Microsoft Ignite has come and gone. You’d think the news cycle would have put a pause on the development and deployment cycles… well, in a word: No. The SharePoint, OneDrive, and Lists teams did have a lot of news to share AND they released numerous features and updates. The ol’ one-two punch of the good kind.
November 2021 brought some great new offerings: Microsoft Viva GA, private drafts for SharePoint news and pages, Embed web part for SharePoint spaces, SharePoint Framework (SPFx) v1.13, SharePoint admin center: Manage channel sites, Microsoft Lists: Fast and offline, updated site creation experience, Microsoft Feedback for OneDrive and SharePoint, and more – plus new disclosures from Microsoft Ignite. Details and screenshots below, including our audible, “wintery” companion: The Intrazone Roadmap Pitstop: November 2021 podcast episode – all to help answer, “What’s rolling out now for SharePoint and related technologies into Microsoft 365?”
The Intrazone by Microsoft
In the above podcast episode, I chat with Andrey Esipov, principal program manager on the SharePoint team working on Microsoft Lists: Fast and offline, which includes performance and limit improvements. Andrey and team celebrate the Lists offline General Availability (GA). He shares details about ‘Project Nucleus’ – aka, the combination of Progressive Web App (PWA) technology with the new Microsoft.SharePoint.exe component – all to enhance your local desktop information tracking experience.
All features listed below began rolling out to Targeted Release customers in Microsoft 365 as of November 2021 (possibly early December 2021).
Inform and engage with dynamic employee experiences
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Viva GA news from Ignite (Nov. 2nd, 2021)
We are excited to announce that all four Viva modules —Viva Connections, Viva Insights, Viva Topics, and Viva Learning—are now generally available and with the purchase of just one plan, the new Viva suite, you have access to all of them. We also announced new capabilities and partnerships for each module and a centralized IT admin experience.
In the coming year, the Viva suite will provide access to a new module powered by the recent acquisition of Ally.io, a leading objectives and key results (OKR) company, to help people and teams build alignment and achieve better business outcomes.
Feature highlights from this GA moment:
- Viva Insights: New manager insights and tools, and a new effective meetings experience
- Viva Topics: Integrating Viva Topics into Outlook, Yammer, Bing, and people profile cards. Available by the end of 2021, plus more ways for topic managers to oversee knowledge at scale, including automatic grouping of related topics into segments, usage analytics, and a streamlined topic center.
- Viva Learning: See assignments from integrated Learning Management Systems to easily stay up to date on required learning. And search across all the learning sources
- Viva Connections: previous GA brought a streamlined setup for Connections in Teams, new mobile experiences, and newly released capabilities for extending the feed and dashboard components; more on that when we cover the SharePoint Framework v1.13 update.
It’s an exciting time for employee experiences – across web, desktop and mobile design – for hybrid work and the wellbeing of individuals.
Private drafts for SharePoint pages and news
This new feature allows you to create private drafts for pages and news articles. Authors of SharePoint pages and news will be able to create private drafts. When a private draft is created, only the creator and site admins can see the page (including from within the Pages library). The creator can then share the private draft with other people to allow them to access and edit the page.
This is a great way to collaborate in private before you communicate across your broader domain.
SharePoint spaces has a new Embed web part
You’ll be able to insert HTML pages as web parts in a SharePoint space. Space viewers will see a thumbnail image in the 3D space that can be viewed as a fully functional HTML overlay when selected.
This will allow you to add content such as:
- Microsoft Forms
- The PowerPoint embed viewer
- SharePoint pages
- And Power Apps
SharePoint Framework v1.13
This gives developers the ability to build engaging experiences for Connections + improvements and fixes for Microsoft Teams and SharePoint development. In v1.13, you’ll find, the general availability of Adaptive Card Extensions – applicable to Connections desktop and mobile, support for version 1.10 of Teams JS client SDK, support for version 3.9 of TypeScript, support for version 2.9 of the Adaptive Card SDK, the release of image rendering APIs, and more.
We also published a new Microsoft Learning Path called Extend Microsoft Viva Connections designed to highlight the various opportunities.
SharePoint admin center: Teams channel site management
With growing adoption of Microsoft Teams and channels, we heard your feedback to simplify management of the Teams and Channel connected team sites. So now, when I go to a teams-connected site in SharePoint admin center, I can see all corresponding channel sites and ensure that right optional security policies are inherited from the parent site.
This update makes it a lot easier and more organized when you’re working in the SharePoint admin center Sites tab.
Teamwork updates across SharePoint team sites, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams
Microsoft 365 is designed to be a universal toolkit for teamwork – to give you the right tools for the right task, along with common services to help you seamlessly work across applications. SharePoint is the intelligent content service that powers teamwork – to better collaborate on proposals, projects, and campaigns throughout your organization – with integration across Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, Yammer, Stream, Planner and much more.
Microsoft Lists: Sync your lists for improved performance and offline access
Lists sync lets you work on your lists offline, improves performance on all kinds of networks, and helps alleviate list throttling. Common operations on lists, such as changing list views, sorting, filtering, and grouping will happen locally and finish quickly even on very large lists. All these operations will continue to work when you are offline or lose your Internet connection. Once reconnected to the Internet, your edits upload from your device to the cloud and you can resolve merge conflicts, if there are any.
Lists sync is on by default for all eligible lists and users will have the option to stop syncing any list. We’re pleased to announce that we’ve reached general availability with this exciting new functionality. This is a huge milestone for the team and product, and we think you’re going to love the overall user experience improvements.
Updates to the site creation experience
The goal is to make it easier for site creators to select the right type of SharePoint site, understand roles, and site permissions. You’ll see refreshed graphics, expanded site descriptions, and additional context for different permission levels in the Site permissions panel. It also helps understand the differences between a communication site and a team site.
- Roadmap ID 85683.
- Learn more:
New Microsoft Feedback portal – now available for OneDrive and SharePoint ideas
Over the years, we have enjoyed getting your feedback through SharePoint UserVoice. The team has been hard at work on the replacement solution, one that carries forward past submissions and evolves for feedback going forward.
Introducing Microsoft Feedback (Preview) – a portal ready for your feature ideas and feedback for OneDrive and SharePoint. The Feedback portal allows people to submit their own feedback, browse other ideas, track official Microsoft responses, view top voted customer ideas, upvote the feedback they agree with, and comment on ideas throughout.
We created short aka links to use any time the lightbulb idea machine in your head goes off. Our primary goal is to advance the development of our products and services, guided by your input – your Feedback if you will:
FYI | The portal itself is built on Dynamics 365 Customer Service and is a central location for numerous Microsoft products. You can give feedback for Teams, SharePoint, OneDrive, Yammer, Microsoft Stream, Microsoft Viva, and more.
Custom Backgrounds are now on Microsoft Teams for Android
We know you love custom backgrounds and blur on iOS, desktop and web, and we are excited to share that those same features are now available for Android mobile devices. If you want to change what appears behind you in your video meetings or calls, you can either blur your background, replace it entirely with any image you want, or use a Teams virtual background template.
Office.com, and the Office mobile and desktop apps, infuse intelligence into the overall content experience so you can stay on top of things, get access to all your tools, and quickly act without leaving your workflow. Office.com helps you start your day or as you get back to your work. You can also launch an app, like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or Microsoft Teams, use Search to look for Apps, Files, People, and Sites – and more.
The new features include:
- “Recommended actions” to join your next meeting, complete a To Do task, or reply to a comment you were at-mentioned in.
- View an infinite list of your content to see all the things on which you’ve been working.
- Browse by people and meetings. The people view is great if you know who shared a file with you, but don’t recall the name of the file. And when you browse by meetings, you see a history of your meetings and all the related content.
- New create experience behind the plus sign to start creating. You can start from a template or by the type of content. The new Create goes beyond common Office files; you can start a Form, a list, or post for Yammer. You can create files using templates, even company-branded templates, and more.
Generate captions on-demand for Stream videos stored in SharePoint and OneDrive locations
If you don’t not have a transcript, and have edit permission to a video, you will be able to use the Transcript and captions setting within the player to generate captions in English. Once the transcript has been generated, the user can refresh the page to see the file and turn on Transcript and captions to display the file as closed captions for their video. Users will also be able to delete the caption file. Any viewer will be able to enable captions during playback via the Closed Captions button.
This is an important feature for video viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing, have different language proficiencies, or are just listening in from a noisy environment.
December 2021 teasers
Psst, still here? Still scrolling the page looking for more roadmap goodness? If so, here is a few teasers of what’s to come to production next month…
- Teaser #1: Microsoft Lists: Modern Lookup columns [Roadmap ID: 82156]
- Teaser #2: Conversation search in Office.com and SharePoint [Roadmap ID: 68779]
… shhh, tell everyone – especially The Heat Miser.
Helpful, ongoing change management resources
Thanks for tuning in and/or reading this episode/blog of the Intrazone Roadmap Pitstop – November 2021. We are open to your feedback in comments below to hear how both the Roadmap Pitstop podcast episodes and blogs can be improved over time.
Engage with us. Ask those questions that haunt you. Push us where you want and need to get the best information and insights. We are here to put both our and your best change management foot forward.
Stay safe out there on the nearly-year-end road’map, and thanks for listening and reading.
Thanks for your time,
Mark Kashman – senior product manager (SharePoint/Lists) | Microsoft)