Microsoft 365 Lists – first look and overview

What is Microsoft Lists? Refer to my old blog https://synkventures.com/2020/05/24/microsoft-365-lists-a-powerful-app-sharepoint-lists-not-needed-any-more/

Finally on 28th July 2020 Microsoft Lists have arrived in our tenants (10% targeted release), here is the icon and just click on it to access the Lists page.

Microsoft Lists icon
Microsoft Lists home page

What are the ways to create lists?

  1. You can create a blank list as we use to do like custom list in SharePoint.
  2. You can start with an existing excel which means that if you have excel you can use that create a list with same set of columns etc
  3. You can pick any one of the templates to create a list.
  4. You can also use an existing list of create a list which means you don’t have to start from scratch and any existing list can be used as template.

We will have a look at all these one by one but first let’s discuss templates.

What are the templates available and their usages?

  1. Issue Tracker: This to track issues, similar template is available in SharePoint as well, look at the video below how to create and what are the columns etc. You will notice that the interface is same as SharePoint Lists and also settings page is same so the learning curve is pretty small.
Microsoft Lists Issue Tracker Demo

2. Employee OnBoarding Template: Look at the video to understand what columns it has, this can be used for onboarding new employees or onboarding emoloyee transfers from one location to another or department

Microsoft Lists Onboarding template demo

3. Event Itinerary template demo: A lists to track series of events such as who is the speaker, location, number of people allowed etc, look at the video for more details

Microsoft Lists itinerary template demo

4. Asset Manager Template: This template can be used to manage assets if new assets needs to be assigned, transferred or an inventory of existing assets. All required columns like Serial number, manufacturer etc are already available, look at the video for more details

Microsoft Lists Asset Manager template demo

5. Recruitment Tracker: This template can be used to track recruitment candidates, has all options to store candidate information, who is the requester, for what role etc., look at the video to understand more.

Microsoft Lists Recruitment Tracker template demo

6. Travel Request Tracker: This can be used to track travel requests, it has all the columns you need, workflow of course can be created using Power Automate, good use of the “Location” column as users can enter location where they are travelling so you don’t need to maintain a list, flight cost, hotel cost etc, look at the video for details

Microsoft Lists Travel Tracker template demo

7. Work Progress Tracker: This template can be handy if you are managing a team or you are tracking different tasks, this template has all the columns you need such categorization, priority, start date , end date etc, look at the video for more details

Microsoft Lists Work Progress Tracker demo

8. Content Scheduler: This template can be used to track launch of content in your organization, it has all the columns you need such as Content type, author, publish date, content link etc, view the video to get more details

Microsoft Lists Content Scheduler template demo

Create a blank list: Use the same steps as before just use the option, blank list, it is more like a custom list we have in SharePoint and we can create columns as we wish. View the video for more details.

As you can see the experience is very similar as before and we have both modern way of creating ways also classic experience available with us, if you want to use metadata type it is also available.

Microsoft Lists Blank List demo

Create a List using an existing list: Use the same options as before just use the option existing list and you will be able to create a list out of an existing list. Benefit of this is that whatever customization with respect to columns, formatting and views you have done will be copied over. View the video for more details.

Create Microsoft Lists using an existing List

Create a List using an excel: If you have data in existing excel and you would like to turn it into Microsoft Lists then it can be easily done, view the video below.

Some points before you do this:

  1. There is a limit of number of rows for which data can be uploaded
  2. Your excel sheet needs to have data in “Table” format else it will not work and will give a message for the same.
  3. You can select multiple type of column type while uploading such as Single text, Multi text, Choice , Date time, Number , Currency depending on what data resides in the column or you can select not to upload data
  4. When you upload the excel it will be first uploaded to OneDrive and then list will be created, later it can be found in OneDrive.
  5. You have the ability to upload an excel from OneDrive as well.
  6. I also encountered an issue while uploading, I was not abe to save List under “My Lists” as it gave me this error “The Site does now allow Site Designs” so I had to share it in one of the SharePoint sites and then it worked.
  7. Your data along with columns will also be uploaded.

What happens when you create a list and how to create under SharePoint Site ?

If you will notice the List URL you will understand that the List App is actually running from your SharePoint My Site as we have our “OneDrive” running, a sample URL below so I believe all Lists are being created under your My Site. Check below URLs and you will understand. Anyhow our my sites are nothing but a SharePoint site so it makes sense to utilize them.

Main URL:

https://yourtenant-my.sharepoint.com/personal/tenant_com/_layouts/15/lists.aspx

A specific URL:

https://youtenant-my.sharepoint.com/personal/yourtenant_onmicrosoft_com/Lists/Listname/AllItems.aspx?env=WebViewList

You have the ability to save list under a SharePoint site when you create a list, instead of My Lists select SharePoint Site this will create the List under SharePoint site, a link will be added in menu automatically and also you can find under the Site Contents.

Create Microsoft Lists Under SharePoint Site

Create a List from existing SharePoint List: Yes this is true you can create Microsoft Lists using existing SharePoint List, check the below video for details. Basically you will have to use “From existing list” option and you can select SharePoint sites and it will show compatible Lists whuch can be used.

Create Microsoft Lists using SharePoint existing Lists

List formatting: List formatting is already available in same way as it is in SharePoint lists, you will also notice that for templates some columns already have formatting such as Progress column, for more information on Lists formatting visit here https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/dev/declarative-customization/column-formatting and https://pnp.github.io/sp-dev-list-formatting/

Microsoft Lists formatting sample

How to create a Rule in Microsoft Lists: Rule is a great idea introduced by Microsoft which works similar to List formatting but has much more, check the video below in which I highlight a column and also add an exclaimation icon based on specific condition and that too only via few clicks.

Create Rule for Microsoft Lists demo

How to access Microsoft Lists via PowerShell?

You can access Microsoft Lists just like any other list and I hope all kind of commands work, check below the screenshot to believe it

Microsoft Lists access via PowerShell

Sharing options in Microsoft Lists: When you create Microsoft Lists under My Lists it is accessible only by you so if you want to share with others you need to share with other persons. When you create under a SharePoint site then it will be accessible by SharePoint site users as well.

Share options in Microsoft Lists

You can also share individual items as well.

Integration options: This is a big topic so I just want to say few lines as it has all the abilities for extending the functionality using Microsoft Graph, Power Automate, PowerApps

How to access normal SharePoint List in Microsoft Lists way:

If you want to see the new Microsoft Lists experience in any modern SharePoint list, go to the URL and append this query string after AllItems.aspx like this. AllItems.aspx?env=WebViewList

Credit goes to this tweet:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Summary: This is a great decision from Microsoft to introduce Lists as a standalone App, it will provide a great value. It has huge capabilities which I have not been able to cover all things but I will do this in subsequent blogs.

Connect with me on Twitter or Linked In if you need more information.

References: https://aka.ms/mslists

SharePoint Starter Kit v2 – an overview

What is SharePoint starter kit V2?

A comprehensive solution showcasing packaging, solution deployment, provisioning and SPFx web parts to inspire and guide developers, business users and SharePoint Admins to create solutions on similar lines.

Why you should have a look at this?

This has been created by best people in this field (SharePoint, Microsoft 365) which means that code, design and relevance of the web parts are extremely good, all the web parts can be used in your tenant as is. You can learn and create your own ways to

  1. Package solutions
  2. Provisioning mechanism
  3. Coding guidelines, standards
  4. Build modern portals

How to get started?

If you want to install everything at one shot the steps are simple. I suggest to have a look first install it on development tenant and not the Production tenant, as it will upload lot of SPFx solutions and make changes so best is that you review it in a developer tenant. Based on your understanding you can plan to deploy it in Production.

  1. Prerequisites: There are some preparation steps which you need to before you install it as follows
  2. How to install?
Github SharePoint Starter Kit V2

Open PowerShell and excute this command

Connect-PnPOnline https://yourtenant.sharepoint.com

This will ask your User Id and Password, please use tenant administrator for this as it will be used to install the Starter Kit.

Then go to Provisioning folder in the source code you have downloaded from GitHub.

cd <<location>>

Then execute following command in PowerShell

Apply-PnPTenantTemplate -Path .\starterkit.pnp

The command might take 10-15 mins to execute and if all goes well three sites will be created.

Issues you might face

  • Exception while invoking endpoint: I encounter this issue while installing almost half way through the installation. Error message you might get is this Apply-PnPTenantTemplate : Exception while invoking endpoint https://login.microsoftonline.com/fffff-4121-ae51-71e06b5edc04/oauth2/token.
    • If you get this it follow below steps rather than the normal steps
    • Remove earlier version of SharePointPnpPowerShellOnline
    • Install-Module -Name “SharePointPnPPowerShellOnline” -RequiredVersion 3.20.2004.0
    • Connect-PnPOnline -Url https://tenant-admin.sharepoint.com/ -PnPO365ManagementShell , this will open a window in browser for device login in which you should enter a code specified, make it is succcessful.
    • Connect-PnPOnline -Url https://tenant.sharepoint.com, renter tenant admin credentials
    • Then go to provisioning folder and execute Apply-PnPTenantTemplate -Path .\starterkit.pnp
SharePoint Starter Kit

Use provisioning parameters:

You can also provide parameters to achieve some customizations such as below

Apply-PnPTenantTemplate -Path .\starterkit.pnp -Parameters @{"Company"="Your Company Name";"SiteUrlPrefix"="YourCompany";"WeatherCity"="Stockholm"}

More information here https://github.com/pnp/sp-starter-kit/blob/master/provisioning/readme.md#provisioning-parameters

How it looks like after installation?

Three site collections are created

Site collections after Starter Kit

A communication site

SharePoint Starter Kit V2 demo Communication site

A Private Group Team site

SharePoint Starter Kit V2 HR Team Site demo

An another teams site as department site

SharePoint Starter Kit V2 Marketing Site Demo

Below web parts and SPFX web parts are installed, for detail explaination please check on this link https://github.com/pnp/sp-starter-kit#custom-web-parts

SharePoint Starter Kit V2 Apps

How to make it work in SharePoint 2019?

As of 23rd July 2020 the ApplyPnPTemplate command for SharePoint 2019 is not available, you can keep an eye on this URL https://github.com/pnp/sp-starter-kit/blob/master/provisioning/readme-sp2019.md to check if it is available as community members have promised to update it soon.

Till then you can deploy individual apps in SharePoint 2019 farm and use the apps. Following apps will work in SharePoint 2019 as well

  • Banner
  • Followed sites
  • Links
  • People directory
  • Site information
  • Tiles
  • Weather
  • World clock

To deploy the apps you can copy the package from source code you downloaded before from this location “sp-starter-kit-master\source\<<solution-name>>\sharepoint\solution” and upload it to App Catalog of your farm.

There is no need to build the solution and can be directly deployed but in case you face issues you can build it using

gulp bundle --ship
gulp package-solution --ship
SP Starter Kit v2 SP 2019

Once deployed you can add it on a page, in this case I am showing Tiles app.

Tiles App SharePoint 2019
Tiles App in SharePoint 2019

More information can be found here: https://github.com/pnp/sp-starter-kit/blob/master/documentation/components/wp-tiles.md

So that is all I have for SharePoint Starter Kit V2 , I will write more about this topic as there is lot to explore.

Connect with me on Twitter or Linked In if you need more information.

Special thanks to all community members who work on these and provide great solutions https://github.com/pnp/sp-starter-kit/graphs/contributors

References:

https://github.com/pnp/sp-starter-kit

https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/office/blogs/announcing-sharepoint-starter-kit-v2/

Add SharePoint on premise site as a tab in Microsoft Teams

Currently there is no integration available to add a SharePoint on premise library or site as storage like we have a connected SharePoint online with Microsoft Teams.

I don’t think a feature like this will be released soon as well but there is an easy way to add a library or site as Website tab in any Teams.

This of course does not provide you seamless integration but atleast provides you access to on premise SharePoint site or library inside Teams.

You can view this small video to understand how to do it, you can add any website SharePoint site, library or any other site

Add website as tab in Microsoft Teams

Connect with me on Twitter or Linked In if you need more information.

Image rendition issues in SharePoint on premise related to Blob Cache

This issue might occcur in SharePoint on premise versions 2013, 2016 and 2019.

Issue description:

Images do not load properly or load with full size that is without rendition. This can happen if Blob Cache is corrupted on one of the Web Front end or web front ends are not synced between each other.

What is Blob Cache?

A disk based cache which reduces round trip to database to get files such as images, audio or video. Once a file is requested it is copied to a disk for the first time and for subsequent requests file is fetched from dsik rather than database hence reducing load on database. More details here https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/administration/flush-the-blob-cache

How to enable Blob Cache?

You need to do a change on Web.Config file in IIS, add below line, read more here https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/administration/cache-settings-configuration-for-a-web-application

BlobCache location="C:\BlobCache\14" path="\.(gif|jpg|jpeg|jpe|jfif|bmp|dib|tif|tiff|themedbmp|themedcss|themedgif|themedjpg|themedpng|ico|png|wdp|hdp|css|js|asf|avi|flv|m4v|mov|mp3|mp4|mpeg|mpg|rm|rmvb|wma|wmv|ogg|ogv|oga|webm|xap)$" maxSize="10" enabled="false" />

The default max size for an image when using Image Renditions is 40 mega pixels. Should you want to modify this value you will need to add the imageRenditionMaxSourcePixels parameter. For example: <BlobCache location="C:\BlobCache\14" path="\.(gif|jpg|jpeg|jpe|jfif|bmp|dib|tif|tiff|themedbmp|themedcss|themedgif|themedjpg|themedpng|ico|png|wdp|hdp|css|js|asf|avi|flv|m4v|mov|mp3|mp4|mpeg|mpg|rm|rmvb|wma|wmv|ogg|ogv|oga|webm|xap)$" maxSize="10" imageRenditionMaxSourcePixels="100000000" enabled="true" />

Error message: I was not able to identify an error message but users complained that intranet page seems weird and images are displaying over text and etc

How to fix:

  1. Try flushing blob cache with below PowerShell command , this will not recycle the IIS so you can do it during day as well but always good to do it outside office hours.
$webApp = Get-SPWebApplication "<WebApplicationURL>"
[Microsoft.SharePoint.Publishing.PublishingCache]::FlushBlobCache($webApp)
Write-Host "Flushed the BLOB cache for:" $webApp

2. It is not necessary that above will fix the issue, in our case we identified that this did not fix the issue because cache was not getting updated in one of the web front end and time stamp was quite old.

How can you check if it is old and it’s not getting updated?

Visit the folder location of Blob cache on Web front end and each web app will have it’s own folder, check last modified date, you can also compare with other web front ends.

If your issue as explained below then do like this but make sure you have web front end outside of load balancer or you are doing in outside of office hours.

  • Disable blob cache temporarily: You can make the flag false in web.config file of the IIS which has issues, the line in web.conifg looks like below
  • <BlobCache location=”C:\BlobCache\14″ path=”\.(gif|jpg|jpeg|jpe|jfif|bmp|dib|tif|tiff|themedbmp|themedcss|themedgif|themedjpg|themedpng|ico|png|wdp|hdp|css|js|asf|avi|flv|m4v|mov|mp3|mp4|mpeg|mpg|rm|rmvb|wma|wmv|ogg|ogv|oga|webm|xap)$” maxSize=”10″ imageRenditionMaxSourcePixels=”100000000″ enabled=”true” />
  • Do an IISRESET
  • Once done please cut paste the folders inside blob cache folder in case something goes wrong.
  • Then make flag true again and do an IISRESET again
  • Thsi will start loading images in Blob cache again with fresh images and should also fix the issue.

Connect with me on Twitter or Linked In if you need more information.

How to install Microsoft SharePoint 2019 in Azure Virtual Machine for demo / labs or personal use?

Before you start reading this I would like to mention that steps mentioned here are to create a Virtual Machine in Azure for demo, development or labs purpose.

I decided to write this blog as I faced some difficulties while installing SharePoint 2019 on Azure Virtual Machine, I never faced these while installing it on Physical machines or company provided Virtual Machines.

We are going to install everything in one box that is SQL Server and SharePoint 2019 both which means “Single Server Farm”, although Microsoft recommends to have a separate server for SQL server but I was able to install both in same. Read more here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/install/planning-for-a-minrole-server-deployment-in-sharepoint-server

Steps are broadly like this:

  • Create a virtual machine in Azure with SQL Server 2016 installed already
  • Add a domain services in Azure Virtual Machine
  • Install SharePoint 2019

Create a Virtual Machine in Azure

You can always create a free Azure Account from here https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/free/.

Once you have created an account please login to https://portal.azure.com

Follow the steps as shown below:

  1. Click on the menu and select “Virtual Machines” and then click Add from top
Azure Virual machine creation
Azure Virtual Machine List

2. Once you get to the page you will have lots of tabs to filled in, I have highlighted few fields which are required and needs to be filled in, rest of it can be left as is.

Important field which we need to select is “Image” that is we need a Windows Server etc, for easy installation I will be selecting a Windows server with SQL Server 2016 already installed in it so that we don’t have to do that manually.

Creating Azure Virtual machine

3. Select “Browse all public and private images” and search for SQL server 2016 and select Standard SP 2 version, for size I recommend 4 CPU and 16 GB memory else the server runs very slow as SQL and SharePoint both are running on the same server.

4. Next step is to create an Admin account so pick a name and password which you can remember. After that you can click “Review + Create”, although there are lot of other things which can be filled in but sake of simplicity I will just leave them as is.

Review and create Azure Virtual Machine

5. Once on the Review tab, click “Create” to create the Virtual Machine. It will start the deployment process and might take 10 minutes. You can check the progress while it deploys.

6. After creation you can check the Virtual Machine in the list, click on the name to access it.

Azure virtual machine list

7. Click on the name and you will get to a window as show below, to connect to the machine we should RDP it, so click Connect and chose RDP. It will download a file which can be used to connect to machine using the Admin account you have created. This finishes step for creating Virtual Machine.

Azure Virtual machine created

Add domain servcies to Virtual Machine

Initially I had thought that this steps is not needed but it does not work if Virtual Machine is not connected to a domain, you will get an error at the end of SharePoint 2019 installation that is Search Service Application will not be created successfully. You may get errors like below

The SDDL string contains an invalid sid or a sid that cannot be translated.Parameter name: sddlFormSystem.ArgumentException: The SDDL string contains an invalid sid or a sid that cannot be translated.Parameter name: sddlForm at System.Security.AccessControl.RawSecurityDescriptor.BinaryFormFromSddlForm(String sddlForm) at System.Security.AccessControl.RawSecurityDescriptor..ctor(String sddlForm) at

Errors were encountered during the configuration of the Search Service Application. System.ArgumentException: The SDDL string contains an invalid sid or a sid that cannot be translated. Parameter name: sddlForm at System.Security.AccessControl.RawSecurityDescriptor.BinaryFormFromSddlForm(String sddlForm) at Microsoft.SharePoint.Win32.SPNetApi32.CreateFileShareWithSecurity(String name, String description, String path, String sddl) at Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Admi.nistration.AnalyticsAdministration.CreateAnalyticsUNCShare(String dirParentLocation, String shareName) at Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Administration.AnalyticsAdministration.ProvisionAnalyticsShare(SearchServiceApplication serviceApplication) at Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Administration.AnalyticsAdministration.CreateDefaultStoreLocation(SearchServiceApplication serviceApplication) at Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Administration.AnalyticsAdministration.ProvisionRawEventStore(SearchServiceApplication serviceApplication) at Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Administration.AnalyticsServiceAdministration.Provision() at Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Administration.SearchServiceApplication.Provision() at Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Administration.SearchAdminUtils.UpdateIgnoreSPUpdatedConcurrencyException(String description, SearchAdminUtilsUpdateDelegate updateDelegate, SearchAdminUtilsRefreshObjectDelegate refreshObjectDelegate) at Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Administration.SearchConfigWizard.CreateSearchApp() at Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Administration.SearchConfigWizard.ProvisionSearchServiceApplication() at Microsoft.Office.Server.Search.Administration.SearchConfigurationJobDefinition.ExecuteTimerJob()

To add a domain follow steps listed in the article which is very detailed https://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/12370.windows-server-2012-set-up-your-first-domain-controller-step-by-step.aspx

Once that is done you have got rid of other error which will come as now you will be using a domain account and not local account to install SharePoint 2019.

The specified user “username” is a local account. Local accounts should only be used in standalone mode.

Check SQL Server settings :

  1. Open SQL Server Management Studio which should be installed already as we had got server with SQL server already installed.
  2. The account which will install SharePoint 2019 should have required access like below, this account is same as what you had created while creatin Virtual Machine. You can find it under Logins and make sure you have selected “dbcreator” and “securityadmin”. This will make sure the account has correct access to create databases while installing SharePoint 2019.
SQL Server SharePoint 2019

3. Another thing we need to do is to make sure the account which you updated above has name as “domain\username”, initially it will have name as “computername\username”, since we when we created Virtual Machine with SQL server there was no domain it will remain as is. If you miss this step then you will have issues while creating Search Service Application. So remember to change name as suggested by right clicking and rename. Error message while installing SharePoint 2019 will be like below

The service application “Search Service Application” could not be created because of the following error: System.Data.SqlClient.SqlException (0x80131904): Windows NT user or group

If you are installing in SharePoint 2019 for Production usage make sure you plan for accounts properly, read more here https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/security-for-sharepoint-server/plan-for-administrative-and-service-accounts

Install SharePoint 2019: so finally let’s get started with SharePoint 2019 installation.

  1. Login to Azure Virtual Machine.
  2. Download SharePoint 2019 from here : https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=57462
  3. Once downloaded first step is to install pre-requisites, make sure you have an internet connection else it will not work. Click on “Pre-Requisites”, you will the installation happening
Shareoint 2019 installation

4. Once that is done successfully double click “setup” to installing SharePoint 2019, it will start the installation, check pictures below to understand the steps, in the step 2 make sure you use the same account you had created before with format as “domain\username”, in step 3 select “Single Farm”.

Once the above steps are done a IE window will open to configure further, you can chose to perform rest of the steps manually or run the wizard, I chose to run wizard.

So this should finish your SharePoint 2019 installation and you are ready to use it.

Connect with me on Twitter or Linked In if you need more information.

SharePoint Spaces – my take on practical usage

To be honest when SharePoint Spaces was announced I had thought what can be practical usage of this but now I after using it in preview mode I can understand the usage part of this as well.

I must admit SharePoint Spaces is really cool to use and I have never thought I would see Augmented Reality in SharePoint but like all things nothing is impossible.

There are nice practicle samples provided by Microsoft SharePoint which you can find here https://www.exploresharepointspaces.com/samples but my example is a simple and scale down one.

This based on my experience with a customer I have worked with for many years.

I would like to create “Product Catalog” to display 3D images for the product and display relevant documents related to the Product.

To set some context: Large product / euiqpment manufacturing comapanies such as mining, construction or vechiles upload there marketing material for sales people to be accessed internally and share externally for sales pitch when needed on portal sites.

In general in these portal sites you will find images of the product and documents related to it in OOB user interface or custom user interface.

Companies also have product 3D images but they don’t show on intranet as SharePoint Spaces was not available so not so practical I would say.

Now we have set the context let’s check how easy is to use SharePoint Spaces.

  • First of all you need a SharePoint Site preferably a Communication site as it will give you more space in screen to create SharePoint Spaces.
  • Spaces is not available automatically and feature needs to be enabled in “Manage Site Features” called “Spaces”.
  • Once you have enabled it you will see below option in “New”
SharePoint Spaces new option
  • Select a structure , input a name to create a Space Design page which will look like below depending on which structure you have selected
SharePoint Space Design Page
  • Click on “+” to add 360 degree image, video etc shown as below
Add SharePoint Spaces
  • I will be adding a two Product groups like Trucks and Cars, which will take user to two different Spaces page which will contain different Trucks and Cars, you can imagine this as Product group and when you click you go to different Products available under that group.
  • I will add a 3D Object with Podium , please check below screen shots
  • The properties which I have used are “Podium”, “Link to another space” , “Alternate text” and “Description”.
  • The “Link to another space or link” is great option as you can hierarchy and structure around Spaces.
  • I will be adding another Space which display multiple Products and then each product will also link to another Space which will have a Document Library attached
  • This will complete our Product Catalog so it works like this Product Group –> Products –> Document Library (Space)
  • Now let’s see the whole set up in action
SharePoint Spaces in action
  • During the process of creating this I found some improvement areas or issues
    • If you have only folders in a document library then the SharePoint Spaces cannot load it
    • If you want to connect a object to a folder in library you have to use a “Link” option and the link to Folder will not be recognized which you get from “Copy Link” option so you have to construct on your own which will also be not recognized but it will work
    • If you have done connections using SharePoint Spaces then the page does not reload but Space area reloads which is good but it will be good to have some kind of hirearchy navigation which can help in contructing structures
  • Another thing I would like to add is that it works in Microsoft Teams as well
Teams and SharePoint Spaces

I think SharePoint Space has lot of practical usage you just need to think in different way and visualize.

Let me know what you think and what pratical usages to you can see.

Connect with me on Twitter or Linked In if you need more information.

References and links:

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/sharepoint-spaces-7b65edfb-7cc9-42e3-af37-178d79364a5e

https://www.exploresharepointspaces.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/danielando_linkedin-sharepointspaces-microsoftteams-activity-6671180202351050752-u6S0

Impact of Active Directory Migration or domain change on SharePoint, domain migrate SharePoint servers – Part 2

This is part 2 of part 1 written earlier https://synkventures.com/2017/07/25/impact-of-active-directory-migration-or-domain-change-on-sharepoint-part-1/

If your organization has decided to split your company or rename or for any other reason domain needs to be changed then SharePoint will be impacted. In the first part I had explained how to do user migration from SharePoint point of view.

Next step is to do Server Migration of SharePoints in new domain.

What is the recommended way to do this?

Note that Microsoft does not support chaning domain in same existing servers. It means you have to create a new farm in new domain with new service accounts and then do a data migration.

Broadly these are the steps to do it

  1. Create a new farm same as previous one or an upgraded one(scale) if needed.
  2. Create new service accounts in new domain to be used in new farm. Use these accounts to create and configure new farm.
  3. Migrate all Service Applications like Managed metadata service, Search service, User profile service, Workflow manager etc
  4. Create web applications same as previous farm
  5. Deloy any custom code WSP from the previous farm to new one
  6. Use database attach upgrade process to migrate content databases and attach to newly created web applications.
  7. Configure any SharePoint hosted app or provider hosted app
  8. Test and verify that all data has been migrated and also custom code as working as expected

Above are very broad steps, if you have done any upgrade such as SharePoint 2010 to 2013 or SharePoint 2013 to 2016 then you will find the steps familiar.

Although you always expect these steps to be done smoothly you know it will never be like this.

Below are some things you might experience or not experience but I am listing then down from our experience

  1. Issues with custom code where html files has been used for JavaScript based programming : Somehow the reference to js code was lost and it was not pointing to correct relative urls in the site. This was fixed manually in multiple places
  2. Workflow issues: Some of the workflows were republished and started working. Workflow 2013 had couple if isssues as well, you may refer to this article for more details https://synkventures.com/2019/05/18/sharepoint-workflow-2013-not-working-after-migration-workflow-issues/
  3. Provider hosted and SharePoint hosted app: All the apps had lost their settings and needed a deploy on all sites. This can be done via script.

You can always find new issues so it’s very important to testing and verification for all functtionalties.

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SharePoint Workflow 2013 not working after migration #workflow #issues

Context

We were doing a SharePoint 2013 Server domain migration in which we had to migrate Workflow Manager as well.

After migration, Workflow Manager 2013 did not work fine in new environment so we had to attached old environment server to new farm with the old domain account. You can call this as a temporary work around.

Issue

All SharePoint Workflow 2013 stopped working and were getting “cancelled” whenever they were running.

Mainly two issues:

  1. Wokflow App Permissions were not correct, if you are not sure what I am talking about please refer to this link https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/dev/general-development/create-a-workflow-with-elevated-permissions-by-using-the-sharepoint-workflo
  2. Tasks were not getting created by Workflow 2013 in Task list and workflow failed or canceled.

Resolution

  1. First issue was resolved by using the same link posted earlier and I will say half of the workflows worked fine
  2. Second issue was complex and I was not able to find a resolution but one of my colleague found resolution, I was able to only collect error messages which was also important as we were not able to pin point root cause

You may see following error messages in the SharePoint ULS logs, the key issue for us was the ones highlighted in bold

Trusted provider is missing. Provider: ‘00000003-0000-0ff1-ce00-000000000000’

Request does not have SPBasePermissions.UseRemoteAPIs permission. Need to check it when each API is accessed

SocialRESTExceptionProcessingHandler.DoServerExceptionProcessing – SharePoint Server Exception [System.UnauthorizedAccessException: Attempted to perform an unauthorized operation.    
 at Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.ServerStub.CheckRequiredResourceRight(ProxyContext proxyContext, String memberName, ResourceRight right)    
 at Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.ServerStub.CheckBlockedGetProperty(String propName, ProxyContext proxyContext)    
 at Microsoft.SharePoint.ServerStub.SPContextServerStub.GetStaticProperty(String propName, ProxyContext proxyContext)    
 at Microsoft.SharePoint.Client.ServerStub.GetStaticPropertyWithMonitoredScope(String propertyName, ProxyContext proxyContext)]

Throw UnauthorizedAccessException instead of SPUtilityInternal.Send401 for client.svc request.

So what does this mean? It means that API calls are failing and not reachable when workflows are running. In our set up due to domain migration we had two https url and one of them was default. We observed that the API calls via default urls were always failing so we decided to dig deeper.

We found out that in web application web.config file if you have below attributes and have urls under it then API calls are working only for those urls so first we thought we can add all the urls but it seems you cannot add two https url and it is not supported, bascially we are talking about host headers we had three host headers in IIS but only two here.

<serviceHostingEnvironment aspNetCompatibilityEnabled=”true”>        <baseAddressPrefixFilters> 

<add prefix=”https url” /> 

<add prefix=”http url” />       

</baseAddressPrefixFilters>    </serviceHostingEnvironment>

To fix this and allow all the traffic what you can do is to have only one https url or host header which I will say is ideal way of running SharePoint 2013. Note that SharePoint 2016 or 2019 are not expected to have these issues

Other way is to change config like below and allow all urls

<serviceHostingEnvironment aspNetCompatibilityEnabled=”true”>    </serviceHostingEnvironment>

I hope this helps someone as it took lot of time for us to find this.

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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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