20 June 2018

SharePoint Online Exercises With A Modern Approch

SharePoint Online Exercises Cover My book SharePoint Online Exercises has been updated with a new chapter on modern sites, where I include many tips for use of these limited but easily created communication and team sites. The new chapter has a link to a Tips article with the demo below, which I hope will be a useful complement to the more detailed information in the book.

Visio Web Access deprecated
SharePoint Online Exercises was first published in January 2017, but frequent updates are necessary as Microsoft develops SharePoint Online rapidly.

Microsoft also removes things from SharePoint Online, and that is what will happen to the Visio Web Access web part on 30 September 2018. I had an exercise with this web part in the earlier versions of the book, but now it has been replaced with a modern sites exercise.

Modern sites
Apart from the classic team site, which all SharePoint users have come to know, Microsoft has recently introduced a modern team site that is very easy to create. The modern team site is created from the SharePoint home page, so it doesn't require access to the SharePoint admin center. A modern communications site can also be created from SharePoint home.
SharePoint modern site options
The modern sites have limitations, compared to classic sites and subsites, but there are also advantages apart from the easy creation. They adapt well to mobile devices, and an Office 3565 group is created automatically when you create a modern team site.

Modern SharePoint sites are mostly used for short-term cooperation and announcements, for example around a specific project. It is however also possible to create a simple intranet with modern sites, and in the new exercise I show how you can get the navigation to work when there is no hierarchy and how you make it easily available to all users.

Confusion and assistance
Modern sites have no support for SharePoint add-ins and sandboxed solutions, so the SharePoint products can only be used on classic sites. The support team has however noticed a certain confusion among evaluators who are not clear about the difference between classic and modern team sites.

For new users SharePoint can be overwhelming, but the support team is always there to explain and assist. Apart from the product development, we also help organizations to build and manage their SharePoint systems.

Use with SharePoint Online from Scratch
SharePoint Online Exercises can very well can be used stand-alone by readers who already have some knowledge about SharePoint, but for a more comprehensive learning I recommend to combine it with my book SharePoint Online from Scratch.

While SharePoint Online Exercises contains a number of hands-on step-by-step instructions on how to create specific business solutions, SharePoint Online from Scratch explains in detail how SharePoint is built and how it can be used, from the very basic to advanced features.

Peter Kalmström on Both books are sold through Amazon, and they are available in paperback as well as Kindle e-book format.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

05 June 2018

SharePoint Kanban Board - Sandboxed or Add-in?

Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint logotype Kanban Task Manager is a solution that helps a workgroup manage their projects and tasks on a virtual kanban board. Apart from the Outlook Workgroup and Single editions, Kanban Task Manager comes in two SharePoint editions: sandboxed solution and add-in/app. Here I will discuss benefits and drawbacks of the add-in as compared to the sandboxed solution.

Sandboxed solution and Add-in/App
We have chosen to develop and market two SharePoint editions of Kanban Task Manager, a sandboxed solution and an add-in. Even if nearly all the features are the same, there are some differences that made us decide on two editions. I will mention a few of the differences here, and you can find a full list on the comparison page.

If you are using SharePoint 2010, the Kanban Task Manager sandboxed solution is the only option, because add-ins were not introduced until SharePoint 2013. However, if you are using a later SharePoint on-premises, or SharePoint Online, you may use either edition.

Different installation
Some organizations prefer the add-in edition of Kanban Task Manager, because it is easier to install. The sandboxed solution must be uploaded to each site collection's solutions gallery and then activated there and on each site where it should be used. Kanban Task Manager SharePoint Add-in, on the other hand, can be added to a SharePoint site directly from SharePoint Store, and it can also be published to the farm's or tenant's App Catalog and then added to a site with the "add an app" command.

Add-in limitations
Even if there are a few less clicks to install Kanban Task Manager SharePoint Add-in, it has some limitations, like all SharePoint add-ins. These depend on the fact that the add-in architecture creates another SharePoint site to contain the app, what is called the "app web". The communication between the "host web" and the "app web" is constrained both by the way the SharePoint API works and by browser security limitations.

Therefore, it is not possible to move tasks between different kanban boards or to show tasks from multiple boards in "My Tasks", when you use the add-in. With the sandboxed solution of Kanban Task Manager, users can do this if enabled in the settings.

Another add-in limitation is that the task form does not support attachments, videos and inline images in the description field, something that works well in the sandboxed solution. To solve that problem, we have given the add-in a Kanban Task Manager App Part with another task form. This form works in the same way as in the sandboxed solution.

When you are using the sandboxed solution, you can save a site with a Kanban Task Manager installation as a template, and that is not possible with the add-in.
SharePoint groups
The sandboxed solution also supports all kinds of SharePoint groups, while the add-in only allows you to select a person or a permission group as responsible for a task. However, we have an idea on how to make the add-in also support all groups, and we hope to include this enhancement in the next version of Kanban Task Manager SharePoint Add-in.

Trial and Subscription Trial icon If you have not yet tried Kanban Task Manager, you may download the full version of the sandboxed solution or the add-in and evaluate it for next 30 days. We provide full support during the evaluation period. The Support team is always here to help you if you should need any assistance.

You can subscribe to Kanban Task Manager on monthly as well as yearly basis. In case you have any queries regarding product subscriptions, please do not hesitate to contact our Sales department.

Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

17 May 2018

New version of Kanban Task Manager for Outlook Workgroup Edition

Kanban Task Manager for Outlook logotype We have successfully released version 7 of the Kanban Task Manager for Outlook Workgroup edition. Among the new features we can find more views (in addition to the kanban board), a checklist option, time logging and default values. From version 7, the Workgroup edition also has automatic upgrades.

Outlook Add-in
The Workgroup edition of Kanban Task Manager for Outlook is an Outlook add-in that adds a kanban board to Outlook. It is intended for organizations and teams who cooperate on tasks and projects. Data and settings are shared via a database or a SharePoint site.

With Kanban Task Manager, the team members can manage their tasks together on a shared kanban board. New tasks are easily created and tagged with important info selected from dropdowns. E-mails can be converted into tasks with a ‘Convert’ button, so the team members can generate tasks for any e-mails related to a project. The task will be visible to all users who have Kanban Task Manager for Outlook installed.

Default Values
To make the task creation even quicker, the new version of Kanban Task Manager gives default values for some of the parameters that the tasks are tagged with. These values can of course be changed in the settings, and there is also an option to not use default values at all.

Simplifying the work
The developers have added a checklist feature to version 7 of Kanban Task Manager, to help users work more efficiently with tasks. When a task is complicated, users can make sure they don’t miss anything by adding a checklist to the task. The checklist can be managed from a details pane on the kanban board.

Supervise and control
The new version of Kanban Task Manager, gives more options for managers to control how the work with projects and tasks is proceeding. There are two new views, Daily Trend and Day Report, and we have also added a time logging feature.
Day Report image
When users register how much time they spend on a task, managers will have a good overview of the work process. Each time a team member works on a task, he/she can enter the time in minutes in the details pane. The total time will be automatically converted into hours, and the hours per task, phase and project can be studied in the Kanban Task Manager Excel reports. Upgrade icon Upgrade
If your organization is a subscriber to the Kanban Task Manager for Outlook Workgroup edition, you can upgrade your solution by downloading the setup file from the website.

Next time the upgrade process will be automatic. Users will receive an upgrade notification whenever we release a new version of Kanban Task Manager for Outlook. They just have to click on the ‘Upgrade’ button to upgrade the installation. All data and settings will be kept. Trial icon Trial and Subscription
If you and your team are looking for a solution to manage tasks and projects together, I would recommend you to try the Workgroup edition of Kanban Task Manager for Outlook. You can evaluate the solution for 30 days without any obligations. Our Support team is here to help you, whenever you need assistance during the evaluation period.

You can subscribe to Kanban Task Manager for Outlook on monthly or yearly basis. In case you have any questions regarding the subscription, you may contact me or my colleagues at the Sales department.

Dipti Francis
Executive Assistant Business Solutions

02 May 2018

Default Tags and New Views in New Kanban Task Manager Single

Kanban Task Manager for Outlook logotype Today, I am happy to announce the release of Kanban Task Manager Single V7. In the new version, we have added several new features which will help users to work more efficiently with their tasks and projects. The design of the kanban board has also been improved.

Outlook Add-ins
Kanban Task Manager is a solution that helps users manage tasks and projects on a virtual kanban board. It comes in two Outlook editions: Workgroup and Single. Kanban Task Manager Single is intended for one user, who wants an efficient method to manage professional and/or personal tasks. In the Single edition, the tasks cannot be shared.

The Workgroup edition is intended for a team, who wants to cooperate on tasks and projects. We will soon release a new version of Kanban Task Manager for Outlook too.

Checklist and Time Logging
The new version of Kanban Task Manager Single, has several good features. Two of them are the Checklist and the Time Logging. Both features can be managed in the Details pane to the right on the kanban board.

Checklist icon You can simplify work with complicated tasks by adding checklists to them. Check the box at each step you have completed as your work with the task proceeds. The task card on the kanban board will display the checklist count.

You can change the sequence of the checklist items by drag and drop. If you want to remove or delete a checklist, just drag it out of the Details pane.

Time Logging icon The time logging feature helps you keep track of the time you have spent on a particular task and is especially important for users who charge for their tasks. Each time you work on a task, enter the time in minutes in the details pane. The minutes will be added automatically, and the total time will be shown in hours. You can also study the time in the Excel reports.

Default Values
The new version of Kanban Task Manager Single, has default values for the task parameters, Start date, Due date, Project and Priority. You can change the default values in the settings or select Empty to not use default values at all. The ‘default value’ options are:
  • Start Date: the current date
  • Due Date: the current date plus one
  • Project: the first project in the list
  • Priority: Normal

New kanban views
We have added two more views in the new version of Kanban Task Manager: the Daily Trend and the Day Report. The Daily Trend displays the status of all tasks from the last 30 days in a line chart. The line chart is updated at each time a task is modified.
Daily Trend image
The Day Report shows the number of tasks that were created, open, closed, delayed and modified on the selected date.
Day Report image

Upgrade Upgrade icon If you are already using Kanban Task Manager Single, you are welcome to upgrade your solution. This upgrade will be the last time you download the setup file from the website. Next time the upgrade will be automatic.

From the next time, whenever we release a new version of Kanban Task Manager Single, you will get an update notification on your PC. You just have to click on the update button, and your installation will be updated. All your settings and tasks will be kept.

Trial and Subscription Trial icon If you are looking for a way to manage your tasks, I would recommend you to evaluate Kanban Task Manager Single. We provide a 30 days free trial of the full version. Don't you hesitate to contact our Support team if you should need any assistance.

You can subscribe to Kanban Task Manager Single, on monthly or yearly basis. In case you have any queries regarding the subscription, you may contact me or my colleagues at the Sales department.

Dipti Francis
Executive Assistant Business Solutions

27 April 2018

Bye Office 365 Video, Welcome Microsoft Stream

Microsoft Office 365 VideoLast year, Microsoft released a new corporate video-sharing service, Microsoft Stream, that will eventually replace Office 365 Video. Therefore, my book Office 365 from Scratch had to be updated with a new chapter, and the Tips section needed a new article.

As you might have seen earlier, the new edition of Office 365 from Scratch has been on the market for a while, and a new article and demo have also been created.

Office 365 E3 edition
Microsoft Stream is intended for video sharing within an organization, and it can be used both stand-alone and integrated in Office 365. There are different Plans with more or less features, but in the demo below I am using the Stream edition that is included in the Enterprise E3 Office 365 subscriptions.

Transition from Video
Office 365 Video was launched as late as 2015, so it is also a fairly new product. Despite this, Microsoft decided to create another video service. Microsoft has promised a smooth transition from Video to Stream, but the deprecation of Video will of course still create problems for users and administrators.

Even if Microsoft can transfer all content from Office 365 Video into Stream and make sure that existing Video embed codes and links will redirect to the Stream content, people have to re-learn after so recently having gotten used to Video. The process will be easier if users see that Stream is better than Video, and in my opinion the switch is worth the trouble. Stream has several benefits.

SharePoint groups
Office 365 Groups
Stream is much more than just a password-protected version of YouTube. In the demo below I just show the basics, but in Office 365 from Scratch I describe how Stream is connected to Office 365 Groups. This means that Stream has two ways to categorize videos: channels to organize them by content and groups to limit access to certain videos.

Auto-generated transcripts
Stream can generate a transcript when the video sound is in English or Spanish. I am sure Stream transcripts will support more languages in the future, because even if you should edit the transcript to make it perfect this is a very useful feature.

The Stream search feature uses the transcripts, so editing them is important also to optimize the search. It is easy to edit the transcripts, as they are shown beside the videos and you can follow the audio and text closely.

Share videos
Stream makes it easy to share videos and channels within Office 365, and the permissions are kept in the sharing. You can for example:
  • Embed a video in a SharePoint Online wiki page.
  • Use the Stream web part to insert a video or channel in a modern SharePoint page.
  • Add a tab with a Stream video or channel in a Teams channel.
  • Paste a Stream video link into a Yammer conversation.
  • Paste a Stream video link into a OneNote page.
  • Embed a Stream video in a Sway.

You can find much more information about Stream and other Office 365 services in my book. Office 365 is being enhanced continuously, and new features are added each month. With Stream, Microsoft has given us a powerful tool for internal video sharing – I just wish that it had been published instead of Video from the beginning!

Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions