Archives For March 2014

There has been a lot of buzz and questions around connecting your Office 365 tenant to data located on Premises. This is a common requirement and is now made possible with PowerBI.

Connecting to your data source is made possible with the Data Management Gateway(DMG) The awesome part of the DMG is that is makes the connection outside the firewall. That means, no reverse proxies, custom web services or firewalls to deal with!

Overall, there are few requirements and caveats that I encountered while setting up my demo environment. FYI, I set this up in under and hour, including the time is took to spin up a PowerBI trial.

  • The DMG must be installed on a non-SQL server in your on premises environment. I could not get anything to work on my SQL server so I am thinking this has to be done on a member server,
  • A new Gateway must be created via your bi admin center.
  • You must register the gateway with the on premises DMG client.
  • You can then store your credentials for the data sources on premises OR in the cloud. The benefit to storing the creds in the cloud is you can recover quicker from a system failure.
  • Let’s get started

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Everyone is used to seeing this logo right ?

When you’re working with SharePoint 2013 on premises the web application has a property called SuiteBarBrandingElementHTML that you can update with custom HTML to update what is shown in the upper left corner of the page. In office 365, we do not have access to the web application so we have to use a different method. Below is a snippet you can place in your master page to update that area with new text and modify the link. In my demo case I updated it to be a HOME link that brings to the root site collection.

  • You can use SharePoint Designer or any one of your favorite tools to update the master page by mapping a drive to the site.
  • The snippet below must go within the <head> of the master page
  • If you are using the out-of-the-box master page (Seattle.master) you must first make your edits to the Seattle.HTML. This is because the files are linked. (See below)

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With the release of Service Pack 1, you get two new features in Central Admin (among other preceding CUs as outlined here).

The first one is OneDrive for business integration. This allows for you to redirect users to the cloud for their ‘personal’ storage. This can be done for everyone OR you can select specific audiences. This allows for a dynamic approach for moving certain users to the cloud. For instance, I can make all of my support services staff use the default On-Premises storage and I can redirect my Sales users to the cloud to allow them to have easy access and Office Web Apps integration built in. This of course will include the new Yammer social integration features when they are released near the end of this year or early next year. OneDrive for business requires an additional license and early indicators seem to be anywhere from $2.50-$5.00 per user(?).

You can also redirect the Sites suite link. This will show users sites they follow for SPO only. They will no longer see any On-Premises sites that they are following. This is an all or nothing option as well.


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The content query web part allows your to apply a custom item style using XSL to view the information in a custom way. This item style shows a Calendar Event with a nice visual icon. Everything renders on a single line.



  1. Open SharePoint Designer.
  2. Open your site collection where you want to use this style.
  3. Click on All Files > Style Library > XSL Style Sheets.
  4. Check out the ItemStyle.xsl file
  5. At the end of the file, before the </xsl:stylesheet> tag copy and paste the item style below.
  6. You can now access this item style in you CWQP presentation style drop down

Note: You must enter the following field mappings in the template in for it to render properly.


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Sharing, a new concept in SharePoint 2013, allows users (who have the correct rights) to share the Site, List/Library or item/file with other users. However, the process and user experience is not always the same. It is important to understand the differences in each method. Especially for administrators/site owners, this can become a bit of a headache when trying to manage a governance strategy. So let’s get to it!

Here is a table of the possible ways you can
‘Share’ webs, libraries and items.

SharePoint Object: What type of object are we sharing? (Web, List,/Library, Item/File)
Share Button Location: Where the share action is invoked from./
Available Access: What level of access is available to be granted via the respective invoke method
Inheritance: Is inheritance broken?
Notes: Additional comments

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For me, one of the biggest questions I wanted answered was the future direction of forms in SharePoint. What will replace InfoPath and how do we begin this huge task of migrating and converting the 100 of forms and customized list forms that are out there. Unfortunately, Microsoft did not give real clear direction on the subject. In short, we will a couple tools by 2015 that will help customize list forms and provide forms to our users.
The first is FOSS, or Forms on Spreadsheets. These are simply spreadsheet based forms and surveys and only hold value for those types of applications. You can’t use the form to submit to a list etc so its viability and overall usage will be minimal. They also included information on basic Word fill-able forms and auto-filling data based on the document metadata.
The second, FOSL or Forms on SharePoint Lists. This is a new button on the ribbon next to the Customize in InfoPath button. This allows for basic form design in browser. It is nice that you don’t have to launch a new application to customize a form. However, due to this lightweight in-browser design, it looks like we will sacrifice advanced data connections and web service calls. Microsoft did mention that they plan on adding this into FOSL. FOSL will include basic CRUD operations within the tool bar. All of the form design is being made possible by MS Access.
Finally, there is no clear direction on how we will move our existing forms into the new fragmented model. But, InfoPath will be support until 2023 so I guess we don’t need to panic yet:)

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