Using PowerApps to Build SharePoint List Forms

Today Microsoft announced the next step for PowerApps integration with SharePoint – using PowerApps forms within the context of a SharePoint list or library.

This is another way PowerApps is becoming a strong successor to InfoPath forms and will give your users a rich viewing, creating, and editing experience right within their SharePoint library or list.

Using a PowerApps Form to View, Create, and Edit SharePoint List Items

This feature will be coming to SharePoint Online & Office 365 this Summer and I expect we will immediately start using the functionality within my client organizations to improve the user experience.

I highly recommend watching the new Microsoft Mechanics video “Zero code business process apps in SharePoint with PowerApps and Microsoft Flow” to get an idea on how the forms will be created and used.

SharePoint Dashboards using Power BI – Nashville Excel & Power BI User Group

I am presenting at the Nashville Modern Excel user group on April 13, 2017 – come join us! My talk will focus on using SharePoint to build business intelligence dashboards with Power BI and Excel.

Register on the user group site: Nashville Excel & Power BI User Group

[UPDATE]
Thank you to everyone who attended my presentation – what a great group!

It May Be Time to Stop Building Access Web Apps

For years now, power users have created solutions using Access Services within SharePoint. These solutions have often been the backbone of many business processes for small to medium-sized organizations. Now that Office 365 is widely available and is fairly cost-effective for those organizations, we have new options to solve those business needs.

Microsoft PowerApps is a new member of the Office 365 family and now that PowerApps is generally available within Office 365, Microsoft is recommending to organizations that solutions built with Access Services be migrated to the PowerApps service.

Access Services & Access Web Apps shipped with SharePoint 2016 and will continue being supported as part of the SharePoint product life-cycle.

Moving forward, information workers should build their apps using PowerApps on top of SharePoint lists to give the feature-rich solutions their users need with the full on-going support of Microsoft and the tech community.

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 🙂

Convert SharePoint 2016 Trial to RTM License

It is generally a good idea to try software before you purchase or implement it fully. We have already seen a great interest in SharePoint Server 2016 and we have installed the trial version many times to give the ‘try before you buy’ experience to our clients.

Once you decide to go from the trial license to the ‘full’ RTM version, the process to convert your license is simple and is the same as it has been in earlier SharePoint versions. The license conversion starts on the Central Administration site – you can do this via PowerShell, but we will be using the GUI this time.

Select the Convert farm license type link found within the Upgrade and Migration section.

Convert SharePoint License
Convert SharePoint License

On the Convert License Type page, enter your SharePoint Server 2016 Product Key (it will be in the format: XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX-XXXXX) and then click the OK button.

Convert License Type
Convert License Type

After waiting a few moments….

Working On It
Working On It

if you entered a valid key, you should see the screen below.

Conversion Operation Successfully Completed
Conversion Operation Successfully Completed

When you return to the Convert License Type, the new type will be shown.

Enterprise Client Access License
Enterprise Client Access License

 

SharePoint 2010 Site Experience With SharePoint 2016

While testing an upgrade today, I was reminded of a requirement when upgrading to SharePoint 2016 using the database attach method – you must upgrade all site collections to the SharePoint 2013 experience before you attempt to attach the database to a SharePoint 2016 farm.

My test today is using a SharePoint 2010 content database and attempting an upgrade to SharePoint 2016. I first performed a database attach upgrade with a SharePoint 2013 farm, then performed the Test-SPContentDatabase PowerShell command on the database from my SharePoint 2016 farm.

SharePoint 2010 experience with 2016 Upgrade
SharePoint 2010 experience with 2016 Upgrade

It is important to notice that the LegacySiteDetected error shown above is an UpgradeBlocking error, meaning the upgrade will fail if you proceed. Following the direction listed in the Remedy section will fix the issue, but it does require working in the SharePoint 2013 farm to upgrade the site’s experience to 2013. More information on how to perform that operation can be found here: Expand Upgrade a site collection to SharePoint 2013 [TechNet]

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!