Office 365 public website – going down

I’ve blogged about the discontinuing of public websites a while back and I promised that I would write an update, when there was something to update on. And guess what! Somethings updating.

When the changes was announced, there was a small outcry from a few partners, but really nothing major. Then again, it’s not like Microsoft is announcing this out loud yet.

Facts

  • Microsoft is discontinuing the public website feature, that was bundled on an average Office 365 subscription starting March 9, 2015
  • Existing customers that have a public website will be able to continue running that website until March 9, 2017
  • Customers that sign up for Office 365 after March 9, 2015 WILL NOT have the option of a public website.
  • Microsoft is not going to cut prices for any subscriptions
  • Microsoft is not going to refund existing subscribers
  • Microsoft have partnered with some webhosts and they offer webhosting to Office 365 customers at discounted prices
  • Microsoft is not going to help you, move your website

Read more about the changes.

Future options according to Microsoft

It seems for now, that the future lies with either Godaddy or wix.com. I have to be honest and say that I’ve never tried any of them and I really do not have any intentions of doing so. I know the hostingmodel they use. If I had to choose (and I really don’t want to) I would go with wix.com over Godaddy. But I would rather not choose any of them at all.

What I recommend

When it comes to websites in this day in age, I cannot emphasize enough how much it means for your business. And it does not matter how small your business are. If you are serious about your business, you have to get serious about your website.

I fully understand the considerations that many small business owners face, when it comes to prioritizing their time and economy on a daily basis. If the business owner can settle for a few bucks a months and then run a somewhat semi-nice website within the constraints of some pre-made templates, why not? Why should that business owner spend any more than the bare minimum on a website, which no-one is ever going to visit anyway? I know this for a fact, since I’ve been asked that question several times over the years.

If you are serious about your business, you have to be serious about your Website and you have to get serious about your Intranet. SharePoint is a serious platform for running a website, but unfortunately SharePoint Online’s public website has always been a very light version of SharePoint and are not to be compared with a local install of SharePoint, which is far more powerful.

What you should do today

Keep calm. Breathe. Assure yourself that the world is not going to end and you will most likely survive until tomorrow.

What should you do tomorrow

Start making a plan for your new website. Use this opportunity to redesign your website and make better use of it

What you should do within the next 24 months

Rather sooner than later I would recommend you to get a new website. But get a plan together first and if you need it. Get some help.

Office 365 shuts down public website feature

Using Office 365 for a public website have always been a simple but not so sweet ride. Microsoft never got that one right and most likely, that is why they are discontinuing that part of Office 365.

logo-office-365

According to this support document existing websites will have two years to migrate and new tenants won’t have the feature at all. At the same time they announced that the Public Website feature is going to be replaced with some 3rd party vendor. I’m thinking something like WordPress.com would be a good bet. Since WP.com inherited the old MySpace sites, they have some insights with Microsoft. But it’s just a guess, don’t hold me on that.

In my opinion this is far from optional though. I would very much like to stay in the SharePoint eco-system and I think that Microsoft should just drop the flimsy CMS-feature of the current SiteCollection and just allow the standard Publishing features to be activated. Thus giving me and all other Office 365 consultants the opportunity to create a business model where we can offer our clients website, intranet/extranet, e-mail, IM and CRM all-in-one, using Exchange, SharePoint, Lync and Dynamics CRM.

How about migrating my site to a new one?

For existing costumers there is no easy way. Microsoft states:

To avoid disruption and data loss, customers should back up all content and data from the SharePoint Online Public Website before they switch to any new solution or service. This will minimize potential disruptions.

This just means that as a website owner you are more or less on your own. Microsoft will provide more information in January 2015 but expect that you need to buy (with some discounts perhaps) a new website solution somewhere else and migrate your content to that solution. If you are not comfortable with this – hint hint – give me a buzz and let me help you out.

How to the new solutions compare to the existing ones?

Since Microsoft haven’t revealed anything yet, it’s hard to say. Even though they do state:

The existing SharePoint Online Public Website feature was designed for customers who need only a basic online presence. These new solutions will provide more robust tools and solutions that are required to deliver, support, and manage a fuller online presence.

That is more like saying, “it’s more than likely going to be better, but we don’t know yet”.

Pricing. Will Office 365 get cheaper when a feature like that is discontinued?

In short: no. The new third-party solutions will have some discounts, but as a whole, your Office 365 licenses won’t budge. As Microsoft states:

This change is aligned with our commitment to deliver a superior productivity experience in Office 365. Therefore, the change won’t affect the pricing of Office 365.

In my opinion I think there are two arguments to consider, the above one not being realistic:

  1. Price increase, you pay the same, but get less value. So this is in fact a hidden increase of price.
  2. Traffic is unpredictable. On closed sites, traffic is way more predictable, than on public websites. My guess is that Microsoft have a hard time figuring out how to handle the unpredictable nature of website traffic on their BASF’s (Big Ass Server Farms)

Stay tuned for more information.

Office 365 Summit in Copenhagen is well underway

I am sitting here in Cinemaxx. For a brief moment, I managed to get some of the room to myself. Otherwise it’s pretty packed with around 600 IT-people. All which are interested in Office 365, Lync, Project, SharePoint, Sales etc. And so far it’s going great. The sessions are very professional conducted. The Microsoft team have done a magnificent job so far.

I have been pursuing different subjects trying to get into the tracks that concentrates on Office 365, SharePoint and developing. All while trying to be this super-networker that talks to potential clients and business partners. Being independent I need to focus on not just one single track or one single task.

There is an abundance of information, takeaways, PPT’s, example-code all around. If I where to put a finger on anything at all at this summit, it had to be the lack of power-outlets. It’s a IT-summit. People are heavy users of devices that consume power. The lack of outlets comes from the fact that it’s held in a Theater. But it may be just my lack of investigating powers, that led to my failure in locating some power.

SharePoint Image Gallery that doesn’t suck in 7 easy steps

[Update]

I got an e-mail from Robert, who has refined the solution. Thank you for sharing Robert.

—————————

Hi Ulrich, hi Joe, first I want to thank Ulrich for his great work and sharing it with us! I also don’t have the problem with more than 40 pictures in a picture gallery after using galleria-1.4.2.min.js and also galleria.classic.min.js from an actual galleria-version.

Also I did some changes in the “DisplayGallery.txt” file because when you have a lot of pictures in the gallery you will get a performance issue and a memory leak using always the pictures in original quality/size from actual digital cameras. SharePoint itself creats two differen thumbnail pictures of each uploaded picture gallery in an image library automatically (the folders “_w” and “_t” you can see if you open the picture library with windows-explorer). So I changed “DisplayGallery.txt” that these two tumbnail pictures will be used for the image and also for the minithumbnail below the image. The picture in original quality is only used when clicking on the picture itself and using the lighbox function of Galleria.

To do this I had to replace the following paragraph in the “DisplayGallery.txt”-file:


// Some advise: Keep folders and images seperate. The makes for the best views 
jQuery('#onetidDoclibViewTbl0 a.ms-listlink:not([onmousedown^="javascript"])').each(function() { var imagepath = jQuery(this).attr("href").substring(1,jQuery(this).attr("href").lastIndexOf('/')+1) + "_w/" + jQuery(this).attr("href").substring(jQuery(this).attr("href").lastIndexOf('/')+1,jQuery(this).attr("href").lastIndexOf('.')) + "_" + jQuery(this).attr("href").substring(jQuery(this).attr("href").lastIndexOf('.')+1) + ".jpg"; var thumbnailpath = jQuery(this).attr("href").substring(1,jQuery(this).attr("href").lastIndexOf('/')+1) + "_t/" + jQuery(this).attr("href").substring(jQuery(this).attr("href").lastIndexOf('/')+1,jQuery(this).attr("href").lastIndexOf('.')) + "_" + jQuery(this).attr("href").substring(jQuery(this).attr("href").lastIndexOf('.')+1) + ".jpg"; jQuery("#galleria").append(""); }); 

Now I’m able to use the ImageGallery also for image libaries with a lot of pictures without any problems.

Regards, Robert.

—————————

I’ve been asked by a client to come up with a more presentable way of displaying a SharePoint image gallery. And since the default way that SharePoint does that, is bu no means user-friendly at all, I dug around and found some code that just needed needs a little editing in order to work in SharePoint 2013.

Disclaimer: This solution is tested on SharePoint 2013 only

//Ranting

Lets be honest. Nobody ever accused SharePoint of being the most modern platform for things like Wiki’s, blogging, discussions and image galleries. It doesn’t seem to me that Microsoft are doing other than keeping those functions alive, but they haven’t developed all that much since 2007. Image galleries way have developed a little. But if you’ve ever toyed with WordPress, you have a good idea of how cool Image galleries can look and how easy it is to set up.

After searching high and low I found a solution that is working in a SharePoint 2010 environment. So I just had to re-code it for 2013. It’s not that big a deal, but since Microsoft has made a lot of changes to Picture Libraries, it still needs some work, in order to work.

Sidenote: Picture-, Image or Photo-Gallery? I call them Image-Galleries, because I cannot really tell the difference. Feel free to enlighten me on the subject, if I use the term in a wrong way.

Videoguide for building a SharePoint image gallery

Textguide for building a SharePoint image gallery

  1. Create a folder for your code. I prefer the Masterpage library, where I have all my stuff, but that for you to decide.
  2. Download the Galleria Library or download my collection of files and update them as needed.
    You only need these files:

    • jquery-1.11.0.min.js
    • galleria-1.3.5.min.js
    • galleria.classic.min.js
    • galleria.classic.css
    • classic-map.png
    • classic-loader.gif
  3. Edit the “DisplayGallery.txt” file to suit your needs
  4. Create a new Image Library
  5. Create a view, based on the “All Pictures” view, which only shows [Name], [Required] and [Preview]. The last two are mandatory.
    Gallery-view
  6. Create a page and insert the app-part for your ImageGallery
  7. Insert a ContentEditor webpart and link to the “DisplayGallery.txt” file from the Masterpage library.

Here is the full code of the “DisplayGallery.txt” file:


<script type="text/javascript">
 jQuery(function () {

 });
</script>

<script>
jQuery(function() {
 //Find the beginning of the webpart and replace it all with the new header
 jQuery("#onetidDoclibViewTbl0").before("</pre>
<div id="galleries">
<h2>ImageGallery</h2>
</div>
<div id="galleria"></div>
<pre>").hide();;

 // Include any image from the current folder in the gallery div
 // Some advise: Keep folders and images seperate. The makes for the best views
 jQuery('#onetidDoclibViewTbl0 a.ms-listlink:not([onmousedown^="javascript"])').each(function() {
 jQuery("#galleria").append("<img src="&quot; + jQuery(this).attr(&quot;href&quot;) + &quot;" alt="" />");
 });

 // displays all folders as albumlinks
 jQuery('#onetidDoclibViewTbl0 a.ms-listlink[onmousedown^="javascript"]').each(function() {
 var album = jQuery(this);
 var gallery = album.text();
 jQuery("#galleries").append(album.html("<img src='/_catalogs/masterpage/GITS/ImageGallery/btn_gallery.png' alt='Gallery' />" + gallery + ""));
 });
 jQuery('#galleries').has('a').show();

 // Load Galleria with configurations
 // Take a look at the documentation for Galleria for additional configurations
 if(jQuery('#galleria').has("img").length) {
 jQuery('#galleria').show();
 Galleria.loadTheme('/_catalogs/masterpage/GITS/ImageGallery/galleria.classic.min.js');
 Galleria.configure({
 lightbox: true, // Opens the image in a lightbox, when clicked
 height: 0.5625 // Sets the dimensions for the image, this is true 16:9 ratio
 });
 Galleria.run('#galleria');
 }
});
</script>

<style>
a img { border: 0; }
#galleries {
 display: none;
 margin-bottom: 10px;
 margin-left: 10px;
 min-height:50px;
}
#galleries > a {
 display: inline-block;
 height: 50px;
 margin-right: 20px;
 text-align: center;
}
#galleries img {
 border: 1px solid #DBDDDE;
 display: block;
 height: 40px;
 margin: 0 auto 5px;
 max-height: 40px;
 padding: 3px;
}
#galleria {
 display: none;
 width:100%;
}
</style>


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Upgrade Your Office 365 Site Collections by April 1st 2014

In case you’ve missed it. Microsoft have been upgrading SharePoint Online on the Office 365 platform since late 2012. That means that they are now finished upgrading all the SharePoint Farms. Or at least in the European Datacenters, where I am seated.

The announcement in the Message Center is that you have until April 1st to get your Site Collections upgraded to the 2013 experience. Otherwise they will do it for you. So what happens if you have customised your site collections heavily? Disaster. That is what happens! Luckily you have options.

Option one

Run a test upgrade, and fix the glitches yourself. Save your resource files and then set aside some downtime for your company to begin the full upgrade and fixing of the production site collection.

Option two

If you don’t have time or possess the skill set to upgrade, you can hire me to do all the dirty work for you. I have done this on numerous occasions for other clients. Contact me to get a non-binding Quote.

Option three

You run your SharePoint Online on 100% standard design. Then just go ahead and run the test upgrade. Most likely you will not see anything wrong with that. Then go ahead and run the full upgrade on your Site Collections

Upgrade SharePoint Online by following these instructions

Will this ever happen to me again, you might wonder? The answer is clearly “Yes”. It will happen for a number of reasons.

  1. Microsoft have a way of changing a lot of things on every upgrade
  2. Microsoft are getting better and better at compliance towards non-IE browsers, so they need to upgrade the front end code a lot
  3. The upgrade pains are way smaller that last time, when it went from 2007 to 2010
  4. SharePoint have a “Theme” functionality like, say WordPress but it’s not really any good so professionals tend to create their own theme, which then needs to be upgraded just like your WordPress theme on a major update

Create folder and copy a file to that folder in SharePoint Designer Workflow

[ProjectCasemanagement solution]

In this Video I will show how you can create a simple project folder and the copy a template file into that folder. The idea came from a comment on this blogpost, that shows more in-depth how to create folders and subfolders. If you like the video or have questions, leave me a note in the comment section.

Step By Step guide

  1. Create a Column called “Destination” on the “Documents” Library that holds the template file
  2. Create a Column called “Destination” on the “Project Documents” Library that holds all the project folders
  3. Create a SharePoint Designer workflow that updates the template file when it arrives at the “Project Documents” Library
  4. Create or tweak you Workflow that creates the project folder so that it:
    1. Updates the template file
    2. Copies the template file
    3. Sets the template file back to normal