How to find ID of Office 365 Group?

Recently I worked on a Project where I had to provision and modify the Office 365 Groups using the Microsoft Graph APIs. During testing, I had to get the Group ID and pass it to a custom REST endpoint we had built. We used PostMan to test the endpoint. We can get the Office 365 Group’s ID using Microsoft Graph APIs. This approach is fine for the developers but we needed to involve a Power user in the testing. I started digging deep into the Office 365 Groups and that’s when I discover that there are multiple ways to find out the Office 365 group’s ID.

How to find ID of Office 365 Group?

Option 1)
Using Microsoft Graph

Option 2) Using User Interface (These steps are valid as of January 31st ,2017):

  1. Login to https://www.portal.office.com using Office 365 account.

  2. Click on the Mail Icon.

  3. In the Left-Hand Navigation, expand the “Groups” and click on the Office 365 group in consideration.

  4. Hover over “View group files and activity” and you will find the Group’s team site URL. If you are using Chrome, click on the “Copy Link Address” and paste the link in the notepad. You will find the Group’s team site URL in the following format. https://tenantname.sharepoint.com/_layouts/groupstatus.aspx?id=e90402f7-33d8-4322-b63c-eaab8b9e3ce6&target=documents . The ID here is the Office 365 group’s ID. For example, in this case, the ID of Office 365 Group is “e90402f7-33d8-4322-b63c-eaab8b9e3ce6”.

Option 3) Using Outlook 2016 (These steps are valid as of January 31st 2017):

  1. Expand the Groups in the Outlook and select the Office 365 group in consideration.

  2. Right click on “View group files and activity” and paste the link in the notepad. You will find the Group’s team site URL in the following format. https://tenantname.sharepoint.com/_layouts/groupstatus.aspx?id=e90402f7-33d8-4322-b63c-eaab8b9e3ce6&target=documents . The id here is the Office 365 group’s ID. For example, in this case, the ID of Office 365 Group is “e90402f7-33d8-4322-b63c-eaab8b9e3ce6”.

In Office 365 things change at fast space. If any of the above steps are not valid, please let me know in the comments section. J

Thanks for reading.

Posted in Office 365, Office 365 Group, Office 365 Group ID, Office 365 OWA, Office 365 Unified Group, Outlook 2016, Postman, Team Site | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to update the License information in Visual Studio 2013/2015?

With the introduction of MSDN accounts in Visual Studio 2013/2015, we can now use the same settings across the different environment. Gone are the days where every time we start a new project, and use new server/machine we need to reconfigure Visual Studio settings as per our liking. However, this change comes with an annoying problem of Microsoft asking us to validate the account every 15-30 days as shown below.

“Your license has gone stale and must be updated. Please make sure the Internet is connected, then check for an update license to continue using this product.”

What if you are traveling and cannot connect to the Internet, but still would like to knock down some code? There is a way we can make this annoying validation process disappear for 6-9 months. For this, we need the Visual Studio 2013/2015 key. Depending on your role, you may or may not have access to the license key.

If you are a lucky one and have the license key, then click on “License with a Product Key”.

You are all set. Happy coding. J

Posted in MSDN, Visual Studio 2013, Visual Studio 2015 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

SharePoint Workflows Migration Scenarios

With the introduction of Workflow manager in SharePoint 2013, we now have two SharePoint workflow engines, “SharePoint 2010 Workflow Host” and “Workflow Manager”. “SharePoint 2010 Workflow Host” is included with the installation of SharePoint 2010, SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint 2016 on premise.

We need to follow additional steps to install and configure “Workflow Manager” in SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint 2016 on premise. If you are using Office 365 /SharePoint online, both “SharePoint 2010 Workflow Host” and “Workflow Manager” are already installed and configured for you.

The workflows which use “SharePoint 2010 Workflow Host” for execution are called “SharePoint 2010 Style Workflows”. The workflows which use “Workflow Manager” are called “SharePoint 2013 Style Workflows”.


Unfortunately, we cannot automatically convert the “SharePoint 2010 Style Workflows” to “SharePoint 2013 Style Workflows”. The only option that is available is manual.

These two styles of workflows are sometimes confusing and I have been asked this question a lot during my SharePoint workflows talks, “What happens to the workflows post migration? Do they run as SharePoint 2010 style workflows or SharePoint 2013 style workflows?” Like any good consultant, my answer is always “Well it depends”. J

Depending on the scenario the answer varies. I have listed the scenarios and possible post migration outcomes in the tabular format.

Table 1: If you are migrating from SharePoint 2010 On Premise:

Existing Workflows in SharePoint 2010

Post Migration to SharePoint 2013 On Premise

Post Migration to SharePoint 2016 On Premise

Post Migration to Office 365 /SharePoint Online

SharePoint Designer 2010 Workflows

Run as SharePoint 2010 Style Workflows

Run as SharePoint 2010 Style Workflows

Run as SharePoint 2010 Style Workflows

Out of the box approval (OOTB) workflows

Run as SharePoint 2010 Style Workflows

Run as SharePoint 2010 Style Workflows

Run as SharePoint 2010 Style Workflows

Full Trust Visual Studio Workflows

Run as SharePoint 2010 Style Workflows

Run as SharePoint 2010 Style Workflows

Cannot migrate

Third Party SharePoint 2010 Workflows

Check with the vendor. J

Check with the vendor. J

Check with the vendor. J

 

Table 2: If you are migrating from SharePoint 2013 On Premise:

Existing Workflows in SharePoint 2013

Post Migration to SharePoint 2016 On Premise

Post Migration to Office 365 /SharePoint Online

SharePoint Designer 2013 workflows created as SharePoint 2010 Style Workflows

Run as SharePoint 2010 Style Workflows

Run as SharePoint 2010 Style Workflows

SharePoint Designer 2013 workflows created as SharePoint 2013 Style Workflows

Run as SharePoint 2013 Style Workflows (Provided Workflow Manager is installed and configured)

Run as SharePoint 2013 Style Workflows

Out of the box approval (OOTB) workflows

Run as SharePoint 2010 Style Workflows

Run as SharePoint 2010 Style Workflows

SharePoint 2013 Workflows created as App (using Visual Studio)

Run as SharePoint 2013 style workflow as App (Provided workflow manager is installed and configured)

Run as SharePoint 2013 style workflow as App

Full Trust Visual Studio Workflows

Run as SharePoint 2010 Style Workflows

Cannot migrate

Third Party SharePoint 2010/2013 Style Workflows

Check with the vendor. J

Check with the vendor. J

 

Table 3: If you are migrating from SharePoint 2016 On Premise:

Existing Workflows in SharePoint 2016

Post Migration to Office 365 /SharePoint Online

SharePoint Designer 2013 workflows created as SharePoint 2010 Style Workflows

Run as SharePoint 2010 Style Workflows

SharePoint Designer 2013 workflows created as SharePoint 2013 Style Workflows

Run as SharePoint 2013 Style Workflows

Out of the box approval (OOTB) workflows

Run as SharePoint 2010 Style Workflows

SharePoint 2013 Workflows created as App (using Visual Studio)

Run as SharePoint 2013 style workflow as App

Full Trust Visual Studio Workflows

Cannot migrate

Third Party SharePoint 2010/2013 Style Workflows

Check with the vendor. J

 

Please post in the comment box questions or if the above information is not correct.

Thanks for reading. Hope this was helpful.

Posted in Office 365, SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2013 Development, SharePoint 2016, SharePoint Designer 2013 Workflows, SharePoint Online, SharePoint Workflows, Uncategorized, Visual Studio Workflows, Workflow Manager | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Podcasts I listen to..

So much is happening in the technology world and it is really hard to keep up with all the latest and greatest information. Podcasts are one of the mediums we can use to keep ourselves up to date. Since Podcasts are popular, there are tons of Podcasts available and it is getting increasingly difficult to find the right ones. In this blog post, I have listed the Podcasts which I have found extremely useful with a lot of excellent technical information and humor. 🙂

Another advantage of Podcasts is that they can help to utilize your commute/running time productively. I live in Washington DC metropolitan area and this region is known for crazy traffic delays. I used to get really annoyed with the traffic delays and was constantly looking for ways to get around this problem. I tried Music, radio stations but that did not help.

From last year, I started listening to the following podcasts and now I don’t get annoyed with the traffic delays. Now I can utilize my travel time more productively.

  1. Office 365 Developer Podcast : Jeremy Thake and Richard diZerega talk about Office 365 development. The one place to keep up to date on what’s happening in Office 365 development world.
  2. Microsoft Cloud Show : Chris Johnson and Andrew Connell talk about Microsoft cloud i.e. Microsoft Azure , Office 365, SharePoint, Skype for Business and related technologies
  3. Adventures in Angular : An Anjgular.js podcast
  4. Node Up : A NODE.js podcast.
  5. Brewery.FM : Dan Usher and Scott Hoag talk about the latest technology in the Microsoft space, focusing on public and private clouds. Tech, beer, Azure, AWS, Office 365, SharePoint and everything in-between.
  6. Digital Workplace Today Podcast : This podcast has good information about how Microsoft products can help you in the Digital Workplace. It covers all the of products under Office 365 suite.

If you know any good Podcasts related to Office 365 Development, Azure, SharePoint, Angular JS, Node etc, please let me know either by emailing me at pgbhoyar at gmail dot com or drop a line in the comments section.

Posted in Azure, Office 365, SharePoint 2013 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Eliminate The Paperwork Bottleneck With Custom SharePoint Intranet

Frustrated by the constant feeling of drowning in paperwork?

custom-sharepoint-intranet

If you’re annoyed by the slow response times or lack of accountability in your organization, your organization should seriously consider adopting a digital collaboration intranet solution.

As one of our clients learned, moving some of your workflows from a paper-based system to an electronic platform can fundamentally change how you do business for the better. Read on and see what a custom SharePoint intranet can do to reduce your business’ paper problem.

The Problem

Our client, one of the biggest nonprofit organizations in Washington, D.C., had a lot of paper-based processes in place. So whenever they wanted to implement or enact anything, physical sheets of paper had to make their way from one desk to another.

For example, to submit a payment request, people had to fill out a paper form and hand it to their supervisor, who would then pass it along to the accounting department, and so on. There was a lot of trekking through the hallways, and it was hard for the original requester to determine the progress of their application at any given time. In addition, because everything was done manually, most of the relevant information remained locked inside people’s heads.

Our Process

First, we had to get the essential elements of the system out of the heads of our client and into our own. We started by organizing a lot of discovery and requirements gathering sessions to pinpoint the sources of our client’s issues and find out what they needed from a solution. Based on these sessions, we created diagrams using Microsoft Visio that modeled their ideal workflow.

The second part of the process was building out the solution in a custom intranet portal in phases. Every time we implemented a few more requirements, we showed the results to the client to get their valuable feedback and modify our Microsoft Visio diagram. By the end, our diagram exactly matched the workflow of the custom SharePoint system we created.

The Result

The solution we created lets users keep track of the progress of their request at every step of the way. Whenever someone’s input is needed, the system automatically notifies that person with the relevant information. Everything is stored inside this custom intranet solution, so there’s no need to send or search for files yourself. Plus, because it’s done inside SharePoint, all the proper security measures are in place. Rather than being able to see sensitive information left on someone’s desk, employees can only see a particular electronic request if their input is required.

Obviously, there are a lot of benefits. It improves efficiency because you don’t have to print documents out or physically move things around. The progress of the request is transparent to anyone involved, and there’s no risk of losing documentation. And because it’s a custom SharePoint platform, people working remotely can still access it. In addition, if your business is audited, you have a clear “paper trail” of electronic log entries showing who approved the request and when.

Final Thoughts

With a manual, paper-based business process, technically the only restrictions are the limits of the human body. When you convert this to a custom SharePoint intranet, however, you must simplify and streamline the process so that it fits the technical limitations of the platform you’re using, while still ensuring the workflow runs as smoothly as it did before. It’s crucial to meet with management and other key stakeholder’s to identify the essential steps in the workflow that will be brought over to your new intranet solution.

Disclaimer : This article originally appeared on Portal Solutions’ Digital Workplace Today Blog

Posted in Office 365, SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2013 Administration, SharePoint 2013 Development | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to setup Gmail as SMTP Relay Server in SharePoint?

Emails are one of the important functionalities of SharePoint. Often when we create our own development environment we have to create our own SMTP server or rely on our company’s SMTP server (which may not be accessible outside company’s firewall).

My preferred route is to use Gmail as SMTP relay server because it is easy to setup up, free and my development environment can be completely isolated from my company’s infrastructure. We just need a valid Gmail account and our development environment should be connected to Internet. J

Here are the steps.

  1. Sign up for Gmail account if you don’t have one.
  2. Change the settings of the Gmail account and turn on the access to the less secure apps.
  3. Login to the SharePoint server (Windows 2008/2008 R2/2012/2012 R2) using admin account. The screen shots in this blog post are taken from Windows Server 2012 R2. If have already installed the SMTP server then skip the steps till 15.
  4. Install feature “SMTP Server” using server manager. Open the server manager.

  5. Click on “Add roles and features”.

  6. Click Next.

  7. Select the “Role-based or feature-based installation” and click next.

  8. Select the “Select a server from the server pool” and click next.

  9. Click Next in the “Server Roles”.

  10. Scroll down and select “SMTP Server”.

  11. A pop will show up to install the pre requisites. Click on “Add Features”.

  12. Click Next.

  13. Confirm the installation by click “Install”. The installation will take 2-5 minutes depending the server resources.

  14. We will see following message after successful installation. Click “Close” to exit the wizard.

  15. Now search for IIS 6.0 in the Search bar.

  16. Expand the “Local Computer” and Right click on the “SMTP Virtual Server” and then click Properties.

  17. Click on the “Access” Tab.

  18. Under “Relay Restrictions” click on “Relay”.

  19. Select the Check Box “All except the list below” and then click “OK”.

  20. Then click on the “Messages” tab and make sure following settings are there.
    1. Limit messages size to (KB) = 2048
    2. Limit session size to (KB) = 10240
    3. Limit number of messages per connection to : 20
    4. Limit number of recipients per message to: 100
    5. Badmail directory : C:\inetpub\mailroot\BadmailA

  21. Click on the “Delivery” tab and then click on “Outbound Connections”.

  22. Select 587 as TCP port instead of default 25 and then click “OK”.

  23. Click on “Outbound Security”.

  24. Select “Basic authentication”. In the user name enter valid Gmail address and the corresponding password of the Gmail account. Select the check box of “TLS encryption” and then click OK.

  25. Click on “Advance”.

  26. Enter the following information and then click OK.
    1. Maximum hop count: 15
    2. Fully-qualified domain name: FQDN of the server. If
    3. Smart host : smtp.gmail.com

  27. Click “OK” and Apply and then OK.

  28. Now open the Central Administration ->System Settings->Configure outgoing e-mail settings. The following screen shots are from SharePoint 2013. The same steps can be used in SharePoint 2010.

  29. Enter the fully qualified domain name of the server in the “Outbound STMP server” and then click “OK”.

  30. To test the outgoing emails are working, setup “Out Of The Box” alert on any SharePoint list or library.

Happy Learning. J

Posted in SharePoint 2013, SharePoint 2013 Administration | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

How An Unengaged Key Stakeholder Threw A Wrench In Our Custom Intranet Project

unengaged-key-stakeholder.jpg

Remember the last time you worked hard on something, only to find out in horror that you missed a major requirement for success? Did you feel annoyed and frustrated, or were you kicking yourself for not paying more attention to what needed to be done?

When building a custom intranet solution, it’s vital to make sure you have all the requirements ironed out before you begin development. Keep reading to hear what happened to us and learn how to avoid such a pitfall on your next project.

Our Story

Recently, we were working with a client to convert a paper-based process into an electronic one by building a custom SharePoint/Office 365 sites solution. We held discovery and requirement gathering sessions, created diagrams for the electronic workflow using Microsoft Visio and went through several iterations of constructing the system and getting feedback from our client.

At the last minute, a key stakeholder who had been missing from the project up to this point jumped in. And it was at that point we realized that the rest of our client’s team forgot to bring up some major issues that this key stakeholder was now mentioning. Because this feedback was completely valid and coming from an important contact in the organization, we had to put the rest of the project on hold while we worked to accommodate these requirements within the tight schedule.

What We Learned

When you start developing your custom intranet solution, you should never assume that the list of what you absolutely need is set in stone. Always keep in mind that there could be some changes down the line, and build your system in a way that can accommodate these changes.

With this mindset, you’ll minimize the extra work you may have to do in the future, and you’ll perform your due diligence to create a system that can be flexible and open to new requirements. Also, leave a reasonable amount of free time in your project’s schedule for any unexpected issues that pop up during development.

What You Should Do

To prevent a repeat of this unfortunate experience, involve your company’s key stakeholders in the research and development processes as much (and as early) as possible. Before the implementation phase begins, you should hold a non-optional meeting with all the important figures in the company. They should hear a demo or presentation from the team you’ve chosen that describes what will be implemented. Once they understand the roadmap, they should provide the initial go-ahead.

Still, it can be very difficult for key stakeholders to have the time to spend in meetings, as they’re often higher-ups within an organization who are very short on time. Instead, at the end of an important meeting, summarize what’s been discussed and share it with them when they have time in their schedule. Try to involve most of the stakeholders from the beginning of the process. Even if they play a relatively minor role, you might be surprised by the good ideas or key information they can provide.

Creating and strictly adhering to a series of scheduled meetings can get more key stakeholders involved. When meetings are planned at the last minute or moved around, it can be difficult to keep the level of attendance up. Try to make the meetings as consistent as possible in terms of who’s present, when they’re held and what’s discussed.

Final Thoughts

As with any project, building a custom SharePoint/Office 365 sites solution rarely goes exactly as planned, with new and unanticipated issues likely to arise. By planning ahead and involving your company’s key figures in the process as much as possible, you can minimize the stress and surprises for both yourself and the development team.

Disclaimer : This article originally appeared on Portal Solutions’ Digital Workplace Today Blog

Posted in Office 365, SharePoint 2013 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment