SharePoint Online Megamenu for modern Hub sites – how it works #megamenu , security trimming in MegaMenu

Let’s start with a question, can megamenu be enabled on all site templates?

Well answer is No, it is available only on SharePoint Hub sites which are associated with Microsoft teams or on Communication sites.

What is a megamenu in SharePoint Online?

In the traditional navigration structure you could only have two levels of navigation but now in MegaMenu you can have multiple levels spanning horizontally and vertically.

How it works?

You can create MegaMenu from Site Settings –> Change the look –> Navigation. Note that MegaMenu is default type in Communication sites but if you need to change it follow below steps

MegaMenu can be used to create multi-level horizontal and vertical menus as shown below.

Megamenu example

To start with you need to click Edit on right side and Under any heading, when you hover you will see a line with plus symbol to add a menu. Use that to add headers or links depending on what you need.

SharePoint MegaMenu

Once done you can “Make sub link” to make it appear under it

Sample final outcome

MegaMenu example

How about Security trimming and Audience targeting in MegaMenu in Hub Site Navigation?

There is no security trimming in MegaMenu in Hub Site Navigation, I will say that purpose of Hub site really does not make sense to have MegaMenu security trimmed but at same time it can be debatable.

Audience targeting can be a good thing and it is under work as of May 2019, you can refer here

Audience targeting MegaMenu

So that’s about MegaMenu in Hub site, if you have any questions or remarks please contact us via our Contact Us page or via our Facebook page or via Twitter

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SharePoint Hub Sites and difference from sub sites

Hello world! A blog post was long due now!

I think I must have missed the Hub Sites in SharePoint buzz but a blog from my side anyhow.

What is a Hub Site?

Firstly, it is not a template like Communication or Team site, you can register an existing team site or communication site as a Hub Site so if you want to create a Hub site from scratch please create a site preferably a modern one and then register it as Hub Site which can only be done SharePoint Admin in Central Admin link.

Hub site is used to facilitate Intranet in organizations which can have other sites as “Association” or “Navigation” links. You can roll up information from associated and linked sites to the main Hub site by using Apps available.

You can think this of a container site but physically it does not contain any sites but can only be associated.

What makes it unique?

Something like this was not available before but I believe everyone wanted something like this as working with Site Collections and the Sub sites structure is rigid and difficult to change later on.

Hub sites introduce us a flat structure which can be moved easily as sites are just associated and not created under them.

So, uniqueness is in the flat structure which can be implemented easily.

Difference between the Hub site-based structure and the traditional structure is as below

Hub sites vs Sub sites

Hub site based Traditional – Site collections – sub sites
Flat structure Hierarchy based structure
Sites are associated and not created under it Sites are created under a main site
Access permissions do not have any impact in Access permissions are inherited by default or needs to be managed separately
Easy to move around sites and change structure or associations No easy ways to change the structure

 

How to utilize or use Hub Sites?

Hub site should be used to bunch sites together, create an intranet or roll up information together. Bunching or associating sites together should be done based on departments, organizations, key features, team or based on keywords or location etc. or if you want to roll up specific information from different sources.

Hub site can only be really useful if you will be rolling up information and two most easy ways to use OOB of Apps called “Highlighted Content” and “Sites” which can fetch different information from associated sites and show them beautifully.

On modern pages just add a section layout and then select add App using “+” symbol and select Highlighted Content or Sites depending on your needs, I would recommend Highlighted Content as it is really powerful and can roll up almost all data. Refer to screenshots below

As you can view you have following options

  • Select a source: can select all hub sites or some or specific one
  • Type of source: can be document, news, lists etc.
  • Filter and sort to organize your content
  • Different options for a Layout to support your needs

 

Other things you should consider while creating and managing Hub sites:

  • Naming convention of Hub sites so that it can be easily recognized
  • Name information which needs to roll up also properly so that easy to roll up later
  • Consider the audience before you start creating hub sites
  • Consider search scopes while deciding on the association of Hub sites
  • Also note that you can put a link to non-associated site

 

How to create Hub sites?

As pointed out earlier there is no template like Hub Site, you have to create a site collection using template either team site or communication. Communication template is recommended one from Microsoft.

Create a site a then select option mark it is a Hub site, you need to SharePoint admin to do all this

CommSiteHRCommSite

After the site is created you can register this as Hub site

Once this is done you can view extra navigation at the top

HubSiteCreated.png

 

So that’s about Hub site, if you have any questions or remarks please contact us via our Contact Us page or via our Facebook page or via Twitter

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2nd Microsoft Flow Template – Send Push Notification & Slack Message for a WordPress post #MicrsoftFlow #SharePoint #Office365

I was able to get my second Microsoft Template published in Microsoft Flow

Template can be used from here

Send Push Notification & Slack Message for a WordPress post

Functionality in this template is quite simple, when a WordPress post is made a push notification is made and also a Slack Message is posted in a particular group

To learn how to publish a template you can read my below blog about it

How to submit a Flow in template Gallery ?

To learn more about Microsoft Flow you can read below blogs

My tryst with Microsoft Flow!

Microsoft Flow – Create from blank

Microsoft Flow – Advanced mode options #SharePoint #MicrosoftFlow

What is SharePoint WebHooks ? #WebHooks #SharePoint #SharePointWebHooks

Before we describe SharePoint WebHook, first let’s understand what is a WebHook.

I believe you are familiar with concepts of API which has been popular for few years now, in API model / setup you request data from an application and in return you get data from the application.

So let’s consider a scenario that you want to know every time something changes in the application, to deal with that in API is cumbersome you will have to keep on asking for data and find out if there was any change from last time.

What if you can get a notification that something has been changed, means you get a response without asking that something has been changed. Now that is what WebHook is, you get a notification that something has changed.

Before I describe SharePoint WebHook you must know that WebHook is not something which has been created by Office 365 or Microsoft but it’s a concept already used in WordPress etc.

SharePoint WebHook can be created for Lists as of now, so basically any changes in a library or list will send a notification if you have subscribed to WebHook. Based on this notification you should a response and also process it further for implementing changes or activities.

Now if you know about Remote Event Receivers you might find it similar but it is different as you can prevent the action or change happening in SharePoint but only be notified about it. Also like traditional WCF based notifications you don’t have information of what has been changed, you just a get a response that something has been changed in library or list.

So as an Application you need to do certain things to make WebHook work

  • First of all subscribe to a WebHook
  • Once subscribed you will receive POST messages from SharePoint
  • Once you receive POST message you should response in 5 seconds with HTTTP/1.1 200 OK
  • After that your application should store the notification to process it further.

This is basic overview of SharePoint WebHook, in next post we will do more hands on and learn to set up WebHook and how to process it.

 

Microsoft Flow template published #MicrosoftFlow #SharePoint #Office365

So finally my first Microsoft Flow template has been published, I am quite excited about it! It took sometime for Microsoft to add in the list of templates but better late than never.

Template can be used from here

Send email and add item in SharePoint List when WordPress Post is created

Functionality in this template is quite simple, when a WordPress post is made, you can get an email and same information can be added in SharePoint List.

To learn how to publish a template you can read my below blog about it

How to submit a Flow in template Gallery ?

To learn more about Microsoft Flow you can read below blogs

My tryst with Microsoft Flow!

Microsoft Flow – Create from blank

Microsoft Flow – Advanced mode options #SharePoint #MicrosoftFlow

Checklist for configuring eDiscovery in SharePoint Online #SharePoint #Office365 #eDiscovery

There are multiple steps which needs to be done to configure eDiscovery successfully in SharePoint Online or Office 365. To perform this you need to be Office 365 Tenant Admin.

Here is a checklist to confirm the set up for eDiscovery

  1. Have you created a Site Collection with template as eDiscovery Center?
  2. Have you configured Exchange Online as one of the Result Sources in eDiscovery Center?
  3. Have you created a Security group called eDiscovery Managers in Exchange Admin?
  4. Have you given access to security group eDiscovery Managers to Site Collection as Admin?
  5. Have you given Admin access to all Site Collections to security group eDiscovery Managers?
  6. Have you given read permissions to eDiscovery Managers to Crawl Log permissions in Search settings in SharePoint admin?
  7. Have you given access to Role Discovery Management in Exchange Admin to eDiscovery Managers?

If your answer to all above questions yes then you are ready and your eDiscovery Managers can create cases now.

 

Sideloading of Apps in #SharePoint online #Office365

If you are getting this error ” Error occurred in deployment step ‘Install SharePoint Add-in’: Sideloading of apps is not enabled on this site ” when debugging a SharePoint Add-in it means site you are using is a Production site. Sideloading of Apps is not enabled on any site by default as specially Production sites since it allow developers to load Apps which are still under development and not published.

If you are going to do some tests then enable it using PowerShell for SharePoint Online.

PowerShell code can be downloaded from MSDN code repository from Here

To disable Sideloading you can download code from here

 

 

Backup and restore strategy for SharePoint Online#SharePoint #Office365

SharePoint on-premise Backup and Restore is a big topic of its own but in SharePoint online you don’t have such options. On-prem version you could use PowerShell to do perform nightly jobs to take Backup or you can take SQL backups which can be used to restore later.

Nothing like this is possible in SharePoint Online, because you don’t have servers and there are no PowerShell commands to take back up or export a site , list or library.

So question is how we safeguard ourselves with scenarios which can happen and might have happened in on-prem.

  • User claims a file has been deleted as he / she can’t find it
  • User deletes a file and realizes after long time that he / she needs it back
  • Lot of permission settings have been changed and mistakes have been done, so how to see what it was like 1 day before so that same can be replicated again

Well what are the options with us

  1. Enable version history: Although it does not solve your backup and restore concerns but it can be helpful is certain scenarios such as user updated the document wrongly if version history is not enabled you end up losing earlier version. Of course you can ask Microsoft for a restore which they keep for 14 days but note that it is not a granular restore which means whole site collection is restored and you might have duplicates
  2. Use Recycle Bin: To lot of extent this solves a lot of worries of Backup and Restore. Each file, item , list or library, site deleted will be stored in Recycle Bin for 90 days. You can always restore your own files for 90 days and if deleted from own recycle bin it will be stored in site collection recycle bin. Also we have second stage recycle bin which can be accessed by site administrators. If a site collection is deleted then it can be restored within 30 days as it depends your Office 365 storage.
  3. Request Microsoft for a restore: Microsoft keeps 14 days backup and it can be restored by making a request to Microsoft. So if you do the math if a file was deleted 105 days back it can still be restored as you can go 14 days back with backup and considering that deleted file might be in Recycle bin so you can restore it from there. But this is not very ideal as you will have duplication of data and it can be only done on site collection level and both old and new files will be presented to user.

So what are other alternatives, you can go for some third-party tools which are available in market, they allow you to take backups, do granular restores much like you were doing in on-premise SharePoint but of course it drives cost due to licenses and storage costs in Azure or some other services or cheap in house storages.

Another thing I can think of is taking backup on your own and storing it in some cheap storage locally / in-house. I have not built any solution like this but it can be done as below

  • You already have Recycle bin and Microsoft 14 days backup which can save you in most of the scenarios
  • But what if there are some business critical data which you want to safeguard beyond what you are getting and you don’t want to spend more money on third party tools etc.
  • You can write a script using REST API which download data for business critical sites and stores locally. Download list data to excel. REST API supports downloading of data which can easily structured as backup if the script is written that ways. Frequency can be once a week so we have some extra cushion or daily depending on how long it takes to run, you can run parallel or multi threaded scripts to execute parallel.

If you like the idea of REST API let me know I can help you provide a solution based on that. Leave a comment and we can take it from there.

In case you need more help on this or other SharePoint issues please contact us via our Contact Us page or via our Facebook page or via Twitter

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Hybrid Architecture Office 365 (SharePoint Online) and SharePoint 2016 On premise #SharePoint2016 #SharePoint #Office365

Best thing which has happened during the introduction of SharePoint 2016 is that Microsoft is convinced that Hybrid Architecture is the way forward for bigger organizations and all the data cannot be moved to cloud. At least this is the current reality with lot of companies but such fast changing technologies you never know what’s the future

In this post we will review architecture of SharePoint 2016 on-premise and Office 365 (SharePoint Online). Here we are assuming that you already have a SharePoint On-premise set up and you will add SharePoint Online.

Basic architecture looks like below

hybridarchitecture

Image source Download

To start with you need an Office 365 license and Azure subscription as well. To start with we need to set up server to server trust and certificates like STS.

We need Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) which is used to share information securely and seamlessly. SSO (Single Sign on) is also facilitated via this and also makes sure that there no duplication of accounts.

Azure active directory tenant is used to authenticate to Office 365. It’s quiet powerful with variety of features like identity management, multifactor authentication etc. Since authentication occurs via Azure active directory we will have copy of all user account of organization in this as well but we will use Azure Active Directory connect  for directory synchronization so that for end-user it looks like only one account.

More about Azure Active Directory Connect can be read here Azure Active Directory Connect

Azure Access control services is used to provide users authentication and authorization to web application and services. You can read more here Azure Access Control Service

There are multiple steps to do the complete set up, if you need very detailed steps I will recommend below online books from Microsoft press store

Planning and Preparing for SharePoint Hybrid

Configuring SharePoint Hybrid capabilities

Once the set up is done your users will experience various benefits, but you need to be sure what you are getting into and be clear about it

  • Integrated search: You get integrated search so you can search in both SharePoint Online and SharePoint 2016 on-premise. Everything will be indexed in SharePoint online. Note that since index is stored in SharePoint some customers need to be wary of it they might not want part of secret data also in cloud. How to do set up can read here Configure Cloud Hybrid Search
  • Unified user profile where users can see both on-premise and SharePoint online followed sites together
  • Other services like Delve, Video and App launched will now be available on SharePoint on-premise as well
  • You can redirect users to SharePoint Online OneDrive for Business from SharePoint 2016 on-premise OneDrive. Before you do this make sure that all documents are migrated as it’s only a redirect. Steps to redirect are very simple and can be used read here How to redirect users to Office 365 for OneDrive for Business . Best way to migrate data is to write a tool for migration, there are various way to implement this but best is that you can access OneDrive for Business using SharePoint APIs which you might be familiar with else you have to register an App for OneDrive for Business to access data / folders programatically. I am assuming you already know how to access OneDrive in SharePoint on-premise programatically.

To access OneDrive for business SharePoint online via REST API you can below url

https://O365DomainHere-my.sharepoint.com/personal/     UserName_O365DomainHere_onmicrosoft_com/_api/web/GetFolderByServerRelativeUrl(‘/personal/UserName_O365DomainHere_onmicrosoft_com/Documents’)/folders/

You can read about data operations here REST API Data Operations SharePoint

So this is a basic overview of Hybrid architecture and also my take on the things you need to consider, if you have further questions just leave  a comment

In case you need more help on this or other SharePoint issues please contact us via our Contact Us page or via our Facebook page or via Twitter

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