It's been a bit of a frustrating day. I wanted to write a blog on something else - something new and ultimately it didn't pan out. Kind of like a gold rush except there was no gold, a lot of time was squandered and the opportunity cost of doing that was getting into the new approvals app - something that interests me quite a bit. Nevertheless after a borderline rage quit I decided to eat, go chill with the family then get back in the game - and so I am going to write about the approvals app - except I thought it would be good to do so in the context of Lists, since as mentioned in the last post I am using them a lot these days. Think of this scenario: I have an event, or an itinerary, and for every item on that List, I need approval to be able to do it, or to use it, or to even have it on the List since it's needs to be sanctioned. In my job when I roll in technical courses, these need ultimate approval from up on high to be run, a number of criteria need to be met. So bringing some of my favourite apps together - Lists, Teams and Power Automate, the approvals app and getting retro with Outlook, mmm a bit of late night cooking with apps
The speaker circuit is getting ready to go this year. My speaking schedule is already loaded for January and February and then we'll go straight into Ignite in March. It's going to be a wild one. You know, like, boom. Now two areas I love speaking about - and spoke about a lot at the back end of 2020 - is Teams and Lists. It's pretty well known I love both apps and I use them a lot. However, one issue I came across this week was that I was building a list in Teams and wanted to have a column of email addresses which I could click on and then it would begin composing an email. The use case was this - as part of my job heading up an education practice I have a number of trainers I work with, and the list serves as both a skills matrix but has the trainers contact details too. Think of this as a way I - or any other team member who uses the list - can track the trainers who work for me whilst being able to easily identify and contact one should a specific course opportunity come up. Now, I wanted to send an email straight from the list. The hyperlink column didn't work: it threw an invalid URL and there is no email column option. So how can we make this work?
One of the things I enjoy most about what I do is the maturation of the technology which I use. And so it was with great pleasure that I was playing about in Teams this week in a Ring 4 test tenant getting ready for AMS Germany when I saw that calendar view for Lists has dropped. I didn't see any announcements. Maybe it'll be on the SharePoint Pitstop next week. But why I was excited was because when Lists was first announced back at Build earlier in the year, it was confirmed it would have List, Gallery, Grid and Calendar views. Gallery was added a month or two back - it was after Lists was introduced into Teams and now we have Calendar to complete the set. You see, I have become a big advocate of Lists over the last four or five months. I have spoken about it a lot on the circuit. This is because I think it is very central to what Microsoft is doing to revitalise SharePoint and is the application which best defines Teams as a Platform (TaaP). But getting back on point, calendar view is a nice add. Use it for events. Use it for meetings. Use it for birthdays, or deadlines, or schedules. This opens up a whole new raft of use cases for how Lists can be used - both in the web app and in Teams. It can apply both to personal and team Lists
A quick one today. I was looking over the SharePoint Roadmap pitstop for October and saw that there are now two List controls available: these are the ability to disable personal lists and the ability to disable List templates. Since I am giving talks on Lists next week at no less than three events either side of the Atlantic then I thought it would be good to cover this and get ahead of the curve. The first is the ability to disable personal lists. Personal lists are your own lists, they are stored in OneDrive and when creating a List you would select 'My Lists' from the dropdown within the Web App. They are not available in Teams since Lists in Teams are a different type of Lists called Teams Lists. These are housed in SharePoint and are meant to be shared with other members of the Team. The ability to disable personal Lists can simplify, or hone, the purpose of Lists insofar that by disabling personal, you are keeping them within SharePoint, within a Team context and away from individuals. Imagine that a really important List was located in someone's OneDrive and then that user left the organisation? Secondly, moving onto the ability to disable List templates this one makes complete sense: whilst they could be found helpful, they could also be - depending the organisations perspective - a hinderance since people could be confused by them. Imagine it from an end users perspective: Are these the Lists meant to be used? Did my organisation create these templates? Administrators may wish to turn them off which could, in a sense, make it easier for those who are creating Lists to simply start from scratch, import or clone. A nice pair of adds. I look forward to more in the future!
TeamsFest is only a few weeks away. It's coming around so fast and one of the jobs I did during the week was spin up a list in the Team so that speakers could easily access their session. It had their track, it had their time and their moderator. It felt nice putting it in as a tab. It looked good and felt good. But one of the things I was thinking about now I have started to use Lists in anger is how can get I a report on who I have shared a list with. I wrote about how to share Lists and List Items in both the web experience and Teams but now imagine the scenario that I have a few dozen lists and that I collaborate on these inside and outside the organisation. How could I tell who I shared those with? Especially after a month or two where albeit best intentions, I doubt I am keeping track. It's really important to review this from time to time both in terms of administration and security. Yet one of the things we must understand is this difference between personal lists and teams lists because lists are stored in different places - and yes, yes I know its ultimately all SharePoint, but this determines how we find our sharing reports