Archive for category: Development

Ignite 2016 – My SharePoint takeaways!

04 Oct 2016
October 4, 2016

Ignite 2016 is over and we all were updated with tons of new features, announcements and insights in Atlanta – in this post I will try to give you a summary what I learned at Ignite 2016 SharePoint Conference it Atlanta.

Office 365 and SharePoint Online

I took that one from the official source because it pretty sums up whats coming:

The next wave of innovations to achieve the SharePoint vision (simple and powerful file sharing, mobile and intelligent intranet, open and connected platform, commitment to security, privacy and compliance) contains the following highlights:

  1. A significant update to the OneDrive browser experience, so that you can find, access, share and collaborate on all your files in Office 365
  2. OneDrive sync preview for SharePoint Online document libraries and folders shared with you
  3. Team news to keep your team up to date and informed of what matters
  4. People cards in SharePoint and OneDrive for Business that intelligently surface content and details from your colleagues’ profiles
  5. New integration with Microsoft Flow, PowerApps and Yammer
  6. Preview of the SharePoint mobile apps for Windows 10 Mobile and Android
  7. Enhancements for developers including new sites and lists APIs in Microsoft Graph
  8. New security controls including site classification and conditional access based on location and device
  9. Feature Pack 1 for SharePoint Server 2016
  10. Expanded FastTrack services and tools to support hybrid configurations and migration

And the Roadmap for Q4 2016 and H1 2017 – I really like the transparency:

SharePoint Roadmap 2016 2017

Modern Pages / Modern Document Library / Refresh to Teamsites

I really recommend you to watch the entire session – some pretty good stuff in it:

In the next month we will see lots of updates to the modern document library experience, modern pages and updates to our beloved teamsites (about time!).

Every teamsite get a "News", "Activity" and "Links" section.

Every teamsite get a “News”, “Activity” and “Links” section. Tighter integration into mobile apps (right side)

And “modern pages” looks awesome, too. The promise here is that they will render on desktop, mobile browser and in the mobile apps – more on the apps late in this post.

People card

What I really liked is the new people card – more user-centric experience are always great. “Who is that person? What is he doing in the organization and what is he working on?” – cool!

SharePoint People Cards - a more user centric experience

SharePoint People Cards – a more user centric experience

 

Security & Compliance

As part of the Office news the following new security and compliance capabilities in Office 365:

  • Improvements to Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection
  • Threat Intelligence
  • Advanced Data Governance
  • Updates to Advanced Security Management

And more insights with lots of graphs:

More insights what our users are actually doing!

More insights what our users are actually doing!

App Launcher

The new version of the Office 365 App Launcher gives you access to these new features:

  • Additional customization options
  • search across all the services and applications
  • A tabbed layout
  • You can resize, pin and organize tiles
  • Support for Office 365 themes

And in a not so distant future it will list your recent Office documents:

app-launcher

OneDrive for Business

Major updates to OneDrive for Business – as mentioned in this post, OneDrive caused a lot of service requests in the past – but it will massively improve with the coming updates!

  • Ability to sync SharePoint Online document libraries and OneDrive folders shared with you (preview available here).
  • An activity center has been added to the OneDrive sync client to allow you to view synchronization and file activity at a glance (preview).
  • Notifications to your iOS or Android device when someone shares a OneDrive file with you.
  • Access to SharePoint Online files in the OneDrive app on Android.
  • Multi-page scan enhancements in the OneDrive app on Android.
  • Ability to see over time how many people have discovered and viewed your files in OneDrive for iOS.
  • Enhancements to integration with Office 2016 (First Release).
  • Simple, flexible OneDrive user management in Office 365 (First Release).
SharePoint Online Sync Preview - finally you can sync the files from a teamsite

SharePoint Online Sync Preview – finally you can sync the files from a teamsite

These new features are in the pipeline:

  • Rich thumbnails and previews for over 20 new file types (rolling out before the end of 2016).
  • Ability to access and edit all your files in OneDrive and SharePoint Online from the OneDrive browser client (rolling out before the end of 2016).
  • Capability to download multiple files as a .zip file (rolling out before the end of 2016).
  • Dedicated OneDrive administration console in Office 365 (rolling out before the end of 2016).

More of that in my “OneDrive for Business – key feature and roadmap” summary.

PowerApps & Flow

That’s what excited me the most – whats coming after InfoPath, lots of clients asked me about guidance here. And well, the answer could be PowerApps.

I attended 2 sessions to see whats coming for PowerApps and Flow – and I will soon play with it because there is so much demand in forms and simple workflows. Having the same functionality even in a mobile app will be awesome (try that with InfoPath…).

  1. PowerApps works only if an internet connection is available
  2. Its currently in preview
  3. You can connect to data sources onPrem if you install a gateway service

Flow on the other side looks like the implementation of if this then that / IFTTT – simple workflows are possible here e.g. approval and all that stuff. The power of that come into play when you connect different tools with that (Salesforce, Twitter, Slack, SQL, etc).

Groups & Yammer

  • Better integration of Yammer in Office 365 groups
  • Uploading of files directly from SharePoint/OneDrive for Business sites, and edit them directly in the browser.
  • Share content by mail with Yammer groups
  • Manager Yammer within O365 admin center
Share files from SharePoint or OneDrive

Share files from SharePoint or OneDrive

More on that in the announcement blog post.

SharePoint Framework

Apparently I could not make it to any SharePoint Framework (SPFx) session at all – the conference was packed with so many good sessions that I had to make compromises. But lots of the Framework was already announced at May, 4th event.

My Analytics

Delve Analytics was renamed to MyAnalytics – the change of the name is already live in my tenant.

  1. Pinning of important contacts so you can easily see if you are loosing touch with important peers
  2. Share metrics with peers to get a review or opinion about your work habits
  3. Adjust your priorities to get better results

More on that here: Create better work habits with MyAnalytics (formerly Delve Analytics)

SharePoint onPrem

Feature Pack 1 was announced and will available in November – and not in Q1 2017

  • Logging of administrative actions performed in Central Administration and with Windows PowerShell
  • Enhancements to MinRole to support small environments (see my post here for more details)
  • A new OneDrive for Business user experience
  • Custom tiles in the SharePoint app launcher
  • Unified auditing across site collections on-premises and in Office 365
  • Unified taxonomy across on-premises and Office 365
  • OneDrive API 2.0

Q4 2016:

  • Feedback driven updates to doclibs, lists, pages, sites and apps
  • Team news
  • Intelligent People Cards
  • SharePoint mobile app WW Release (Android, Windows)
  • Next generation sync of team sites
  • Simple, fast site creation
  • SharePoint Framework WW Release

First half of 2017:

  • Feedback driven updates to doclibs, lists, pages, sites and apps
  • More web parts
  • Publishing Sites
  • More Flow and PowerApps integration
  • SharePoint Add-in improvements
  • Modern team site extensibility
  • Performance-focused CDN integration with publishing sites

SharePoint Mobile Apps

The mobile apps got a lot of love recently – and lots is on the roadmap for them. The “intranet in your pocket” with native apps on every platform is a great driver for user adoption.

SharePoint Roadmap

SharePoint Mobile Apps Roadmap

More details in my summary post Explore whats new and whats coming with the SharePoint Apps

Spirit

SharePoint is alive! It was a blast to see how much attention (and love) SharePoint got at the Ignite 2016 – that hasn’t been always the case. The following PowerBI analyzed the hashtags on twitter during the Ignite – #SharePoint clearly ruled. I doubt that it’s because SharePoint people tweet more – the many announcements and huge amount of sessions must be the cause for that:

Microsoft Ignite 2016 delivered so many promising updates to current and planned developments nobody could doubt that SharePoint has a bright future! SharePoint ain’t dead!
If you want to see more about the general roadmap, visit https://fasttrack.microsoft.com/roadmap for more insights.

If you have questions about Ignite 2016, please let me know in the comments. If wrote about every session I attended at Ignite 2016, please see the archives if you want more details.

Azure Website Debugging: The network connection to *.azurewebsites.net:4020 has been lost. Debugging will be aborted.

08 Sep 2016
September 8, 2016

Recently my colleagues and I created a lot of SharePoint provider-hosted addins – in our case that is just a MVC Website hosted on Azure that talks balk to SharePoint. And I have to say it is good fun because we could actually debug a production site/business application in case something unforeseeable happens (aka. bugs). And the integration in Visual Studio via the Cloud Explorer could not be simpler. Right click on the website, attach debugger and see the problem.

Attach debugger on your remote azure website - cant be easier!

Attach debugger on your remote azure website – cant be easier!

 

That worked a long time perfectly for us – but something changed and Visual Studio 2015 dropped the connection once a breakpoint is hit (sometimes even earlier). Strangely debugging still worked with Visual Studio 2013.

Symptoms

Attaching with a Visual Studio 2015 Debugger either from Cloud Explorer, Server Explorer or directly via “attach to process” attaches the debugger briefly (if at all) and then results in two errors:

  1. The web browser shows: 502 – Web server received an invalid response while acting as a gateway or proxy

    502 – Web server received an invalid response while acting as a gateway or proxy

     

  2. In Visual Studio 2015 an error box shows: The network connection to <>.azurewebsite.net:4020 has been lost. Debugging will be aborted.

    Debugging will be aborted

    Debugging will be aborted.

Fix

The fix is rather simple. In Visual Studio open Debug menu from the top and click on Options:

2016-09-07 14_33_50-Debug Options

Then click on Debugging > General and find the option “Enable UI Debugging Tools for XAML” and uncheck it. 2016-09-07 14_37_36-Options

After that, Debugging worked like a charm again.

Thank you!

I did not find that one out myself – the awesome Microsoft Support (I am looking at you Akash Khandelwal!) spent hours troubleshooting my problem. He early noticed that there is a something with WPF in the logs but we initially ruled that one out. After a while his team suggested to disable this option – and it worked!

During the debugging session I learned a lot about Azure Website troubleshooting – great stuff!

2015 Recap: The king is dead – long live the king!

02 Jan 2016
January 2, 2016

3 times and you have a pattern, right? This is not the first time I write a recap for the past year, (2014, 2013) – and it is always good fun to reflect the last one and plan the next one.

The Past aka 2015

2015 was a super busy year for me – both work, community and private live was packed and very intense.

Events

I attended so many events this year, without my outlook calendar a reflection would not be possible anymore. Lets start with my favorites:

SharePoint Saturday Belgium / Antwerp

That was my first SharePoint Saturday ever – and it was epic. The spirit of the Belgium SharePoint Community is awesome, speaking there was really rewarding for me! Maybe I cant attend in 2016, but if I have the chance I probably will.

ShareCamp 2015

ShareCamp is totally unique, I totally love the open style of the conference – everybody can speak there, beginner, experts, customers, everybody. I totally like the mix, especially when there are topics that are outside of the “SharePoint box”, I learned a lot there and for me that is perfect infotainment.

ShareCamp Sessionvote

 

Search Stammtisch Munich

We are only few, but dynamite comes in small packages 🙂 Every first Monday we meet in my favorite cocktail bar. It is the best place to talk about SharePoint Search and everything around it, from 3rd party to hybrid, to Azure Search – we covered everything. I hope to see more people this year, but well, Search is a niche and won’t attract hundreds.

http://www.pussersbar.de/en/pussers-bar.html

taken from http://www.pussersbar.de/en/pussers-bar.html

SharePoint User Group Munich

I think I attended very SharePoint User Group Meeting in Munich (that should be 5-6) and organized one. Always good fun!

Conferences

I had the chance to speak at 2 commercial conferences about SharePoint Search this year: SharePoint Days and ShareConf – for 2016 I will try to speak more, maybe I try a different conference, too. Let’s see how it goes.

My blog

From a content producing side, 2015 wasn’t my best. I only crafted 16 posts, but well some of them took really a lot of time. Cloud Hybrid was one of them – and as a premiere I blogged about my new hobby: Paragliding. As one of my new year resolution is “fly more!” the chances are high that I will blog about it again.

Facts and figures

I like figures and statistics and all that – 89.000 page views is not that bad for my tiny blog, isn’t it? I have nothing to compare too, but I am quite happy with it. +12% from last year!

Blog Stats 2015

blog stats for 2015

 

Countries 2015

180 countries – I say “hello” from Germany!

My most visited blog posts are apparently from 2014 – luckily two are about search and that makes me happy:

  1. Installing SharePoint 2013 SP1 with SQL Server 2014 on Windows Server 2012 R2 – Picture Love Story (~14.000 views)
  2. #SharePoint 2013 – Create a Search Service Application and Search Topology with Powershell (~10.200 views)

  3. Install Office Web Apps 2013 for SharePoint 2013 – with PDF Preview (9.700 views)

Contributions

On the contributions part, I tried to commit some time to my favorite tool – SharePoint Search Query Tool – and it is totally worth it. I use that tool so often, so why not improve it to make it even better?

Additionally I started my own tool – Azure Search Tool – I have to admit that I haven’t put any time into it recently, but it’s still fully functionally. I will block some time soon to give some more love because its a cool and useful util.

The Future aka 2016

2015 was a shift year – I saw a lot of clients migrating to SharePoint Online and I think even more will do in 2016. With that move I learned a lot about migration to the cloud, SharePoint Apps and Azure – and I think that will be my business focus for 2016. Maybe we launch a SharePoint App as a product – that would be fun!
Lots of work a head, many challenges to be solved – there is a good year ahead of us! And we will see SharePoint 2016 RTM very soon. I am not as excited as I was for SharePoint 2013 – but the platform matures with every release and I hope to see many many Search challenges and projects. Even more as with 2013 because SharePoint Search is business critical, right?

Main goals for next year: SharePoint Search, Apps, Azure, Community, SharePoint Search, Hybrid, Azure Search, Paragliding. I am a simple man 🙂

just hanging there

Happy new year!

With that said, I wish you all the best for 2016, health, prosperity, lots of excitement and fun!

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