Recently I had and issue with browser-sync on Windows. The problem came from node-gyp, a cross platform compiler that is integrated in Node.js. Exactly this module of Node.js was throwing an error that stated ‘Python is missing’ on Windows.
Actually the thing is a little bit more tricky and over the last couple of days I read many problems with node-gyp and Windows. Some mentioned to install Visual Studio Community Edition as well as other components found on the Microsoft Web Site.
The only thing Windows needs is just some Vitamin C in the form of a Visual C++.

Continue reading

In fact the source code of the table component of Office UI Fabric looks a bit weird because it is currently built with <div> elements instead of HTML table elements.
The intention behind such div based tables come from the idea to improve the responsive behavior. This idea behind this is almost more than five years old. A time that marked the beginning of responsive web design. Nowadays this pattern is only hardly used because no matter how you build your tables you always face the same problems.
Yesterday i got the confirmation on GitHub that this pattern is subject to be changed.
Time for me to show how this pattern can be transformed to a normal HTML element and to show some advanced techniques to deal with tables in responsive web designs.

See the Pen Office UI Fabric – Table by Stefan Bauer (@StfBauer) on CodePen.

Continue reading

When it comes to responsive web design and tables some people might get a panic. In general there is nothing bad about tables. Just treat them right.

This time I like to show how to make list forms responsive. Actually, this sound harder than it really is just because the form is rendered in a table. A table is as good and flexible as any other HTML element and can be transformed into any other form.

DON'T PANIC

 

Continue reading

Bower and Office UI Fabric

Last week I played a little bit with node.js, gulp and Office UI Fabric. When I tried to install this UI Framework through bower.io i wanted to inject this bower components directly into my source code via gulp-wiredep. Sadly this failed because somehow the packages was broken. After a short research i found the reason for that and fixed it right in the framework on GitHub.

Continue reading

Today I decided to publish my table of contents script on github. There it will be much easier to handle all the issues and gives the global SharePoint community the possibilities to contribute to my code.

I know from many people that this script is wide spreader throughout various SharePoint installation. I’m looking forward to improve the code in near future. This table of content script has a real long history for me and I published the first version already for SharePoint 2010. It is still one of my most popular posts.

SharePoint - Table fo Contents

 

Let me share some statistics with you:

  • SharePoint 2010 – [Enhance Wiki Page Layout by adding a navigational Table of Contents](http://www.n8d.at/blog/enhance-wiki-page-layout-by-adding-a-navgational-table-of-contents/)
    Page Views: 32,016
  • Office 365 / SharePoint 2013 – [Revised: Table of Contents for SharePoint Wiki Pages
    ](http://www.n8d.at/blog/revised-table-of-contents-for-wiki-pages/)
    Page Views: 8,002
  • Office 365 / SharePoint 2013 -[How to use: Table of Content – jQuery Plugin](http://www.n8d.at/blog/how-to-use-table-of-content-jquery-plugin/)
    Page Views: 2,289

From now on if you have issues or feature request simply publish them on github. If you like to contribute to this project you are also gladly welcome.

Table of Contents on GitHub

Many people recently discovered a new enhancement in Office 365 and especially SharePoint. The suite bar is now responsive if “First Release” option on your tenant is activated.

Responsive Office 365 suite bar rendered on mobile device

Responsive Office 365 suite bar rendered on mobile device

The first people that blogged about this responsive improvement were Wesley Hackett and Marc D. Anderson.
The current implementation works well on desktop but not on mobile devices.

Why it doesn’t make your Office 365 / SharePoint responsive?

Actually the current suite bar lacks of one important thing. The viewport meta tag is currently not implemented in SharePoint or Delve. This tag is responsible to render the page correctly. The display of modern devices has a higher pixel density than the normal desktop computer. The viewport meta tag helps the browser to scale web sites properly. Is this html tag missing in the header of the html document the website will be rendered as a desktop version, but everything is tiny and unreadable unless you pinch and zoom.
If you have a new Lumia 950 for example the pixel density is 314 pixels per inch. Desktop monitor in reality has pixel densities beyond 72 pixels per inch but thus the actual base size your browser renders the web site. All CSS values are calculated based on this.

On mobile devices without a proper viewport meta tag the web site will look like the desktop version, but really tiny and therefore unusable.
This brings us back to the new shiny responsive suite bar. A good example when a web site wasn’t tested on a real device. Works perfectly on a desktop browser but not on mobile. Someone might have forgotten to include the view port on the master page. On my phone, SharePoint will be rendered like this.

Suite bar rendered on mobile device

Suite bar rendered on mobile device

As mentioned earlier, it is currently only available for first release subscriptions. So currently nothing to worry about. I hope this will be fixed in the final release and we currently see an early beta version of the suite bar.
Where can the problem be spotted. Simply everywhere in Office 365. Here is a detailed list:

  • Missing viewport meta tag
    • SharePoint
    • Delve
  • With viewport but not responsive design
    • Outlook
    • Calendar

Outlook and Calendar use device detection. Some sort of Device channel to work responsive.
The only first an real native responsive apps are currently Sway and blog post on Delve. Both are equipped with a correct viewport.

Final thoughts

The new suite bar gives a nice outlook on coming up design features. I expect to see more improvement in the near future. Currently, SharePoint in Office 365 and SharePoint 2016 is built upon XHTML 1.0 and not HTML 5. Once the doctype have been converted an all functions work on HTML5 I guess we will see more adoptions to come out faster and more reliable.

From my perspective the new suite bar is a fast shot. I also have concerns about the usability. On mobile the waffle aka app launcher is hidden behind the three dots in the suite bar. To switch between SharePoint and Mail or Calendar users have to tap twice. This forces to learn user a new behavior because the app launcher was one of the essential improvements recently.
On the tablet devices the app launcher is jumping from left to right. This is actually a no-go. User will get confused. A small resize of the window is enough to show this effect. You don’t even have to be on a tablet device.

If you think about to change the master page of SharePoint to make this work. In Office 365 editing the master page is not recommended to do so. I guess this issue will be fixed by Microsoft sooner or later.
In case of a publishing page SEO meta tag injection can be use to add a proper meta tag. For a javascript based solution to add the viewport meta check out the solution provided on OfficeDev Pattern & Practices.

If you have other concerns, feel free to comment on this blog post.

Office 365 Icon Font

Microsoft has recently “removed” or at least don’t maintain the Office 365 icon font on their CDN. The location of the icon font has recently fundamentally changed.

 

A possible reasons

The font is still available on CDN but shouldn’t be used anymore form my point of view. The problem is that the url to the font files always had a version number included.
With every upgrade of Office365 this address has changed and your custom code have to be adapted too.

For my blog post “Office 365 Icon font documentation” and the demo installment on lab.n8d.at I had to adapt the urls form time to time.

Those changing urls hindered the use in custom implementations. The latest version is still available through the CDN link.

The new font location is _layouts

To be honest to change a CDN url from time to time was not really an optimal solution. So for lab.n8d.at I had to change the url at least five times. Nearly every month.
Recently I was a little bit nervous be cause the CDN was now static for at least two month.

Just to be sure, I checked the current location of the fonts files today and recognized that this has fundamentally changed on Office 365.
Now all fonts are located in the folder “_layouts/fonts”. This is new in SharePoint and Office 365. Fair enough to check if this folder is also available in the current SharePoint 2016 version and yes it can be found there as well.

Office 365 icon font location on SharePoint 2016

Office 365 icon font location on SharePoint 2016

Beside there are also some other fonts stored there that I will investigate soon.

Final thought

I really like the fact that SharePoint on Office 365 and SharePoint 2016 will now use the same basis again. While Office 365 in the past has improved much quicker on-premises SharePoint were always a year behind.
Hopefully we will see further improvements on both platforms at the same time. Through all the hybrid scenarios, it has to be this way.
I know to have the same fonts on Office 365 and Sharepoint is just a small improvement but it makes development of custom web parts (jslink, add-in part and angularjs) easier. You can develop them once and use the same the in the same way in both worlds. It currently serves most icons you need and you are able to provide a consistent design across SharePoint.