My Post-Ignite 2016 Report – The State of SharePoint and Office 365

My Post-Ignite 2016 Report – The State of SharePoint and Office 365
A couple weeks ago Microsoft had their big Ignite 2016 Conference in Atlanta and I was fortunate to be able to attend with Rackspace. I’ll blame a pesky little hurricane for the delay in me getting my thoughts out on the event until now. That being said, I feel like the conference delivered on many of the promises that Microsoft made at the Future of SharePoint event from May 4th, 2016. The May event was really Microsoft’s coming out party for the rebirth of SharePoint, effectively bringing it back from being largely ignored. While much of Ignite 2016 was focused on Office 365 (and Azure of course) it was pleasing to see that SharePoint was a topic that was on a lot of peoples lips including Microsoft’s. Unlike the previous Ignite conference where everyone was asking “Is SharePoint dead?”, I heard over and over again “SharePoint is back!”. Beyond this, while attending Ignite and watching ...

SharePoint 2016: Home of Your New Intelligent Intranet

SharePoint 2016: Home of Your New Intelligent Intranet
Note: The following blog post comes from my original post on the Rackspace blog: Released today, SharePoint 2016 is a foundational release from Microsoft that builds on the success of its cloud based Office 365 offering, extending that power into on-premises dedicated SharePoint farms. This is the first version of SharePoint to be created by Microsoft with a “cloud first” mentality meaning that it shares a common codebase with Microsoft’s Office 365 SharePoint Online product. Many of the new SharePoint features showcased today will be in Office 365’s SharePoint Online product, where they can be tested at massive scale to First Release tenants. As those features are proven out online, Microsoft will work to bring certain of those features back to on-premises SharePoint as incremental feature packs that can be turned on or off by on-premises SharePoint administrators. This new update method ensures on-premises SharePoint will continue to evolve at a much quicker pace than ...

Starter Master Pages – SharePoint 2016

Starter Master Pages - SharePoint 2016
Well it’s that time again, a new version of SharePoint is about to be released for general availability, and with that I have some new starter master pages for you to use for custom branding! If you haven’t used my starter master pages in the past, the TLDR is that they can be used to apply custom UI / branding to SharePoint sites. They make the job easier than if you just start by editing one of the default Microsoft master pages because I have spaced and tabbed them out nicely, included readable comments for what I think each section does, and stripped out any of the extraneous styling and formatting needed to support the default SharePoint layout. If you HAVE used my starter master pages in the past, a few things have changed, most importantly I’m moving them to GitHub for this release and I’m hoping everyone in the community can help test ...

SharePoint Online Doc Lib UI Update April 2016 – Impact on Custom Branding? 6

SharePoint Online Doc Lib UI Update April 2016 - Impact on Custom Branding?
As many of you may be aware, Microsoft pushed out a UI update for Document Libraries in Office 365 SharePoint Online last week. Of course my first thought is to wonder how this impacts the custom branding story. Let’s find out together! Note: I have an obnoxious theme applied with Oslo master page just to put this through the paces… no commenting on how ugly it is! First let’s look at how the new update reveals itself in SPO. I assume you need to have First Release turned on in order to even see this: Check out that snazzy banner! It’s worth noting that if you have a custom master page installed you will need to have <div id=”pageStatusBar”></div> in said master page before you will see the banner. When you click “Check it out” you will be presented with a new modern UI experience with a new clean layout and the ability to switch on a ...

A Look at the PnP Responsive UI Package for SharePoint On-Premises 6

A Look at the PnP Responsive UI Package for SharePoint On-Premises
Earlier this week the SharePoint Patterns and Practices (PnP) group released the Responsive UI Package for SharePoint on-premises – an open source solution for using client side code to easily make the on-premise SharePoint 2013 and 2016 UI more responsive for mobile devices. This could be an important open source project as making SP more responsive is a very hot topic these days (I was actually pretty surprised they didn’t include more responsive UI out-of-the-box with the beta’s of SharePoint 2016… but I digress). One important aspect of this solution is that no Master Pages are harmed by applying it; everything happens with client side JS and CSS… this is “the new hotness” as far as Microsoft is concerned when it comes to customizing / branding SharePoint in a cloud first world. As someone that spends a lot of time working on responsive web design, but not a lot of time working with Powershell and the ...

What’s new for UI in the SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview

What's new for UI in the SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview
If you haven’t heard the news, this week Microsoft released the SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview bits for you to download and try out in your on premises farm. Readers of my blog are probably most interested to know how this update affects the UI and customization story for SharePoint. The good news is that at this point, SharePoint Server 2016 looks remarkably similar to an Office 365 SharePoint Online site. The biggest difference you will immediately notice is the Suite Bar or Ribbon at the top of SharePoint has evolved to a more modern look with the App Launcher, affectionately known as the “Waffle Menu” (I’m still waiting for my royalty checks for bringing waffles to SharePoint, but that’s another story). In fact, if you are used to customizing Office 365 master pages and CSS, you will notice that Seattle.master and CoreV15.css are identical between the SharePoint 2016 IT Preview and SharePoint Online. Of ...

Results: SharePoint Branding / Customization Survey

Results: SharePoint Branding / Customization Survey
A number of months ago I posted about a survey where I asked the community to rank common branding & UI customizations by how important they are to you and your customers. My free SurveyMonkey usage only allows me to see the first 100 of the 150 submissions but I have included a chart of the results below. Clearly jQuery is a biggie, but also not surprisingly a solution for changing color and layouts beyond themes / composed looks is a solid second place. It’s interesting to see a good cross section of the community and what ideas have floated to the top. Check out the results:  (Updated to include readable list since the chart cuts the text off) Add jQuery or Other Script Libraries Color & Layout Changes Beyond Themes / Composed Looks Add / Remove Links in the Suite Bar Custom Header Section Carousel / Rotator Hide Areas of the Default UI Jscript Manipulation ...

Our New Rebranded SharePoint Website:

Our New Rebranded SharePoint Website:
Over the past few months I’ve been working with a few of my coworkers to re-launch our public facing website for SharePoint at Rackspace. I’m happy to say it went live a couple weeks ago to coincide with the SPTechCon conference in Austin, TX! We spent a good bit of time giving the website a modern responsive face lift while also simplifying the structure of the site. Of course, being SharePoint nerds, we wanted to show off what you can do with just a good old SharePoint 2013 publishing site. Behind the scenes we didn’t use any custom code or anything like that, just typical SharePoint branding concepts like Master Pages, Page Layouts, CSS, jQuery, and some Content Search Web Parts / Display Templates. Please check it out when you get a chance at

Take the SharePoint Branding / UI Customization Survey 2

A couple weeks ago myself and some of the other SharePoint MVP’s that are focused on UI and branding were discussing what are the most common customizations that our customers frequently request. I thought it might be interesting to poll the larger community, so I made a simple 2 question SurveyMonkey poll that lets you rank common branding & UI customizations by how important they are to you and your customers. If you get a spare minute, we’d love for you to fill out the survey. Once there is enough data, I will post a summary of the results here on this blog. SharePoint Branding & UI Customizations Survey

The First Ever SharePoint MVP Reddit AMA – October 29th, 2014 1pm Eastern

We have done a few MVP chat’s before on other mediums including Twitter and Yammer, but we thought it would be fun to take our MVP chat concept over to Reddit (the self professed homepage of the internet) in the SharePoint subreddit /r/sharepoint. We’ve never tried this before on Reddit so we are hoping you all have lots of questions for us on Wednesday, Oct. 29th at 1pm Eastern. We should have about 14 SharePoint MVP’s participating in the AMA including: Randy Drisgill (me!) Wictor Wilen Andrew Connell Sahil Malik Cathy Dew Doug Ware Doug Hemminger John Ross Spencer Harbar Sean McNeill Gavin Barron Shane Young Eric Schupps Kris Wagner Microsoft MVP Lead Melissa Travers will be on hand to answer any questions pertaining to the MVP Award Program. Please feel free to tell the world (#spmvpchat) on Twitter, Facebook (even Ello?) to come to for the AMA! Also, here is my attempt at a shared ...