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Category Archives: SharePoint
I had the pleasure this week of speaking at the Sydney SharePoint User Group on the topic of transitioning to the modern Office Add-in development model.
- The existing COM/VSTO Office Add-in development model
- The reasons and drivers for needing a new development model
- What the modern Office Add-in development is and how it works
- Benefits of the modern model
- What this transition means for Office developers
- A look at the typical modern add-in technology stack and discussing some of the options
- The wider Office Developer Vision (Extending Office through add-ins + accessing Office 365 data via Graph)
Thanks to those who attended and as promised here’s a link to the slide deck from the nights presentation.
Microsoft SharePoint is developed by the same team responsible for the Microsoft Office desktop applications. There has always been a strong connection between these products. Up until recently, developers who wanted to integrate Word, Excel, PowerPoint with SharePoint would use the COM add-in model. But now Microsoft has a new Modern Office Add-in development model.
In this month’s session, Cameron Dwyer – CTO at OnePlace Solutions – will discuss the high level architecture of this modern add-in model, the new technologies and choices involved, transitioning developer skillsets, advantages / disadvantages of the modern model. We will mix in a bit of Azure, Angular, TypeScript, Office 365 APIs, Office UI Fabric, Authentication, and maybe some Applications Insights and DevOps.
OnePlace Solutions is a local success story. Based in Sydney, they have developed products using Microsoft Office COM add-ins. They are one of the first companies globally to have launched add-ins based on the new model for the desktop, iPhone and Android platforms.
For more details on attending this free event in Sydney on 17 October
Microsoft’s premier technology conference Microsoft Ignite 2017 is quickly approaching and it’s set to be the largest Ignite conference yet (rumoured to be around 24,000 attendees).
OnePlace Solutions – Products that rock this world
I’m excited to be attending again with some of the awesome OnePlace Solutions team. OnePlace Solutions is again a sponsor and exhibitor at the conference so please come by and pay us a visit on the expo floor (booth 1724). We will be running live demos of our desktop product suite (a major release went out for this last week so you will be seeing brand new software) including OnePlaceMail, OnePlaceDocs, and OnePlaceLive.
In addition I’m super proud of the work we did earlier this year to launch OnePlaceMail for iPhone/iPad, and just last week we were a launch partner when Microsoft announced add-in availability for Outlook on Android.
Fun & Giveaways – that are out of this world
Who doesn’t like building LEGO and winning prizes? Come and play our Lego game for your chance to win the LEGO® NASA Apollo Saturn V
What’s at the Conference for Office Developers?
Heaps, and heaps, and heaps. Trying to build a schedule in MyIgnite website is overwhelming with the shear number of sessions available BUT IT IS ALSO A MUST – don’t try to figure it out on the day, it will take a couple of hours to really look through the options and choose the right sessions for yourself. The conference centre is huge, so if you end up in the wrong session you could have a 30 minute walk to get to another session, not a situation you want to find yourself in. Here’s my picks for Office developers:
Microsoft Office 365 platform overview
Learn about the latest that Office 365 has to offer developers and power users, from Microsoft Teams extensibility and the Microsoft Graph to Office add-ins and Office UI Fabric. We cover the full range of solution-building tools, from Microsoft PowerApps and Microsoft Flow to Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code. Get a demo-packed overview of the platform, and a guide to Office sessions you should see through the rest of the conference.
Make your app a native part of Office with Office Add-ins
Microsoft Office Add-ins allow you to make your solution a native part of Office on every platform across desktop, web, and mobile applications. Learn how to build an Office Add-in, the new features we’ve recently launched and our future roadmap. This session covers how to enable native Office experiences using standard web developers tools, how your Add-in can run anywhere, and all the great distribution channels for publishing your app.
Building the modern SharePoint experience: Best practices from Microsoft for developing with SPFx
With the SharePoint Framework, you can incorporate modern developer techniques to create fast, responsive components. Building on lessons from developing out-of-the-box components, in this session, we go under the hood to explore details of modern SharePoint client-side development tools to not only manage your developer environment but also give you an edge in building optimized and performant web parts and extensions. We also show how you can streamline deployment with SharePoint CDN facilities to strike the optimal mix of flexibility and performance for your projects.
Migrate your apps from legacy APIs to Microsoft Graph
Microsoft Graph is the single REST API endpoint for accessing your data in the Microsoft Cloud including from Azure Active Directory, Office 365, Intune, and more. In this session, learn about how Microsoft Graph can now enable you to create apps that were simply not possible before. Find out what is new with Microsoft Graph in addressing previous parity gaps with legacy endpoints, learn about the scenarios that you can build using Graph, and see how you can quickly migrate to using Graph.
Office development: Authentication demystified
Tokens and Scopes and Protocols, Oh My! Come to this session to discover how easy it is to use the MSAL SDK to connect your applications and Office Add-ins to the Microsoft Graph, without any need to become a protocol expert. No matter what platform or dev stack you are targeting, you’ll be surprised by how little code it takes to authenticate users and take advantage of Microsoft’s rich cloud API. We cover a lot of great MSAL-focused tech, including MSAL.NET for UWP, Desktop and Xamarin, MSAL.NET for Agave plug-ins and MSAL JS. We also touch on MSAL for iOS and Android. It goes without saying – but we’ll say it anyway – that we also talk about Microsoft Graph!
Stay Updated and Hear the News as it Breaks
Follow @MS_Ignite on Twitter and use/follow the hashtag #MSIgnite to share your thoughts
Follow the 10 MVP “Community Reports”
Keep your eyes and ears open – news will be breaking all around you!
Enjoy Yourself and Have Fun
Take the opportunity to enjoy Universal for a private party (that doesn’t happen every day!)
See if any of the events from the Ultimate Events Party List take your fancy
Tweet your step count. I think I’m a chance of cracking 20,000 steps a day
I’ll be tweeting (@CameronDwyer) throughout the conference.
Hope to see you there.
Microsoft is currently running a Hack Productivity competition for creating apps that leverage Office 365 Add-ins and/or APIs to deliver an app that increases user productivity.
I’ve been working with the awesome dev team at OnePlace Solutions to cook up a modern Outlook Add-in that will run on any device and allow a user to quickly and easily save email and/or attachments from Outlook to SharePoint/Office 365 Groups.
We think it’s an awesome productivity app as it makes use of the “dead-time” you get during the day when you haven’t got time to do any heavy work but have your phone or tablet handy. This allows you to do those tasks like filing emails into your Project Management System in SharePoint while catching the train to work, or saving that updated document you’ve been sent into your Legal Matter Management System in SharePoint while waiting for your doctor’s appointment.
We are using all the cool technologies to make the magic happen. Running as a super fast Angular 2 Outlook Add-in and looking very slick thanks to the Office UI Fabric! We are utilizing the Microsoft Graph, SharePoint and Exchange services of Office 365 and hosting the app 100% on Microsoft’s Azure Cloud.
We didn’t just cobble together an app for the Hackathon, we built this app to be ready for the prime time and it will become a commercial product offering in the very near future. We have released the app into the Office Store as a preview where you can take a look at what we’ve built and try it out for yourself.
Get the OnePlaceMail for SharePoint Online preview app from the Office Store today.
Learn more about the app by visiting the OnePlace Solutions website
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.
I’m preparing to head down to Melbourne for the The Digital Workplace Conference (the new Australian SharePoint Conference). This will be the first conference since the 7.3 release of OnePlaceMail and OnePlaceLive. I’m pretty excited about the new Email Tracking features which goes well beyond simply allowing users to transfer email and attachment from Outlook to SharePoint. This goes to a whole new level. Save an email to SharePoint (or Office 365) and all other recipients of the email can see in real time that you have file it to SharePoint and can open up the location in SharePoint. No more having multiple people trying the file the same email to SharePoint to find that someone has already save it there. Or worse, people saving it to different locations in SharePoint and having the files duplicated.
If you haven’t checked out the OnePlace Solutions suite in the last few months you may have also missed the suggested and predictive email filing capabilities that analyze the filing patterns of users and will suggest or predict locations in SharePoint that are likely locations you would want to save the email. If you’re not going to make it to see us at the Melbourne conference (or simply can’t wait that long to see what I’m talking about) here’s a short video on the Email Tracking feature. See for yourself how just one feature can make the Digital Workplace so much easier for a user, then imagine a whole suite of products packed with features like this, then come and see me at the conference!
Here are 2 techniques for creating views in SharePoint when you want to group on dates. Throughout this article I’ll be using the example of email that have been saved to SharePoint where the email date has been stored in a SharePoint column called “Email Date”. The Email Date is saved with both a date and time component.
Here’s the All Documents view of the library showing the Email Date column
If we try to use the Email Date column to group by in the view
The view creates a group for each different day (the time component is ignored)
2 Level Grouping: by Year and then by Month
This view is going to get very busy with a grouping for each day, so how about we split it up a bit by creating 2 levels of grouping, firstly by year and then by month.
Unfortunately we can’t just use the existing Email Date column to achieve this, instead we will create two calculated columns to use for the groupings (one for year and another for month).
To create the year column:
Create as a calculated column
Set the returned data type as Single line of text (this gives better formatting control and the year will still sort properly as text)
Set the formula to =TEXT([Email Date], “yyyy”)
To create the month column:
Create as a calculated column
Set the returned data type as Single line of text (this gives better formatting control and by padding a single digit month with 0 will still sort properly as text)
Set the formula to =TEXT([Email Date],”mm (mmmm)”)
Now if we create a new view (based on the All Documents view) and add two levels of grouping based on our new calculated columns
Our new view now renders in SharePoint giving collapsible grouping at both the Year and Month levels
This is now a lot easier to navigate and drill down, and it’s quite nice to see the counts against each grouping as well. In this example I set the groups (both Year and Month) to sort in descending order. This means that the latest will be at the top (notice 2016 is above 2015, and within 2016, February is above January).
Faking a 3 Level Grouping: by Year/Month Combined and then by Day
SharePoint has a limitation in that you can only create two levels of grouping. If we want to have a third level (under month) that grouped together all the email from the same day then we can’t just go and add a third level of grouping. What we can do instead though is create a slightly more complex calculated column that combines both the year and month and use it as our top level grouping. So let’s do that now by creating a Year/Month column:
Create as a calculated column
Set the returned data type as Single line of text (this gives better formatting control and we can carefully craft the text so it still sorts year/month properly as text)
Set the formula to =TEXT([Email Date],”yyyy-mm (mmmm)”)
We are also going the need a calculated column to group on the specific day, so I’ll create the Day column
Create as a calculated column
Set the returned data type as Single line of text
Set the formula to =TEXT([Email Date],”dd (ddd, d mmm yyyy)”)
Now we create our new view (based on the All Documents view) and add groupings based on the Year/Month column and the Day column. Again we will sort descending to get the latest at the top.
The resulting SharePoint view gives us the year/month breakdown at the first level and we can then drill down to a specific day within the month.
I’m sure you can now go forward and add your own tweaks and formatting changes to get better date categorized views out of SharePoint.
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.