Chatter for SharePoint – Updated Features

Hi everyone! I wanted to share with you the really awesome enhancements to the Chatter for SharePoint solution. Your feedback has been terrific and has helped make this solution even more useful. Version 1.0.0.6 will be posted shortly on the blog is now available! Get it right here. Existing users can retract and add the new solution to get all of the updated features.

So – what’s new?

SharePoint Ribbon Integration

You can now share pages, list items, and documents within SharePoint from the ribbon! For sharing pages, click on the ‘Page’ tab and you’ll see a Chatter icon in the ‘Share & Track’ grouping:

For Lists and Libraries, the Share on Chatter link will appear in the ‘Share & Track’ group in the Items/Documents ribbon:

When clicked, a modal window will appear with the selected object to share and a space for your comments:

And the result is visible in the Chatter feed:

Browsing within the Chatter Web Part

Prior to this version if you clicked on a user or group name within the feed window it would open a new browser session to SalesForce Chatter. Now, you can browse and post across groups and users within the web part!

A new breadcrumb trail shows your current feed location and gives you one-click access to the All Chatter feed. Also new is the ability to refresh the feed by clicking on the feed in the breadcrumb trail.

New Progress Animations

When you post or update feed items you now get progress indictors while the server is processing the request:

The animations will appear for the following actions: refreshing the feed, posts, like/unlike, and comments. The animations also appear relative to the item being updated – cool.

Web Application Settings

The solution now stores default properties in the web.config AppSettings. This was necessary to support the Ribbon Integration and allows any instance of the web part to use the configuration and license information so you have less to configure when adding the web part to other sites/pages.

Other Stuff

This version also includes a bunch of fixes and tweaks to the user interface, including:

  • Fixed issue where posting to group was being sent to the All Company feed
  • Fixed issue where jQuery undefined message would appear on some browsers
  • Fixed issue where posts on user feeds would appear with a group icon in the All Company feed
  • Fixed alert banner colors
  • Tweaked feed parent/actor display properties
  • Updated some help text and debug messages

Still in Progress

I am still working on the SharePoint Foundation version of the solution as well as Search integration — wanted to get the usability improvements done first. Look for these and more updates in a future release.

Thanks to everyone who contributed ideas – helps me make better solutions for you.

SalesForce Chatter Integration to SharePoint – Part 2

UPDATE: Click here to download the Chatter for SharePoint solution.

So we just finished the second phase of our SalesForce Chatter integration efforts – the displaying of feeds and basic wall-functionality: Posts, Comments, Groups, Tags, and Likes.

Here’s what it looks like:


I described the basic workings of the web part in an earlier article (https://marcrdavis.wordpress.com/2012/02/11/salesforce-chatter-integration-to-sharepoint/) so please check that out for the details. I think it worked out very well. We added the ability to cross-post to your SharePoint profile when updating Chatter, nice. We also added properties to control the number of feed items returned, the cache and refresh timeouts, and options to produce debugging information per-user so we can trace issues in production.

Users who have authorized our intranet on their Chatter profile get the full experience above – they can post, like (or unlike), and comment on items. If they have not done the authorization step yet (or it was revoked), then users will get a read-only view of the All Company feed (which is done by adding a SalesForce API-enabled account in the web part configuration). Read-Only users are invited to authorize the app so they can get the full experience:

Clicking the link starts the authorization process:

The biggest challenge we had with the design was the Chatter API rate-limit of 200 requests per user, per application, per hour. We had to get creative with caching so we would not run over the limit – especially for the read-only view.

The goal here was not to reproduce Chatter or all of the Chatter features – but rather bring the feed data and the basic social experience into our SharePoint Intranet. Links, hashtags, and attachments are redirected to a new browser window that opens to the full Chatter web application. SalesForce has been working on a version of this web part for some time – but it is still in beta and not widely available. The version we tested also had a requirement of SSL on the SharePoint front-end servers. Since we offload SSL on our load-balancers, we could not use their web part properly. Ours does use SSL to talk to SalesForce (so the feed is secure) but we don’t need to have SSL on the web applications. Our web part is also not encumbered by the SalesForce branding – so it fits in perfectly.

The next phase will continue to integrate the platforms further, with indexing Chatter so it can be returned in SharePoint search results. We may also look to embed the wall-experience in the user’s profile page.

That’s it for now – look for more on this soon. Be sure to look for my tweets and blog updates from the SharePoint Connections Conference in March. Take care.