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Category Archives: OnePlaceDocs
Wonder what a Microsoft 1:1 hackathon looks like? OnePlace Solutions Teams/Graph Engagement Experience
I was fortunate enough to be involved in a 1:1 hack engagement with Microsoft recently where OnePlace Solutions hosted some eager Microsoft engineers for a week long engagement. The intention was to see how we could harness some of Microsoft’s new Teams extensibility options and the Graph API, and for Microsoft to identify limitations or areas for improvement.
The format of the event:
- brainstorming possible ideas ahead of the event itself
- discussion and selection of a few possible ideas
- splitting up into teams and scoping what were would try to achieve within the scope of the hack
- working in a compressed scrum process (daily stand-ups, task refinement and retros)
- present to a wider audience on the last day of the hack to show what had been achieved and the business benefit
It was amazing to see how quickly the Microsoft engineers were absorbed into our development team, brought up to speed with our existing code-base, and starting to deliver functionality.
The real takeaway and reason for writing this article it just to let everyone know what an awesome opportunity these engagements are from Microsoft, a bit of what you can expect and that I highly recommend getting involved if the opportunity arises.
What did I see as the biggest benefits to our business of doing this hack with Microsoft?
The tips, tricks and work pattern knowledge sharing that occurred only comes when you truly try to work together on a project and aren’t just academically sharing knowledge. We all work in different ways and by running the hack almost as a true project (in a condensed form) there is a lot more than just the coding that is being discussed. VSTS, scoping, work item tracking, design white-boarding sessions, daily stand ups, retros, git source control, review of pull requests. All this is outside of the actual coding and using the technology being hacked on, but it is also a critical piece of developing in an efficient, scalable and measurable way.
Accelerated and focused learning on new technologies. The speed of getting across where a technology like Teams extensibility is up to, what’s possible when applying to problems we are trying to solve, and that hard first mile of understanding the frameworks, dependencies, and tooling to get the first hello world skeleton running.
Outside of the technology it’s a great opportunity to meet and build relationships with people who share a similar passion and spend a lot of their time working to solve similar problems. At OnePlace Solutions we are a passionate bunch of technologists that enjoy working in a social and supportive environment – from what I’ve experienced the hack is a perfect match for the way we work, with Microsoft bringing the same mindset, energy and support to the hack. We spent as much time laughing and discussing topics outside of technology as we did on it. At the end of the day we are social creatures and I found the hack was a perfect environment that bought people together with a desire to want to work together on a common goal, to challenge and push each other to do more in a fun and supportive way, and have a good laugh at the same time. Having access to global Microsoft resources to get definitive answers quickly, removed the amount of wasted time and frustration which allowed productivity, enthusiasm and energy levels to remain high.
We dedicate an amount of time each sprint to R&D, which usually involves educating ourselves in what is possible with new technologies and APIs and often going as far as prototyping code to see what’s possible and where the limitations are. It’s hard to imagine a better return on investment than spending this R&D time with Microsoft in the format of a 1:1 hack.
So a huge thank you to the Microsoft engineers, we had a great time and my advice to anyone thinking of getting involved with these engagements is that they can have great value to your team.
I’m excited to have to opportunity to attend the European SharePoint Conference this week (November 14-17) in Vienna. Since the amalgamation of the Microsoft SharePoint Conference into the Microsoft Ignite Conference the last 2 years, I’m really looking forward to a dedicated SharePoint conference again. The SharePoint community has always been such a bright, vocal and welcoming community and this is the first time I’ve travelled to Europe for the event.
Over the last 3 years we’ve seen Microsoft focus heavily on marketing Office 365 and the different services it offers. SharePoint had been relegated to the background and we heard little about it, even though it was the central to many of the Office 365 services. With Jeff Teper back on the team I get a sense that SharePoint is now back in the spotlight and the rate of innovation and change in SharePoint is at a level that we haven’t seen for years.
It’s an exciting new world for SharePoint and I’m keen to talk to those attending the conference to see how the cloud and Office 365 is being adopted through Europe.
Personally I have spent a lot of time recently on non-Microsoft technologies as we look to create the products of the future that will be running under non-Microsoft web technology stacks and across all devices.
While we will be showing our industry leading OnePlace Solutions product suite (OnePlaceMail, OnePlaceDocs, OnePlaceLive) at the conference we will also be demonstrating some of the cutting edge work we are doing such as the cross device OnePlaceConnect Outlook add-in that I’d imagine is the first commercial product in the Office 365 space written in Angular 2 and utilizing the ahead-of-time compiler for a blazingly fast user experience.
I’m really looking forward to having some great conversations and meeting new people as well as some of our existing customers and partners.
OnePlace Solutions is a Gold Sponsor of the event and I’ll be on the booth during the breaks throughout the conference, so if you are attending and have the opportunity then please come up to the OnePlace Solutions booth and say hi. We will also be giving away some swag and prizes so come and grab some of those as well!
OnePlace Solutions is proud to be an exhibitor and sponsor again this year at the Microsoft Ignite conference in Atlanta. Ignite is Microsoft’s premier conference this year for Office 365, SharePoint, Exchange, Azure, Windows and related technologies.
I’ll be on the OnePlace Solution booth (#563) during the conference talking about our suite of products that bring SharePoint and Office 365 to where you work such as Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe Acrobat, and Windows Desktop.
I’m very excited to be unveiling our latest product OnePlaceConnect at the conference. OnePlaceConnect is focused on bringing cloud based solutions such as Office 365 and SharePoint directly into the applications you use, on whatever device you use them (yes that means on your iPad/Android tablets, phones, Mac and of course your Windows devices).
Registration is now open to participate in the OnePlaceConnect Preview and be one of the first to get your hands on the new product.
The following are some really useful resources that I often refer people to at conferences.
OnePlaceLive – Scenarios Unleashed (Project Management, Legal Matter Management)
It’s always fun meeting new people at conferences and hearing of successes, challenges and battle wounds you’ve had with technology. It’s also awesome to catch up with existing customers and partners while I’m in the US as well, so please drop by the OnePlace Solutions booth if you get a chance.
We will have some swag at the booth, and we have new and improved hacky sacks/footbags/juggling balls to give away this conference. I’m more excited than I probably should be about those!
Have a great conference and hope to see you at the booth or one of the many events.
Reach out to me @CameronDwyer on Twitter during the conference.
Office 365 and SharePoint work quite nicely when you are working with Microsoft Office file types. Things like Word, Excel and PowerPoint files. Once you really start using SharePoint however, you want to store many more types of files in SharePoint. This is natural and you can actually get the files into SharePoint without too much hassle.
Editing and working on Office file types is pretty good. Just click on the file in SharePoint and you can now choose to do the edits directly in the browser (with online versions of the Office products) or edit the files in the full desktop version of the Office products.
But what’s the story with file types that don’t open in, or are not associated with the Office products?
Well that’s when things get a little clunky, and in this post I’m going to show you how OnePlaceDocs Explorer turns virtually any software application into a “SharePoint” aware application that you can use to open/edit and save files that live in SharePoint. No longer are you just restricted to using the Office application that were designed to work with SharePoint, now you can edit files in any application you want.
So what is OnePlaceDocs Explorer? It is a bit like Windows File Explorer except it is purpose built for looking at SharePoint and Office 365 environments rather than files on your local computer or network.
To give you some orientation, the screenshot below shows OnePlaceDocs Explorer and points out the 3 pane layout which is similar to Windows File Explorer.
Let’s look at a common scenario…
Editing Images Files in SharePoint/Office 365
It’s actually very difficult to edit image files that are stored in SharePoint. If you try to open the file, the web browser simply displays the image in the browser (because it natively knows how to). This doesn’t help you when you want to edit the image though. Your options are to either:
- Download the image from SharePoint to your local computer, edit it in your image editing program of choice, then manually upload the file back to SharePoint replacing the existing file
- Sync the whole library offline via OneDrive and then you can work with the file as though it is a normal file on your desktop. Saving changes to the local file will sync back to SharePoint.
Here’s the OnePlaceDocs Explorer way.
Select the image file and select Open With (from the ribbon or context menu action)
Select any application from the list of applications installed on your computer that recognise this file type. I’ll choose good old Microsoft Paint just to prove that a very basic application that has no interoperability with SharePoint will work fine.
Paint now starts up and the image stored in SharePoint is sitting there ready for me to edit.
I’ll make a few changes and just save using the standard save action in Paint or pressing CTRL+S.
Believe it or not, that is it.
If we return to OnePlaceDocs Explorer we can see in the changes showing in the preview pane.
We can then find the same file in SharePoint
And there’s my modified image.
Editing the file using OnePlaceDocs Explorer really wasn’t any different to opening a file from my local computer. So now you have no excuse for not putting those files in SharePoint where they belong!
This same technique can be used to open any type of file with any installed application. Another common scenario is opening PDF files with Adobe Acrobat or another PDF authoring tool.
With the recent launch of the OnePlaceLive product, I’ve commenced writing a series of articles on the OnePlace Solutions website. This series of articles is designed to introduce the OnePlaceLive product and show to power that Solution Profiles can deliver in real world business scenarios such as using SharePoint/Office 365 for Projects Management, Legal Matter Management, Property/Asset Systems.
What are OnePlaceLive Solution Profiles?
Solution Profiles provide an intelligent way to look at SharePoint from the perspective of the different business systems (or solutions as we like to call them) that have been built in SharePoint (e.g. Project Management, Legal Matter Management, HR Business Processes, Helpdesk) and to dynamically identify the different SharePoint artefacts that make up those systems (e.g. site collections, sites, lists, libraries, document sets, folders, content). Solution Profiles then provide the power to organize those artefacts in many different ways that make sense to the end users of the business solutions, and then deliver those SharePoint artefacts to the users in personalized ways (and in context of the business solution) directly within core user applications where the user needs them (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe Reader, Adobe Acrobat, and the Windows Desktop via OnePlaceDocs Explorer).
The OnePlaceLive Client application provides a graphical UI for creating, maintaining and publishing Solution Profiles which are then consumed by end users of OnePlaceMail and OnePlaceDocs.
The excitement is starting to build as the Microsoft technology conference of the year is almost upon us. I feel this year is going to be a first time experience for all attendees. We’ve got many individual conferences combined into one, even the old timers that have been attending these individual conferences year after year may be feeling some renewed excitement and feelings of trepidation of just how this conference is going to play out.
It’s certainly going to get started with a bang as Satya Nadella takes the stage for the keynote to an event that sold out weeks ago. I think the last time we saw a Microsoft CEO take the stage at a SharePoint conference was 5 years ago at SPC2010 when Steve Ballmer was at the helm.
Although Microsoft has gone (almost) all in on the cloud and been pushing cloud at us from every angle over the last few years, I think we will be hearing the word HYBRID quite a bit at this conference. We can also expect to hear a lot more about what SharePoint 2016 will look like and the feature set we can expect out of SharePoint 2016 on premises installations.
During the conference you’ll be able to find me at the OnePlace Solutions booth #537 in the Exhibition Hall. We will be running live, interactive demos of OnePlaceMail, as well as two new products that we are launching at the conference OnePlaceDocs and OnePlaceLive. Email management, Document management, and driving a solution focused, end user engagement for systems built on the SharePoint/Office 365 platform is what we’re about – if that sounds interesting then come by and meet the OnePlace Solutions Team. We will have plenty of giveaways as well so make sure you stop by to claim yours.
If you want to get the most out of mingling and networking then be sure to check out these two great resources for all those official and unofficial parties (great work guys on compiling these lists as they are quite extensive):
The Microsoft Ignite Countdown show is also well worth a watch to get a feel for how the conference will run, things to do in Chicago and it’s a bit of a laugh at the same time.
I hope to see you at the conference and above all have fun and despite what you were told as a child, talk to strangers (as long as they have an Ignite badge!)