Webinar Recap | SharePoint Site Designs

Thank you for your interest in, “Deliver Amazing Results with SharePoint Site Designs“. If you were able to join us for the webinar, we sincerely thank you for being there. We hope you had as much fun learning about the the magic and wonder of SharePoint Site Designs as our speaker Eric Overfield (@EricOverfield) did sharing his knowledge with you.
There were questions aplenty during this session (we LOVE questions!) and Eric wanted to make sure he got to them all. Here are a few that we wanted to expand our answer on:
Q: MS was already supporting PnP for deployment, why is there now a whole new architecture for this? 
PnP is an open source, community driven initiative that is supported by Microsoft. PnP Provisioning is very powerful and utilizes CSOM and REST to communicate with SharePoint. PnP does not provide a native platform experience though, meaning that PnP Provisioning has to be triggered by an event and works externally from SharePoint. 
Site designs and site scripts are baked into SharePoint and provide a native experience for modern “site templating” with integrated provisioning feedback. 
 
Q: Will Site Designs can work for SP2019 on-prem? 
Unfortunately as of now the answer appears to be NO. 
https://github.com/SharePoint/sp-dev-docs/blob/master/docs/general-development/sharepoint-2019-development-platform.md 
 
Q: What is the best way to convert root site in SPO, ex: xyzinc.sharepoint.com to modern site design? 
As of now there is no way to do this, the root site in SPO is a classic team site for existing tenants and will be a communication site for new tenants. Announced at Ignite 2018 is a possible upcoming ability for communication site like features added to classic root sites. 
For those new tenants with a communication site applied to the root site collection, you are in look, you should be able to apply a custom site design(s) to your root site using PowerShell’s Invoke-SPOSiteDesign. 
 
Q: How do you prevent site duplication/triplication/quadruplication when you allow self-service site creation? 
With OOTB self-service site creation, there is no inline way for this. After the fact, you can use governance scripts that routinely monitor your tenant by scanning your list of sites looking for duplicates, sites ready for archive, sites without active owners, etc. 
 
Q: I’m building brand new intranet portal for our company. Since root site is already using classic team, we can not use it. If we create a new communication site, what is the recommendation on using existing DNS entry for our portal to map to the new communicaiton site? 
You could always use a Script Editor Webpart on the homepage to redirect you to a new portal site. Don’t forget to also update your O365 suite bar logo to link to your new portal. 
An answer from Galen Keene: 
You can enable publishing features in the root site of the tenant, create a redirect page, and configure that page to be the homepage of the site. This will redirect all users, but is configurable to allow site administrators the time to navigate to other pages within the site. 
 
Q: If you re-run a site design on the same site, will changes made between the two runs be overwriten? 
It depends on what you changed I would say. If your site design applies a logo and a theme, you then change the logo and/or theme manually after the site design was utilized during site creation, then reapply the site design, yes, the logo and theme would get overwritten. 
If your site design created a content type and a list, if you were to change the content type and/or list, if you reapplied the site design, the site design would not remove what you changed, although it would add back what you might have manually removed. 
 
Q: Does the pnp-powershell depend on SharePoint online management shell? 
No, PnP PowerShell is completely separate. Learn more at https://github.com/sharepoint/pnp-powershell 
 
Q: Even to re-apply site design on existing iste collection you will still need tenant level access or site collection admin can apply the modified site design? 
It does appear that way. Invoke-SPOSiteDesign takes the WebUrl of the site you wish to apply the site design to (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powershell/module/sharepoint-online/Invoke-SPOSiteDesign?view=sharepoint-ps), yet to run this command, you must first Connect-SPOService, which does require a SharePoint tenant admin. 
 
Q: Can we activate existing site features through site script? 
No, this action/verb is not yet a part of the json schema: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/dev/declarative-customization/site-design-json-schema. Although this can be accomplished with PnP Provisioning. 
 
Q: Are all the steps which we put in site script all sequential? If yes, then what will happen if one of the step fails? Any Try catch options? 
Yes, actions are executed in order. If an action fails, the process moves on to the next action. Currently there is no try/catch mechanism, in fact site scripts do not offer any logic such as if/then, foreach, while, etc. 
 
Q: Would love a webinar talking about Azure Functions vs. Logic Apps vs Automation for advanced site provisioning 
Galen, great idea, I will see what we can come up with. 
 
Q: Can you remove the out of the box site templates when adding your own custom ones? 
Not that I am aware of. There might be a hack for this but I have not seen it. The default site designs do not show up in the list if you execute Get-SPOSiteDesign 
 
Q: Slides at the url are read only — cant save a copy, which would be helpful 
You can download the slidedeck by visiting: https://pxml.ly/EO-Site-Designs-Oct2018, then once this loads, go to File->Download As 
 
Q: is this webinar available for all later registered users? 
Funny you should mention that…
 
Didn’t get a chance to catch our session live? We’ve got you covered.
This session:
Modern SharePoint provides two primary site types, modern Team Sites and Communication Sites, and until recently we were limited to only these two options when creating new modern SharePoint sites. No more! Site Designs provide a method to create custom templated experiences for your end users when provisioning new SharePoint sites.
Attend this session to learn Site Design offerings including what site designs can and cannot do. Learn how to extend Site Designs with Flow to provision tailored experiences that fulfill your organization’s SharePoint requirements. Learn not just the theory, get the code and examples necessarily to launch your next SharePoint provisioning project. 
 

 
We hope to see you again soon! Like maybe at our next webinar on November 15th (see what we did there?).

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