[ #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:

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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

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2. Model

The building blocks are clearly summarized on this slide.

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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.

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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.

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Here are examples of the different parts of a page:

  • Page metadata
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  • Header
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  • A text block
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  • A control map
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They are all stored as JSON BLOBs. And this allows responsive design as the page is “reconstructed” for each device, according to its capabilities:

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5. Other technical details

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

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

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

Sources:

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