘Post’ modal dialog. This didn’t make sense on first glance I would have expected both to reference the same item (url) as the OpenGraph object.

Document Conversation

The ‘Document conversation’ thread has the following JSON returned from the API.

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The body of the ‘Yam’ contained a url of the file path with query string ?web=1 which when launched opens the document in the Office Online app.

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The OpenGraph object is detailed below. Again not the url has the ?web=1 querystring.

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Post from hover panel

The ‘Post’ thread has the following JSON returned from the API. We can see nothing special in the thread itself.

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The content returned by the ‘Yam’ this time shows the WOPI (Office Online) url has been used.

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The view of the attachments xml confirms the information.

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So doing it again

Via ‘Post’ creates a brand new post. The ‘Post’ feature adds a brand new OpenGraph object and thus starts a new thread, rather than finding the existing thread and presenting it back to the user in the popup window.

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Conclusion

So the two methods use different urls thus become two different OpenGraph objects.

It would be great if Microsoft could bring them into alignment so that there is one solution url so all conversations appear in the same thread.

Delve YamJam summary

Delvelogo

This week people who had their Office365 tenants setup with ‘First Release’ started to see the long anticipated Delve (formally Codename Oslo) arriving on the tenants.

Microsoft organised a YamJam for Delve in the Office365 Technical Yammer network here: https://www.yammer.com/itpronetwork/#/threads/inGroup?type=in_group&feedId=4386440

This article is a summary of the information which is correct at the time of writing.

Is Delve coming to on-prem?

A hybrid approach is more appropriate due to the complexity and processing power required to drive the OfficeGraph engine. There will be APIs to allow connection to other data sources for the signals driving the OfficeGraph.

Microsoft are planning a hybrid connector that can integrate signals and content from on-premises. They have no current timeline. This is probably going to feature for the scenarios where Lync and/or Exchange have an on-premises installation.

Privacy concerns

Some users concerns around privacy topics. The example cited was that a company Delve was showing trending documents for certain HR documents for example, psychological assistance and domestic partner coverage and maternity benefits. The question was around being able to exclude certain content from producing signals.

The documents could be excluded through the normal SharePoint permissions capabilities. Delve relies on the search index, so excluding a file or folder will exclude it from Delve as well.

Currently there is no feature to exclude documents from Delve but have them available to everyone via SharePoint/Search.

Side note about storing documents from HR in Yammer and the fact that ‘viewing’ it shows up in the activity feed in the top right. This gives people visibility on what other users are looking at, so someone looking at HR docs around maternity is kind of announcing that interest to the whole organisation. Not so good.

Delve does not show ‘who’ viewed a document ever. Trending is invoked when multiple people who have a relationship with you have accessed the doc. The author is the named entity. This is slightly confusing in the UI. At a glance the name appears to be the user who viewed the document. Careful communications would need to be done for this on rollout.

Delve only shows if someone modifies a document (this is available through SharePoint anyway). Delve doesn’t show who viewed the document, where many people have viewed the document Delve says several of your colleagues have viewed this document, but never divulges the names.

‘Trending’ does not mean a person viewed it, only that your colleagues are generating activity around it. (no information on the definition of activity).

CSOM / JSOM API availability

OfficeGraph will have an API. Current information is available here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/dn783218(v=office.15).aspx

Could OfficeGraph be consumed in PowerBI?

In theory this should be possible as its got an API.

Restricting the rollout to specific users

Like an ESN Delve thrives on a wide and deep network of users. By restricting to s subset an organisation would fall into the ‘doomed social pilot’ trap of not enough signals to add the absolute value. Obviously this is an ESN success perspective. Organisations will have reasons for this request, regulation, change mangement and security were all cited.

Also it was noted that you can disable Delve at tenant level, it was unclear as to whether this is the Delve UI alone or included the OfficeGraph underpinnings.

When will I get it?

Currently this is being rolled out to ‘First Release’ tenants first.

What is the Delve UI item display limit?

Answer: 36 documents before adding filters by using search. Microsoft said 36 was chosen as the starting point through internal MS trail data. Their data showed that click rates dropped to zero at a certain point in the page.

Microsoft’s choice of name Delve

Mixed feelings, those who aren’t English speaking said that Delve doesn’t always have a real meaning in some languages. Others just preferred Oslo, and thought Delve didn’t really jump out. As with most questions like this, nothing really bad comes of the name. Lets just hope it doesn’t get a rebrand in 6 months 😉

How will Delve handle existing content and groups?

Being search based it can pick up everything in the tenant today.

Which plans get Delve?

Office365 E1-E4 and corresponding Gov and Academic plans.

At first release Delve gets signals from Exchange, OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online and Yammer. Primary content surfaced from OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online team sites.

What determines the people list?

This is the top five people you interact with.

Useful links

Delve documentation: https://support.office.com/Article/Who-can-see-my-documents-f5f409a2-37ed-4452-8f61-681e5e1836f3

Delve for Office365 admins here: https://support.office.com/Article/Delve-for-Office-365-admins-54f87a42-15a4-44b4-9df0-d36287d9531b

OfficeGraph API documentation http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/dn783218(v=office.15).aspx

OneDrive for Business site folders page

o4b

Recently Microsoft updated OneDrive for Business on Office 365 with some new features. Full details can be read in their blog: https://blog.onedrive.com/onedrive-for-business-updates-web-user-experience/

As you can see below a new left navigation item has appeared called ‘Site Folders’.

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This takes you to a new screen which shows all the sites which you have followed as shown below.

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Hovering over an item allows you to click into it.

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Clicking in shows the libraries within the that site.

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One final observation is that the page itself lives off the ‘Social’ list in the users ‘personal site’ (For the techies out there the MySite Personal site equivalent). So in theory it could be manipulated, although this is of course risky.

Thoughts on the UX and Features for this update

So looking at the implementation as it stands I think there are still some possible enhancements that could be made.

UI Design and considerations for your branding

As you can see from the screen grabs, the site logo is being brought into the UI for the page. So this page suffers the same issue as the ‘Sites’ page when the client branding implementation uses the same site logo for every site. This information becomes repetitive and adds little value. So if you are considering a global branding implementation maybe it would be worth considering a more statically defined ‘logo’ image and allowing the individual sites to use their own logo. This would help this page pop more visually. This global logo in the suite bar is also on Microsoft’s public roadmap for implementation.

Site naming

Site naming is brought even more to the fore for this page (It was already evident on the ‘sites’ page). Many sites are not being named with these features in mine, so when presented with a list like this and the ‘sites’ page the sites are actually hard to differentiate. So when thinking about a site naming scheme it will be important to think about this capability at the same time. How you can message this to end users, especially once the new ‘Group’ features come along and end users have the potential to be creating new site collections associated to mailbox and Yammer groups. Maybe a good method is to provision sites with names to give appropriate length urls then retro fit a more descriptive site title.

Information presented

So there is a very basic collection of information presented, Name and site logo and a followed or modified date depending which level of the hierarchy you are on. In my opinion this isn’t really as useful as it could be. It also causes some confusion with the dates where it switches from date followed to modified. It doesn’t make it clear what was modified, it also doesn’t seem to add value to the experience as you can not filter or sort by either date.

SharePoint Evolution Roadshow 2014 session If apps are the answer what was the solution

SP Evo Conf

Wednesday June 11th saw the SharePoint Evolution roadshow roll into Cambridge. Bringing with it the weather Smile and a collection of SharePoint experts from around the globe.

The full days agenda can be seen here: https://www.sharepointevolutionconference.com/abstracts.html#camt1

My session kicked off the days ‘Technical’ track. The session described the evolution in thinking required when you move from the traditional SharePoint full trust solution model towards the SharePoint App model. Having been working with SharePoint apps since the pre-release program of SharePoint 2013 the session aimed to share my experiences and lessons learnt around the solution design approaches. The slides from the session are below.