Microsoft recently rollout the great new Communication sites in Office 365, to me this is one Great Innovation, make my work a lot easier.
Most of us who want to use this as a new Intranet site in O365 will face a couple of challenges, I’m trying to work through some of the most common scenarios, please feel free to give me feedback in comments section:
2. Use #ComsiteTemplate as Root site collection
3. Rollup corporate news across other #ComsiteCollections
My view on branding is simple, do you really need it?
In the past SharePoint wasn’t mobile friendly and there was a lot of challenges with the complexity in UX, but with the new #comsites and the innovation with the “modern” layouts we’ve got mobile friendly sites out of the box and a beautiful UX. The user experience in SPO is now a lot more user friendly, it have some flaws but things are a lot easier for end-users.
For me the need to use hundreds of hours on branding, custom masterpages, custom scripts, custom page layouts is simply not there anymore.
I’ll recommend most of my customers in O365 to spend those resource’s on collaboration and productivity tools, like user adoption, business workflows and forms.
Use #ComsiteTemplate as Root site collection
I simply don’t know why Microsoft hasn’t make this an option out of the box, but I’ve found a way around too remedy that in another post here, beware that this is MY work around, I haven’t see any issues yet. And as far as I know, it’s just a SharePoint site template so it shouldn’t be a problem.
Rollup corporate news across other #ComsiteCollections
This is not entirely a work around, more like a big guide on how to use SharePoint.
Many of my customer are Enterprises with offices across many countries, we’ll like news to flow from Head Office to Regional Offices and offcourse from the Regional Offices to flow to Head Office.
Currently we don’t have an official support from Microsoft just yet, but again it’s just SharePoint, the foundation is there, it’s just a matter of making the “Lego’s in SharePoint” work the way we need it to work.
What we’ll need
– A custom news content type base on “Site Pages” | this will allow us to add custom metadata to the news
– A custom metadata column “News Category”
– A custom managed property of the above column in the search schema | this will allow us to filter the rollup result to display news from the category we want
– Some news, then rollup using “Highlighted Content” webparts
Create a new custom content type in O365 Content type hub
In SharePoint Online we have a hidden site collection that default created when signing up:
This SC works as an on-premises content type hub, and is provisioned by the SharePoint Online multi-tenant setup, if you’ve done SharePoint on-premise multi-tenant setup of SharePoint you’ll know.
In the content type hub, navigate to Site Settings | Site Content type | create a new content type based on the “Site Page” content Type
After it’s created, I’ll like to add custom metadata to the content type, to better categorise news. Create a new site column based on “managed metadata” type, with the term set below:
The new metadata column should be connected to your “news” content type | you can now publish the content type
After the content type has been successfully published navigate to your #comsite | site content | Site Pages | library settings | add an existing content type | add your news content type
Now create a new news page then publish it
Currently we don’t have the possibility to “tag” a page directly in edit mode, this means that we need to navigate back to the pages library in order to adjust the metadata.
Remember to publish the page after you have added the metadata, otherwise SPO search will not index the change.
Now navigate to your other #comsite | https://tenant.sharepoint.com/sites/Marketing/SitePages/Home.aspx
Repeat the process to add the “news page” content type to the pages library | then publish some news
After you have done this, be patience, because we cannot control the index in Office 365, in my dev environment for everything to be indexed and ready took almost two week.
I really don’t know why, but it might be because of the #Comsites are still not GA, might be some issue with SPO index. I just don’t know, and SPO support don’t know either.
Now navigate to SPO search admin | Managed Properties
We want to map one of the available string managed properties in SPO with the crawled property of our custom metadata column.
After this perform a quick search to verify that the SPO index is correct: RefinableString00:”corporate”
Now navigate to the page where we need this pages to rollup | add the “Highlighted content” webpart | configure as below
After all that work, this is what you can expect, no development needed it’s just SharePoint.
I really love the things the @SharePoint team is doing recently.. thank you @SharePoint!