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SharePoint Blog

May 12
Office 365: The New SharePoint Homepage

So you may not have noticed, but Office 365 has gone through some significant changes in the last few months. One of the most notable is the addition of the SharePoint homepage. Now on the surface this page looks relatively barebones but there’s some decent functionality going on here.  

Let’s start with following sites.  In a SharePoint 2013 environment far far away, you’ve always had the ability to follow sites.  However, surfacing these sites in a centralized meaningful manner was a bit clunky.  You could access it from MySites but it was out of the way.  This puts your followed sites front and center, as this is the centralized SharePoint access hub for Office 365.

Frequent and Suggested are basically exactly what they sound like.  Office Graph feeds down information about your peers and what they are working on to populated the suggested sites.  Frequent sites are sites that you view things in frequently.  A nice feature here is it shows some recent activity about the site in each of these tiles. 

Now, as far as customizing this page on your own, that’s about as far as it goes.  The color bands and logos for the sites are set by the individual site admins, the office 365 bar at the top can be customized by the end user as well but that’s not unique to this page.  

Featured links are controlled by tenant admins.  If you are a tenant admin, you’ll see an edit button below the featured links title.  Clicking that allows you to reorder, remove, and add links to everyone’s homepage.  There is also an option to hide the link on the mobile app.

So one thing Microsoft has really been working on is being way more mobile-ready with SharePoint, and at the front of that effort is responsive design.  Viewing this page on mobile (ironically enough, this page also renders through the SharePoint app for iOS and Android) shows a decent mobile experience.

From a technical standpoint, what’s nice is you can really see Microsoft integrating actual modern technologies.  This page (and most of the other new SharePoint experiences) are built with React, the framework that Facebook built.  React has gained a lot of traction for single page apps and Microsoft seems to be really embracing it.

Another neat thing with this site is each of these sections have unique endpoints you can tap into RESTfully if you’re logged into the tenant.  The endpoints are as follows:  

These endpoints are only a few that come with the new homepage and can all be done via a GET request.  Go ahead, try it.

So far there have been solid strides into bringing a decent user experience into SharePoint, especially with complex intranets with no real hierarchy set.  This homepage is the start to a lot of great changes I think.

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