Thank you SPTechCon Austin!

I had the honor of attending and speaking at SPTechCon West this week. It was great! I attended several really awesome sessions, attendees were super engaged, and I even got some sweet swag. Even better? I crushed Vlad Catrinescu at Mario Kart on the same big screen we both presented on the next day.

Getting the Most out of SharePoint Patterns and Practices (PnP)

Photo via David Warner II

On Monday I presented one of my favorite sessions. This session is like a sampler platter of the awesome stuff the PnP team and community has made available for everyone to use and learn from. There were lots of people who hadn’t heard of PnP, which means their jobs are now going to be so much easier. Whoo!

There was a lot of great feedback and participation. People were very excited about Page Transformation for Modernization and, as always, PnP PowerShell. The samples and contribution opportunities were also of great interest.

Slides: Getting the Most out of SharePoint Patterns and Practices

List Formatting in O365 and 2019

Earlier today I got to present on my other favorite topic: List Formatting. Unfortunately, I got over ambitious and tried to fill my session with tons of information AND demos. I ran out of time. Sadness.

It was a big crowd and lots of people were very excited about the amazing things you can do with List Formatting. I had lots of people asking questions afterwards and even helped setup some formats for attendees right in the room. That’s the power of List Formatting, we can apply them with no installations, deployments, or admin privileges!

Slides: O365 List Formatting

Thank you so much to all the attendees, speakers, sponsors, and organizers. SPTechCon has lots of user targeted information, but so many of the sessions went into a lot of depth that I left with lots of great tips and I’m sure everyone else did too!

Ramp up on SharePoint Framework Extensions at SPC 2019

I will be speaking at the SharePoint Conference 2019 in Las Vegas, May 21st-23rd! I’m honored to have the opportunity to talk about two of my favorite SharePoint subjects: List Formatting AND SharePoint Framework (SPFx) Extensions!

I’m, of course, super excited to be able to talk about List Formatting (see my previous post for details about that session). I am a huge proponent of using view and column formatting to customize your modern list views. There’s so much you can accomplish using simple JSON. But, I’m also fully aware of the limitations. When you hit those limitations, that’s the perfect time to use the SharePoint Framework.

SharePoint Framework Extensions allow you to not only customize your fields (Field Customizers) to take them far beyond what Column Formatting can do, they provide extensibility and customization to modern pages using the same awesome tooling and APIs available for client-side web parts.

Need a custom footer or header? SPFx Extension. Need to provide toast notifications? SPFx Extension. Need to add a custom menu option to the action bar or the context menu? SPFx Extension. Need to add your own analytics to every page? SPFx Extension. Need to create custom field renderings that provide interactivity? SPFx Extension.

I love the SharePoint Framework. Client-side web parts are awesome and they get most of the attention (they also came out first) and I’ve created several. But, my favorite part of SPFx are Extensions. They are often easier to create than web parts (depending on how much interface you actually need), and they provide some really awesome deployment models that can really simplify global customizations across your tenant.

Understanding SharePoint Framework (SPFx) Extensions

SharePoint Framework Extensions are the replacement for Custom Actions, JS Link, and more for Modern Pages in Office 365 and SharePoint 2019. Whether you’ve started experimenting with the SharePoint Framework or not, come find out exactly what the Extensions are, when to use them, limitations, and advantages. SharePoint Framework Extensions are not only powerful and flexible tools to customize SharePoint, when it comes to modern pages, they’re the only way.

That’s the overview of my session on SPFx Extensions, but an even simpler description is just: SPFx Extensions 101.

At first glance it might seem strange that I would be presenting a session in the Business Apps track (List Formatting) and then this one within the SharePoint Development track. However, both sessions are about enabling you to customize modern pages.

Modern sites and pages are awesome and if you’re still using on-premises SharePoint 2016 or earlier or if your organization is still using a large number of classic sites, you may not even know just how awesome they are yet (another reason to attend SPC). While so many features that used to require customizations to either provide (or provide a more usable/functional implementation) are available and no longer require custom implementations, there are still cases where some minor tweaks are required. These can be anything from dynamic visualizations, to corporate logos and universal links on every page, to 3rd party integrations, to disclaimers for specific site classifications, and more.

Knowing when to use List Formatting vs SPFx Extensions and understanding what both are intended for is a key skill for not just developers, but power users, managers, architects, admins, and more. Both sessions can be attended independently, but I highly encourage you to attend both as they will work together to create a much fuller picture of modern site customization options and techniques.

SharePoint Framework extensions are available in both Office 365 and SharePoint 2019. If you are on either environment or suspect that you will be eventually, this will be an essential session to understand what can be accomplished and the tools needed to do so. This session will serve as both a comprehensive overview for admins, architects, and admins as well as provide implementation details (code/tooling/samples) for developers. I’m really looking forward to this session and hope you’ll join me!

If you still have questions or ideas, I’ll also be helping with the Patterns and Practices (PnP) booth and will be happy to talk with you further! Just come find me. We can just talk, or you can bring your laptop and we’ll take a look at your code together!

Register!

The SharePoint Conference 2018 was fantastic. It’s amazing to be in the presence of so many SharePoint (and related tech like PowerApps, Flow, OneDrive, Yammer, Teams, and more) experts and have them be so approachable. If you are a SharePoint professional (user, admin, manager, developer, etc.) then you should definitely attend SharePoint Conference 2019. Go ahead and register now. You can even save $50 by using the discount code KENT!

See and hear from the experts directly!

Whether you attend my sessions or not, I hope you’ll come and say hello. In the meantime, feel free to reach out on this blog, twitter, or attend one of the PnP Calls!

Join me at SharePoint Saturday New York City on July 28th!

I will be presenting Getting the Most out of SharePoint Patterns and Practices (PnP) on Saturday, July 28th, 2018 in New York City as part of SPSNYC!

home_alone_2_lost_in_new_york_1920x1080

There are 54 sessions – all for free!

I’ll be talking about SharePoint Patterns and Practices (PnP):

The SharePoint Patterns and Practices (PnP) is an open source initiative coordinated by SharePoint engineering – but what does that mean and why should you care? PnP has tons of tutorials, videos, samples, documentation, and tools (as in amazing, ground-breaking tools). If you haven’t heard of it or if you thought it was just one or two things, you’re doing SharePoint development on hard mode!

In this session we’ll dive into what’s available, how to get started, how to stay up to date, and even how to contribute. You’ll leave this session knowing not only what PnP is, but you’ll be ready to start taking advantage immediately! It doesn’t matter if your using On-Premises or Online, you’re sure to learn something new and likely amazing.

I’m really excited to not just speak, but also to attend! The schedule and speaker lineup looks amazing and it’s sure to be a great event. If you happen to be one of the few people living in New York or the surrounding area, join us for FREE training, a bunch of swag, and a chance to meet people who are also passionate about SharePoint and doing awesome stuff.

Setting the Accent Color of Your Modern Site’s Custom Theme

Modern pages in Office 365 let you “Change the Look” by providing a number of themes (sets of colors) that can be applied to your site (available from the gear menu in the top-right of the screen). The interface is pretty slick, it takes immediate effect, and the default options are so much better than those weird sets of themes from the classic days.

You can even do minor customization by clicking the customize link under your chosen theme. You can choose from one of the preselected primary colors and an accent color (designed to match your primary). Generally, these colors are great and have been selected to look good in most scenarios.

CustomizeColorsInUI

But I can’t pick the exact shade of red marketing has decreed that all things must be! Fortunately, you can create your own theme with the exact colors you want. You can even generate these using the UI Fabric Theme Generator. This is pretty easy, and Mikael Svenson wrote up a nice guide on doing this using PnP PowerShell.

If you follow his guide, and the official documentation, you can easily get a nice custom theme. However, one annoying and not obvious part is setting the accent color. If you use the generated theme you might end up with something like this:

SoPrettyDefault

For this theme, I used the Theme Generator. By default, you specify the primary color (the big rectangle on the left in the theme) and then all the other colors are variations of it. However, you can click on any of the generated colors to override them. I did this as you can see above by overriding themeSecondary (2nd box in the theme) and themeTertiary (3rd box in the theme):

SoPrettyFabricPalette

But what about that 4th box, the accent color? This wasn’t part of the generator and I couldn’t find it documented anywhere. You also don’t get the nice Customize link to let you set it. Instead, the accent color is set to the same as the primary color. This results in things like that weird square in the hero part being the exact color as your buttons, etc.:

StupidAccentFailure

Turns out setting this isn’t hard, it’s just not obvious. All you do is add an “accent” value to your generated list of colors like so:

@{
"themePrimary" = "#144e3a";
"themeLighterAlt" = "#d8f5eb";
"themeLighter" = "#b4ecd8";
"themeLight" = "#90e2c6";
"themeTertiary" = "#edd249";
"themeSecondary" = "#6b4130";
"themeDarkAlt" = "#30bb8a";
"themeDark" = "#279770";
"themeDarker" = "#1e7355";
"neutralLighterAlt" = "#f8f8f8";
"neutralLighter" = "#f4f4f4";
"neutralLight" = "#eaeaea";
"neutralQuaternaryAlt" = "#dadada";
"neutralQuaternary" = "#d0d0d0";
"neutralTertiaryAlt" = "#c8c8c8";
"neutralTertiary" = "#a6a6a6";
"neutralSecondary" = "#666666";
"neutralPrimaryAlt" = "#3c3c3c";
"neutralPrimary" = "#333333";
"neutralDark" = "#212121";
"black" = "#1c1c1c";
"white" = "#ffffff";
"primaryBackground" = "#ffffff";
"primaryText" = "#333333";
"bodyBackground" = "#ffffff";
"bodyText" = "#333333";
"disabledBackground" = "#f4f4f4";
"disabledText" = "#c8c8c8";
"accent" = "#B81344";
}

Adding that last line results in this:

SoPrettyWithAccent

WithAccent

Looks like there are a couple of other values you can add (and possibly more) such as “neutralSecondaryAlt”, “blackTranslucent40”, and “error”. Just like most of the entries, however, it’s not totally obvious when they’re used.

Now you no longer have an excuse not to set that sweet accent color to the boring shade dictated by your corporate style guide!

The PnP Super Heroes we “Need”

Back in November, I reworked the PnP Hero as an opensource SVG Vector image making several corrections and ensuring the hero looks good at any size. Then earlier this year, Vesa Juvonen announced he was using this design for some stickers (I’ve since gotten hold of one and they are awesome):

PnPHeroStickers

One of the things that became obvious though was that people would like to see more than just a dude. So… here’s my attempt at a lady:

PnPHero-Female-Original

Don’t like it or think something’s off? Good news! You can totally update it and submit a PR over in the PnPHero-SVG repo on Github!

While I don’t think there’s necessarily anything wrong with the PnP Hero we’ve had (but I wouldn’t would I), I think it’s important to be as inclusive as possible to make it clear that PnP is for everyone. After all, Sharing is Caring.

SharePoint PnP has contributors from all over the world of various gender and ethnicity. So, following the great example of emojis everywhere, in addition to female heroes, the PnP heroes now come in original, light, medium-light, medium, medium-dark, and dark skin tones:

MaleHeros

FemaleHeroes

The repository has a master SVG file with all of the layers, but there are also individual SVG files (as well as png files) for each included. These files can be freely used for anything (PnP related or not) with no attribution required.

This isn’t meant to be political commentary in any way, just an attempt to be more inclusive. Let me know what you think and if there is anything you think should be changed/added.

Thank you North American Collaboration Summit 2018!

Over the weekend I was able to attend and speak at the North American Collaboration Summit (Sharepointalooza) in Branson, Missouri. It was an extremely well run and attended event. It’s unbelievable to me that attendees were only paying $65 for content and experience that would cost $1500-2000+ elsewhere!

I spoke on Understanding SharePoint Patterns and Practices (PnP). I love this topic because it allows me to show off amazing stuff that always has immediate “Monday” value. People always leave this session with at least one or two things they’ll start using as soon as they get back to work. SharePoint PnP is awesome but it can be difficult to know about everything that is available.

I was able to demo:

  • SharePoint PnP PowerShell
  • Remote Provisioning
  • Site Designs with Remote Provisioning
  • PnPJS
  • Column Formatter

I even demonstrated how to do the simplest (but still very much appreciated) contribution by live fixing documentation!

Thanks to everyone who attended. I got a lot of great questions and once again people were really impressed with what PnP has to offer! Awesome event, awesome sponsors, awesome speakers, and awesome attendees!

Resources

 

Using SharePoint PnP PowerShell Modules Side-by-Side (2013, 2016, & Online)

Applies to SharePoint 2013, 2016, O365

Are you using SharePoint PnP PowerShell yet? Why not!?! Developers, IT Pros, and Power Users can all benefit from the SharePoint PnP PowerShell modules. The cmdlets wrap up a bunch of complex CSOM and REST calls into 280+ awesome commands. If you’re not using SharePoint PnP PowerShell you’re doing things on hard mode.

Installing SharePoint PnP PowerShell is super easy. You just choose your target version (2013, 2016, or Online) and install. If you’re on Windows 10 you can literally type Install-Module SharePointPnPPowerShellOnline into an administrator shell and you’re done.

But what if you’re like me and have multiple versions you need to target? I find myself needing to switch between SharePoint on premises and online all the time. Unfortunately the modules are often not cross-version compatible due to the different CSOM versions supported between the products. Something as simple as Get-PnPFolder against a 2013 site using the Online module won’t work and the errors aren’t always super obvious:

Error

For a while I’ve just used the Uninstall-Module command and just switched between them that way. This has struck me as dumb for a while now so I finally reached out to The Father himself, Erwin van Hunen, and he responded right away:

Tweet

Awesome! Here’s how to do that (with screenshots!):

Install All the Modules

Although you can install all the modules, you can only have 1 active within any given session. So if you want to switch modules (once you’ve already loaded one) you’ll need to close and reopen PowerShell.

Option 1 – SharePoint On-Premises as Default

If you install the modules using the PowerShell Gallery they will be installed into the default modules path. As a result, when you use a PnP PowerShell Command the first module will be auto loaded (but the other 2 won’t because of conflicts). This appears to be alphabetical. So if you installed all 3 then the default module will be 2013. If you want to use the Online module instead, you would simply run Import-Module SharePointPnPPowerShellOnline before running any PnP PowerShell Commands.

You can’t just run the simple install command for each module. You’ll end up with some version of this error on your second module:

ClobberError

You’ll need to use the -AllowClobber parameter:

Install

You can then check what versions you have installed using this command:

Get-Module SharePointPnPPowerShell* -ListAvailable | Select-Object Name,Version | Sort-Object Version -Descending

Now you can use any of the modules without having to uninstall/install first! By default you’ll be using 2013 (or 2016 if you skipped 2013) which may match your use case perfectly! You can always use the Import-Module command to target one of the other versions.

Option 2 – SharePoint Online as Default

To have the Online module be the one that is auto loaded when you use a PnP PowerShell Command but still have the option to load one of the on premises modules, you should only install the Online module through the PowerShell Gallery:

Install-OnlineOnly

You can then check what versions you have installed using this command to ensure you only have the Online module installed here:

Get-Module SharePointPnPPowerShell* -ListAvailable | Select-Object Name,Version | Sort-Object Version -Descending

To install the other module(s) you’ll use the Releases page to download the corresponding msi installers:

Releases

Just run these as normal to get these installed. Once the module(s) are installed, open System Properties from your control panel. Under the Advanced tab, click the Environment Variables… button. Under User variables, find the PSMODULEPATH variable. If the path(s) to the PnP PowerShell modules are the only values you can just delete it. Otherwise, you can edit it to remove those paths:

EnvironmentVariables

Now when you run a PnP PowerShell Command the Online module will be auto loaded (default). If you want to use one of the on premises modules instead, you have to run Import-Module PATHTOMODULE before running any PnP PowerShell Commands.

Unfortunately, the module path can be pretty long. For instance, here’s mine:

Import-Module C:\Users\ckent\AppData\Local\Apps\SharePointPnPPowerShell2013\Modules\SharePointPnPPowerShell2013

That’s not very convenient! Fortunately, the Windows PowerShell ISE provides snippets that can make it much simpler. You can create snippets using the New-IseSnippet command:

New-IseSnippet -Title " PnP2013" -Description "Imports the SharePointPnPPowerShell2013 Module" -Text "Import-Module $env:LOCALAPPDATA\Apps\SharePointPnPPowerShell2013\Modules\SharePointPnPPowerShell2013"

I put a space before the name so it would be at the top of the snippets. You can then access the snippet from either the script editor or the ISE prompt by pressing Ctrl-J:

Snippets

 

Now you can use the Online module by default but quickly load the on premises module as needed without having to uninstall/install all the time!