[ #Office365 ] NextGen Portals at MS Ignite, part 2 : behind the scene

Second article from a series of 4 on [ #Office365 ] NextGen Portals at MS Ignite :


After getting the big picture around NextGen Portals at MS Ignite 2015, it’s good to go a little bit deeper understanding the architectural stuff below.

The message is clear “we are building your portals on SharePoint”, here are the identified requirements:


1. High level Architecture

The standard way to provide new features will be based on a clearer separation of back –end features (leveraging the usual SharePoint Content management features) and new front-end capabilities. The link between both parts being a set of REST endpoints that can be easily leveraged from different devices, apps or browsers. This is already the way Office 365 video portal is designed and


2. Model

The building blocks are clearly summarized on this slide.


From the bottom to the top, first everything is built on top of SharePoint Storage engine and accessed via a set of server side REST APIs.

Above that, and this is really the heart of NextGen portals, they provide a new page renderer component and an authoring canvas.

And on the right, under the panda Sourire you should also notice that there is also a place to build custom portals leveraging these new building blocks

3. Detailed Architecture

The building blocks are clearly summarized on this slide.


Important points here are:

  • Two sites collections are used to store content : Hub site collection and Content Site Collection
  • New APIs for Publishing are announced
  • New controls are provided like table of contents, rich text editor, …
  • Everything encapsulated in the single Page App

4. What’s make a page (or an article) ?

In a new page, content is separated from the html page that is rendered in order to enable responsive design.


Here are examples of the different parts of a page:

  • Page metadata
  • Header
  • A text block
  • A control map

They are all stored as JSON BLOBs. And this allows responsive design as the page is “reconstructed” for each device, according to its capabilities:


5. Other technical details

SharePoint permissions model is used underneath but simplified like in the video portal.



Other classical SharePoint features are also used (but in the back-end and encapsulated with a new User Interface) :



SharePoint metadata are used internally but are not exposed yet. This may come in the future.



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