SharePoint Framework Developer Preview Release – Where do I begin?

This is an exciting time! The much anticipated SharePoint Framework Preview was released yesterday. And guess what … they are essentially Add-ins /Apps. Right now just the web parts piece is released and the end result is an improvement over app parts. The most noteworthy part is that the web parts are now on the page as opposed to being inside of an iframe! They have a couple more improvements like being able to be fully responsive, having web part properties. They mention that new developments will be added frequently and they are targeting a release time frame of early 2017.

The biggest hurdle that I can see for traditional SharePoint developer is the tooling.  If you are not comfortable with using a command line, Node.js, NPM, Yeoman or Gulp then you should invest a large chunk of time to familiarize yourself with those technologies. I believe that having a base knowledge of the “What” is actually happening when you type “yo @microsoft/sharepoint” is important.  Most modern day front end web developers are already comfortable with these things. For the traditional SharePoint developer most of these things will be foreign and seemingly difficult to grasp at first (for some).

So you’ve visited the SharePoint Framework Developer Preview Release git-hub and you’re following the steps but you find yourself scratching your head. What did you miss? What is all this stuff?  Where do you begin to even get started?

First off don’t feel bad.. most people are seeing this for the first time just like you.

<rant> Just the other day I discussed the front end development build process of node/gulp/npm to other day to our Senior SharePoint developers and even they were confused. Some even got pissed off and mad at Microsoft. I can remember the comments clearly, “COMMAND LINE? What year is this?”. I’ve embraced the change and I can see the good things that can come out of it.  Getting back to point of this article. </rant>

I recommend that you take the time to learn about the new tools that they are asking us to adopt. There are ton’s of free online resource on YouTube alone… However if you have or can get your job to pay for a Pluralsight you will access to premium content with some of the top authors (this will be more important for the SharePoint work)

Online resources (free) to help you get familiar with for Node/Gulp/TypeScript/Yeoman

  • Node.js Fundamentals
  • NodeJS – NPM Package Manager – Tutorial 2
  • Gulp.js Build System #1 – Fundamentals
  • Gulp – The Basics
  • TypeScript/ES6 Module Syntax Intro
  • Yeoman – Read first paragraph
  • If you haven’t even started to develop apps or client side web parts using JavaScript then you need to take a look at resources geared towards connecting to SharePoint lists and libraries using the REST end points or the client side JavaScript object model. There are some course that I highly recommend. 

    Pluralsight Courses for SharePoint Client Object Model

  • David Mann
  • http://www.pluralsight.com/courses/developing-sharepoint-2013-javascript
  • http://www.pluralsight.com/courses/developing-sharepoint-2013-javascript-part2
  • http://www.pluralsight.com/courses/developing-sharepoint-2013-javascript-part3
  • Rob Windsor
  • http://www.pluralsight.com/courses/sharepoint-2013-client-object-model-rest
  • Rob Windsor, & Sahil Malik
  • http://www.pluralsight.com/courses/sp2010-client-object-model
  • Can I just use Visual Studio? PLEASE!@#!@ Do I need to learn all the front end tooling?

    The framework can be intimidating for the people not comfortable with the technologies listed. For the most part you really just need to learn a couple of things and you can get by. TypeScript is not one of those things. Good news for those most comfortable working in Visual Studio. They have documentation on how to get setup via Visual Studio 2015 (Update 3) here.  The bad news is that is still uses Node.js and the Gulp build tasks to compile and build the project. We will just have to wait and see if the process is improved with future releases.

    Ok I got all that…

    After you’ve covered all this then you should walk through the examples. The documentations is very good at explaining how to get everything installed and get up and running with your first Hello World web part. My only piece of advice is to read through everything 1 step at a time. It took me a few reads before I was able to get the first web part to load inside SharePoint.

    Final Thoughts:

    • Get an Office 365 Developer Account
    • Learn the fundamental technologies in play – Node.js, Gulp, Yeoman, Node Package Manager (npm)
    • Become a TypeScript master
    • Changes, Updates, Fixes will be coming frequently with a release time frame of 2017 (so they say)
    • Preview is missing a few things that a traditional deployment would have
      • Examples on how to deploy files to SharePoint / not CDN
      • Examples on how to deploy assets (List Definitions, Content Types, Site Columns) => Notes on Solutions Packaging
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    Change Default SharePoint Site Logo CSS Trick – Great for Office 365!

    I was just thinking about this issue one day and realized that I could just override the default image but if the user decides that they wanted to change it later via site settings they could.

    Why do I love this trick?

    1. You don’t have to set a Site Logo via Site Settings > Title, description, and logo
      1. For On-Prem solutions I would set this via code
      2. For Office 365 you would typically have to do this manually OR powershell to set it across
    2. It’s pure CSS trickery, no change to any markup!
      1. This will work across the board On-Prem/Office 365…. No code….
    3. Manually setting the Logo you can override this trick
      1. For those subsites that don’t want to inherit the logo they can manually set the logo via the Site Settings > Title, description, and logo
      2. Once the logo is set in the default it will override this trick

    Get to the trick already!!!!

    Add the following lines of CSS. Only a couple of notes to make this actually work.

    img[src*='siteIcon'] { 
    
    display: block; 
    
    -moz-box-sizing: border-box; 
    
    box-sizing: border-box; 
    
    background: url(‘/Style Library/mySiteLogo.png’) no-repeat; /* Path to the site logo */ 
    
    width: 180px; /* Width of new image */ 
    
    height: 236px; /* Height of new image */ 
    
    padding-left: 180px; /* Equal to width of new image */ 
    
    } 
    
    .ms-siteicon-img, .ms-siteicon-a { 
    
    max-height: none; 
    
    max-width: none; 
    
    } 
    

    Only 2 important detail for this trick to work.

    1. You must set the actual image size must equal the information above for this trick to work.
    2. DON’T use ‘siteIcon’ in the filename.

    How does this work?

    This trick works because it uses CSS to catch onto the <img/> field where the ‘src’ contains ‘siteIcon’. This case catches both the themed site icon on the publishing site and the site icon on the team site. The CSS that performs the replacement of the image comes from https://css-tricks.com/replace-the-image-in-an-img-with-css/ by Marcel Shields. You can read more about that there.

    • Publishing Site Logo

    clip_image002

    • Team Site Logo

    clip_image004

    Hiding People from People Search

    Introduction

    This all started as a request from a client to hide only certain users from the people search. I’ve decided on this route because the management interface already exists to update user profiles and it would be very little work to add a user profile property, get it crawled and use that as the filter in the people search results webpart. Below I will explain how I was able to accomplish this in Office 365 but the same would work for a SharePoint 2013 on prem.

    How To

    In Office 365 -> SharePoint Administration -> User Profiles


    Click “Manage User Properties” under the People Group


    Click “New Property”


    Set the following properties (everything else leave be)

    Name: HideFromPeopleSearch

    Display Name: HideFromPeopleSearch

    Policy Setting: Optional

    Default Privacy Settings: Everyone

    Search Settings -> Alias [checked]

    -> Indexed [checked]





    Click “OK”

    Wait some amount of time for O365 to index the User Profiles and retrieve this new field.

    ** for on prem users – kick off a FULL search crawl of your people content source**

    You’ll know it’s ready when you can find the new Property in the Search Schema, Crawled Properties.

    From the Admin Center click “search” in the left hand menu


    Click “Manage Search Schema”


    Click “Crawled Properties”


    Enter “Hide” in the Crawled properties search box, then click the green arrow


    You will see the property appear in the search results when the property has been successfully crawled.


    Next you will need to create a “Managed Property”, Click On the “Managed Properties” link


    Click “New Managed Property”


    Enter the following information:

    Property Name: HideFromPeopleSearch

    Type: Text

    Queryable: Checked

    Retrieveable: Checked

    Add Property Mapping -> People:HideFromPeopleSearch





    Click Add A Mapping

    Enter “Hide” in the search box, click the Find button


    Select “People:HideFromPeopleSearch”, click the OK button


    Leave all the other properties as-is, click OK


    You will now have to wait until Office 365 runs a full crawl on your site for the property to become available in search. When this action takes place is unknown. (I’ve head 4 hours)

    ** for on prem users – kick off a FULL search crawl of your site content source**

    Next go to the people search page

    Edit the page and Edit the Web Part Properties of the People Search Core Results


    Click Change Query


    In the Property Filter drop down select –Show all managed properties–


    Select HideFromPeopleSearch


    Select “Not equals” then “Manual Value”

    Enter “True” for the Manual Value

    Next Click Add property filter


    Click OK


    Click OK in the People Search Core Results, Web Part Properties pane


    Save, Check-In & Publish your page – All Set!

    To manage users it’s as easy as using the User Profile Service Application, searching for a user’s profile and checking a box to save. Watch the video if you are note sure about that – http://screencast.com/t/5VGSLCt5N

    Remember it won’t be instantly removed – it will take a crawl of the people source for those changes to make it to the site!!!

    Bootstrap Navigation for Office 365 & SharePoint 2013 using jQuery and REST

    Introduction

    In my last post I talked about making the SharePoint navigation render in a Bootstrap friendly way. I suggested that you could do this by changing the markup of the navigation using an ASP:Repeater to display the nodes. This works great if you’re on an on-prem environment but on Office 365 you cannot use this method because the masterpage cannot contain code blocks. If you haven’t read that it might be worth taking a look at – Bootstrap Responsive Navigation in SharePoint .

    This post will demonstrate an Office 365 safe version that use JavaScript, jQuery, and REST to retrieve the navigation from SharePoint’s navigation provider. Once we have that we’ll render that out to the screen client side. With this approach we can use the out of the box Managed Meta Data navigation provider for the navigation, and we can control the exact rendering so that it fits Bootstrap’s model for a navigation bar.

    The code can be downloaded directly from my git-hub account – https://github.com/tom-daly/sp2013-bootstrap-nav

    Getting Started

    It’s very simple to get started you only need to do a few things.

    1. Add the link to the topNavigation.js in your SharePoint masterpage

    1. In the Master Page, add the container below where the navigation will be pushed into. You will need to determine where you want the navigation to go, I’ll have a full example at the very end.

    1. Switch the SharePoint Navigation to use the Managed Meta Data Navigation
      1. In Site Settings
      2. Look and Feel -> Navigation

    Once you complete those steps you’ll have your navigation displayed in that container.

    Other Details

    Changing Rendering

    The rendering of the menu is defined in the renderNavigationNodes function. This is currently the format the Bootstrap likes. If you visit the Bootstrap website and take a look at the first example

    http://getbootstrap.com/components/#navbar

    The red box is exactly what the code is injecting. So you would wrap all that however you want it to appear. Follow the examples there are plenty out there.

    2 Level Flyouts

    Currently this supports only 2 levels, a top level and 1 flyout. This is just what Bootstrap v3.3.5 supports and that’s what I’m sticking with currently. If you want more levels then it’s up to you to figure that part out. It can be done and there are other 3rd parties implementing 3rd or 4th level flyouts after the fact. The code is recursive and will support as many levels as you have, you just need to handle the front end portion.

    The REST Call

    The query that I am using can be seen below. The /web/navigation/topbar endpoint – flat out sucks. It won’t show if a node is hidden and it didn’t behave. This is the only one I could get to work reliably.

    Changing Target Container

    If you want to change where the navigation goes, instead of “#my-top-navigation” then you can edit the topNavigation.js file and at the bottom change the selector to another ID preferably.

    Sample Files

    I have a few more sample files that might be of use to look at.

    Base.css – Sample CSS file (helps with some Bootstrap/SharePoint resets)

    Bootstrap.Master – Sample masterpage used in this example. In this sample I create my own header and not s4-titlerow. Using this html structure you’ll get the collapsible navigation that is popular on most web sites.

    Conclusion

    The whole goal of this script was to have a way for an Office 365 site to use the Bootstrap navigation. Although there are still limitations it’s doable. And you don’t even necessarily need to touch the master page. You could attach the scripts and css via other methods which I won’t go in to. So if you’re an Office 365 purist who doesn’t want to customize the master page you would want to take an approach to this. I hope this helps someone out there. If there are problems with the script you can report the issues through the github page. https://github.com/tom-daly/sp2013-bootstrap-nav/issues

    Office 365 Icons

    Introduction

    I recently came across an interesting blog – http://www.n8d.at/blog/office-365-icon-font-documentation/ which mentions O365 icons. This was back in February so when I attempted to locate these fonts so I could use them in some of my work. I could not located the file on the CDN that was mentioned. I kind of shrugged it off for a while but recently needed the icons again. So I went digging inside O365 and I found them. They are there if you want to use them. I’ll show you what classes to use. I also pulled the files which I’ll provide a link to at the end of the blog so you can download them and use them and not have to worry about CDN’s.

    I found all the O365 icon inside my O365 Portal.  I downloaded the web fonts and a portion of the css file that has the code for the icons.  Using this approach you would be locked into the current icon. Microsoft is likely to continually update the icon & css, so this set would eventually become stale. If there ever is an official CDN I’d switch to that. If you’re on office 365 you don’t need to link to any fonts or css. You are able to just take advantages of the icons immediately you just need to look at my chart to see the classes or determine the code for the css content. If you don’t understand anything about using web fonts or what office 365 icons are, read the blog I mentioned above. That should bring you right up to speed.

    Installation

      • copy the css & font folder to your on prem site
      • link to the css file in your masterpage or page (adjust path as needed)
        
        
    • you can implement one of the icons using something like this below
      
      
    • i have additional styles for color, font size, and spacing. view the source to check that out

    Explanation of the Grid

    • the orange tiles are icons that are available by using the css:after { content: ‘code’; } or if you copy the supplemental css above
    • the blue tiles are icons that have classes in O365. you can use those classes in directly on your o365 site without attaching any styles or fonts
    • the black tiles are dead, meaning they don’t show or are not in the font package but may be in the official css and have not been purged.

    The concept of using fonts for icons is nothing new and if you are not exactly familiar with that check out Font Awesome or Glyphicons. The concept is that fonts will scale nice, the are light weight and fully loaded once when you hit the site. You can easily resize them and re-color them. No need for messing around with images.

    Where I found the files

    Fonts

    https://outlook.office365.com/owa/prem/16.0.772.13/resources/styles/fonts/office365icons.svg

    https://outlook.office365.com/owa/prem/16.0.772.13/resources/styles/fonts/office365icons.eot

    https://outlook.office365.com/owa/prem/16.0.772.13/resources/styles/fonts/office365icons.ttf

    https://outlook.office365.com/owa/prem/16.0.772.13/resources/styles/fonts/office365icons.woff

    CSS

    https://prod.msocdn.com/16.00.0791.004/en-US/css/shellg2corecss_f727a58f.css

    Download Files Here

    Screenshot of all the possible icons –> see full preview site above for a live example

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    4

    5

    6

    7

    8

    Download Files Here

    Thanks for checking this out

    Working with SASS style sheets in Office 365 / SharePoint 2013

    My new favorite thing is creating all my style sheets with SASS. SASS makes writing my style sheets faster, easier, cleaner, and more reusable. Don’t ask me why I chose SASS, but I liked it just a little better than LESS even though they are very similar.  You can go do research for yourself and decide which you’d like to use.  SASS – http://sass-lang.com/ LESS – http://lesscss.org/.

    SASS is nothing new however it is very difficult to work with when using with SharePoint 2010/2013 .. or Office 365. Why is it difficult? Because SASS needs to be compiled to CSS and none of your typical SharePoint tools do that.

     

    Current Scenarios:

    1. If you are working on O365 you might be working with SharePoint Designer which won’t do anything for you.
    2. Maybe you have Visual Studio you can use Web Essentials or Mindscape Web Workbench. Both of these will compile the SASS to CSS
    3. You can use a stand alone compiler like Koala, Propos, & Scout (for Windows) … but configuring them to work can be tricky.
    4. You can use an online compiler – SassMeister | The Sass Playground! , but then you will be doing a lot of copy / pasting / uploading.

     

    This article is going to show you how to use Sublime Text 2 on your desktop, to write and compile SASS, which will automatically be saved to O365. No copy / paste or uploading needed!

     

    General Approach

    • Map network drive to O365 site
    • Use a desktop editor to create SASS
    • Use a desktop compiler to create the CSS
    • Use Scout to monitor CSS changes locally and copy file to network drive

     

    Pre-Requisites

    1. Java v7 – http://www.java.com/en/download [Scout has issue with any other version, https://github.com/mhs/scout-app/issues/173]

    2. O365 Site

     

    Step 1 – Install Sublime Text 2 & SASS Builder

    1. go to http://www.sublimetext.com/2 and download and install

    2. go to https://github.com/jaumefontal/SASS-Build-SublimeText2 (Follow Instructions there skip to step 3)

    Installing Ruby

    Install Ruby library (for windows) – http://rubyinstaller.org/downloads/

    • check box to add Ruby executables to your PATH

    Start Command Prompt with Ruby

     image

    In the console type the following

    • gem install sass
    • IF you get this error

    image

    Take a deep breath – you need to download the cert and add it to your RubyGem’s certificate directory.

    image

    • go to that folder in windows in windows explorer
    • open up a subfolder rubygems\ssl_certs
    • copy the AddTrustExternalCARoot-2048.pem to the rubygems\ssl_certs
    • Retry “gem install sass” –SUCCESS!

    image 

    Installing SASS Build System

    The easiest way to install this package is through Package Control.

    1. Download and install the Package Control Plugin. Follow the instructions on the website

    2. Open the command panel: Control+Shift+P (Linux/Windows) or Command+Shift+P (OS X) and select ‘Package Control: Install Package‘.

    image

    3. When the packages list appears type ‘SASS‘ and you’ll find the SASS Build System. Select to install it.

    image 

    4. Set the Build System to SASS,  In Tools –> Build System –> SASS

    image

    5. Now you can compile your SASS files! Launch your build with Control+B (Linux/Windows) or Command+B (OS X).

    **NOTE** if you are not getting you are not getting colors on your SASS – click the bottom right corner and set the Language as SASS

    image

     

    Step 2 – Map Network Folder to O365

    The key to this part is to first log into your O365 site w/ Internet Explorer. I then go to any folder and click the button to Open with Explorer. Then I can usually successfully map the network drive.

    PRE-REQUISITES – Your site must be in the trusted sites. I actually add a few *.microsoft[sites] http://blogs.technet.com/b/sharepoint_made_easy/archive/2013/03/20/map-network-drive-webdav-with-sharepoint-online-o365.aspx

    IE > Tools > Internet Options > Security > Trusted Sites [click sites button]

    image 

    1. Log into your site with Internet Explorer – be sure to check ‘Keep me signed in’

    image

    2. Open up any document library [might look different. this screenshot from small resolution virtual machine]

    image

    3. Next, do the standard map network drive per your Operating System. I’m running Windows 7.

    basically right click on Computer and click Map Network Drive

    image

    4. Enter in the site url w/ any subfolder you want [root is fine]. I also check connect using different credentials.

    4.1 Enter in your O365 credentials

    image

    5. SUCCCESS !

    image

    Step 3 – Install & Setup Scout

    For this you will need to create a local working folder for all CSS. for example I will create a folder on the desktop called ‘MySassExample’

    1. Download and Install Scout @ http://mhs.github.io/scout-app/

    2. Once Scout installs, Open it up and click the + in the bottom left to add a new project

    image

    3. Navigate to your local working folder

    image

    4. Under Configure, Stylesheet Directories –> set the Input Folder to your local working folder & the Output folder to your network mapped drive (o365)

    I set it to output to the Style Library of my site.

    image

    5. Click the Play Button

    image

     

    Step 4 – The Final Step, Verifying it all works!

    1. With Scout running, Go to your local working folder.

    2. Create a new .SCSS file or open an existing one in Sublime Text 2

    3. Create some SASS

    image

    4. Save, then CTRL+B to build it. You should get the write ~file output.
     image

    5. In Scout, you should see …. overwrite .css

    Sometimes you need to give it a few seconds to save the file to o365, the network drive tends to take longer to save files

    image

    ** NOTE if you are using an existing file make sure you check it out via SharePoint. Otherwise it won’t save and you’ll see errors in Scout when it tries **

     

    Wrap Up

    The concludes how to setup Scout & Sublime Text 2 to create and update SASS styles sheets which compile to .css and automatically push to O365. The hardest thing I found is mapping the drive successfully. There are many helpful articles on the different errors you might get trying to do so.  It may seen like a lot of steps to get going, but if you have used SASS or LESS before you know how powerful it is and how much time you might potentially save. This blog was meant to help get this setup and show you how you can get started. There are other programs like Scout, but Scout was the only one that I could get to work the way I liked. There are also other editors that you could use if you don’t like Sublime Text 2. Best of luck!

     

    Resources

    More on Scout – http://www.impressivewebs.com/sass-on-windows-with-scout-app/

    Errors Mapping Network Drive – http://blogs.technet.com/b/sharepoint_made_easy/archive/2013/03/20/map-network-drive-webdav-with-sharepoint-online-o365.aspx

    SASS – http://sass-lang.com/