Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Syncing fields from Project Pro to SharePoint Online

Something that started as a quite simple requirement turned out into a more hefty task, so I decided to share it here.

So the requirement: Be able to sync fields from Project Pro to a SharePoint Task List in SharePoint Online. All great, works out of the box, with the exception of 2 things:

- If the column in SharePoint is of type "Multiple lines of text" and the type of text to allow is "Enhanced rich text (Rich text with pictures, tables, and hyperlinks)" that doesn't work correctly.

- If the column is of type "Person/Group" then this doesn't work as expected. Some resources are missing on consecutive synchronizations from Project Pro to SharePoint Online. I've taken this with MS to see what's going wrong, but for now if it happens to you - configure your resource or "Assigned To" (named by default) column to be of type "Single line of text" or think of it as just a string.

You will loose the functionality to check the person's status in Skype for Business (if you use that) and to click on the user profile and go to their Delve page (in Office 365). But you'll still be able to sort and filter on that column if you want to view a particular person's tasks.

I'll describe the steps needed to match the requirement to sync Task Descriptions to SharePoint Online. 

By default, the Description column in the Task Lists (coming with the default Task Content Type) is of type Multiple lines of text and has the "Enhanced rich text (Rich text with pictures, tables, and hyperlinks)" as the allowed type of text. I've just renamed the column in this example:

Fill in some tasks if you're the PM (or just one if you're a lazy blogger like myself):

Then open the Task List with Project Pro (provided you do have the license assigned and the software installed from the Office 365 Portal):

You won't see your description column:

When you go to File -> Info -> Map Fields, you won't be able to map anything to it:

Now, part of the solution is to change your column allowed text type to Plain Text in SharePoint.

But even then, you won't see it in Project Pro the next time you open your project plan.

The key is in the mappings. Add a new column in Project Pro. You can choose some of the predefined text columns, e.g. Text1:

Name it whatever you want, let's do Task Description to avoid any confusion. Hint: the columns in Project Pro and SharePoint Online don't really have to be using the same naming convention, as long as they're mapped. Right click on your newly created column and go to Field Settings (and no, double clicking on the column doesn't do what double-clicking on a row does, sorry):

Tile field - self explanatory:

Now, when you go back to the Map Fields you can definitely map your newly created column in Project Pro (although its name is not reflected in the mapping list - dunno why) to your SharePoint Online column which appears nicely as Task Description:

Once you're done with all your mappings, just click the huge Save button.

If you've tried to break things like me and inserted different values in the field in SharePoint Online and Project Pro, then you'll get this good warning. Skip this if you're a good user and didn't do that :)

The warning basically is quite liberal - it gives you the option to choose whether you like your Project Pro or your SharePoint Online value better and it's even displaying them and color-coding them for you. I'll keep the Project Pro value which says "Sync this description":

Boom! It's done.

(Optional) If you want to break things even further, you can go back to your column in the SharePoint Online Task List and change it to allow Enhanced Rich Text again and then open the Task List with Project Pro. You'll see this (and believe me, it gets even uglier when you include some links, etc.)

Hope that's helpful if you stumble upon it, I'll keep another post once I sort out the issue with syncing resources without using the string field workaround with MS (if at all).

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

New Year...OneDrive new UI and a bug in it

Update 01/02/2016: It seems that through the new UI you can now even upload folders (one by one for now) with drag & drop! Great functionality that has been missing so far...

Hey, it's been a while since my last post...holiday season got us all, right? :) Happy New Year, everyone! Let it bring you a lot of new tech, gadjets, innovations and of course health and happiness!

It's been more than a month since we all could use the OneDrive new UI and I've decided to share my first positive impressions of the it and a very unpleasant bug unfortunately, so you can take an informed decision whether to use it or switch back to the classic experience.

First, it looks really nice, based on HTML5 and it's even responsive! Good job so far for the OneDrive team. There must be something with Jeff Teper going back to leading the SharePoint and OneDrive divisions @ MS :)

The menus are arranged in a better way, even though the Version History is still kind of hidden in the context menu.

You can now drag & drop stuff in the browser... e.g. move a file or folder into another one - how cool is that? Let's hope we'll see that in SharePoint some day... which is still using some old-school XHTML 1.0.

There's also a file size column now added, which I don't use that much, considering the 1 TB storage limit, but anyway... another small improvement.

Now tot he bad news...

Whenever you try to share a folder (and it happens with files sometimes) and share it with more than 1 person they DON'T all get the notifications over email. E.g. you share it with Peter, Joe and Dean, then you check your mail (as you're in cc of those notifications by default) and realize that only Peter got the email with the link to the file.


After I've talked with one of my friends at Microsoft, I got a confirmation that this issue is only present in the new UI and is being worked upon, however it's now taking a few weeks and there's no resolution.

It all works just fine if you do share the file/folder with one person. And of course you can always forward the notification to the appropriate people once you see it in your inbox, but this is what OneDrive's for - avoid shooting a bunch of emails about the same file.

I'm hoping to see this resolved soon, otherwise we'll just have to use the classic experience...which is not that sophisticated to be honest, but at least one of its basic functionalities (the notification) works.

I might write another post about the NGCS (Next Generation Sync Client) that I was testing as part of the preview for more than a month now... still some mixed feelings about it, if you plan to use both the new UI and the new client organization-wide, maybe you should hold on...