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December in M365

·11 mins

The holidays are here, and 2023 is coming to and end, and what a year it’s been! - I had a blast finishing off the year at ESPC in Amsterdam at the end of november, we’ll touch on some of the stuff from there in this post, but mostly we’ll focus on what’s going on in the M365 space headed into 2024. - Let’s get started!

SharePoint embedded

Repository services (RAAS), SharePoint/Microsoft Syntex Repository services, SharePoint Premium Repository services, or as it’s now called SharePoint Embedded, was announced to have entered public preview at ESPC.

Now if you’re scratching your head, and none of those names ring a bell, you’re not alone, this is a product that I’ve been highly excited about for the past year, but it’s not something that’ll change the world for end users.

Instead the focus here very much is on the dev side of the table, essentially what this is, is SharePoint without a user interface, so we as devs can get all the benefits of SharePoints file handling, from Co-authoring, Versioning, Permissions, Retention policies, and so on, but without any UI, so we can essentially build an app that looks just the way we want it to.

This is brilliant if you’re an ISV, building a solution that stores files, as you’ll now be able to store those files in your customers tenants, and not have to worry about who’s storing the data.

SharePoint Embedded

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OneDrive web app offline availability

For years now we’ve had the OneDrive sync client, that worked “fine”, but it always had the limitations of using explorer as it’s primary way of working with content.

Now with Microsofts push towards making OneDrive it’s “file explorer” for the web, the option to install the OneDrive Web app as an “offline” app just makes sense.

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Graph CLI v 1.0.0

If you’ve tried to call Graph from a command-line tool before, I’m sure you’ve run into either having to type the full url yourself, or only being able to call a small subset of endpoints, well no more, Microsoft has released a new CLI tool “Microsoft Graph CLI v1.0.0” - with the depreciation of more and more legacy APIs this is a very welcome change! - it’s just easier to test out new APIs via a CLI tool, than it is to write a full app only to realize that you can’t get the date they way you thought.

I’m also interested in seeing some of the automations that I’m sure the community will come up with, using this!

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WebDav deprecation in windows

I’m sure that title means nothing to 95% of you, but it might still be worth paying attention, if you’re accessing SharePoint in your file explorer, and you’re not using the OneDrive sync client, there’s a good chance you’re using WebDav, it’s the tech behind the good old “Open in Explorer” button in SharePoint.

Now as of windows 11 23H2 this feature is going to be default disabled, and I’m guessing we’ll see it being completely gone within a few short years, it’s time to move to OneDrive sync!

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First party E-signatures

It’s been announced a while back that SharePoint Premium (Microsoft/SharePoint Syntex) would be getting DocuSign and Adobe sign integrations, which in and off it self was awesome, however what Microsoft recently announced is that they’ll be building a first party eSignature solution, while it’ll still be a Pay-As-You-Go service, having every thing first party is pretty neat! - and it should be available to US customers already, with the rest of the world following in 2024.

I kno I’m looking forward to trying this out!

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Deprecation of SharePoint add-ins

This is something that will inevitably affect a lot of enterprises, and I know loads of people will be very frustrated with it.

Microsoft has announced the retirement of the SharePoint Add-in model - now I would say that no one should’ve been building any add-ins in the past 5 years, and I’m pretty sure there are people at Microsoft who would agree with me on that statement.

However there are still a lot of add-ins out there, some might’ve been built in house years and years ago, others from ISVs who’re no longer around, now is the time to start planning how you’re going to be migrating off of them.

The timeline for this is as follows:

  • March 1st, 2024 - No new add-ins can be submitted to the store
  • July 1st, 2024 - No new add-ins can be installed from the store
  • November 1st, 2024 - Any new tenants created after this day will not have the ability to install add-ins
  • April 2nd, 2026 - All add-ins will stop working.

My only concern with this, which I’ve been fairly public about is the removal of Remote event Receivers (ReR), currently this is the only way to block list item creation at an API level, and it’s the only way to know instantly when an item has been created, Webhooks are the only alternative, but they’re not instant, they do have better error handling, so that’s a pros and cons situation.

Also there’s some features that can still only be done with ACS, such as updating certain aspects of user profiles … hopefully we’ll see Graph APIs, or the deprecation of user profiles before 2026.

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Updates to the authoring experience in SharePoint

All the way back in spring at M365 conf we saw a ton of cool announcements for what the future of SharePoint is going to look like, and now we’re starting to see some of those features roll out.

Some of the features that’ve started to roll out are the advanced image editor tool, and the new page templates, the ability to send news posts as an email.

And very soon we’ll start to see the Co-authoring experience, and Copilot in SharePoint as well! - and what I’m perhaps looking forward to the most is the brand center, and the overhaul of SharePoint page layouts as a whole, that would be coming very soon!

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Teams app test tool

If you’ve ever built a teams app, you’ll know that there’s a high amount of friction to get started, and to debug it, Microsoft has heard our cries, and has released a new tool to help us out!

The Teams app test tool is essentially a local version of teams, that you can use to test your apps, and debug them, it’s still fresh off the press, but it’s already looking very promising, I love the idea of being able to test my apps locally, and being able to test them without having permissions to install them in my tenant.

Now I’m just looking forward to the Teams Toolkit integration with this!

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Message extensions in Outlook goes GA

A while back MS announced a preview of a feature that would let you bring your teams message extensions into Outlook for things like link unfurling, that has now gone GA, and is available for everyone to use!

The idea being that when you paste a specific type of link you can render some custom UI, the same way that when you link someone to this blog post a preview of the post shows up, except with message extensions, these can be way more dynamic.

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Clipchamp premium

A while back Microsoft announced that we would have Clipchamp in M365, we’ve started to see that show up here and there, for instance in SharePoint document libraries, now Microsoft has pulled a classic Microsoft move, and announced that there will be a premium tier.

The things that’re going to be “locked down” are the ability to export videos in 4k, “brand kit” features that allows your company to create a “kit” of colors, fonts, and so on to use, some premium stock content, and some advanced analytics with stream.

So most people should be more than good with the free tier!

Initially the premium SKU will be priced at USD $5/month, but will increase to USD $7 after June 30th 2024. (as add-on to M365 licenses)

Honestly it seems reasonable enough to me, I’m sure the 4k export takes a lot of processing power on the back end, and stock content can get expensive.

It’ll also be available without Microsoft 365, the full prices are as follows:

Intro Price Regular Price
Clipchamp Premium (add-on to Microsoft 365) $5 $7
Clipchamp Standard (standalone) $3 $3
Clipchamp Premium (standalone) $7 $10

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This is a small thing, but something that’s been a long time coming, and something that I’m very happy to see!

In SharePoint it used to be that our Permission Scope what Sites.ReadWrite.All or Sites.Read.All, which meant that you would’ve access to the entire tenant, now about a year ago I wrote a blog posts on the Sites.Selected permission scope, which allowed you to scope down to a specific site, but it still gave you access to all the content on that site.

Now we’re going to be seeing even more granular permissions, which is something client are more and more focused on, and it’s awesome to see Microsoft moving in that direction.

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Archive teams channels

This is a feature that just makes sense! - how many times have you been in a team, had a channel that was no longer relevant? - but you didn’t want to delete it, because you might need some of the info in there later, well starting in January you’ll be able to archive channels.

I’ve not yet seen any info on what’s going to happen to things like the SharePoint folder that’s created for the channel, but I’m guessing it won’t be moved to a read-only state, so if you know your way around you might still be able to make edits.

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Viva Connections call APIs from built in designer

For a very long time now, the default Viva Connections Adaptive card designer has been very limited, in that it couldn’t access any data, just whatever JSON data you put in there, well that’s about to change!

With the updated designer you’ll be able to make call not only to SharePoint, but also Microsoft Graph, this means you’ll be able to fetch any data in your tenant! - unfortunately it’s still not possible to make several chained calls, but it’s a start! - maybe we’ll see the option to do that in the future, perhaps using Power Automate to fetch our data, and then calling that flow from the designer.

This is honestly something I had been wanting to make an SPFx sample for eventually, but never got around to, so I’m very happy to see Microsoft taking the default Adaptive card designer to the next level!

Note: you’ll need to enable this with a setting on tenant level using PowerShell

 Set-SPOTenant -IsDataAccessInCardDesignerEnabled $true

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Delve Retirement

If you’ve been around in this space for longer than I have, you might remember when delve was introduced, and the headaches it caused for a lot of people, who had no clue what governance was, and thought that if they just hid content it would be all good.

Well on december 16th 2024, Delve will be retired, I’m honestly split on this one, Delve is a great concept, but with the people card in M365 it’s not really needed anymore, and it’s not like it’s been getting any love from Microsoft in the past few years.

So I think I’m happy to see it go, I would rather see people move towards tools like Viva Engage for that “this is me” experience - especially with the new “personal timelines”.

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Changes to Power Query ATTENTION ADMINS

This is a important change, or well sorta, the important part is really just that you keep all your machines updated, but it’s still worth mentioning, because I know that there’s loads of people out there who might be running an old script or excel file on an old machine out there.

But starting March 11th, 2024, you’ll need to ensure that your machines that use Power Query have “Microsoft Edge WebView2 framework” installed, and that all your data sources support at least TLS 1.2.

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GPT-4 Turbo with Vision is now available on Azure OpenAI Service

The GPT-4 Turbo model with vision has now been released on Azure OpenAI service, this is a very powerful model, that we can use to do things such as OCR, and image captioning, price wise it’ll be more expensive than the GPT-3 model, but it’s also a lot more powerful.

Unfortunately it’s still locked down behind the preview wall, and you’ll need to request access to it, but it’s still very cool to see this being available on Azure!

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It feels like Microsoft is preparing for the age of AI by deprecating a lot of old tech, and I’m digging it, while it’s highly frustrating to see things like ReRs go away, it’s also good to know that that’ll lead to more resources available internally for future development of new features.

I’m personally really looking forward to what 2024 has to offer, and I’m sure we’ll see loads of cool AI stuff coming!

That’ll be the last blog post of the year from me, so happy holidays and a great new year to all of you out there, and I’ll see you in 2024! 🎉