Postpone the SharePoint Online Public Site Deadline

In October 2012, Microsoft released a feature called SharePoint Online Public Sites, which allowed the creation of a public-facing, anonymous ‘SharePoint-ish’ site. It wasn’t a full-featured SharePoint site – public sites had limited features, including static pages and generic theme capabilities – enough to make it useful for small companies with no web development resources. Microsoft targeted small and medium-sized business with this feature and it promised an easy to use method for generating content and modifying the web pages.

Sample SharePoint Online Public Site

However, the feature wasn’t used by a majority of Office 365 customers and caused an abnormal amount of customer tickets. So in early 2015, Microsoft announced that the SharePoint Online public website feature would be discontinued as of March 9th, 2015. Office 365 customers that already used the feature at that time would be able to continue using the public website feature for 2 years after the March 9th date. The change is outlined in the KB Article 3027254.

The message has been consistent from Microsoft since the first announcement – move away from the public website feature because it will be turned off. Period. Almost two years have passed – the deadline is fast approaching and we are now hearing more customers looking for alternative web platforms. On December 9th 2016, Microsoft put out a message via the Office 365 portal to remind customers of the upcoming deadline.

Reminder: SharePoint Online Public Websites are going away

However, this time the message had a new detail that other communications did not, an olive branch of sorts.

In January 2017, we will have a process in place allowing you to postpone the removal of your SharePoint Online public website.

That is good news for anyone who has yet to move their site to a different host. While we don’t know what the process will be or how long customers will be able to postpone the removal of their public sites (more information will be announced in January 2017), it is good that Microsoft listened to their customers and is giving them some extra time to make plans – if two years wasn’t enough 🙂

SharePoint Saturday Nashville 2016

I will be presenting at #SPSNashville on May 14th on the topic Business Intelligence with SharePoint & Power BI. I will show how to create BI solutions using SharePoint, Excel, Power BI, and a new Microsoft tool Flow.

Join us! SPSNashville.org

[UPDATE]
I had a great time presenting at SharePoint Saturday Nashville. I had a great group of attendees and we discussed SharePoint list interaction with Excel, Power BI, and Microsoft Flow. I am not posting my slides because I didn’t really show content on slides – I used demonstrations the majority of the time to show the power of the tools.


We walked through creating a BI solution that included a SharePoint helpdesk site – one solution used Excel and Power Pivot to build dashboards, the second used Power BI to display and manipulate the helpdesk data, and lastly we used Microsoft Flow to improve the functionality of the solution by pulling in even more content.


The rest of the day was fun and filled with some awesome content from other speakers, delicious hot lunch from Just Love Coffee, and snacks with the sponsors.

SPSNashville 2016 Attendees
SPSNashville 2016 Attendees

The last session of the day was a question and answer time with Microsoft CVP Jeff Teper.

There were a lot of great questions and Jeff was genuinely excited to see all the SharePoint professionals giving up their Saturday to learn and build community. A few bits of information I noted that Jeff shared:

  • There will not be another SharePoint-branded conference put on by Microsoft anytime soon. Microsoft’s Ignite conference will be the focus and they are attempting to put more focus on SharePoint at the conference.
  • Approximately 300,000 Android users start using OneDrive every day
  • Jeff acknowledged some missteps and wants to fix them – the first being that navigation will be coming back to the new document library look in SharePoint
  • Microsoft knows it did not handle correctly the delivery of the message around how the newly announced SharePoint Framework effects existing developed add-ins. This will be fixed in the weeks ahead.
SPSNashville 2016 Jeff Teper
SPSNashville 2016 Jeff Teper

The day ended with a lot of giveaways – we counted over 20! We also announced that attendance was up 79% over last year!

The Future of SharePoint Captured

Yesterday, May 4th 2016, Microsoft hosted “The Future of SharePoint” event in San Fransisco, USA. The host was Jeff Teper, corporate vice president for OneDrive and SharePoint, and along with other Microsoft presenters, Teper showcased the road-map for the SharePoint platform – both on-prem and in the cloud.

Along with announcing the general availability for SharePoint 2016, Microsoft highlighted new SharePoint features and functionality. You can read all about the event and the announcements on the Microsoft Office Blogs post. I will in the days and weeks ahead, cover the new functionality with real-world examples.

Before the event, Microsoft used the Twitter hashtag #FutureOfSharePoint to promote the event. Whenever I attend events, I use Twitter as a way to interact with the speakers and other attendees. For this event, I followed the Twitter hashtag and setup a ‘column’ within Tweetdeck to show all tweets for the event. For this event though, I did something new to track the social interaction Microsoft Flowduring the event. Microsoft released Microsoft Flow, an online product that allows anyone to “create automated workflows between your favorite apps and services to get notifications, synchronize files, collect data, and more.”

 

I setup a flow to capture all tweets containing the hashtag #FutureOfSharePoint and saved them to a list on my SharePoint Online site.

Flow to capture #FutureOfSharePoint tweets
Flow to capture #FutureOfSharePoint tweets

It worked really well and I started looking at the data to see if I could see any trends. The first thing I checked was who sent the most tweets during the event – this included tweets the users had written and RTs they posted. There was a clear winner:


Jennifer Mason posted a total of 103 tweets during the time I was capturing. Her explanation for sending so many:


Jennifer wasn’t alone, we were all really excited and it does show throughout all the tweets. The Twitter activity over the course of the event was great to see and I will keep looking into the data.


John White (@diverdown1964) shared a link to a Power BI report that he created, presumably with help from Jason Himmelstein (@sharepointlhorn) and Dave Feldman (@bostonmusicdave).

You can get access to the web report by clicking here. Make sure the FutureofSharePoint hashtag is selected at the top right of the report.

#FutureOfSharePoint Active Twitter Users
#FutureOfSharePoint Active Twitter Users

I am really excited for what SharePoint 2016 will bring & you can learn more at SharePoint Saturday Nashville on May 14th, 2016! It is the first chance after the Future Of SharePoint event that you will get to meet and speak with a large group of platform MVPs and industry experts at a local SPS event. Register now!

Building Business Intelligence Dashboards with SharePoint Data – December 1st 2015

I will be co-presenting at the Nashville Business Intelligence User Group meeting this month. We will be walking attendees through creating dashboards using Power BI and I will be focusing on using SharePoint data.

I will show how to use Excel to create dashboards within SharePoint web part pages – first with an export of a SharePoint list and then an import of a SharePoint list into Excel. We will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each method.

I will then show linking to the same SharePoint list data using the Power BI Desktop application and then publishing it to Power BI.

[UPDATE]
The meeting went really well – Tammy Clark started off showing how easily Power BI could connect to Facebook data.

I went second and used a SharePoint list I created with Helpdesk data to create dashboards using Excel and SharePoint web part pages. I then moved onto Power BI and ended with showing the cool iOS Power BI app (although it took some time to get it to project from my phone onto the screen).

Power BI iOS App
Helpdesk sample data within Power BI iOS app

Dan Evans then made a couple of announcements about Cortana and Power BI integration. Kerry Tyler finished off the night rocking our Power BI world with a demo that had us saying “wow!” 🙂

Nash BI December 2015 Meeting
Business Intelligence User Group Meeting Attendees

We finished the night at a new restaurant around the corner called Tupelo – fried green tomatoes, pork egg rolls (they were fantastic!!), and chicken and biscuits were enjoyed by all!

Tupelo Honey Cafe
SQLFamily Night at Tupelo Honey Cafe

Microsoft Office Professional Plus Unlicensed

I have Office Professional Plus 2010 installed and is licensed via my Office 365 subscription. I recently installed Visio Premium 2010 via separate install media and license. During the process of installing the Premium copy of Visio, I uninstalled Visio Standard.

After I checked to make sure Visio Premium was working properly, I opened Word and noticed all of its features disabled – I could only open and view files. On Word’s Help menu, the warning below let me know why it was in Reduced Functionality mode:

Product Activation Required. This product is unlicensed. Connect to your network or contact your system administrator for further assistance.

clip_image001

The key is to understand how Microsoft Office is activated when associated with an Office 365 license. The product is activated initially by prompting you for your Office 365 login. It checks to make sure you have a current license associated with your account and if you do, it activates your copy. Read more on the TechNet site here: Overview of Office 365 ProPlus

However, that is not the end of the process – it is just the beginning. Once a month, Office checks your Office 365 account to make sure you still have a current license associated with your account.

The Microsoft knowledge base article 2390460 explains three different situations that may cause Office Professional Plus to have this issue: Office Professional Plus enters Reduced Functionality Mode (RFM)

  • The computer is not provisioned or was removed from the subscription account.
  • The user was previously deprovisioned.
  • The system clock differs from the Office Subscription Service clock.

None of these were the cause of my issue – however, the second ‘fix’ method listed in the KB article was the solution. If you run into this issue and you know your Office 365 license is still valid, run the following command:

For 64-bit versions of Office Professional Plus:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\OFFICE14\OSAUI.exe /K

For 32-bit versions of Office Professional Plus installed on 64-bit Windows:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\OFFICE14\OSAUI.exe /K

You will then be prompted to login with your Office 365 credentials. Once you do, you should be shown the following message:

Subscription Verified. Your subscription for Microsoft Office has been verified and is ready to use.

clip_image002

If this does not work for you, run the OSAUI.exe program again, but use the /F switch instead of /K.

Some additional information can be found here: Reactivate subscription license by using Osaui.exe

Problems Creating List Workflows in SharePoint Designer 2010 for Office 365 Sites

On a SharePoint Online site, when attempting to edit a previously created list workflow using SharePoint Designer 2010, I received the following error in Designer:

(SharePoint Designer cannot display the item…Most likely causes: The file has been deleted from the site. The site is encountering problems.)

clip_image001

I had never encountered this error before, so instead of editing the workflow, I tried to create a new list workflow. After entering the name of the new workflow and clicking OK in the window shown below, the window closes and nothing happens.

clip_image002

I thought maybe it was an issue with Designer itself, so I closed the application and went to clear out all the related cache. I started in the SharePoint Designer folder located in the AppData directory. In the ProxyAssemblyCache folder, I noticed something very interesting – two folders with what looked like different version numbers as their names.

(c:\users\*username*\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\SharePoint Designer\ProxyAssemblyCache)

clip_image003

The 14.0.0.6120 version corresponds to the April 2012 CU for SharePoint 2010. The 15.0.0.4433 number corresponds to the ​December 2012 Hotfix for SharePoint 2013! I haven’t opened a SharePoint 2013 site from this computer, so I was perplexed why this version number was being used.

So, I went back into SharePoint Designer to see if I could find more information, and noticed that the SharePoint version was 4, BUT it was 4 (15.0.0.4433)! This is exactly how a site would report itself when it is hosted on a SharePoint 2013 server that is using the 2010 experience.

(SharePoint Designer site properties reporting version 4 (15.0.0.4433) )

clip_image004

So, without notifying anyone, it seems Microsoft has started to rollout SharePoint ‘Wave 15’ (2013) in SharePoint Online, but it is keeping these existing tenants on the 2010 experience. So, there is no way of knowing when you are converted over, unless you start having issues creating or editing list workflows in SharePoint Designer 2010 or you happen to look at your version number.

The “solution” is to install SharePoint Designer 2013 (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=35491), remove the ProxyAssemblyCache folders, and clear out any files in the C:\Users\dglenn\AppData\Local\Microsoft\WebsiteCache\ directory.

External SharePoint Online Users: Associate an email address with a Microsoft account (Windows Live ID)

Contents:
– Invite External Users – SharePoint Online
– Associate External Email Address with Windows Live ID
– Login to SharePoint Online with a Windows Live ID Account

With SharePoint Online, site administrators have the ability to share their site with internal users, users who are within the same company and have an Office 365 account, as well as up to unlimited external users per Office 365 tenant. External users are defined as partners who are not a member of your company or your company’s affiliates. External users can use their existing Microsoft Online Services ID, if they themselves have an Office 365 subscription, or a Windows Live ID, which includes usernames in the Hotmail.com, MSN.com, and Live.com domains.

The details on how to turn on external sharing in SharePoint Online is documented on Microsoft’s site here: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/office365-sharepoint-online-small-business-help/share-a-site-with-external-users-HA101850586.aspx

The missing link in the documentation however, is detail on how external users are to associate their existing email address with a Windows Live ID. In step two of these directions, you will get those details with screenshots, as well as the correct URL used to associate IDs (the URL in Microsoft’s documentation, namely the SharePoint Online service descriptions, is incorrect).

After external sharing has been enabled, both from within the SharePoint Online Portal and then turning on the Site Collection Feature, as a site owner you will be able to share your site using the “Share Site” link shown in the image below.

Step 1

(Share Site – Invite new users to your site)

clip_image001

 

You will then be prompted to enter the external users email addresses into the invite. As you can see from below, you can add the external users to the default Visitors or Members groups. One item to note is you cannot change the subject of the email the user(s) will receive.

(Invite for external users)

clip_image002

 

The user will receive an email from Office 365 asking them to accept your invitation.

(Example of the email users will receive when invited to a SharePoint Online site)

clip_image003

 

Step 2

At this point, external users should not accept your invitation unless they already have an account to sign-in – see the start of this post for acceptable accounts.

If the external users do not have an account as described above, they will need to associate their existing email address to a Windows Live ID. It may be most convenient for them to associate their company’s email address.

NOTE: The service description for SharePoint Online, (located here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=136020) lists the incorrect URL to perform the association. The correct URL is: https://signup.live.com/

After loading the signup.live.com site, as long as the user is not logged in using an existing Windows Live ID account, the user will be presented with a form to create an account, while associating their existing email address.

  • If a different page loads, i.e. a Hotmail inbox, the user needs to use the logout feature on the page that loads. Then, go back to https://signup.live.com so the page below loads.

clip_image004

The full form:

clip_image005

Upon successful completion of the form, the user will be warned that they must verify their email address.

clip_image006

 

The user will receive the email shown below. They will need to click the ‘Verify’ button in the email to complete the setup of their Windows Live ID account.

clip_image007

A confirmation window will be displayed in the user’s browser.

clip_image008

Step 3

It may take some time for Microsoft’s servers to sync with the new account. After waiting, the user should go to http://login.live.com and ensure they are logged in – only then should the user click the “Accept your invitation!” link in the original invite email from your SharePoint Online site.

clip_image009

 

The account type selection web page will then open. The user will select the “Microsoft Online Services ID” icon to use their new ID.

clip_image010

 

Since the user is currently logged-in on the http://login.live.com website, the login page after clicking the “Microsoft Online Services ID” icon should look similar to the one below. They need to now click “Sign in at Windows Live” under their email address.

clip_image011

The user should then be taken directly to your SharePoint site. NOTE: the email address you sent the invite to and the email address they used to associate with a Windows Live ID must be the same.

  • If the user sees the page shown below, they should use their new ID to login.

clip_image012