Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Office Online Integration to Third-Party Partners

There was another really interesting announcement today from the Office 365 team.

There is a new Office Online Integration capability being offered to cloud storage solution providers to allow them to offer Office Online Integration and user experiences for files that are residing on other data storage platforms.

· This will enable Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files to be opened, viewed and edited on platforms other than OneDrive and OneDrive for Business.

· This drives on Microsoft strategy for continued support for devices and browsers across platforms.

· Partners can use Office Online to build previews of Office files into their solutions.

· Partners can use this as a way to introduce Office file editing into their applications.

· Consumer users do not need an Office 365 subscription nor do they need to log into Office Online. However if the user is an Office 365 subscription users need to use their subscription.

· The integration is achieved by 1) create a browser application with some javascript, and 2) implement WOPI REST endpoints on top of your service (ContosoDrive). Pretty straight forward.

· There is additional information referenced below for authentication, security, file conflict resolution, file IDs, versioning, desktop integration, etc.


Overall I find this direction very exciting.

For more information about the announcement read here -

Microsoft have created the Office 365 Cloud Storage Partner Program which provides partners information on how to create integration points. Right now there is iOS menu integration and Office Online integration. There are targets to add more to this program. More details can be found here along with technical references -

Here is the technical reference to actually start building this integration -

Outlook Apps for iOS and Android

There was a big announcement recent announcement that there are new apps released called Outlook for iOS and Outlook for Android. This provides an Outlook App for iPhone, iPad, Android phone and Android Tablet. This new app will be provide enhanced experiences for working with email on mobile dives with focused scenarios to make you efficient with the types of email activities you do on a phone. Outlook Mobile will provide added features that are not traditionally available native mobile email apps. I recommend you read the blog about these types of scenarios because it will allow you triage emails really easily, do advanced calendar management, working with attachments, etc.

These new apps replaces the OWA for iPhone/iPad/Android apps.

Note it was publically announced, but not in this blog, that Windows Phone 10 will be getting a similar app.

Here is the announcements -

Additionally there was an even more recent announcement for more features being added located here - This is a good read as it discussed:
  • Expanded support for PIN lock – discusses that policy is enforced through Exchange ActiveSync and considerations for that policy.
  • Improvement with remote wipe of data – the nice thing about this is the wipe on wipes data in the Outlook App, it does not impact user personal data if BYOD is part of the enterprise strategy.
  • Along with several other new user experiences that have been added.
  • Additionally there is discussion around Microsoft Intune scenarios are being added.

Self Service Password Reset

There was a second announcement made today by the Office 365 identify team that the self-service password reset capability had been added. This feature had actually only be available to Azure Active Directory (AD) Premium customers however this feature will now be available to Office 365 customers.

The main caveat of this release is that it will work with customers using Cloud Based IDs. If you are a federated authentication with Office 365, and you want to have this feature, you need to purchase Azure Active Directory Premium to support the write back of the password to the on-premises Active Directory that is federated with Office 365.

Announcement is located here - Additionally in this blog, there is a really good table in here that accurately explains the Azure AD Features that come with Office 365 and which features require Azure AD Premium.

There is good detailed information located off of here on how to configure and manage the Self0service password reset feature of Azure AD -

Office 365 Custom Branded Log-in Pages

One of my favorite Office 365 teams had a really cool announcement yesterday I have been waiting on.

Over the years, many customers have wanted to have custom branded page when a user logs-in. This was important for branding but even more important because I had customers wanting to put custom disclaimers to users when logging in to Office 365.

In the past the only way to achieve this was through making modifications in ADFS to introduce a new page as part of the log-in process. This was commonly done to add-in other form factors for authentication. The drawback of this approach was that it first required federation and not all Office 365 customers are using federation; they use cloud based IDs. Second, this required additional custom work on the organization’s ADFS deployment. This new change removes this requirement.

This new sign in page is actually a feature that has been available to customers who are Azure Active Direct (AD) Premium customers and now this feature is being provided directly to Office 365 customers without requiring a purchase of Azure Active Direct (AD) Premium.

Now this solution is available to all Office 365 customers, regardless if you are federated or using cloud based IDs. The configuration of this will be available off of the Office 365 Admin portal.

The user experience will be that user will see the Office 365 standard log-in screen, however once they enter their UPN, the user will be directed to the custom branded page.


The announcement was made here -

Here are the details adding a custom branded Sign In and Access Panel Page - All the technical details are locating here to give you an understanding of the page elements you can edit and how to apply those changes.

Another note they made in this bog, which is good is this log-in branding can be coordinated with the recent announcement for theming here -

InfoPath Forms for SharePoint Server 2016

If you have read my blog over the years, you will know that I was heavy into InfoPath. There was a small update to this InfoPath announcement made last year - SharePoint Server 2016 will include InfoPath Forms Server 2013 on-premises. This is just a reminder that if you have InfoPath dependencies, and you want to upgrade to the next version of SharePoint on-premises, InfoPath is supported on SharePoint Server 2016. Additional there is continued support of InfoPath on Office 365. The lifecycle support for InfoPath has not changed. Please review the referenced blog for all the details.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Office 365 Workload Specific Administration

I have to say, I am super excited about a new capability that is going to be released into Office 365 Administration. On the Office 365 public roadmap blog (, it was announced that a new capability called “Workload-specific admin roles” is being released.

For organizations that have been on Office 365 for a long time, they will truly be excited when this new feature has been released? The challenge has been as organizations have transitioned to the cloud, typically people such as the Exchange, SharePoint and Lync administrators have been completely separate people. The challenge has been when in Office 365, for those administrators to do activities they used to do, they would need global admin rights into the Office 365 admin console. This would give them rights to much more admin rights than they typically have had access to. There are ways to mitigate some things, however it was not a good.

With this upcoming release, admins can be broken out to the service they have responsibility for. Thus the SharePoint admin will only have access to SharePoint admin.