Saturday, April 22, 2017

Adding tenant-url to trusted sites improves performance + user experience

We employ Application Performance Management to structural monitor the performance of company applications, including SharePoint Online. Via APM we observed a severe effect of initial login to Office 365: it structural adds up to 8 seconds to the actual SPO activity, for all of our worldwide locations:
And via the same structural APM measuring this week we noticed that the effect of initial login was largely improved, to a mere 2 seconds. We analyzed what changes were done on our side that caused this performance improvement. Turns out that a general policy update was applied in which multiple Office 365 URLs, including that of our SharePoint tenant, were added to IE trusted sites. This workplace change has a significant positive effect on the Office 365 network access times, and it also results in situation with federated login that IE automatically logs the user in.

Friday, April 7, 2017

System architecture of Skype presence in SharePoint

Business end-users really appreciate the SharePoint capability that displays presence information of your colleagues, e.g. in a people results overview. They take this capability for granted, and request the same in other (web)applications, and even on other devices - mobile in particular. However, that is not that trivial to accomplish. The SharePoint presence capability current really shines in the combinations of Microsoft specific clients - IE browser, Outlook mailclient -, and the Skype client process on the local device. That local Skype client process functions actually as interface gateway to access Skype functionalities: retrieve presence information, start chatting.
Windows OS
Presence indication in SharePoint pages works via Microsoft proprietary combination: IE plug-in, that communicates via a proprietary protocol on Windows OS level against the local Skype client (process). The local Skype client on its turn connects to the central Lync / Skype server.
With this IE plug-in enabled, and local Skype client active + logged in; the presence information of colleagues can be retrieved and visualized in IE
Mobile OS
On Mobile OS, the system architecture is in essence the same: the local Skype Client operates as ‘gateway’/interface to the central Skype server. Element of the local Skype client deployment is an API via which custom applications can invoke Skype (client) functionaliteit: Skype for Business App SDK. Current this API includes capabilities to start a chat, start a video playing. There is yet no endpoint in the Skype client API to retrieve presence information.