The January 2015 update (4.7) will be deployed in January 2015.

This update contains three important changes which impact SharePoint Portal users. Look for the megaphone! We've highlighted important changes worthy of communicating to end users or support staff.

 Public & Portfolio Site URLs Change

Public and portfolio site URLs are changing so they don't contain usernames. Any bookmarks or links to these sites will no longer work. The new site addresses will be generated and be similar to class and group site URLs. This change was also communicated in the 4.6.1 notice last year.

The previous format personal/domain_username is changing to public/nz2wy43vpjrhs4c4ovtwm6lsnftxmytpmzxwq/

 Classes, Groups & Public Site Features

The Resources page and features (contacts & links) have been removed as options from Site Manager for all class, group and public sites. Existing site content and pages will not be affected by this change. Media Gallery now has it's own page and Featured Links are still available on the Home page.

 Portal Design Refresh (2013)

4.7 brings a refreshed look and feel to SharePoint 2013 portals. The changes bring improved usability, greater consistency, and a better touch experience. Navigation on smartphones is now more simple, intuitive and useful. Search is more prominent. The editing experience has also been streamlined to reduce clutter and make it easier to use. The update is evolutionary, not a redesign, so we don't anticipate user disruption.

We are also removing left navigation from the Classes and Groups page. The left navigation contains the user's profile photo, links to Blog, Apps, Tasks, and personal links a user may have added. Most customers found these features confusing and the items cannot be edited. The left navigation will remain available from a user's OneDrive or Profile page. If you wish to retain the left navigation on the Class and Groups page please get in touch, it can also be restored at any time.

 

Shared Documents for Classes

Teachers can now add a Shared Documents space to their class site. Documents stored here can be edited by teachers and students. If you didn't know, teachers and students can edit documents at the same time, including Word, OneNote, Excel or PowerPoint files.

Mailing Lists

Teachers and staff can now add a mailing list to their Public site. Teachers or Principals can ask parents to subscribe with their email addresses to stay informed about classroom activity. Enabling the feature adds a subscription box to your site and a link to email subscribers. All messages include contact information, email verification and an unsubscribe link to ensure compliance with Canadian Anti Spam Legislation (CASL) which came into effect in 2014.

Student Portfolios - Video & Categories

4.7 brings another round of major enhancements, almost too much to talk about:

  • Video - Use a tablet, smartphone or webcam to easily record and add video. A brand new video and audio player will play your files on any compatible device. 
  • Photos - New photos are now auto-magically rotated based on camera orientation, then scaled and compressed to save space. We've also improved the way photos are displayed and they now download faster.
  • Drag & Drop - Desktop users can drag images and videos to add content.
  • Categories & Filtering - Easily filter posts by subjects or categories. Categories can be centrally managed by your district.
  • Storage Offloading - Stop worrying about student content filing up your storage. We now now have the ability to store images (and eventually video) externally. Storage offloading lets you use Petabyte scale storage, locally or in the cloud using Microsoft Azure at extremely low prices.
  • Tablet & smartphones - Further improvements make using portfolios on a mobile and tablet devices even better.
  • User Guide - We've create a user guide for Student Portfolios. We will continue to enhance it with every update. Feedback welcome.

   

Updated Twitter App

We've revamped the Twitter web part on 2013 portals with a streamlined look and added new buttons to share, retweet, favorite and view tweets. If you have a twitter account it's a great addition to a class or public site.

More Content Templates

We promised more content templates, here's three more:

  • Away Today - Display and manage a list of staff, teachers or students not in school today.
  • Bell Times - Display a list of bell times on your site to keep everybody on track.
  • Board Members - Easily add a great looking list of board members to your website.

Content templates allow you to easily add content to your sites. They look great no matter what device your site visitors are using. You never need to think about design, coding or fiddling with lists.

Enhancements & Fixes

  • Safari & iOS menus bug - Fixed a Microsoft bug in SharePoint 2010 which broke site navigation when using Safari on a Mac or iOS.
  • Opening PDF & Office documents - We've modified the default behavior on 2013 portals and websites when opening files to be more intuitive. PDFs now always open in a window/tab and are not rendered using Office Online (in the browser). On websites Office documents download unless otherwise specified. On portals Office documents open in Office Online unless otherwise specified (document library setting). 
  • Create a site - SharePoint 2013 removed 'Create a site' from the settings cog. It's back! For portal sites such as classes and groups we strongly recommend creating pages not sites, 'Add a page' is also available from the settings cog.
  • The footer text in the Newsletter feature is now configurable.
  • Video embeds created in SharePoint 2010 using Blog Video now render in SharePoint 2013.
  • Newly created Portfolios will now prompt for the student's grade when accessed from a Class site.
  • Default page layout for Class/Group sites has been changed to Welcome 1 Column No Nav.
  • Some unused Scholantis web parts have been removed from the web part gallery.
  • Twitter web part now correctly parses truncated URLs inside a retweet.
  • Assignments web part no longer fails to render if a submission has no associated student.

Other Notes & Resources

We're continuing to create new user documentation and technical resources:

More Information

If you have any questions regarding the update process please see our original notice