2021-02-01

As part of my 30-Day Challenge journey, I needed to learn about SharePoint. To help me gain a basic understanding I organised an Expert Call with a freelancer I found on Collab365 MicroJobs

After a little bit of preparation for my expert call, I was set. I had made a small document that I could refer to throughout my session with DimitriJ. This consisted of a couple of links, primarily pointing back to the Design Specification on my blog as this clearly outlines the functionality of the RSS Aggregator and how SharePoint will be implemented. This gave me the ability to have a more refined training experience.

In this document, I also made a list of questions and topics I felt would be necessary to ask. Below is a copy of my document.

I received a message in MicroJobs from the freelancer asking “Do I have an questions prior to the meeting”, so I sent him this document as it outlines two useful links that will give him a good idea of my end goal alongside Mark Jones introductory video to the Microsoft 365 Challenge. These links along side my important bunch of questions in this document allowed him to focus on my specific needs during our call.

I took as much information onboard as I could and made mental and written notes against my Expert Call Planning Document. Here is a more detailed example of my learning and everything I was able to take away from the call.

What is SharePoint?

SharePoint is a cloud based solution to share, store and collaborate on files and it is commonly used within organisations. You can create sites to share information, lists and libraries to store, retrieve and share information amongst your team and other Microsoft 365 products. Whilst understanding this, I can now visualise how SharePoint will be the beating heart of the app I will be creating.

What are the differences between a SharePoint List, Site & Library?

SharePoint was explained to me in three key areas; SharePoint Site, SharePoint List and SharePoint Libraries. 

SharePoint sites are essentially websites with the tools to share documents and data in SharePoint Lists & Document Libraries with the ability to display them in a custom list views.

A SharePoint List and or Document Library is a list of information or data that can be managed with in a SharePoint site.

A SharePoint Library is like a folder for your lists, files and data to go in.

How to create SharePoint Pages

I was taught that when you create a SharePoint site, a Home page is automatically generated, called Home.aspx. This will be the default landing page when people within your organisation (or whoever you choose to share your site with) first open the SharePoint site.

But say I wanted to create more pages, to show different lists of information. I can create a SharePoint page by going to the “Pages” tab, clicking “New” and selecting the type of page I wish to create.

How does SharePoint integrate with Microsoft Teams?

So I learned that Microsoft Teams works directly with SharePoint in the back end. When you create a new team or channel in Microsoft Teams it will automatically create a new SharePoint site within your organisation. These files are accessible through the “Files” tab on your Microsoft Teams channel or directly through SharePoint itself.

How to render SharePoint lists onto a SharePoint Page

For this example I’ll use the same scenario that the freelancer showed me. This is also good practice for me to replicate his method to show you in this post.

I start out by creating a SharePoint list, by going to “Site Contents”, clicking “New” and then selecting “List”.

I name the list “My List” and click “Create” at the bottom of the screen.

I am presented with an empty list where I will add 2 columns named “Title” and “Date” and add a few items by clicking the “New” button, Just so we can present some visible data.

Now I have a simple list created, I will show you how I place this list onto a SharePoint page.

With a new site page created, I can begin adding web parts. For this demonstration I will add a list by clicking any of the “+” icons on the page. This brings up a list of all the possible web-parts that I can add.

I will search and select “List” and then select “My List” that I created before. This now displays my list in an easily accessible and editable web-part.

What are approval workflows and how do they work with SharePoint?

An approval workflow is an automation carried out inside Power Automate. In essence, an approval workflow allows an event where an item needs to be approved after an action is taken.

In my RSS aggregator, there will be a section where a user can suggest an RSS feed to be added to a SharePoint list. It will then need to be approved by an admin before it appears visible on that list. So learning how this process works is important.

How was the Expert Call experience?

Having an expert call was an interesting experience. From a learning point of view it was fantastic as you can ask questions there and then, and really focus on the important aspects of what you would like to learn with the expert.

In my opinion this beats other learning methods as I could have just as easily sat and watched endless hours of videos or blogs with a likely chance I wouldn’t get the answers I’m looking for.

The platform was easy to use a fairly straight forward to use, and I had my first freelancer response within a few hours however, I gave my job request a few days to circulate to grab a variety of experts to choose from.

All in all a fantastic experience.

To read my extended MicroJobs Review click here.

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About the author 

Connor Deasey

It's my ambition to learn and share my experiences with Microsoft 365 and the Power Platform, to provide a fantastic learning experience. I'm a keen videographer and also assist with daily operations at Collab365.

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