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Category Archives: OnePlaceMail
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 still find styling HTML elements difficult at times, trying to figure out where the styling is being inherited from and exactly which elements I need to apply styles to. The Developer Tools in Chrome go a long way to assisting with this. For this tip I’ll assume you are familiar with Chrome Developer Tools for inspecting HTML elements and CSS styles.
What I wanted to focus on was those frustrating elements that only exist on the page (in the Document Object Model) while a certain element has the “focus”. This often happens with navigation menu options or dropdown controls, where you have the menu options or dropdown options visible on the screen but as soon as you click something in Developer Tools (to go exploring), the menu options or dropdown options disappear and don’t exist on the page anymore! This is usually because an event such as the blur event is fired when you click outside the element and this removes the elements from the page that you are trying to inspect.
This tip might not work in all scenarios but it has gotten me out of trouble on a few occasions.
Here’s an example scenario. On the left side of the screenshots you can see the OnePlaceMail (Outlook Add-in) displayed in Chrome, on the right hand side is Developer Tools inspector window. I’m using a 3rd party control for my “Content Type” dropdown (it’s the Kendo UI for Angular library)
When collapsed it’s easy to inspect the kendo-dropdownlist element (that holds the selected value of ‘Document’. At this stage the menu options that will appear when I click on the dropdown don’t even exist in the DOM.
When I do click to expand the dropdown, the image below shows that a new kendo-popup element appears in the DOM (and it contains sub-elements to represent each of the options). But the problem is if we now try to use the Developer Tools and expand that kendo-popup element to see those sub-elements then the dropdown collapses (because I’ve click off it) and the kendo-popup element is removed from the DOM and we’re left with nothing to inspect!
So to work around this in the Developer Tools inspector, right click on the element that is driving the elements to appear/disappear (kendo-dropdownlist) and select Break on | subtree modifications.
Now go to the web page and click on the dropdown to show the dropdown options. They are shown (elements added to the DOM) but the Developer Tools inspector now goes into a paused state. The web page is effectively frozen.
While in this paused state, you can now return to the elements tab and we can expand and explore that pesky kendo-popup element that was dynamically created. This time however the dropdown won’t collapse itself as we click around in the inspector.
I hope you find this tip useful
I’ll be attending the SharePoint Conference North America conference, being held in Las Vegas next week. OnePlace Solutions are a proud sponsor and if you are attending I’ll be spending most of my time at the OnePlace Solutions booth in the expo hall so please come and say hi. I was looking through the sessions today and a few caught my eye. I’ve definitely got a leaning towards developer sessions and these are the ones I’ll be trying to get to.
6 Tips to Perfecting Your SharePoint Game With Structured Content Management
By Mike Miller
Why I’m interested in what Mike has to say:
While self organising and friction free organising of people into groups to work on cross divisional projects has become the hot trend of the last few years I believe the mainstay of core business solutions built on SharePoint benefit from a properly planned and designed information architecture. Take a company that is centred around running projects, if each project was to self organise and manage the SharePoint content differently it makes reporting and visibility across projects very difficult. If this function is core to your business those projects soon add up and before long you have 100’s or even 1000’s of projects that are all structured and run a little bit differently meaning not only is it hard to get visibility and reporting across projects but also for users who have to know the differences between projects and can’t just switch between projects and work with them in the same way. I see this leading to user adoption issues, frustration and decline in productivity.
By Rob Wormald
Why I’m interested in what Rob has to say:
Customizing end-to-end modern experiences in SharePoint Online
By Vesa Juvonen
Why I’m interested in Vesa’s talk:
Vesa and the PnP community he leads really is the spearhead of the latest SharePoint developer news. Vesa is also a great speaker who tells the honest story and relates well to the developer and the real world scenarios that they are often trying to solve.
Develop and deploy Outlook Actionable Messages for optimal user productivity
Why I’m interested in Julie’s session:
Actionable messages are a great new extension point to Outlook that can really bring user productivity benefit. With the announcement of support for the Adaptive Cards standard at Build recently this could be a great session to get across the opportunities this brings to the developer.
Extending Microsoft Teams
Why I’m interested in Scot’s session:
It’s almost impossible to keep up with the rate of change with Microsoft Teams at the moment. There were lots of announcements at Build including the SharePoint Framework webparts able to be surfaced in a tab in Teams. This session should have plenty of new material and Scot has been a leader in the SharePoint community for a long time.
Mastering Azure Functions
Why I’m interested in Bob’s talk:
I find myself using Azure Functions more and more for automation and non critical tasks. I’m thinking it might be time to hear from an expert about where Azure Functions are up to and whether using them for prime time commercial product and services is a reality.
Microsoft Cloud Show
Andrew Connell & Chris Johnson
Why I’m interested:
I’m a regular listener of the Microsoft Cloud Show podcast – it’s my go to place for the latest news in the SharePoint and Office 365 world. These guys don’t take it too seriously and have a good laugh along the way. Both have a long history with SharePoint and and share their opinions and thoughts openly rather than just regurgitating the news as it’s published.
SharePoint Server 2019: A First Look
Bill Baer & Hani Loza
Why I’m interested in this session:
While Office 365 and SharePoint online make sense for a lot of businesses, so does SharePoint on-premises and in a hybrid setup. I’m not expecting any huge surprises like wow here’s some new features that we haven’t seen in SharePoint online. What I’m interested in what’s missing when comparing SharePoint Server 2019 to SharePoint Online and what hybrid scenarios/ services/ connectors are being supported to stretch SharePoint 2019 into the cloud.
Zero to Hero with Microsoft Graph – real-world lessons from 1B+ api calls
Why I’m interested in this session:
Chris has been on the cutting edge of a lot of the new developer extensibility points and APIs in the work he does at Hyperfish. It is one thing listening to a Microsoft employee discuss a new developer toolset, or API, it’s another to listen to someone who is using the things commercially and needs to provide a rock solid offering on top of it. It’s a similar path to what we have been through at OnePlace Solutions and I’m interested to hear of his experiences and the learning he has taken away from it.
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!
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.