Hi Everyone. Less than a week has gone by since I officially announced the active development of Chatter for SharePoint Online. I am pleased to report that things are moving along faster than anticipated. I have the feed web part, authentication and the hosted code up and running. Still plenty to do but I wanted to share some initial screenshots of the progress:
Above: Screenshot of the web part running in SharePoint Online
Above: Close-up of the Feed Menu
About this App Info
Again – not done yet. Still have a lot of code to go through and test/update, a configuration script to write, additional features like Ribbon integration and Search to work on – plus all of the other bits that go into a finished product. I will be reaching out to select clients to help me test this app shortly. If you are willing and able to help me test – which includes providing feedback on usage, errors, performance, etc please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
Hi Everyone. A significant number of my customers have reached out to me over the last several months about my Chatter for SharePoint solution and getting a version for SharePoint Online. I have been reluctant in the past to do a complete rewrite of the solution to make it compatible with SharePoint Online for several reasons – including performance, capabilities, cost and the sheer effort of converting all of this code to the client-side object model that Microsoft enforces on the multi-tenant platform. However – things change.
With Salesforce discontinuing their SharePoint products and ThreeWill (the only other vendor besides myself in this space) cancelling their SharePoint Online compatible product I’ve sort of been left ‘holding the bag’, so to speak, for this niche market. And a quick thank you again to Salesforce and ThreeWill for voluntarily recommending my products and services – I appreciate that very much.
It’s clear that the future of SharePoint is in the cloud; and it has reached a certain maturity and awareness that it’s time to start playing in this space. So I am happy to announce that Chatter for SharePoint Online is officially under active development and, unless something unexpected happens, should be ready for release in Q4 of 2017.
Here are some initial details so as to set expectations properly:
- This version is based on the feature set of the on-prem version of Chatter for SharePoint 2.6 (the latest release as of this time)
- The on-prem product will continue to be developed and, where practical, features in one will be present in the other
- The solution will be a provider-hosted App; this allows me to reuse much of the existing code and the server-side performance gains – like caching (in this scenario – I am the provider; you will not need any infrastructure to run this app)
- The initial release will include the feed web part functionality only; no User Profile Service integration or things that were typically in the Enterprise feature set. Some features can’t be reproduced; others will be added later. I will expand on this as development progresses further.
- This solution will be offered as a subscription model – based on a user count. Subscriptions will include multiple environments (Sandbox, Production), support, maintenance and scheduled upgrades
- This will be compatible with all Chatter licenses – including Chatter Free
- Pricing and other details are in the works
I will be posting additional details of the development progress and the product’s capabilities in the coming weeks. If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment or contact me directly at email@example.com. Thank you!
Hi Everyone! I am pleased to announce the availability of Chatter for SharePoint 2.6. Please see the previous blog entries for details on features and changes. Existing customers should carefully review the Upgrade PDF included in this version for important prerequisites.
If you have any questions or issues with this version, please feel free to reach out to me either on the blog or via the support email account. Thank you!
Hi Everyone. Just a quick update on the progress of the next release of Chatter for SharePoint. In addition to the previously announced features and improvements I am adding the following:
Poll Creation Support
While the product has had support for answering polls for some time it has not had the ability to create them. Version 2.6 adds this ability. The Poll feed type can be selected from the action menu.
The feed panel will update to display a prompt for the Poll question and up to 10 answers. A minimum of 2 answers are necessary to create a Poll item.
Trending and Recommendations
I’ve also made improvements to the Trending panel – now called the Info Panel. The panel now displays both Trending and Recommendations with a vertical scroll so it saves space.
This should be it for changes. Still expecting version 2.6 to be released by the end of January.
Hi Everyone! Hope you all had a very nice holiday. I am back to work with even more improvements to Chatter for SharePoint and some answers to what is in store with Salesforce Spring ’17.
First the answers. I’ve been working with members of Saleforce’s product management and support teams regarding the changes in the platform and what to expect. Here is the situation as I now understand it:
- When the Chatter REST API was initially released it did not include support for Chatter Free users. This was the reason I researched and developed my Chatter Free solution based on the Chatter Desktop consumer key.
- Salesforce has since changed this policy; The Chatter Free license type can now use the REST API – provided the API-Enabled permission is set in the Chatter Profile.
- For reasons unknown at this time my primary development Org does not have the API-Enabled permission available for Chatter Free users; therefore I was not aware and could not test the changed access rights. I have setup a new development Org and it has all of the expected permissions and Chatter Free/Plus users are working using Connected Applications.
- Chatter Desktop (and any connections using its consumer key) will not be available to NEW Orgs created with Spring ’17 or later.
- Existing Orgs that have Chatter Desktop currently enabled will continue to function for the foreseeable future.
So what does this mean? I think we’re going to be ok. Since I no longer need to depend on the Chatter Desktop consumer key for Chatter Free users it greatly simplifies the configuration and support of all users. Some minor changes – which I will introduce in version 2.6 – will take care of things.
In a nutshell – if you are currently using my product and have Chatter Free users nothing needs to change for you. I will continue to support the Chatter Free mode (called Legacy in version 2.6) I designed until Salesforce disables the consumer key. You are also free to switch to any of the other Authorization Types now – including form, callback and the new user-agent mode – which uses the same ClickOnce app as Chatter Free but is based on a new Connected Application and not the Chatter Desktop consumer key. If you do switch modes your users will need to re-authorize – but that is a one-time process.
New customers will have the option of using any of the supported Authorization Types: form, callback or user-agent.
Besides the authorization changes above – version 2.6 has some new features and many improvements. The most significant new feature is the support for creating and responding to Question Feed Items:
Above: The updated Feed and Action menu; Post, Upload and Question feed types are now selectable.
Creating a Question Feed Item is as simple as selecting the option from the Feed/Action menu and asking your question:
Above: The Question post UI.
Questions can be answered and the best answer can be chosen and highlighted:
Above: A Question feed item with an accepted answer.
Here is the current change log; a few more updates may make it in before it is finalized:
- Adds support for creating and responding to Question feed items
- Updates to Authorization process; Now supports Form, Callback and User-Agent for All Chatter license types
- Chatter Free mode has been deprecated; Orgs created with Spring ’17 or later will not support the Chatter Free mode. They will support the other supported authorization types. Chatter Free mode has been renamed to Legacy and is only supported on older orgs
- Fixes issue where certain prompts where not pulling localized text from RESX files
- Fixed issue where some system messages (like group creation) would not be rendered properly by the web part
- Updated wait animations
- Removed redundant code in web part source
- Improvements to the PrepareSharePoint and EasySetup utilities
- Bug fixes and code improvements
As always if you have any questions please feel free to contact me at any time. Version 2.6 is scheduled to be released before the end of January. Thanks to the folks at Salesforce for working with me on the API and authentication questions.
Hi Everyone! Salesforce has announced the upcoming retirement of their Chatter for SharePoint (C4SP) solution in the Summer ’17 release. In the announcement they provide guidance to customers on timing and how to determine if they are affected by the change. I was quite excited (and flattered) to read that they are recommending customers switch to my Chatter for SharePoint solution!
From KB 000239793:
“The recommended replacement is SharePointAdept Chatter for SharePoint; Customers using Chatter for SharePoint need to transition to using SharePointAdept Chatter for SharePoint or build a custom integration with the Chatter public API.”
The full KB article can be found here: https://help.salesforce.com/articleView?id=000239793&language=en_US&type=1
Obviously I am very grateful to Salesforce for acknowledging my product and recommending it to their customers as an option for maintaining this functionality. I would encourage all existing C4SP users to evaluate my offerings and get back to me with any questions or concerns.
I would like to assure any prospects and my current customer base that my solution is still being actively maintained and will be for the foreseeable future.
Click here for more details on Chatter for SharePoint.
UPDATE 1/25/2017: I have obtained the answers I needed from Salesforce. Details can be found in my announcement here: https://sharepointadept.com/2017/01/08/on-deck-chatter-for-sharepoint-2-6/
I wanted to get as much information and clarification as I could from Salesforce before I made any statement regarding a possible change in the product.
Here is what I know:
Salesforce has made the decision to discontinue their Chatter Desktop and Mobile client applications. Existing orgs created BEFORE Spring ’17 can continue to use these products – but without support. Orgs created with Spring ’17 or later will not be able to use the Chatter Desktop or Mobile client applications.
What does this mean?
The Chatter Free compatibility mode in my Chatter for SharePoint product uses the same API access as the Chatter Desktop/Mobile products. Based on the public release notes and my conversations with Salesforce – existing customers with org’s created before the release of Spring ’17 will continue to function normally for the foreseeable future.
New Salesforce customers or existing customers that create a new Org with Spring ’17 or later will NOT be able to use my product if they have Chatter Free users.
Salesforce has not released any information yet regarding replacement client products compatible with Spring ’17. And until they do – or until we see what Spring ’17 has to offer – I cannot make any claims or promises regarding the compatibility of my product when used with Chatter Free users.
This issue applies only to Chatter Free users and orgs created with Spring ’17 or later – if you have Chatter Plus licensed users (or if your org was created before Spring ’17) then (to the best of my knowledge) the product will continue to function normally.
What I am doing:
I am continuing to communicate with Salesforce and the SF community on this change to determine how I can continue to offer a product that supports all Chatter license types. I will be posting additional information on my blog as I know more. If you have any questions I will do my best to answer them.
Hi Everyone! The next major release of the Enhanced Document Upload solution is nearly ready. In a few weeks I will be sending invites out to select customers to help me beta test the new version and then we will quickly get it out to the masses. The key new feature in this version is support for Content Types. When uploading documents to a library with content types enabled users will have the option of using the default content-type and setting common properties that each item will inherit – or to use the new Enhanced Editor which will give users granular control of setting the content-type and properties for each item uploaded.
Above: Files uploaded to a library with multiple content-types will cause SharePoint to prompt for how to handle the files. Choosing ‘Use Default Content Type’ will cause the editor to use the default content type on the library for each item – and each item will share the same metadata that is entered. If you choose ‘Select Each Content Type’ then the app will load the selected items into the new Enhanced Editor – where you can select the content type and properties for each item. Each item is processed individually and checked in automatically.
Above: The new Enhanced Editor. The grid at the top lists all of the uploaded items. It will automatically advance through the items as you save them; or you can select files from the grid to work on in any order you like. The selected item’s properties are shown below the grid. In this mode you work with individual items – each can have its own unique properties. Click Finish when you are done editing.
List of improvements in this release
- Support for Content Types
- New Enhanced Editor for managing multiple content-type uploads
- Improved support for single-item editing
- New licensing scheme – no more editing web.config files
- Many other bug fixes and UI tweaks
- SharePoint 2010, 2013 and 2016
Licensing and Pricing Changes
This version has represented a significant amount of effort and resources to bring to completion. As some of you may remember I previously made version 2.x available to all of the existing 1.x customers at no charge. Unfortunately that won’t be the case here. The retail price of the 3.x solution is moving from $299 to $499. Existing customers can upgrade from 2.x to 3.x for $99 per farm. As always – these licenses are per-farm; there are no per-user or per-frontend licenses to worry about. If there are any questions about the licensing or the new version – please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Look for additional updates soon. Thank you!
Hi Everyone. Wanted to make my customers aware of a security change that Salesforce is beginning to phase-in that will impact the Chatter for SharePoint product. Effective March 4, 2017, Salesforce will remove support for TLS 1.0 protocol encryption (Sandboxes will be updated on June 25, 2016). Chatter for SharePoint currently uses TLS 1.0 to communicate with the Salesforce Chatter API. An update will be required to continue using the products after the TLS changes are implemented.
- Chatter For SharePoint 2010 (All versions prior to 126.96.36.199)
- Chatter for SharePoint 2013/2016 (All versions prior to 188.8.131.52)
While both versions require an update to support TLS 1.1/1.2, the 2010 version will require additional changes due to lack of support for TLS 1.1 or higher in the .NET Framework version supported by SharePoint 2010. I expect both versions to be updated and supporting the newer protocol encryptions shortly.
For additional information about this change – please see the following article from Salesforce: https://help.salesforce.com/apex/HTViewSolution?id=000221207
If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me. Thank you!
Hi Everyone – Happy New Year! It was a busy end-of-year with a lot of companies coming on-board with Chatter for SharePoint – so a big thank you all of you who have chosen my product to enhance your SharePoint collaboration platform.
The next release of Chatter for SharePoint is version 2.4 and it contains the usual bug fixes and improvements. Once significant update is around Comments. Prior to 2.4, only the first 3 comments would be displayed in the web part – with a link to take you into Salesforce to see the rest. I received feedback that this was not an ideal experience so I am pleased to announce that version 2.4 now includes the ability to see all comments in the web part.
Other fixes/improvements were around the authorization process to address a few scenarios. I’ve also added some new configuration parameters to hide some UI elements.
The full list of changes is below:
- Includes changes to how ‘More Comments’ are handled. Prior to 2.4 if a post had more than 3 comments, the ‘View More Comments’ link would take you into the Salesforce Chatter UI to see the remainder; now the additional comments will load into the web part.
- Fixes an issue where the returnURL for the ClickOnce Authorizer would not include the full relative path
- Fixes an issue where the ClickOnce Authorizer would attempt to download on non-Windows devices
- Fixes an issue with Forms-Based authentication and the acceptable-use acceptance page
- Added optional UI settings to hide/disable web part functionality
Version 2.4 will be released on or before January 14th.
Right on the heels of that update I am already working on version 2.5 – which will include (among other things) a significant change to the configuration storage. Version 2.5 will move the solution configuration parameters from the web.config file(s) to a Configuration List in SharePoint itself. This will dramatically improve the initial setup process and make it much easier to manage the settings – especially in very large farms.
And finally – Office 365/SharePoint Online. I continue to hear from potential customers how they would like to use my solution – but they have O365. I’ve looked at the possibility of building an O365 compatible solution several times and ruled it out for various reasons. I’ve decided to take a fresh look at it. While it will not be as full-featured as the on-prem solution I think I can offer the basic feed web part functionality in O365. Stay tuned for more on that soon.