With the news that the PnP Modernization tool gained publishing page support with the latest release – you can now transform your Intranet from Classic Publishing Sites to Modern Communication or Team Sites, allowing you to take advantage of the new SharePoint Online out of the box features.

So what does this tool do?

The tool was created by Bert Jansen, from the PnP Core Team at Microsoft, to address a gap in the industry to transform an existing Intranet based on classic sites such as Wikis, Web Part Pages and Publishing Sites, to a modern site that use the Communication Site, Office 365 Group or Modern Team Site templates.

This is a transformation tool, because the classic and modern web parts are different from each other and completely new. It maps and adapts your customisation from the out of the box classic web parts to the modern web parts, maintaining your content and configuration in your journey to modern.

This isn’t intended as a migration tool, as they’re already in existence. Some of the great products on the market are: Microsoft SharePoint Migration Tool, third party options such as ShareGate and Quest, that already provide rich capability to move content to SharePoint Online.

So if you have a large Intranet with thousands of pages, with content spread over many sub-sites, folders or site collections, then this will significantly reduce the effort required to bring that into modern Intranet.

Examples of transformation (from our test Intranet):

Example of a classic publishing page
Example of a classic publishing page
transformation example of modern page
Example of modern publishing page

What features does the tool have?

The tool has many features, centred around a modernization framework to support the journey to modern, including:

  • Modernization Scanner that allows you to inventory an existing publishing or team site, to report on the level of customisation that you have in your tenant.
  • Page Transformation UI for inline transformations (excluding publishing sites). This allows end-users to trigger transformation of pages to modern.
  • Modernization Framework broadly supports the following operations:
    • Inline transformation of Wiki Pages, Web Part Pages to Modern Pages
    • Core conversion of HTML source content (excluding scripts) to supported Modern Text Web Part formats

After your transformation, you are provided with a transformation report that summarises the pages that have been modernized and details any issues.

In addition, there is a mapping process to configure the framework, this is achieved with advanced configuration files such as:

  • Web part mapping file – that allows you to customise source web parts that transform into out of the box or custom web parts
  • Layout mapping files – that allow you to chose the transformed locations for the modern web parts giving you flexibility to place web parts in your preferred locations.
  • Overrides – so that you alter the way transformations work to process sites your way, this is more of a advanced option but the flexibility is designed from the outset.

By altering the configuration of the transformation mapping files, you can manipulate which web parts are transformed and tailor the layouts and configuration for your new modern pages.

How do you use the tool?

There is a new playlist on YouTube released by the PnP team on using the modernization tooling to help you get started and understand the process for transforming pages, we highly recommend to watch these examples, to quickly get going:

For details about the specific videos and summary content, please visit: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/sharepoint/dev/transform/modernize-userinterface-site-pages-videos

Where can I get the tool to check it out?

The modernization tool offers the capabilities from version 3.8.1904.0 via PnP-PowerShell and can be downloaded at: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powershell/sharepoint/sharepoint-pnp/sharepoint-pnp-cmdlets

This tool is part of a wider SharePoint Patterns and Practices program – which is a community of multiple projects, samples, learning that aims to share knowledge.

So since February, specifically with modernization tool, we have started to submit Pull Requests for new features, fix bugs and feedback experience using the tool, with the aim to add new modernization capabilities and options for others with their engagements and projects.

The repository can be found on GitHub, if you wish to contribute, report an issue or even feedback from a client engagement here: https://github.com/SharePoint/sp-dev-modernization

Hope you find the tool just as powerful as we have!

Check out http://aka.ms/sppnp-modernize for further documentation

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