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The Community SPFx generator – The ideas, the patterns and possibilities

I am pretty excited that finally the first version of the open source community driven SPFx generator has been released last Thursday and publicly announced and is part of the SharePoint / Office 365 Pattern and Practices Personally, for me, it was a great journey to bring this to life in collaboration with Microsoft engineering.

It was a longer journey than expected but there were some considerations and decisions to make to have a solid fundament for future improvements and to allow fast and easy integrations.

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CSS Variables support for SPFx projects through spfx-uifabric-themes

It has been a while since I release the last version of my spfx-uifabric-themes npm package to make it easier to handle theming in SPFx projects.

New Release spfx-uifabric-themes

New Release spfx-uifabric-themes

I’m proud to present now a new version that supports theming through CSS variables instead of SASS variables. If you hear this the first time, let me give you a short introduction on that.

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A smart stupid web part consumes a third party API through Azure Functions – Part 3

The second blog post in this series was pretty long. This time I keep it way shorter. This time I focus more on the user experience and the ideas behind the final web part that consumes the third party API. Like I promised the web part code itself contains only a single REST query against my Azure Function and that’s it.

Let’s first take at the typical behaviour of the first party video web part available on Office 365.

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How to change the modern theme on classic sites without PowerShell

Once a wise man cited a wiser woman with the following statement:

“My mom always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. – Forest Gump”.

This quote can be applied to SharePoint in Office 365 nowadays too. When you have a provisioned classic site or even a modern site, then you never know what primary colour you get as your default theme.

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How to define default header image for Events in Communication Site and a user story

Not every one of our users works in marketing or is an expert in storytelling. Storytelling is a skill for the future, but like every skill, it doesn’t come overnight and requires training. I assume, like for many of my customers, have problems to find an appropriate image for the header.

On the other hand, to communicate what is happening around you is beneficial for the rest of the company too. Let me show you a use case why you use default images for events in communication sites first and how to solve this on this kind of site templates.

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AI-driven Accessibility helper for images in SharePoint Online

Recently a new feature has been added to the authoring process in SharePoint online. This new feature helps you to define appropriate alternative text descriptions for your images on pages. In general to specify alternative text for images is possible the first time in SharePoint history. Previously only the title of an image could be defined.

When a new image gets inserted on a page, the image gets analysed by a background service, which assumes the content of the image and returns an appropriate description. Through the help of pattern recognition and artificial intelligence, the returned values are pretty accurate, at least with the pictures I tested this feature so far.

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Extend the SharePoint generator to your needs?

Whenever you start a new SharePoint project, you might depend on external libraries. These libraries are maybe small helper tools such as jQuery or maybe like to go beyond KnockOut or React. Let’s say you want to use Handlebars, VueJS or perhaps Angular 1.x. Everything you perform the same setup steps in the same order. In my case, I start most new projects using Handlebars. Luckily I wrote my documentation to make the configurations pretty smoothly. To be honest, it is proper training but on the other hand a complete waste of time. Why not automate my personal preferences and start a new project from scratch with my settings already applied. This article takes a look at why you might consider writing your own SharePoint generator in future. [Read more]