Using SharePoint Permissions in Microsoft Teams Channels

A lot of people have asked for “private channels” in Microsoft teams. Microsoft has stated publicly that they’re working on it; there’s even a page in the documentation all ready for when it comes along!

In the meantime, a question came up about using SharePoint permissions to restrict the level of access to channel files. Recall that every Team has a SharePoint site, and the files in the Files tab land in a document library on that site. Each Teams channel gets a folder in that site. (For more details see this article by Matt Soseman.)

So is it possible to make a “semi-private” channel by simply modifying the folder permissions in SharePoint? The idea is that while the conversation might be open, the files are only available to a subset of team members.

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Localized strings in solutions that span classic and modern SharePoint sites

This article builds on an earlier one, Building Headers and Footers that work on Classic and Modern sites. That article, with associated sample code, was about how to create a top menu and footer that work on both modern and classic SharePoint pages. On modern pages, the solution is a SharePoint Framework extension; on classic pages, it’s a stand-alone solution that just happens to use SharePoint Framework tooling like TypeScript, WebPack, and React. That allows a very high degree of common code between the classic and modern implementations.

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Figure 1

The good news is that my POC was successful, and the partner and their customer liked it!

The sample code has moved! It’s now in the SharePoint Framework Extensions repo.

I skipped over one key capability in my project, which was localization. The customer in this case is a large multi-national company, so it’s not too surprising they would want to show some information in the user’s preferred language.

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Building Headers and Footers that work on Classic and Modern sites

One of the partners I consult for is migrating a Fortune 500 financial services company to SharePoint Online. The company wants to take advantage of modern team and communications sites, yet where they need features that aren’t available in modern SharePoint, they’ve decided to stick with classic Publishing sites.

The challenge is: how to build global navigation and footers that will work on both classic and modern sites. There are a few reasons this is important:

  • It provides common navigation across all kinds of sites, making the Intranet easier to use
  • It provides a common footer across all kinds of sites, ensuring compliance messages are delivered consistently
  • It reduces coding and maintenance, because one set of code is used across old and new sites

So I undertook a little Proof of Concept, and here are the results. The solution is usable as-is if your needs are simple. The real intent, however is to prove out a pattern for developing any header and footer that will work on both modern and classic sites.

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Figure 1

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What is Modern SharePoint and Why Should I care?

I just got back from Microsoft’s internal Ready conference in Seattle, and one especially inspiring session was about Professional Networking by Kevin Martins and Matt Soseman. I’m still digesting it all, but one thing Matt said stuck with me: he suggested blogging the answers to questions you get over and over. When someone asks, you can point them at the article.

The question I get the most these days is, “what is this modern SharePoint you keep talking about?” It might sound like an oxymoron! All my SharePointy friends know about it, and debate the finer points over beer at SharePint, but to the casual user, or someone who’s been working on premises, it may be a bit of a mystery. It’s only available online (at the time of this writing anyway), and is slowly being phased in as developers build it out.

So here it is: Microsoft is on a mission to modernize SharePoint, to save it from fading into obscurity as a once innovative but now persnickety old war horse of a product. This article will explain how they’re doing it, and why you might want to take a fresh look on this stalwart collaboration product.

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Choosing a CDN for SharePoint client-side solutions

Client-side solutions have been de rigueur for a few years now: they’re cloud friendly, and are generally much easier to deploy than server-side code. SharePoint is an enterprise class content management tool, so it’s only natural to store the client code in SharePoint. That was all well and good until Office 365’s large farm sizes rendered SharePoint’s BLOB cache useless, which makes loading static files much slower online than on premises.

So lately Microsoft has been encouraging – and helping – us all to use a proper Content Delivery Network (CDN) for static content. CDN’s are designed for speed and volume; they even address the speed of light problem by fetching files from a data center that’s near the client. This will help your client-side solutions to load noticeably faster, as seen in this chart.

CDN Comparison in ms

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Two Vantage Points

I just returned to Microsoft after a six-year adventure at a startup, BlueMetal. It was a great experience, but I was ready for a change, and I was fortunate to secure a great position as a Partner Technology Architect in Microsoft’s new One Commercial Partner (OCP) organization. I’m thrilled!

Now that I’m back, I’m able to blog on MSDN again! So which is it – MSDN, or my own blog at Bob1German.com? Decisions decisions!

For the time being, I’ve decided that “both” is a pretty good option; this will allow regular followers to keep going to the same place, while inviting MSDN readers to the party. So read either one; I plan to post the same content to both places.

Thanks, as always, for your interest and comments!

Securely erase physical drives with dban and Hyper-V

I’m writing this between jobs – I’ve left BlueMetal, and haven’t started at Microsoft yet. I’m using this time to do a deep clean on my home office, and I’ve come across a number of hard drives that need disposal. But how to do so securely, so data can’t be recovered? And how can I hit a budget goal of, say, zero?

This article from ZDNet offers three options: one software (Darik’s Boot and Nuke – dban), one hardware (Wiebetech’s Drive eRazer Ultra), and one brute force (drive a nail through the platters). The hardware solution would be perfect if I did this every week, but it’s kind of expensive and this isn’t something I’ll use very often. The brute force solution might be good if I had a lot of pent up aggression, but it physically destroys the drive. That leaves the software approach, and a bunch of people recommended dban. But they recommend running it on a dedicated machine because by default it wipes out all connected hard drives and it’s easy to accidentally wipe out everything.

So I had the idea of using Hyper-V, my favorite virtualization tool that’s built into Windows 10 (Enterprise, Professional, or Education editions). Virtualization provides a safe sandbox to run dban, and I can run it in the background on my existing PC.

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Office 365 Developer Review from Microsoft Ignite

Companion Article for the Overview at the Boston Office 365 Developer Bootcamp

This article could be useful to any Office 365 developer who wants a quick reference to  the recorded sessions from Microsoft Ignite, but it’s also intended as a companion to my opening talk at the Office 365 Developer Bootcamp on October 27, 2017, in Burlington, MA. The talk is intended to show you all the ways you can develop for Office 365. Office 365 includes the Office client programs, such as Word, Excel, and Outlook, as well as the online services, such as Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, etc.

There was a ton of great content at Ignite on Office development and, thankfully, most of it is available online. Here are links to the sessions that are available as recordings, so you can dive into whatever areas you like.

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Office Developer Bootcamp Sponsors on Board

Some readers may already know that Scot Hillier and I are presenting an Office Developer Bootcamp focused on the SharePoint Framework on Friday, October 27, 2017 at the Microsoft office in Burlington MA. This is a great opportunity to learn SharePoint Framework development, including related technologies, Typescript, WebPack, and React. There are still openings, and it’s free! Please register here to join us!

I’m pleased to announce that we have some great sponsors for this event. Not only will they ensure that attendees are well fed, they were hand-picked as they bring key technologies that every SharePoint developer should know about!

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