Hands-on SharePoint Spaces, VR solution at the Microsoft Ignite 2018

I must admit that I was quite skeptical when I heard about this new feature earlier this year. One of the main reasons of my skepticism was that I could not find the right use case from an end-user perspective. During the Microsoft Ignite, 3 booths were available to get our hands on this new solution, so why not testing this and trying to change my mind ? 

SharePoint Spaces tested by Mozzaik Team

It started with a quick introduction from Vidya who’s part of the Microsoft SharePoint Space product team. I discovered that there are already 7 webparts developed, and more to come. Microsoft teams already using this feature internally, yet I couldn’t find if it would be easy to programmatically convert or extend a webpart so they support the 3D glasses, but I guess it’ll be possible with PnP in due time.

 

Creating a new space is really easy, you just need to select the « New » menu in the ribbon as you would do for a new page or a list. Select from the spaces available, and you’ll have the page loading instantly. I’ve seen the organization chart demo, then the data visualization (mind blowing!!)

SharePoint Spaces Data Vizualisation

 

So what about the rendering ? Though it’s still at the early stage for this technology, I can really see the potential in an industrial environment, especially for the FLW (First Line Workers) when browsing the details of a piece and following a specific process which could be a « Process viewer WebPart ». And folks, that’s the key take away here : the WebParts.

 

SharePoint Spaces Tent with the WebPart panel opened

My skepticism relied on the absence of solid user scenarios that could justify the investment on this technology, but knowing that it relies on webPart, I can easily imagine specific webparts for supply chain processes, where you trigger the right process with the controller, and it points out the manufactured pieces and the associated steps to build the piece. Also, knowing that FLW and Product teams could share and use the same Site and interface could really benefits for the communication for the whole building process. 

From a technology standpoint, it relies on BabylonJS , GLTF format for 3D scenes and models, and the HP Windows  Mixed Reality for the headset and the controller. 

If you want to know more about SharePoint Spaces and the mixed reality, check the Microsoft article : https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2018/05/21/sharepoint-innovations-transform-content-collaboration-with-mixed-reality-and-ai/

Ignite 2018 – Building a modern intranet with SharePoint and Office 365 with Mark Kashman

One of the most expected session for this Ignite in termes of Intranet anc Communication area with SharePoint was this one. As you know, we are pushing torwards Modern Communication Sites for a few months now, and since Mozzaik365 is now full modern it makes it even easier to deploy it. I’ve caught up few phrases and outlined them.
Best intranet is about getting the work done. Users come back to intranet because it’s usefull, not because it’s beautifull

Fair point, you’d rather spend time interviewing users to get their need than producing a beautiful but very complexed intranet.

Search is one of the biggest pain points.

Definitly one of the paint points out there, and so far Modern SharePoint need an additional effort to customize it.

We should not talk about workloads or services, but more about building scenarios. Many organizations want to lock this down, and guess what ? People will find a way.

Music to my ears at this point, we see that all the time, it’s easier to lock everything than proposing solutions to end-users, and it often ends with the use of WhatsApp, DropBox, and non-governed-it solutions. And the remediation to that is …
It’s all about Governance.

The flat world is crowded with SIte Collections, and THAT’S OK ! Hub Sites is now allowing the  creation of Family of sites. #hubsbeforesubs

 

#gomodern
To read more about this : https://aka.ms/planningSPHubsites

Why and how we started contributing to Patterns & Practices

Our journey with Patterns & Practices

Our journey with Patterns & Practices started when we first saw the project on GitHub, maybe two years ago. We already had our own internal framework so we just checked what this new tool could do for us. It clearly didn’t cover all our use cases, and we would still have to use our own framework.

Then I came to Ignite in 2015, and I saw Vesa Juvonen presenting the provisioning framework. It was like “Damn, it has grown a lot!”. We started using it as nugget package. It was still not covering all our use cases, but we were migrating our code slowly. As a lot of people were using this project, we found PnP functions more tested than ours, and it was great. We still had our framework tho, but it was disappearing.

But we still had issues:
        We couldn’t debug when we had a problem
        We had to wait for fixes, so we copied PnP functions in our framework to fix them for ourselves
        We had to go to GitHub and browse files to understand fully all we could do with this framework

Contributing

And then, we decided to fork the project (we are using PnP-Sites-Core as a fork, as this is the project we use the most). When you know git (and I really recommend reading at least the first three chapters of the git documentation if you are new to it), it is really fast to set up your environment for development.

Our contribution workflow is:

contribution-patterns-practices

1.      We locally clone our fork
2.      When we want to do some changes, we create a branch for this change that we merge to master when it’s ready
3.      We have a dev branch, created from the tracked PnP-Sites-Core dev branch
4.      When we have something interesting to propose we create a branch, get the commits from our master branch and create the pull request

We then just have to regularly get updates from PnP repositories, and reference our fork as a submodule in other projects.

This new approach has some advantages:
        Our whole team has a better understanding of how the project works
        We can debug
        We don’t have to wait for official fixes
        We can add our own code directly into the framework
        It’s exciting to take part of a bigger community 

5 pull requests merged so far, and a 6th waiting 🙂