News Page Categorisation and using KQL in a Highlighted content web part

We have built a light-weight Intranet using Communication Sites for a client that they needed the ability to categorise and display different types of pages and news. This article describes how to insert in more advanced queries (KQL) into a modern “Highlighted Content” web part (which is a little hacky) to extract specific categories and to setup page categorisation.

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Using PnP Office 365 CLI in Azure Shell

At the European SharePoint Conference 2017 in the Hackathon results session, Waldek Mastykarz from the PnP team announced the Office365 CLI which gives you the ability to manage an Office 365 on any platform.

We had the idea to run this inside the Azure Shell, giving you the ability to manage the Office 365 platform on any device including mobile Azure app. Awesome!

Initially, this proved to be challenging at the start because running the npm install with the global flag generates an permissions denied error and the command requires elevation.


Example connection error when running the NPM install command


It doesn’t appear to be a feature of the shell to let the user elevate so we were stuck on installing this package; but we managed to find another Microsoft resource to change the NPM config and run the installation and the Office 365 CLI in the Azure Shell.

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Build function app with cloud shell on your iPhone

On the usual train travels to my current client, I had planned to build a Azure Function App for a upcoming project on my Surface Pro but the train that turned up was so busy it was standing room only.

So, in a huge moment of geekiness, I thought let’s give the new Azure Cloud Shell a go… on the train… on my iPhone…eek!

Getting started

To get started, you will need an Azure subscription. Next go to the iPhone app store and grab the Azure app –

Open the app and sign in to your Azure subscription.

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SharePoint Communication Sites, the new Publishing Sites

Today, at the SharePoint Virtual Summit 2017, Microsoft announced the next wave of upcoming innovation around four key themes, Share with confidence, Transform business process, Inform and engage employees and Harness collective knowledge. In this post, we focusing around the awesome new modern experience for the classic Publishing Sites, called “Communication Sites” in the Inform and engage employees section of the Summit.

Create Communication Site

The new name for Publishing Sites better describes what this feature is all about, the Intranet. In our time working with this classic experience, we have developed a few intranets using Publishing Sites, to build extensively customised experiences for our customers, mainly focused around communication providing a hub for users to go to find out news, events, policies and guidance on business processes.

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