In the previous blogs here, we looked at how to Strategize and Design the Intranet. These steps are important for establishing a plan for a successful Intranet. The next step in the process is to start building the Intranet as per design plan.
The most important component for building a successful Intranet is to understand the extensibility options in SharePoint Communication Sites and use them to the fullest.
In this blog, we will look at the Out of box options of building the Intranet. In the upcoming blog we will look at the process to build custom components for the Intranet.
Not all functionality of a SharePoint Intranet needs to be customised. We can use some of the existing (in SP world we call them as Out of Box, for short OOB) components. Some of the key and advantageous components are below.
Themes allow us to change the look and feel of a site without customizing the core design classes. This can be invoked from the ‘Change and Look’ settings of the site. There are already some pre-defined themes but we can create custom ones using the theme generator – here.
Themes can also be added or managed programmatically using PowerShell cmdlet or CSOM API or REST API. For more information, please check here.
Site Layout Options
These are some default layout options (header and footer) that could be applied to the site throughout. Microsoft has been adding more, but below screenshot shows some that are available now.
Page Layout options
In my opinion, I consider this as the most powerful feature of all Intranet building features. With these options content authors could design the layout of the page as they want. The idea is to create sections and the columns to arrange the layout of the page.
This is one of the most important component of the Intranet. In Modern Communication Sites, any page could be published or promoted to be a news page. The published news page can then be shown on the Intranet home page using the news web part.
For more programmatic ways of creating and publishing news pages, check the blog here.
With the latest updates in News Web part, we could do much more with News such as,
- Get news from this site, selected sites or recommend for current user
- Change layout of the new web part
- Customise the authoritative sequence of the news
- Filter news based on metadata properties
Note: Currently the OOB process doesn’t allow to demote news pages to site pages in case of a error publish. This can be done programmatically as shown in the blog here.
Note: The Site Page Approval flow could be used to control the publishing process. For more information, please check this blog. For a programmatic approach, please check here.
The OOB Webparts are a great way to add components to an Intranet page without any customisation. Some of the noted ones are as follows.
Hero Web part
This web part displays content in a metro layout with choice from 1 to 5 tiles. This web part can be arranged in different layout options also. This allows to focus on the important content on the page.
Highlighted content web part
Personally I think this web part is one of the best web parts in SharePoint Modern sites. This component works with data from SharePoint Search. Some of the most useful options while using this web part are.
- Get content within this site, or all sites or selected sites using a managed property
- Get content from associated sites if Intranet (communication site) is the hub
- Get content within a document library or pages library using column search
- Filter based on the type of documents such as word, pdf, excel etc.
- Get layout options to arrange as a card, list or carousel
Text Web Part
Add any text using Rich text control using this web part. This allows to add content onto the page such as a static wiki for Content Authors. The web part has rich text editing options with features to add links and tables. This is a great web part to provide some context to the page or lay down information.
Quick Links Web Part
This is another helpful webpart that allows to add quick links to pages or web sites. We could also add a custom image to a link and change the arrangement of links.
Yammer Conversations Web Part
This web part is a quick and easy way to shown conversations from Yammer groups.
In this blog, we saw how we could use the OOB components to start building the SharePoint Intranet. In the next blog, we will look at the custom options to build the Intranet and steps to plan for it.