Last week in Microsoft 365 – 15 Oct – 21 Oct 2020 – VLog 2

In this VLog I have covered following topics

  • 1.Building a Me-experience in Microsoft Teams by Waldek
  • 2.How to use Microsoft Teams Templates as end user and Admin – Paolo Pialorsi
  • 3.General Availability of Microsoft Graph Teams Membership API – Brian T Jackett
  • 4.Improved News / Page Publishing Exprience –Marc D Anderson
  • 5.Power Automate Desktop October 2020 update

Transcript of the video:

Hello and welcome all to series “Last week in Microsoft 365”, this is the second video in this series and we have 5 topics to be highlighted this week which I liked.

1. First one is the Building a Me-Experience in Microsoft Teams which I got to know from Waldek’s blog, as it says there is no “I” but Me in Microsoft Teams. Basically it explains how you can utilize SharePoint Framework to offer a Me-Experience where users can start their day seeing their personal information. The article explains each options in very detail. So how to do it

a. Embed a modern SharePoint page: this approach is great as it does not any coding and can be done by creating modern page with different web parts and embedding it as Teams tab

b. Build a multi tab personal teams app: this requires some coding effort but not so difficult as you can steps are quite self explanatory

c. Combine multiple web parts in single tab: This is same as before but you need to use React to combine multiple React components Link: https://blog.mastykarz.nl/build-me-ex…

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/shar…

2. Second topic is from Paolo Pialorsi where he explains how to use recently introduced Microsoft Teams templates as an end user and Admin. He walks you through all details of the how to create a template etc from Admin portal. He also explains how you can utilize Microsoft Graph explorer Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YQxF…

https://twitter.com/PaoloPia/status/1…

3. So the third one is General Availability of Microsoft Graph Teams Membership API which I saw from a Tweet of Brian T Jackett, basically it is an announcement made regarding Microsoft Graph Team Membership APIs that is a newly added API which adds , removes users faster. As we can see the article was originally written by Abhishek Anand. Link: https://twitter.com/BrianTJackett/sta…

https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us…

4. The fourth one is also regarding a roadmap announcement which I came to know more Marc D Andersson where we will have an improved expriences in which users needs to input mandatory fields before publishing a news or page. This is planned to be released in Oct 2020 Link: https://twitter.com/sympmarc/status/1…

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/micro…

5. The last one today is related to Power Automate Desktop October 2020 update. Recently Microsoft has released Power Automate Desktop and lot of improvements will be released soon so here is a summary of all those. If you want to try Power Automate Desktop please refer to link pasted in description Link: https://flow.microsoft.com/en-us/blog…

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powe…

Episode 1 Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Mteq…

Connect with me on Twitter or Linked In and follow YouTube Channel or my blog https://twitter.com/SinhaKislay

https://www.linkedin.com/in/kislaysinha

/https://synkventures.com

/https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6vL…

Let’s Learn a Microsoft 365 Topic – Vlog 1 – Microsoft Lists – show or hide columns based on conditional formatting

Learn how to use conditional formatting to customize SharePoint or Microsoft List forms. Bascially you can show or hide columns based on conditional values of other columns.

Check the video below to understand how it works, you can also read the transcript below

Transcript

Hello and welcome all to this new series and also first video of the series where we will go through a Microsoft 365 topic. Today’s topic is related to Microsoft Lists and specifically how to show or hide columns based on conditional formatting.

Conditional formatting is a concept which has been introduce recently in Lists and has gained lot of popularity for formatting list column, views, coloring, text formatting etc. Microsoft recently has added lot of options around this but the I will be showing today how to hide or show columns in forms based on value of other columns.

For this example I have created a “Content scheduler” Microsoft list where I am storing when to publish content for my YouTube videos, I have added two items and my objective is to show column “Published Link” when status is “Ready to publish” OR “Published” because the link is not yet ready in other cases, very simple.

If you want to learn how to create a list please go through my another blog, refer here: https://synkventures.com/2020/07/29/m…

So let’s start with this. The same formula works in all 3 forms that is new , edit and view =if([$Status]==’Ready to publish’ ||[$Status]==’Published’,’true’, ‘false’)

You can see that I have here used OR parameter and similarly you can also use AND or NOT operator. It is important to put a logic which is applicable of handling all forms. It took sometime for me to get the OR operator right but finally it worked.

There are certain limitations such as below column types cannot be used in conditional formatting

  • Person columns with multiple selections
  • Multiple choice column
  • Time calculations in DateTime column
  • Currency columns
  • Location columns
  • Calculated columns
  • Managed Metadata columns

Before this feature was added in SharePoint online we had to rely on Power Apps or SPFx development which I think was an over kill for such a thing but now this is available OOB and this really adds value to Microsoft Lists.

So ya that’s it in this video if you have any questions or suggestions please reach out to me in Twitter, Linked in or in YouTube comments, please share the video and subscribe the channel if you like it.

Connect with me on Twitter or Linked In and follow YouTube Channel or my blog https://twitter.com/SinhaKislay

https://www.linkedin.com/in/kislaysinha/

https://synkventures.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6vL…

References:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/dev/declarative-customization/list-form-conditional-show-hide

Last week in Microsoft 365 – 07 Oct – 14 Oct 2020 – VLog 1

Topics covered in this Vlog

1.Vesa and Waldek’s 100th Episode of PnP Weekly

2.Scottish summit – call for speakers

3.One Admin Center for SharePoint and OneDrive

4.Cross platform PnP PowerShell preview version released by Erwin

5.App capabilities of Teams 6.Project Nucleus teaser

Transcript of the video:

Hello and Welcome everyone to very first Vlog of ”Last week in Microsoft 365”, since this is the first VLog ever I want to tell you what it is? In this series of videos I will be picking some of things I read or liked in Microsoft 365 area during last week and I will be telling you about in brief and if you like it you can find more about in the link pasted in YouTube video or in my blog post. So let’s gets started

1. First up is of course the champions of the community or I should say leaders of the community @vesajuvonen and @waldekm who finished 100th episode of their PnP weekly which was SP Dev Weekly when it started actually, If you would like to know the story of how it started you should listed or view the video (hint it points to one and only Chris Kent). They also discussed what is the purpose of these videos and it is very encouraging to know that they do this for the community to amplify their reach and also develop a bridge between community members and Microsoft. Do listen to this video highly recommended. Here is a link to it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vs_8b…

2. Number second is that Scottish Summit has been announced and call for speakers expires on 31st Oct so if you have a nice cool topic please submit it, most amazing thing about this summit is that it will have 250 sessions and that too in different languages such as English, Spanish, German, French, Mandarin and my own Hindi. Plus they also have a program for new speaker like me so if you are going to speak for the first time they will help you out. So what is that you are waiting for either send a session or buy the tickets? Register here: https://sessionize.com/ss2021

https://scottishsummit.com/

3. Next up is the a Twitter announcement which I believe is important that there will be one admin center for SharePoint and OneDrive which of course make sense as both of them are so tied up so get ready for that one. Link: https://twitter.com/SharePoint/status…

4. Next up is announcement by father of PnP PowerShell @erwinvanhunen, that is preview version of cross platform PnP PowerShell has been released. In his blog post he explains why it took so long and what are the key changes coming up. So if you are using PnP PowerShell for your work or you rely it on running scripts this is an important information, please reach out to him on Twitter or read the blog. Blog: https://www.erwinmcm.com/cross-platfo…

5. Next one is something which widened my eyes when I looked into this on my Twitter feed, the picture. It shows all he App Capabilities of Teams which is fascinating as you can see it can do almost everything, right from embedded tabs, Bots, Messaging extensions, WebHooks and connectors as well so if you are planning to create an App for Teams do read this and understand what all can be achieved. All thanks to Bill Bliss (@bill_bliss ) for sharing this. Link to docs: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/micr… Tweet: https://twitter.com/bill_bliss/status…

6. Ok so the last one, and it is related to one of the big announcements which was mentioned in the Microsoft Ignite this year, that is Project Nucleus , as you are aware we got SharePoint Syntex out of Project Cortex and Nucleus was announced this year. A teaser of this was shown in SharePoint monthly community call – October 2020 at the end so if you would like to see just that part then find the link in YouTube video description or on my blog. So biggest thing you need to know that it allows web apps such as List to be available offline for browsing and editing capabilities. This teaser explains how it works and how they are doing it. It demonstrates a List with 100,000 items and also shows what happens in the backend and also how you can join Project Nucleus.

Video URL: https://youtu.be/-dVZM-UROb0?t=2666

SharePoint look book – New Employee Onboarding Hub Overview

What is SharePoint look book?

Modern site templates created by Microsoft and available free to be used and get inspired for creating modern portals, intranet , team and communication hub sites.

You can access all the available templates from here https://lookbook.microsoft.com/

Why you should have a look at this?

Firstly why create the wheel again! Portal which your developers might take few months to create is easily available at free of cost. Of course it will not suffice all your needs or requirements but it can be a great starting point, I am very sure 50% of the work is already done.

What templates are available?

Templates have been categorized and Microsoft keeps on adding new templates keep an eye of the web site URL shared before and Twitter handle of Microsoft SharePoint https://twitter.com/SharePoint

As of 29th August these templates are available

  • Organization based: Leadership connection, The Perspective, Crisis Communications, News site, The Landing and Benefits
  • Department based: Global sales hub, Fly Safe Conference, Retail Operations, Human resources hub, Global marketing hub, Workshop training site
  • Team based: Team communication site, Product Support Collaboration team site, Mark8 Project Team
  • Community based: Charitable site, Branding site
  • Solutions based: Microsoft 365 learning pathways, Microsoft 365 freelance communications site, New Employee Onboarding Hub
  • Schools: School home page, Class home page and Staff home page

We will look into the new “New Employee Onboarding Hub” template in detail.

How to create “New Employee Onboarding Hub” sites using the template?

Interestingly Microsoft has made it very easy to try out any templates, you just to have visit the page of the template and go through an online form to install it.

In this case we should visit this page https://lookbook.microsoft.com/details/75e60a32-9849-4ed4-b83e-b2b08983ad19

Click on the “Add to your tenant” button to start the process but make sure that account you are using is a “Tenant Administrator”.

Look book add to your tenant

This will take you to page in which site urls needs to be decided, it will automatically pick name and URL but you can modify it, it will also validate if those URLs are valid or not.

An email is sent once the provisioning finishes so make sure email address given is correct.

This should start the process and usually will take 15-20 minutes to finish.

SharePoint look book page
Look book provisioning confirmation

It’s important that till all 4 sites are created and you get an email you don’t access the sites else it create issues, first time when I did this I did not read the message properly and it actually created the issue and I never got an email.

If all goes well you should get an email like below

Email confirmation for look book provisioning

Here is a video of the process applying the template “New Employee Onboarding Hub” in your tenant.

What do you get once installation is finished?

So once this is done, it creates 4 site collections and 1 site is set a hub site.

  1. Pre-Onboarding site: A start up site for new hires which can be accessed before starting with the company.
  2. OnBoarding site: Main site which provides access to information related to onboarding.
  3. Department based Onboarding sites: As a sample Engineering and Sales departmental OnBoarding sites are created which will hold departmemt level onboarding information.
New Employee OnBoarding sites in SharePoint Admin Center

Look at these videos to get an overview of what we have.

New Employee OnBoarding Hub – Pre OnBoarding site demo
New Employee OnBoarding Hub – Corporate OnBoarding Site demo
New Employee OnBoarding Hub – Departmental site (Sales) Demo
New Employee OnBoarding Hub – Departmental site (Engineering) Demo

What can we do after installation?

As you can understand from the videos the sites created are like sample sites, the content needs to be added, replaced to make it work in your environment but it is a great inspiration for creating such sites as it has covered all the basics needed to create sites such like this. The sites have been created based on research done. You can read more here on how to customize sites but if you know how to handle a SharePoint sites it is not that difficult.

Once you have created and customized sites you can always use Site Usage features for SharePoint how it has been doing it.

How to use PowerShell to install New Employee OnBoarding Hub Template?

You will be happy to know that you can use PowerShell to install the sites which were described if you do not want to use the user interface based Provisioning.

Steps are very simple:

  1. You should have PnP PowerShell installed
  2. Download the source code from https://github.com/SharePoint/sp-dev-provisioning-templates
  3. This source code contains all templates which have been created as part of Microsoft SharePoint look book
  4. Open PowerShell and to go NEO folder <<yourpath\provisioningtemp\sp-dev-provisioning-templates-master\tenant\NEO”
  5. Connect-PnPOnline https://yourtenant.sharepoint.com/
  6. Apply-PnPTenantTemplate -Path .\NEO.pnp

These steps will do the same as User Interface that is create four sites as described.

PowerShell to install New Employee OnBoarding Hub Template

You can also look at this video to view complete process

How to extend this further?

Since we the source code we should be able to make changes to NEO.XML file from the path “yourpath\provisioningtemp\sp-dev-provisioning-templates-master\tenant\NEO\source”.

I did a small change that added an extra navigation on Pre-Boarding site, similar to that you should be able to add new pages, change existing pages, update with your own images or create more sites etc.

Once you have done changes to NEO.XML file use below command to create a new PNP file which will provision the site according to changes you have made.

But before you run commands make sure you change your working folder in PowerShell and go to “YOURPATH\provisioningtemp\sp-dev-provisioning-templates-master\tenant\NEO\source” else the Save.PnPTemplate command will fail with below error as it looks for the SiteAssets folder just under the working folder

Processing template
Processing SiteAssets/SitePages/Home/888651967GettyImages-1167777577.jpg
Save-PnPTenantTemplate : Value cannot be null.
Parameter name: stream
At line:1 char:1
+ Save-PnPTenantTemplate -Template $kit -Out NEOnew.pnp
+ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    + CategoryInfo          : NotSpecified: (:) [Save-PnPTenantTemplate], ArgumentNullException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : System.ArgumentNullException,SharePointPnP.PowerShell.Commands.Provisioning.Tenant.SaveTenantTemplate
$kit = Read-PnPTenantTemplate -Path YOURPATH\provisioningtemp\sp-dev-provisioning-templates-master\tenant\NEO\source\NEO.xml
Save-PnPTenantTemplate -Template $kit -Out NEOnew.pnp

Once the New PnP File is created use Apply-PnPTenantTemplate -Path .\NEONew.pnp to install the sites.

If you are interested in understanding how the User Interface provisioning service works, source code for that is also available but I am will not go into details as I will save it for another blog but you can refer this link https://github.com/SharePoint/sp-provisioning-service

This is the source code used for lookbook.micrsoft.com.

So that is all about New Employee OnBoarding Hub from Microsoft SharePoint look book.

Summary: The templates provided by Microsoft as part of look book are quite useful and also the source code is available to extend it further. It has also been announced in Microsoft Ignite 2020 that new Site Templates will be available from End of 2020 which are based on look book but has been polished and more value has been added by Product team.

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

Subscribe to my YouTube channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6vLzWN-3aFG8dgTgEOlx5g

References:

https://github.com/SharePoint/sp-dev-provisioning-templates

https://github.com/SharePoint/sp-provisioning-service

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/provision-neo-hub

https://lookbook.microsoft.com/details/75e60a32-9849-4ed4-b83e-b2b08983ad19

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.

You can watch a video to view complete process

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

I also did a demo of SharePoint Starter Kit V2 on PnP Community SharePoint Framework and JavaScript Special Interest Group (SIG) – Bi-weekly sync call recorded on September 10, 2020.

Here is a link to the video:

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