Customising the Nav Bar & App Launcher in Office 365

A while back Microsoft announced the release of the App Launcher in Office 365, also lovingly christened the Waffle by many due to it’s resemblance to the popular food. In the last few weeks the Waffle has started to appear across Office 365 tenants providing a much cleaner way of navigating to the various bits of Office 365 you care about.

The new app launcher

However, even with this cool new capability, I miss the old Projects and OneDrive links that used to be on the Navigation Bar and often find myself cursing having to go over to the top left and clicking on what I want.

Where is everything?

This weekend, I discovered that MS had indeed catered for this situation and have given the user the ability to pin items to the Nav Bar instead of having to access them through the Waffle.

To pin an item to the toolbar, click on the Waffle.

Click on the Waffle

Hover on the item you want to pin and then click on the ellipses and choose ‘Pin to Nav Bar’

Pin to the nav bar

Low and behold the item will now be available on the Nav bar.

Pinned Project Online

If you change your mind or make a mistake, you can remove the item from the nav bar by repeating the above and choosing Unpin from Nav bar.

Unpin from App Launcher

You’ll also notice from the screenshot above that you can also choose to remove items from the App Launcher completely to customise the launcher to only show the things you care about. Never fear if you accidently do this, you can always re-add the item by clicking on My Apps in the bottom right hand corner of the launcher to open up all the items you can add to the launcher. The name is a little confusing at the moment, as the apps displayed are more items in the Office 365 service with additional apps from partners and ISV’s coming in the future. None of your SharePoint apps you may already have installed are visible in here.

My Apps

Finally to add the item back to the app launcher, however on the item your interested in, click on the ellipses displayed and click on ‘Pin to App Launcher’’

Pin to App Launcher

Happy customising your Office 365 and Project Online Smile

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Help shape Microsoft’s Ignite Conference

Ignite - Spark the future

I’ve posted before about how fantastic the Microsoft Project & SharePoint Conferences are, well a couple of months ago Microsoft announced that they were merging those two conferences along with Exchange, Lync, Office 365 and pretty much everything in between into a new conference called Microsoft Ignite.

The Microsoft Ignite team have been hard at it planning what the event will be and it looks to be a cracker, but in a break from usual conferences, the team at Ignite want to hear from the community at large as to what content they want to see in the conference and have put up a survey at http://ignite2015.eventpoint.com/survey/callfortopics to understand the kind of content you want to see.

The team are also holding a series of TweetJams on twitter to engage with the wider audience. If your not sure what a TweetJam is, you can read more here.  But essentially, a TweetJam is a public discussion on twitter where posts are marked with a hashtag to allow the discussion to be tracked. Typically they have a host and a hashtag to follow. You can read more about TweetJam’s  here.

ProjectTweetJam

However I wanted to call out the Project specific TweetJam which is happening on the 9th December, the details of which are below:

Date / Time

Location Local time Time zone UTC offset
Seattle (U.S.A. – Washington) Tuesday, 9 December 2014 at 9:00:00 AM PST UTC-8 hours
London (United Kingdom – England) Tuesday, 9 December 2014 at 5:00:00 PM GMT UTC
Melbourne (Australia – Victoria) Wednesday, 10 December 2014 at 4:00:00 AM AEDT UTC+11 hours
Corresponding UTC (GMT) Tuesday, 9 December 2014 at 17:00:00

The Hashtag to follow is #IgniteJam

The team would like feedback on the following during the TweetJam, so get thinking :)

  1. What’s one thing you’ve loved in a past event that you’d like to see included in Microsoft Ignite?
  2. How can we help showcase your community at Microsoft Ignite?
  3. What is your preferred way to engage with our engineering teams at the event?
  4. What specific sessions do you want to see?
  5. What have you seen done at ANY event you’ve attended, Microsoft or other, that we should consider doing at Microsoft Ignite?
  6. How interested are you in learning about other Microsoft products, such as Azure and Windows 10?
  7. What’s one “can’t miss” thing to do in Chicago?

Finally, if you haven’t already, registration for the Ignite conference is now open, I would recommend you taking a look at this landmark conference and move heaven and earth to get there.

The quiet removal of My Tasks

One of the big things to happen in Office 365 whilst I was ‘offline’ was a quiet announcement about the removal of the My Tasks capability on your My Site. In case you hadn’t seen it, the My Tasks capability rolls up all tasks that have been assigned to you across SharePoint sites into a single view in your My Site.  I’ve posted on it a few times before with the work management tag and it’s a great capability. What makes it even more powerful from the end users points of view is when you can link it up with Outlook and get all the tasks rolling through into OWA or your mobile device.

Back in September, MS quietly posted a support article announcing that the feature would be deprecated over at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2998445/en-us .

The support article highlights that the Tasks link has been removed from the About Me section of the User Profile page, but can be reinstated easily if you want it back. The support article goes onto state that the capability will remain there for a year before it is removed and considered unsupported.

The article goes onto mention that the Sync with Outlook option is also being removed in the future, but doesn’t make it clear if this is just for the My Site capability or for the whole of SharePoint Online.

‘If you’re currently syncing a SharePoint tasks list to Microsoft Outlook, tasks will continue to sync for approximately one year following this announcement. The personal Tasks page will also continue to be available for one year. After that time, this functionality will be removed and will no longer be available or supported.’

If your using SharePoint 2013 on premises, then none of this matters for now as neither of these changes impact on premises SharePoint farms. If your an Office 356 user, I would be wary of building solutions leveraging this capability in the short term and be on the lookout for inevitable replacement and migration plan in the coming months.

Project Online Improvements

Running an online service is a massive undertaking, especially when you consider something of the size of Office 365. Not only do you need to keep adding new capabilities to the service, but you need to balance this with maintaining the lowest possible Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) and ensuring the service is efficient and performant.

The Project engineering team have been hard at work over the last few months performance changes across the service including the Project Center, Creating and Publishing a project, Submitting a timesheet as well as general tweaks etc. over all the tiers of the service. I’m sure we’ll see some of the benefits of this  when the next on premises edition of Project Server comes out and we dig around Winking smile

The Project team posted over at blogs.office.com about these changes and a few more including increased limits for the number of projects in a PWA site (5000 up from 2000) and the number of PWA instances available to be added to a Project Online tenant (7 up from 3).

Sessions announced for the Microsoft Project Conference

In case you missed the announcement, the sessions for the Microsoft Project Conference have been released with some stellar speakers and sessions planned. If you’ve not registered yet, head on over to msprojectconference.com now and do so immediately. ;-)

Join over 1,200 Project Managers, Executives and Technology Professionals from different industries to learn about the powerful capabilities included in Microsoft Project and our project and portfolio management (PPM) solution, available on premises and in the cloud. Earn professional development units (PDUs) for attending! Nearly 100 sessions are now available at msprojectconference.com, and it’s time to start finding the content that’s best for YOU.

Once you’ve seen the world-class content we’ll be delivering at Project Conference, the next step is to register! Project Conference comes to Anaheim on February 2-5, so the time to act is NOW. Your next big project is coming up, and Project Conference is here to help.

I am looking forward to coming out to Anaheim and talking all things workflow and Project Server with you :)

Have your say.. SharePoint & Project Server App Development

Thanks to Jeremy Thake for the heads up, but I thought I would repost this here to alert some of the Project Server community that build apps for SharePoint and Project Server and read this blog.

Microsoft have launched a public UserVoice community to collaborate on feedback for the SharePoint app model moving forward. If you’re not familiar with UserVoice, it allows you to submit ideas and vote & comment on other user ideas.

Welcome to the Office Developer Platform UserVoice!

Let us know what you would like to see in future versions of the Apps for Office and SharePoint APIs and capabilities, MSDN documentation, code samples, and architecture guidance. This site is for suggestions and ideas.

There are already some great items up there, including a couple I have submitted.

 

Office App Development UserVoice Community

If you’re developing apps for SharePoint or Project Server, make sure you get involved and be heard.

Introducing Nintex Workflow for Office 365

Nintex Workflow for Office 365You couldn’t have helped but notice the blog has been a bit quiet recently. The reason is that I have been pretty busy in my day job at Nintex. Well, I am pleased to say I can finally reveal what I have been working on. This week we released Nintex Workflow for Office 365, a new product in the Nintex family that brings the power of Nintex Workflow to the Office 365 platform.

Nintex Workflow for Office 365 - Workflow Designer

Nintex Workflow for Office 365 allows you to build workflows for Office 365 directly from within the browser, providing full access to the new workflow manager as well as world of cloud services through the Nintex Store. What makes it even more impressive is that it’s all done in the new SharePoint app model.

Nintex Store

You can find out more by checking out nintex.com/workflowo365 or by heading over to the SharePoint store, installing the app in your Office 365 tenant and signing up for a trial.

Normal Project Server service will now resume :)