Interlink Cloud Blog

Interlink Cloud Blog

Welcome to the Interlink Cloud Blog

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations or warranties regarding the information from our partners or other external sources.
Ken Kruthaup

Embedding Power BI into SharePoint

embedding-power-bi-sharepoint

Power BI can now be shared with anyone in your network within seconds!

Native data reporting within SharePoint is a powerful tool to have, but embedding this reporting into Power BI is even more powerful.

The option for sharing Power BI data has been somewhat limited until now. Microsoft recently launched an update allowing users to embed interactive Power BI reports into SharePoint pages. This new feature allows convenient access to sharing data-rich graphs as well as other presentations. The embedded reports are also more secure because not all users have permission to access the report; the permissions to review the report are set within the Power BI service. This means they can be shared for internal or external review as needed.

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Matt Scherocman

DocuSign Integrates with Microsoft Office 365 to Transform Your Document Signature Processes

DocuSign Integrates with Microsoft Office 365 to Transform Your Document Signature Processes

The ability to sign documents securely and quickly is a crucial component of any business process. Traditional document signature methods, where documents need to be created, signed, sent, delivered, and returned to multiple parties, wastes a considerable amount of time and money. For Office 365 users, the administrative burden of the paper signature process is lifted with DocuSign. DocuSign seamlessly integrates into Office 365 and its applications like SharePoint Online, Outlook and Word, to create a completely digital and scalable document signature solution for your organization.

Let’s look at few ways DocuSign integration completely transforms document signature processes.

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Matt Scherocman

I Hate File Servers: Eliminate Your File Server with Office 365 File Sharing Tools

I Hate File Servers: Eliminate Your File Server with Office 365 File Sharing Tools

Nobody likes file servers. They’re often in a state of chaos, and accessing them from a mobile device is difficult. Virtual private networks only work well on PCs, and even then, we find users crossing their fingers every time they go to connect.  However, there’s good news: Office 365 addresses those issues - and more.

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Mark Rackley

Impactful Changes to Office 365 – SharePoint Sandbox Solutions [Time Sensitive]

Impactful Changes to Office 365 – SharePoint Sandbox Solutions [Time Sensitive]

Microsoft has recently made a significant change to the way they are handling SharePoint Sandbox Solutions in Office 365. This may have a major impact or your organization as these changes roll out across tenants.

If you have uploaded any Sandbox Solutions to your Office 365 tenant in the past week or so, you may have found that you are no longer able to activate these templates. That is because Microsoft is in the process of disabling the activation of any Sandbox Solutions that contain code. In addition, according to an article in Reddit - Microsoft has disabled activation of Sandboxed code solutions AND will disable all active solutions in 30 days on SharePoint Online.

Now, I’m skeptical of the statement that all Sandbox Solutions with code will be disabled in 30 days, as this will unlikely cause catastrophic consequences for some folks, but I don’t have any further information at this time.

What do disabled SharePoint Sandbox Solutions mean to me?

There are a few implications here. If you have any code-based Sandbox Solutions running in your environment in Office 365 you may start to see broken web-parts, pages, event receivers, or broken other functionality/errors in the next month or so. The implications could be as small as a missing web part on a page to a broken site collection. It really depends on what code has been deployed to your tenant.

In addition, if you’ve previously created any Site Templates that were created from sites that had activated code-based Sandbox Solutions, you will NOT be able to create sites from these templates after the solution has been disabled.

How can I tell if I have any SharePoint Sandbox Solutions?

You can go to your Solutions Gallery to see if you have any Sandbox Solutions deployed. You can get to the Solutions Gallery by going to the Site Settings of your Site Collection, then clicking on the “Solutions” link under the “Web Designer Galleries” section.

sandbox Solutions

Please note, this is also where things like Site Templates are stored, so don’t freak out of you see some solutions deployed and don’t know what they are. Hopefully they were named well as there are little details displayed from the Solutions Gallery itself.

Why weren’t we warned sooner?

Microsoft actually DID warn everyone back in January 2014 - one instance of this is on the SharePoint dev blog in an article titled Deprecation of Custom Code in Sandboxed Solutions. Plus we’ve been telling clients since then to stop doing code-based Sandbox Solutions.

Yet, it is a little surprising they would make sure a hard cut off of 30 days though. If I can get some confirmation I’ll be sure to update the post.

What do I do if this affects my company?

Excellent question. First of all, if you have any Site Templates that utilize code-based Sandbox Solutions, re-create those Site Templates with your code-based Sandbox Solutions disabled. I would do this immediately - if not sooner. Once a solution has been deactivated there is no way to create a site with a Site Template dependent on that feature.

Secondly, if you have any code-based Sandbox Solutions, evaluate their functionality and determine what will stop working. Some of the functionality (visual web parts) can be recreated with scripting, while other functionality (event receivers) may cause you a lot more heartburn to replicate without a Sandbox Solution.

You can also reach out to us at Interlink and we could help point you in the right direction for what to do in your particular scenario. It is important you do SOMETHING though. Interlink can assess your current environment, help point out possible pain points, and guide you through the re-creation of code-based Sandbox Solutions into a supported format.

Should I panic?

Hopefully, no, but honestly, if code-based Sandbox Solutions are forcibly disabled in 30 days you should be concerned if there is any chance you have them in your environment.

[Update as of 8/3/2016: Microsoft released a script that lets you check for sandbox solutions]

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Mark Rackley

A New Commitment to Microsoft SharePoint

A New Commitment to Microsoft SharePoint

As I mentioned my last article The Future of SharePoint – My Verdict, I had the honor of attending the Future of SharePoint event in San Francisco. At the event, I was able to get a sneak peak of where Microsoft is headed with SharePoint. If you didn’t get a chance to read the article, I gave my insight on Microsoft’s renewed commitment to SharePoint, along with some great links to resources and what others in the community are saying about the future of SharePoint.

The below article further explains the direction of SharePoint based on what was shared at another SharePoint event - SharePoint Saturday Nashville on May 14, 2016.

Evidence of a new commitment to SharePoint came when Jeff Teper, Corporate Vice President for OneDrive and SharePoint, stopped by SharePoint Saturday Nashville to very candidly answer questions about SharePoint. Here are some highlights of Microsoft’s very transparent commitment to the future of SharePoint.

The Future of SharePoint On-Premises

As stated in the “The Future of SharePoint” keynote, Microsoft has heard their users and are committed to on-premises. It was even stated there would be another release of SharePoint on-premises. Microsoft has also explained that on-premises SharePoint 2016 deployments will get online functionality in Feature Packs starting in 2017. Jeff stated that Microsoft hopes to be able to announce a more definitive timeline for those feature packs at Ignite this year.

The Future of Add-ins

There was a discussion about some of the angst ISV’s were experiencing with the announcement of the SharePoint Framework and Jeff noted that they could have done a better job at the Future of SharePoint event about pointing out that the Add-In model is not going anywhere. This is completely valid-- the whole point of the SharePoint Framework is that Microsoft was analyzing how we were developing functionality for SharePoint. The saw and heard how many of us were injecting script into pages using JS Link and Content Editor Web Parts. The SharePoint Framework is a direct result of Microsoft listening to us and making script development more manageable, controllable, and less likely to break the page. This is very positive news.

The Future of Yammer

Yammer is still alive and well, but that most of the changes lately have been behind the scenes integration, so there wasn’t really anything to “show” at the event. Jeff made mention of efforts to merge Yammer Groups and SharePoint Groups.

The Future of SharePoint Designer and InfoPath

When asked about the future of SharePoint Designer and InfoPath, Jeff stated that he sees PowerApps and Microsoft Flow replacing these technologies within a couple of years. He was very clear to state that they do not replace them today and that these tools have a way to go before they have the functionality of their predecessors. This is the first time we at Interlink have actually “heard” this so definitively from someone at Microsoft—we are elated to see that Microsoft has a plan.

The Future of Forms

When asked about customizing list forms from within the SharePoint UI, Jeff stated that PowerApps will be able to be used in the future within the SharePoint UI to launch forms for list items. He followed that up by stating PowerApps would likely never completely replace the functionality offered by third party forms tools like Nintex, K2, and StratusForms.

The Future of Microsoft Graph

There have been frustrations amongst our SharePoint developers that Microsoft Graph does not have full feature parity with the SharePoint REST API. When asked about the plans for Microsoft Graph to have the same features as the SharePoint REST API, Jeff stated that this was indeed the plan and they are working on it; however, their focus at the moment was WebHooks.

The Future of Branding

Another big concern we have for our clients and the new SharePoint Framework is the ability to brand sites effectively and to be able to deliver a “world class” design experience while still following the accepted patterns and practices of the new framework. Jeff explained that there will indeed be a railed branding experience for Team Sites. This makes sense as the new Team Sites need to work in the mobile application and we can’t expect to do whatever we want and still have them work in the app. Jeff also stated that if clients need a fully branded site they will still be able to do that using the Publishing template. We see a future with a lot of Intranet Home Pages created with Publishing templates linked to department sites created with Site Templates. Branding will be changing but is by no means dead.

Finally…

We have had a chance to reflect on the changes seen within Microsoft and the SharePoint product team the past few months, on the upcoming changes to SharePoint, on the transparency of Microsoft, their willingness to hear feedback (and criticism), their willingness to own mistakes, and their sudden embracing of the community. We just can’t seem to find anything to be negative about right now. With the efforts of Jeff Teper and team, Microsoft has built up a lot of good will. I’m willing to see where things are going. I feel like I’m being heard and I’m excited for the future. Have we drunk the Kool-Aid? We don’t think so. We just think Microsoft is finally getting it…

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Welcome to the Interlink Cloud Blog

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations or warranties regarding the information from our partners or other external sources.