Seven SharePoint and Office 365 Predictions for 2019 and Reflections

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(I snapped this photo in Indonesia.  I hope you like it!)


1. SharePoint 2019 will become the new base standard, but the community bloggers and speakers will get over it very quickly.  It won’t feel new by June.   Where usually a product is new for a couple of years.  Now the on prem releases will feel dated nearly immediately. We won’t see hardly any posts unfortunately.  

2. Teams will get a TON of press and become a leading workload (fastest growing) for Office 365.  Microsoft Sales will CARE most about Teams and Azure.  The Teams team will really dial in the MVP community and connect in solid ways.

3. Digital Workspaces will move from being buzz words to being company initiatives.  Some companies will refocus intranet teams to focus on The Digital Workspace. Productivity will change based on personalized organizational insights through analytics.  Analytics will be big in gaining new insights and driving the interfaces of our personalized workspaces.

4. Chat Bots will go from being seen as a gimmick to being more common corporate projects.  Today chat bots are seen as squishy dev projects working with APIs, but we’re likely to see chat bots be more productized and with plug and play integration.  I expect to see large enterprises who have sprint initiatives feeding the bots.  HR and Support will find each other to support these initiatives, sparking a marriage.

5. Digital Transformation – What was previously seen as stages for moving to the cloud will now be more about looking at streamlining business processes with taking advantage of investments in AI for automation.  

6.  The Battle of the year will be Microsoft Teams and Slack.  Microsoft’s arsenals are loaded and Skype is dead.  This battle won’t end in a year.  Atlassian alignment with Slack is going to cause some significant changes inside organizations.

7.  Microsoft will double down on Mixed Reality.  The story will really start coming together even if it sounds ahead of it’s time.  Microsoft does have their work cut out.  Remote assist + Teams + Hololens… It’s ahead of it’s time, but solid.  The community really doesn’t seem to understand SharePoint spaces.  I think it will take a year unfortunately for the right stories to come together, but 3D/360 content viewing is a solid investment especially if you look at 3-5 years.  Engineering will start sharing more 3D/360.

8. PowerPack will be a big thing.  Licensing confusion will rise, but PowerBI, PowerApps, and Flow will gain in adoption and usage in a significant way, and Microsoft will find a way to promote these products in a more streamlined way.

Here’s a review of last year’s post including my thoughts.  Love to hear what you think…

8 Predictions for SharePoint & Office 365 in 2018

1. People will look to Skip SharePoint 2016 and go to 2019. It will be much better received than 2016 was, but it will still be somewhat lackluster (never will it be like it was back in the good old days of dedicated SPCs for SharePoint launches). In the first year of SharePoint 2019 release it will surpass 2016 as an install base. (2016 still hasn’t surpassed 2013.)

I haven’t seen any numbers, I think we’ve already heard great things about 2019.  I expect to hear more at SPC. 

2. Hub sites will become the preferred way of doing Information Architecture in SharePoint and deep portal structures will be flattened as a best practice. Note there will be many who cry foul and it will cause heated debates.

Hub Sites are preferred way to do Information Architecture in SharePoint Now.

3. OneDrive on Demand will become a great drive to Windows 10. Sync for SharePoint will be carried along as a benefit and client sync for SharePoint will have its greatest adoption since groove.

OneDrive on Demand has been huge for OneDrive.

4. Modern Team Sites, Modern Lists, and Themes will soon become consistent with the expectation for status quo for SharePoint and a big line will be drawn for OLD SharePoint vs. New SharePoint based on what comes in 2019 and what’s in O365 now.

This prediction stands.  Teams and Modern are the way.

5. WSPs are Dead – The community will abhor them and it will be an insult to think of installing them. As a result even third party solutions will need to rethink how they not only support apps for online but also on prem.

True.  No one is creating anything in WSPs now.

6. Groups will cause further confusion in 2018, but Teams will become the darling of Microsoft sales for collab as it activates multiple workloads.

I think some of the confusion is gone now that Team sites = group template, but Teams is definitely been a big winner.

7. Microsoft AI (Simple automation, auto classification and extraction) will start to make its way into SharePoint Online amongst other workloads.

True. Microsoft has provided extraction through OCR and it shipped for OneDrive & SharePoint Online.  Not just that, but also Flow is now in lists with simple approvals.

8. Simple Communication Site based Intranets (and Intranet in a box solutions) + Hub sites will gain favor for Office 365 adopters. Deep complicated Intranets will fall out of favor in a huge significant industry wide way.

True. I do believe Intranet in a box solutions and even lowered expectations for more out of the box cloud based solutions as either digital workspaces or as a baseline for more has accelerated both deployment and adoption.

In 2015 predictions I called out worth mentioning

Mobile will become more important in SharePoint world – The new mobile app is really good.  The new search feature is the best thing that’s happened to mobile.

SharePoint gets cool again – It’s really happened.  SharePoint has really improved and looking at the Top Intranets… there’s nothing better right now.  Teams is the only challenge based on the interface, and with the new SPFX investments in Teams. 

Joel Oleson Awarded MVP – 10 years of Community Building in Pictures

I’m humbled and excited to be recognized by Microsoft as an MVP for Office Apps and Services.  It’s been about 11 years since I left Microsoft back in March 2008, and started my journey to connect to IT communities in every country in the world. 


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10 years later, and over 100 speaking engagements, and 100 communities later…


Here are a few of the highlights…

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It started with Jordan… my first community visit after Microsoft


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SharePoint in London and on the battlefields of Gettysburg


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Many Many Share-Point I Mean SharePints later


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From Bethlehem

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To 3x in Lima Peru

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Many Share-A-Okes!

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You wouldn’t believe the LadyGaga SharePoint Outing in Sweden

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SharePoint Bermuda…. Speaker shorts required

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SharePoint Saturday Jamaica!  They said it wasn’t possible!

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Sharing the Point in Vietnam in 2011

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SharePoint Singapore x4 including User Group, SPS, and TechEd South East Asia x3 (man I miss that event)

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SharePoint Malta

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SharePoint Amsterdam x3

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SharePoint in Czech


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SharePoint Sweden (SEF!) x 3 + ESPC

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Trinidad and Dominican Republic

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SharePoint in Morocco

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SharePoint in Slovenia (Thrive) x8


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Getting interviewed in Berlin by Michael Greth… about 8 years ago.  5+ trips to Germany for the community.

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Including a European SharePoint Conference where we saw the 20 year anniversary of the Wall topple!

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SharePoint in Iceland!

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More than a few SharePoint Limos.  (Many photos not included to protect the innocent Smile)

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SharePoint Manilla

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They said it wasn’t possible to do a SharePoint event in Georgia

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SharePoint Bangladesh… Thanks MJ!

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Ecuador

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and of course one of my favorites… Chile x2  and Costa Rica x4 with Ricardo and Crew

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The Latin American SharePoint Community is still very strong

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Guyana, Colombia, Mexico, El Salvador

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And many trips down with Share The Point Under to Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Signapore… Thanks Debbie!

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75 signed up in Yeravan Armenia…. but 125 showed up!!

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We made it happen in Bolivia

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and in Venezuela

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From Nigeria

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To Ghana

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And Nairobi

SharePoint in Antarctica

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The bottom of the world

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Arab community

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To Tunisia

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So many fun crazy times at SPC

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and Brazil

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and Pakistan

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and Egypt

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Bulgaria

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SharePoint in Full Robes in UAE Dubai

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SharePoint has definitely made the rounds in the middle east

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Central Asia Tour in Uzbekistan

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Azerbaijan

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And in Kurdish Iraq!

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Sri Lanka

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SharePoint Saturday Algeria

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On the Top of Africa –  Kilimonjaro

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To the Bottom of the world – Yes that is Dan Holme… I took this shot Smile

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Many Late nights

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Hanging out with fun people who make big impressions…

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Who are these young pups?

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To the ends…

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Ukraine and Russia… it’s more fun with friends…

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The Russian Speaking community is fantastic!

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Across deserts and mountains

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SPS Cuba (previously forbidden places)

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Building relationships in the Persian community and then not getting allowed to see them was tough, but I’m happy to say Persian language packs in SharePoint 2010 on have a small contribution in part to my relationship with an MVP who’s business is in Dubai that I met 10 years ago.  Thanks Neo!


Thanks much to the whole community, with special mention to those who left a whole in my heart…

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I miss you!  Dave, John, Abir, and Patrick

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Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!  Happy New Year!  Thanks to the community… it’s been a lot of fun these past 10 years!


Thanks to those that believed in me and made it enjoyable.  I really love our community…  I hope you can see that.  The recognition has always been just a bonus, but it does mean a lot.  It’s been a lot easier to find people when they’ve been recognized by Microsoft. Community does change lives.


Office 365 SharePoint, Teams, Groups 20x big storage quota increase is game changer!

I am very excited to see the new massive increase in base storage for the Office 365 tenant.  At an organization with 5000 people this means we go from a simple 3.5 TB tenant base storage to an impressive 51 TB.  This will not only instill confidence that we can store a lot more, but now departments that have a couple of TB of storage, we no longer need to divide up workloads.  It means a more simplified migration. 

Aaron Rimmer posted on Friday about the massive Office 365 storage increase to go in effect July 2018. 

“Today we are announcing a 20x increase in the SharePoint Online per user license storage allocation. This will increase to 1 TB plus 10 GB per user license purchased, up from 1 TB plus .5 GB per user license purchased. Note this does not include SharePoint Online kiosk plans including Office 365 F1 and Microsoft 365 F1.”

Those rolling out Teams, Groups, and Yammer can feel much better about their ability to scale.  I’ve heard people concerned over max tenant sizes.  This should help alleviate those concerns.  25TB site collections are now within reach without a lot of extra cost.  Teams moving large PSDs, images, drawings and raw video can now include more of the files and the experience is better with the hundreds of preview capabilities that Microsoft has been adding.

I’ve been thinking about what this would mean in an on premise SharePoint environment to 20x to go from 2TB to 40TB as an example.  That would be like going from a small database cluster to a large SAN environment.  This would be a huge deal.  Those who have been paying for the storage will appreciate this, but also those migrating content will be happy to see real PB environments becoming a reality overnight.

Personally I’m now thinking about those conversations of departments that were concerned about 2-3 TB file storage environments that may have been going to other solutions now seriously look at consolidating in a scalable environment that looks like it can support a much larger scale than previously thought.  When it was hitting the pocketbook at around 2.5TB to now have it be closer to 50TB is a big deal.  Thanks to those that made this happen.  Let’s keep it going in this direction.  We like it when what was a perceived limit is pushed up in a significant way.

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5 Powerful Steps to Maximize Office 365 & SharePoint UX

5 Simple Steps to Maximize Office 365 and SharePoint Usability

 

I am humbled to have been selected as a Microsoft Regional Director, which made me realize it’s been a little while since I’ve posted.  I intend to correct that.  I’m excited to announce a new blog series on how to drive maximum usability in Office 365 in SharePoint Online, Office 365 Groups and beyond.  In my experience at Blizzard I’ve found simply migrating our data to SharePoint Online won’t accomplish the most important updates in the past year.

 

5 Steps to Maximize Office 365 & SharePoint Usability

Classify – Both Sites and Groups support classification in Office 365.  Being able to take action such as not listing a group or site in a directory, or using a flow to approve a site based on the need to support external guests can allow one to have a much better handle on HR data vs Finance or Legal data as an example.  It can also lend itself to support putting sites in Hubs based on department, division or location.

Hubify – Hubs are a new type of site, but really they simply roll up the documents and provide search scopes.  It’s running a Windows Powershell that makes a site into a hub site.  In this post we’ll dig into the how and why with samples.

Groupify – Groups is all the buzz.  Groups gives you all storts of stuff you never asked for, but the approach does have some merits especially in relation to adoption.  Much of the new tools will never be used until people experience them.  Teams and Groups expose these new tools.  The Group OneDrive and Group Inbox and Group Calendar are fantastic as is Planner for a team.

Modernify – The Modern UI is out, but there’s no one big switch to take your classic site all the way to a Modern SharePoint Site, but you can do it in 3 pretty basic steps.

CulturifyHow are you going to handle branding and incorporating company culture? We’ll look at the best approaches available today the answer is slightly different in Modern and Classic sites.

10 Things to Remember from 2017 Office 365 Year End Recap

I hope you enjoyed my 2018 future of Office 365/ SharePoint predictions.  2017 Was filled with a lot of releases and many new technologies to learn and grow with.  It’s a good day for reflection.  In fact the Tech Community Blog posted 2017 year roundup.

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1. Microsoft Teams released with integrated Bot Framework and SharePoint document integration

2. SharePoint Framework SPFx released for Office 365 and for on premise with Feature Pack 2.

3. Teams announced it would replace Skype for Business online.

4. Communication sites & Modern Team Sites released

5. Over 200 data previews formats

6. Modern List improvements

7. StaffHub, Office 365 Education,

8. Flow Released – Integration with Office 365 libraries.  Announcements for more on prem integration in SharePoint 2019.

9. PowerApps Released – Integration with SharePoint libraries.  Announcements for more on prem integration in SharePoint 2019.

10. OneDrive on Demand (Improved sync on demand files for SharePoint doc libraries) with Windows 10 Fall Creators Update.

branding office 365

5 Ways of Branding Office 365 without Modifying the Master Page

We’ve been schooled on customizing our Office 365 sites too much and I’ve seen it clarified a couple of times recently that you should avoid modifying your Master Page. So what can you do? Here are 5 ways you can build brand and look and feel without modifying the master page.

We’re going to start with position that you shouldn’t modify the master page. I know the recommendation that frustrates many, but over the last 3 years I’ve learned to appreciate this guidance in Office 365. For SharePoint on premises, I take this a very different way for Intranets, Portals, and CMS. There are a lot of resources for developers and designers at the Office 365 Patterns and Practices site on Github.com

“Use SharePoint as an out-of-box application whenever possible – We designed the new SharePoint UI to be clean, simple and fast and work great out-of-box. We encourage you not to modify it which could add complexity, performance and upgradeability and to focus your energy on working with users and groups to understand how to use SharePoint to improve productivity and collaboration and identifying and promoting best practices in your organization.”
Read more at https://blogs.office.com/2012/07/17/the-new-sharepoint/#cBPzRx44R8OIWQCi.99

Starting from 1 easiest to 5 hardest (requires dev skills)

1) Office 365 (Personal and Tenant Wide) Themes – You should start here.

Office 365 themes

Believe me when I say that the themes are a good attempt, but don’t go far enough? You can see here we are on the new Office 365 compliance center part of https://protection.office.com. Despite the fact I’ve chosen nice robot theme, the blue left nav is persistent despite the choice, and the green banner doesn’t seem to want to fit either theme. This page should be excused since it’s admin UI, but I have seen big UI/UX inconsistencies simply navigating from mail (responsive collapsible frame like mobile messaging) to SharePoint (pinch and zoom or limited mobile UI) to Delve (responsive and card based). There are a few battles for consistency. The announcement of the updated document libraries brings consistency across documents from OneDrive for Business to SharePoint 2016 to Office 365 document libraries. This is a good start.

That being said I do recommend investing in corporate Office 365 themes. This will nearly guarantee a branded experience. For some reason I still inconsistently see my custom theme being applied, but am anxious for Microsoft to address bugs preventing my corporate experience from flowing across my apps and add-ins.

Customize the Office 365 theme for your organization

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Customize-the-Office-365-theme-for-your-organization-8275da91-7a48-4591-94ab-3123a3f79530?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US

After you’ve created your theme

  • Custom logo optionally clickable: Select the image and upload your own JPG, PNG, or GIF with a resolution of 200 x 50 pixels, no larger than 10 KB. This appears in the top navigation bar on every page.
  • Top Nav Background image: Your own JPG, PNG, or GIF, no larger than 15 KB. The background image appears in the top navigation bar on every page.
  • Prevent users from overriding theme: Option to enforce theming at the user level so that everyone in the organization sees the theme you create. The exception to this is a high contrast theme used for accessibility purposes.
  • Accent color: Select a color to use for the app launcher icon, mouse over color, and other accents.
  • Nav bar background color: Select a color to use for the background of the navigation bar. Appears at the top on every page.
  • Text and icons: Color to use for the text and icons in the top navigation bar.
  • App menu icon: Color to use for the app launcher icon

You’ll see your new theme on the Office 365 admin center right away and after a short delay, you’ll see it throughout Office 365 including Outlook and SharePoint pages. You can remove your custom icon or custom colors at any time. Just return to the theme page and choose Remove custom theming or Remove custom colors.

IMPORTANT: In addition to customizing your theme, you can add custom tiles to the My Apps page and then add them to the app launcher or add them to the navigation bar.

Office 365 Branding goes beyond SharePoint

When considering any a custom UI for SharePoint, always consider other services such as One Drive, User Profiles, and Delve. Any CSS, JS, or master-page customization applied to SharePoint as these will not automatically propagate across these other workloads. The only shared tool at this point is the top suite bar. Fortunately, this for the most part is customized by using Office 365 themes. Themes are limited, but this is where you should start. Outlook does have some personal theming, but shouldn’t need much branding anyway. For email you could use Outlook.com add-ins, and recommend company signatures for consistency.

2) Office 365 site options: SharePoint Site Look and Feel branding “Change the Look”

Another good place to start with changing the look of your site while clearly staying way within boundaries is with the Look and Feel section of site settings.

Add a site title, pick a logo, add simple base colors. I would avoid doing too much here or your site will look like it came from FrontPage 98. The out of the box theming engine of composed looks are actually quite ugly in my opinion, but the ability to customize these is in the SharePoint UI and very easy to do. Site themes and composed looks are well covered on the web. The “Change the look option” site theme has skins and additional colors. Changing the navigation is simple and this also is benign and expected. If you want to explore more of what’s available right in the SharePoint UI visit Ben’s Sharegate blog on using the Color palate tool.


3) Provisioning template in PnP Partner Pack for responsive UI for Office 365 SharePoint Online

Alternative CSS is much more lightweight, but still will require testing and maintenance. Join the Office Dev PnP community where you can share code and best practices. First, use alternative CSS instead of adding references to files on your master pages. You can test in our browser by changing the browser size, but ultimately need to test. A good practice is having a couple of tenants… one in early adopter with a handful of test users and the other in the normal adoption rate.

4) Office UI Fabric

Office UI Fabric is a responsive, mobile-first, front-end framework for developers, designed to make it simple to quickly create web experiences using the Office Design Language. The framework is used internally on products within Office 365—such as our suite branding, OneDrive.com, Outlook.com, Delve and the Video Portal. With Office UI Fabric you can apply simple CSS styles to make your web applications look and feel like the rest of Office. The styling takes into account typography, color, icons, animations, responsive grid layouts and localization.

Read more at https://blogs.office.com/2015/08/31/introducing-office-ui-fabric-your-key-to-designing-add-ins-for-office/#C2pQd8rUc2KRhPSp.99

GitHub Office UI Fabric

5) Use JavaScript Injection to embed custom scripts and/or third-party libraries into your sites

“You can use the Office 365 JavaScript UI controls to add an Office 365-style navigation bar to your app and also let users access data about people in Azure Active Directory (AAD). These JavaScript UI controls do not require server-side code, and can be integrated into a single-page application (SPA) with just a few lines of code.”

The Office 365 JavaScript UI controls are supported by the following web browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 10+
  • Chrome 43+
  • Firefox 39+

    Consider r
    emote provisioning pattern for ‘deploying’ components to your SharePoint sites (fields, content types, lists, pages or files)

Any Exceptions?

Did I mention changing the master page? In on premises SharePoint that’s been the practice, for Office 365 as a best practice and for long term supportability… No you should avoid it. It will break inheritance and force you to maintain it through updates. Still feel like you need to do it? There are exceptions, but with Javascript injection there are more flexible ways of changing what you need to.

Should you never ever customize the master page? I do think there are exceptions. Those that are building a CMS, publishing based Intranet are a good example of that. You can control the total look and feel of a site with the master page and publishing features.

Is that enough? Just because Microsoft says don’t customize or don’t really change the master page, won’t stop you from doing it if you want to. So, if you are making master page changes, it’s up to you to stay up to date with the ongoing product updates applied to SharePoint Online. Luckily, you can preview new changes within your tenant by going to the SharePoint Online admin center and enabling preview features. In addition you can create a dev tenant and put it on the early adopter to opt into quicker updates. This is great for a dev or test environment to first experience what may happen first so you can plan to deal with it. You can have as many site collections on either tenant to support QA and UAT. The preview features is also nice so you can slowly ease into the changes and be notified in the UI of changes and flip back if needed.

What about my sites or delve profiles? There are some options. Sonja covers the history and options of Office 365 branding of my sites.

Personally I expect the Delve background photo to be customizable in the near future. I hope to see more company branding options out of the box here as well.

Have other resources and Ideas?  Share them in the comments!

UPDATE: The new Modern Team sites and Communication sites in Office 365 are now responsive by default and the new Hub Sites have been announced to include Themes and look and feel that are inherited across the child based sites associated. This means design will be more fluid and easy to do in the future.  In addition SharePoint 2019 appears set to include much of this modern design work in Office 365.  More info to come!!

SharePoint 2013 Mobile App Device Support Matrix

In preparing for my Mobile Enterprise Strategy Session in London, I put together two different mobile app support matrices.  People want to see what works on what platform.  None of this I’m calling Official.  This is my experience and from my own testing.  There may be bugs and you need to should also verify this yourself if you have any questions.  If you disagree with anything please add in the comments so I can either update or you can make others aware.

If you want the full slides you can download them here: SharePoint 2013 Mobile Enterprise Strategy. Despite the fact that it says only says SharePoint on some of these images.  This applies to SharePoint 2013 On Premises, Office Online, OneDrive, and Office 365.  I’m sure MS would like to know what you use that is missing from apps they are targeting for your device.

Enjoy!  Feel free to download this infographic “SharePoint 2013 Mobile App Platform Supportability Matrix”  or share it on your own blog!

SharePoint 2013 Mobile App Support Matrix

I love seeing all these boxes.  Reminds me of a conversation with Noah Sparks in 2013.  We asked… Will Microsoft ever check all the boxes?  They checked all those… so I had to add more!

 

Here’s the extended Office 365 and SharePoint mobile platform and OS support matrix.

 

SharePoint Mobile Extended Support Matrix

Download this image as a file: SharePoint 2013 Mobile OS and App Platform supportability Matrix

Microsoft doesn’t officially support Linux, and I’ve never seen anything officially called out about Kindles, but I do know there is an Ubuntu community that uses Office Online and OneDrive.

 

Download: Office 365 Mobile OS Platform Support Matrix

Office 365 Mobile OS Platform Support Matrix