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List View Auto-Indexing – This SharePoint 2016 feature is available in SharePoint Online

It’s Sunday evening and I’m working late, so I’m not sure…
But how long has this option been around in the SharePoint Online ‘List Advanced Settings’?


Allow automatic management of indices


A part of me has the idea it has been there for a while, but running a Google search on this feature doesn’t return any results.
Anyway, I guess it can be useful to do a short post on it.

Why is this feature important?

SharePoint lists have never been designed to replace database tables. But SharePoint solutions grow and the result can be that you get into trouble by hitting the SharePoint 5000 list view threshold. When your company is running you’re own SharePoint Server farm, you could try to be nice to the IT Pro guys and ask to set a higher limit (like 10k items), but with SharePoint Online this isn’t possible. Setting a higher limit will Always have a negative influence on server performance, and so it’s understandable that Microsoft doesn’t want to set higher numbers.

Bill Baer (Microsoft Senior Product Manager for SharePoint) wrote a blogpost last week about “Navigating List View Thresholds in SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview”. In this post he describes the inner workings of this feature. Basically there is a new timer job that will hunt for Lists that exceed 2500 items and when it find a list that has a view definition that could benefit from setting a index on a column, it will automatically created this index.

For example, if a view includes a filter for “WHERE A=1 AND B=2”, the Timer Job will create an index on either column A or column B. The specific choice depends on the other view definitions in the list, with the goal of minimizing the number of indexes created.

All Lists in SharePoint 2016 and Sharepoint Online are set by default to ‘automatic management of indices’. So there is nothing you have to do, it just there. This is the Office 365 Support article which describes the feature and usecase.

A filtered view with a column index is not only a way to retrieve items more efficiently, but a primary method of working with large lists and libraries without getting blocked. Creating a filtered view with an indexed column is a two-step process: create an index for a column and create a view that uses the indexed column to filter the view:

# Indexes   An index retrieves items quickly and can improve list and library performance. You can create up to 20 indexes for a list or library. Unique values require an index and the ID column is automatically indexed. Because each index adds some overhead to every database operation to maintain the index, it’s best to only add indexes for the most common or likely columns used to query the list or library.

# Filtered views   When you create a filtered view, make sure that the first column in the filter expression is indexed and that the filtered view does not exceed the List View Threshold. Other columns you specify in the view filter may or may not be indexed, but the view does not use those indexes, even if the final result of the filtered view returns less than the List View Threshold. If you use two or more columns in the filter expression, use an AND operator but make sure the first column in the expression returns the lesser amount of data

It’s a useful addition and I love the fact that it will ‘just work’…



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A new Office 365 Store is coming soon

A new update has been added to the Office 365 Roadmap which tells us the delivery date of the new Office 365 Store. The released date for all tenants will be ‘late July’. Organisations having a First Release tenant will be getting the new store in the next couple of weeks.

When released the new Store will only show ‘free apps’, so I’m guessing the current Office / SharePoint Store will exist besided the new store for a while. The new store will probably get the same look and feel as the store which will be released around the same timeframe.

We learned a lot about the new Office 365 Store updates during the Build and Ignite conferences. Jim Epes did a session named “Making Money with Office 365” at Build were we learned about the coming improvements. He did a similar session at Ignite named “Everything You Need to Know about the Office Store”.

Here are some of the things we learned during these presentations:

  • The store will get a more prominent location in Office 2016 ribbon and in the Office 365 App launcher
  • The new icons will bring users to a special version of the Store, which will also show them all registered applications at the tenant level of Office 365 (via Azure Active Directory).
  • You can hide Apps in the App Store (and only navigate to the app using a ‘code’)
  • The streamline acquisition flow which allows you to install apps directly into a SharePoint site or Outlook inbox without having to leave the Store Experience.

The update I liked most:

  • There will be a new option to present Web Apps in the store which extend Office 365 but live ‘outside of Office 365’. This can be apps which use Azure AD for authentication and use the Office 365 (Unified) APIs.

So what’s the goal of the new Office 365 Store updates?

The Office 365 store will make it easy for Office 365 users to acquire, manage and use third party applications directly from within their Office 365 web experience.

I’m sure these update will bring more Office 365 customers to the Office 365 Store (which currently has around 1500 apps). It might be enough to get App Sales in a lift, but more updates will be required to make it a really hot marketplace.

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More Office 365 NextGen Portals are coming – What do we know?

The current portals

During the SharePoint Conference in March 2014 Microsoft showed the world the first two NextGen Portals for Office 365: The Video Portal and the Office Delve Dashboard. In November 2014 these portals became available for Office 365 customers who activated the ‘First release’ option and currently both portals have been rolled out to most tenants.

One of the interesting things about these ‘NextGen’ Portals is that they aren’t fully build using the SharePoint building blocks we have known for years. The Video Portal is using a SharePoint Asset Library and an Access App under the hood (after the uploaded video is processed by Azure Media Services, as explained here). For presentation of video’s the Video portal is using a custom application, with no SharePoint GUI components. For Office Delve it’s the same, it using a custom interface without any SharePoint parts. For data gathering Delve uses the Office Graph, which can be queried using the SharePoint Online Search REST API.

Microsoft has created an answer to a common SharePoint problem: Building business solutions on SharePoint (Online) still takes a lot of consultancy and customizations. While customers are getting used to ‘click and go’ SaaS experiences like they get with Dropbox, Zoho or Box. Office 365 needs more ‘ready to go’ solutions which are able to provision in a couple minutes.


Microsoft started to build these new Experiences and it seems that most of them won’t appear in SharePoint 2016. There will be Hybrid options which allow Office Graph to receive signals from SharePoint OnPrem (or other applications) and maybe we will get to see some new portal templates…

I slowly moved my focus away from SharePoint distributed on DVDs since 2012, when Wave 15 of SharePoint Online was released. I no longer want to wait for days of configuration to setup a SharePoint solution, I want instant gratification too! So lets take a peek at what’s coming to Office 365 this year!

Updates for the Video Portal

From the Office Blogs, Office 365 roadmap and Ignite session catalog we know the video portal with get the following improvements

  • A companion iPhone app to stream video’s to iOS devices (I guess a Windows universal & Andoid app will follow)
  • Responsive Web pages for access across devices of all sizes (PC, Mac, Android and iOS)
  • Extend video playback to non-Flash capable devices via the new HTML5-based player from Azure Media Services
  • More refinement for some of the admin controls available to portal and channel owners
  • Office 365 Video API to push and pull content in and out of Office 365 Video
  • The use of Doc types (is this a new name for Content types or a whole no artefact?)
  • App Parts (Great! They should ‘ further augment NextGen Portals experiences’ so I guess we get the ability to embed Video’s in SharePoint Online Sites
  • Improved performance


New People Portal

Julia White has mentioned in her blogpost on February 2nd that we are getting a new ‘People Portal’. I have implemented SharePoint at more than 50 organisations and the ‘company Facebook’ (who-is-Who) if one of those features all customers want to have. From a new entry in the roadmap I have learned a little bit more about the new People Portal.

The Office 365 user profile page, aka “About Me,” is getting a significant update. First, it will be more user friendly in its overall presentation and how it looks and responds across all devices. <snip> The new “About Me” page will highlight people and people search in a whole new way – from hierarchical views, to showing who people most closely work with, and even a method to send a kudo to a co-worker.

Based on this information I can imagine a ‘Delve like’ Dashboard focused on people and SharePoint Search (Office Graph) oriented Search result pages. The text above clearly indicates the User About pages (public mysites) will get a nice makeover and I hope we will also get some improvements and extensions of the User Profile Store. This Ignite session about the ‘The New Universe of Findability and Discoverability‘ is about ‘how we connect to the content and expertise’ which might indicate some functionalities around ‘People Knowledge and Skill management’. The mention of Kudu’s could indicate the possibility of rating co-workers (and their skills)…


Knowledge Management

Julia White has also mentioned a ‘knowledge management’ portal in her blogpost and there is a short Ignite session description on this new Knowledge Management Portal. Personally I’m very interested in the capabilities of this Portal. I’m hoping the best SharePoint has to offer (like Document Centers, Topic pages and pre-configured Content Search Webparts) is used to create this experience. But we might see a whole range of new technologies directly built on Microsoft Azure and bypassing the biggest legacy obstacle of SharePoint: SQL Server. One thing that seems to be deeply integrated in SharePoint is a whole new Page authoring tool!

A new page Authoring tool?

This roadmap update about the new About me pages has an interesting description about a new SharePoint Online ‘page authoring tool’. This tool can be used to “create stories within the company – then expand to enable creation of new types of dynamic pages”. Cool! That sounds like an Enterprise Sway! “These stories and pages are created within the browser and have built-in hooks to add other Office 365 content in a seamless way”

So we will get a cool new page builder for users to easily integrate documents from OneDrive, videos from the Video portal and images from SharePoint document libraries! This is like Wikis on steroids and I can image a lot of great scenarios for Enterprise Knowledge Management, Personal Blogs and Support documentation.

Developers will also get some great updates on the Office 365 API’s and the current SharePoint App model since we will be able to “use the Office app model in context with configuring and extending Office 365 NextGen Portals”.

I can’t wait to get my hands on it! Christmas will be in the last week of April / first week of May this year!



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Can you believe it?

Are you seeing this? I’m writing a new blog post!
It’s been almost 3 years since my last post.

It’s been about 8 years since my first post. After reading some of the first posts after many years I found something interesting.  The first item on this blog [then powered by Microsoft spaces] was posted using my Mobile phone. (Running Windows Mobile:) I still remember the day and where I was…

New technologies are introduced at a high pace, economic challenges rise and new insights make people think entirely different about our personal, local and global world.
I have some insights I like to share, so more posts might follow…

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Adding post by Mobile

From today on I will add photos and comments using my mobile Phone.
This is the MDA Compact, using a GPRS Class 10 Connection (max 44kBit/s from the hub to the mobile user and at 9.6kBit/s from the mobile to the hub (with real use an average of 20 kb/sec).

I’m also planning to start publishing short movie clips using a UMTS
(max 54kb/sec (with real use an average of 52kb/s).

I’ve used UMTS in my car, using an notebook and a high quality webcam.
When using MSN Messenger to set up a video broadcast and doing 100 KM an
hour on the freeway, I still transmitted and received one or two frames
a second and had almost no connection interruptions!

More fun experiments will be posted…

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Time for the first post

It’s almost a month ago i posted here…
Things are not going the way i had planned.
All those promises to myself for the new year are costing me shit loads of time.

Ok, this weekend i am gonne free up some time..
I already did some recordings, so it doesn’t has to take a lot of time.
This weekend i will post my first podcast..
It has to be now or never..

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Some Progress….

Publishing my first recording will take longer…
Because of a big change in my career, things are extremely busy.
I have to do a lot of information production and consumption, this means lot’s of preparations and writing stuff on ‘paper’. Like most of the IT minded people, this can be a hard thing. But as with most of my affords, I try to score above average, and this is always consuming a lot of time…

I’ve come to the conclusion that doing this first recording, will take more time that expected.
Yesterday it resulted in using some equipment, that i didn’t use for a long time….
I’ve got some stuff unpacked again.. This gave me a real good feeling!  I unpacked my good old AKAI S3000 Sampler, that i can use for playing background tunes and samples (like jingels).

Maybe I want to archive a certain level of quality in my first recording. Again, trying to get above average.
My ‘dutch’ (steenkolen:) English and my ‘non radio’ voice are going to mess things up anyway, so the rest just has to be perfect… 😀

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