Notes from PDC Session: Extending SharePoint Online


I took some notes, and augmented it with some of my own thoughts and information.


SharePoint Online provides:

Managed Services on the net
- No server deployment needed, just a few clicks to bring your instance up and running
- Unified admin center for online services
- Single sign on system, no federated active directory yet

Enterprise class Reliability
- Good uptime
- Anti virus

SharePoint online is available in two tastes: standard (hosted in the cloud) and dedicated (on premises)

Standard is most interesting I think: minimum of 5 seats, max 1TB storage.

On standard we have no custom code deployment, so we need to be inventive!

SharePoint Online is a subset of the standard SharePoint product (extensive slide on this in the slide deck, no access to that yet)

SharePoint online is for intranet, not for anonymous internet publishing.

$15 for the complete suite: Exchange, SharePoint, SharePoint, Office Live Meeting. Separate parts are a few dollars a piece.

Base os SharePoint Online is MOSS, but just a subset of functionality is available. Also just the usual suspect set of site templates is available: blank, team, wiki, blog, meeting.

SharePoint Online can be accessed through the Office apps, SharePoint designer and throuth the web services.

SharePoint Designer:
- No code WF
- Customize content types
- Design custom look and feel

- talk to the web services of SharePoint online.
- Uses authentication of current user accessing the page hosting the Silverlight control
- See for some discussion on getting a SharePoint web service call working

Data View Web Part:
- Consume data from a data source
    - Consume RSS feeds through http GET
    - Consume http data through HTTP GET/POST
    - Consume web services
    - ...
- Configure filter, order, paging etc.
- Select columns, rename columns,  ...
- Result is an XSLT file

This XSLT code can be modified at will. There are infinite formatting capabilities with XSLT. Also a set of powerful XSLT extension functions is available in the ddwrt namespace (See for a SharePoint 2003 article on this function set, see reflector for additional functions in the 2007 version;-)). See for writing XSLT extension functions when you are able to deploy code, so not for the online scenario; this was not possible on SharePoint 2003).

Note that the Data View Web Part can only be constructed with SharePoint designer.

InfoPath client: custom forms for workflows

Web services: Can be used from custom apps (command line, win forms, ...), but also from Silverlight to have functionality that is hosted in your SharePoint Online site itself.

You can also host custom web pages on your own server or in the cloud on Windows Azure (the new Microsoft cloud platform), and call SharePoint Online web services in the code behind of these pages.

What can't be done:
- No Farm wide configurations
- No Server side code
    - No custom web parts
    - No site definitions
    - No coded workflows
    - No features
    - No ...

There is still a lot that can be done, but that will be an adventure to find out exactly....


  • Hmm. I found it quite useful. You have a nice summary of the points I took away. I was not super familiar with SharePoint Online so perhaps that's the difference. Nice to see Silverlight options exist.

  • So-so. Something was not impressed.

  • James Hey David,Thanks for coming out to the event! Yeah, there are lots of ways you can do rich data anayltics, reporting and so on in SharePoint, so it really depends on what you're trying to accomplish.I know you can integrate your existing Crystal Reports into a SharePoint environment, but keep in mind you can also take more complex reports and start leveraging Silverlight as a way to display data in a more consumable, explorative manner.Let me know if you'd like some more resources and I'd be happy to provide them!James

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