Chatter for SharePoint 1.4 – More New Features

Good evening everyone. I wanted to share with you the latest new features and some additional screenshots of the Chatter for SharePoint solution. Version 1.4 is shaping up to be one of the most significant updates to-date. I was just about finished with the scheduled updates for this version when an idea came to me in the shower (seriously. I have a lot of my ‘eureka’ moments in the shower for some reason).

As useful as the web part is – it’s still just a web part on a page. If you’re not on the page with the web part, you can’t use it. Since the purpose of this solution is to provide integration points from SharePoint to Chatter, I’ve come up with a new one: a way for the feed to be accessible from any page without any additional configuration. I’ve achieved this with the addition of a custom web part page and a custom action in the user-control:

Users can now click on the user-control at the top of the page and choose ‘Chatter Feed’ to instantly collaborate on Chatter:

A new modal window will appear with the Chatter Feed web part. This integration will allow for even greater collaboration as it doesn’t require users to be on a given page to view or post to their feeds.

In addition to the new Chatter Feed action, I’ve also added a new feed filter to the navigation: ‘To Me’. This filter will show feed items that are targeted to you.

Also squashed a number of bugs, including one big one where under certain conditions users would get an Access Denied message when opening the modal windows from the ribbon if they did not have read permissions on the root site.

I am hoping to have the new version ready by the end of the week – if time permits.

Thanks for all of the feedback!

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Replace the SharePoint 2010 Newsfeed with SalesForce Chatter

Hi Everyone – Just a quick ‘How-To’ article on replacing the SharePoint 2010 ‘My Newsfeed’ with SalesForce Chatter using Chatter for SharePoint. Why would you want to do this? Well (in my opinion) the newsfeed feature feels incomplete. You can’t have true threaded discussions in the feed – it is more a rollup of activities within SharePoint – and the frequency of the updates depends on how your timer jobs are configured. If you are using Chatter as your social platform and SharePoint for collaboration, the My Newsfeed page would be a great place to put the Chatter for SharePoint web part.

This change is really easy to do since the My Newsfeed page is just a web part page. Using your SharePoint Administrator account (one that has site collection admin rights to the My Site host), you can edit the newsfeed page, close (don’t delete) the ‘What’s New’ web part and add the Chatter for SharePoint web part to the top zone. If you haven’t already configured the web part previously you will need to do so now (or copy the app settings into your My Site web.config file). Once you have it configured, your users will be able to see the latest updates on Chatter any time they visit the My Newsfeed link:

Above: The modified My Newsfeed page. Note that the web part title bar is hidden (set to none in the web part properties).

Hope you found this tip useful. Thanks for using Chatter for SharePoint!

Chatter for SharePoint 2013: Screenshots

11/13/14 Update: Just a reminder that this is an older post and the screenshots are of the 1.x version of the product. The new 2.0 release is now available.

Hello all from sunny (yet chilly) Las Vegas! In town for the SharePoint 2012 Conference and looking forward to a great week of sessions and networking opportunities. Since the topic of this year’s conference is the new SharePoint 2013 I wanted to share with you the progress I’m making with the 2013 version of the Chatter for SharePoint solution. I was hoping to release this before the conference but I have some technical questions around the changes made to federated search that I hope to get answered this week.

So – here are some screenshots of the 2013 version in action:

Above: The Chatter for SharePoint 2013 web part on a Team Site. The web part honors the ‘Metro’ style of SharePoint 2013.

Above: The Chatter Ribbon Integration

Above: The ‘Share on SharePoint’ option now integrates with the social features of SharePoint 2013!

Above: Federated Results (Now called Result Sources in 2013)

As you can see I’m pretty close – just a few things to clean up and then I need to update the documentation. In addition to the 2013 support, the 2010 version will be getting some cosmetic improvements and fixes that I developed while working on the new version.

If you are at the conference this week – look me up by sending me a tweet to @MarcRDavis. Love to talk all-things-SharePoint. Keep checking back for more updates on Chatter for SharePoint 2013!

SalesForce Chatter Integration to SharePoint

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

Hi everyone – sorry it’s been awhile between posts but got really busy at the end of the year. This article continues my series on SunGard’s corporate Intranet and the custom development we’ve done. As we were designing the branding we had some challenges around where to put some of the native controls and ribbon elements – especially two in particular: ‘Tags and Notes’, and ‘Like’. Since we effectively hid the ‘Browse’ tab, those default ribbon icons were MIA – but we didn’t want to lose that functionality. Another tab in the ribbon seemed the most logical place, and would serve as way to integrate other social aspects into SharePoint.

Being new to working with the SharePoint Ribbon, I looked on the net for examples – and found a great one on CodePlex: http://socialsharepoint.codeplex.com/ . This project helped me create the new ‘Share’ tab on our intranet and relocate the ‘Tags and Notes’ and ‘Like’ buttons. The tab also contains other sharing options, like ‘Email’, ‘RSS’, and ‘SalesForce Chatter’.

Above: The Share tab open on the ribbon.

When SunGard standardized on Chatter as their social platform, the focus became integrating Chatter into SharePoint as seamlessly as possible. We’ve approached this process in stages. The first stage was basic integration – common authentication, status updates, and shaing pages, documents, and list items. The first phase was achieved with the Share on Chatter feature in the ribbon, and a custom web part for posting status updates (detailed later in this post).

Above: Clicking on the Chatter ribbon icon opens a modal window with the selected page, item, or document as an embedded link. Users can add comments and share the item on Chatter.

The Ribbon enhancement and the web part use OAuth and the Chatter REST APIs to communicate with SalesForce. The user’s token and secrets are stored in hidden fields within their profile. Once they authorize the KnowHow Application on Chatter once, they can use any of the Chatter integration features we design.

Users can also post status updates simultaneously to both SharePoint and Chatter by means of our Status Update Web Part:

This web part is placed in everyone’s Sidebar (see: https://marcrdavis.wordpress.com/2011/09/27/persistent-personalized-content-in-sharepoint/ for details on the Sidebar) making it quick and easy to post updates. The user’s posts are sent to their SharePoint profile as well as posted on their Chatter feed.

The second stage, which is underway now, involves bringing the many different feeds in Chatter directly into SharePoint. Doing this has proved challenging, since only this weekend has the Chatter v24 API been rolled out in our Org. Our Feed web part will leverage the above common authentication and will allow site owners to place feeds directly on their sites. The web part uses the REST API to pull down feed data as a JSON array (http://json.codeplex.com/) and then parses that data into feed-items and their components. Then, with some CSS and markup, we format that data into a wall view. Properties in the web part control what feed is shown (personal, company, or group) and options for supplying default credentials for Chatter, which can be used to authenticate users that do not have a Chatter profile or have not authorized the site on their profile yet. In that mode, all feeds are read-only. The web part also leverages Ajax to provide dynamic updating of the feeds without the need to repost the entire page

Our Status Update web part will then get an overhaul – adding the user’s personal feed view right in their Sidebar.

I personally would have loved to see true threaded discussions, micro-blogging, and a wall-like interface in SharePoint natively (maybe v15) – would have saved me a lot of work. But we’ve been able to do some really cool things with these two platforms and while getting them to place nice is a challenge, our end users really enjoy the experience and this helps us drive more traffic to SharePoint now that they can seamlessly collaborate on our external social platform.

Up next – our take on Exchange and Outlook integration with SharePoint.