On docs.microsoft.com

Before you judge the new docs.microsoft.com you should ask if TechNet is a good experience for you, as a consumer of information. You could maybe answer that yes, 10 years ago TechNet was a modern site. It still has great content, but the format, the organization, and the frequency of content being updated? Calling it poor today would be generous.

I don't think docs is a slam dunk, but it's definitely a step in the right direction. Formatting the text for improved readability is a tremendous improvement on its own and simply being able to use the site on a mobile device without having to pinch, zoom, and scroll the navigation section is another really big win.

Outside of the visual adjustments there appears to be a major change in the approach to content. TechNet has always been Microsoft's final word for what is considered "supported," but it was never a great source for how you would configure something in the real world. If you needed a walkthrough or help on getting started with a product you were much better off finding a series of blog posts from some random author via your favorite search engine. Docs seems to be geared much more towards providing that how-to guidance and not just the why.

The new URL scheme has significant advantages, but it's still unclear how Microsoft will handle the TechNet URLs many writers, including myself, have linked to at some point. There doesn't seem to be a public comment from Microsoft on the plans here, but this is pretty black and white - not maintaining the TechNet links as content moves to Docs would be a major failure. I hope they do the right thing here.

Lastly, it's really hard to take the community edits functionality as anything other than Microsoft waving the white flag on trying to maintain their own content. The pace of change in their services combined with the diminishing technical documentation staff makes keeping the content up to date an impossible task. Increasing the number of technical writers on staff clearly doesn't make sense for Microsoft, but you have to wonder how quality of the content will hold up over time if it's being maintained by the community.

On the Future of SharePoint

Impressive stuff announced out of Redmond last week with the upcoming changes to SharePoint. Two of the more significant pieces were the mobile app and SharePoint homepage.

The existing SharePoint Newsfeed app has been nothing short of embarrassing (currently 2.5 stars on iOS) and was incredibly long in the tooth. SharePoint mobile had been an oddly neglected focus, mainly as the whole Yammer buzz rose and subsided over the past few years, so there's only room for improvement here. Is it time to finally say the path forward is SharePoint and not Yammer? I hope so.

And there's no better showcase for how the Office Graph shines than with the new SharePoint home page. It cuts through any poor site structure or navigation an organization has built and brings sites that actually matter to each user right to the front page.

The gaping miss still seems to be in how SharePoint lines up against Spark or Slack. They're absolutely different in working style, but Microsoft can't afford to not address this market. Regardless of whether it makes any sense for a business the new workforce wants to work this way, and not having a story is inviting the competition. It's especially painful because Microsoft already owns a fantastic product in this space with GroupMe via their acquisition of Skype. Bringing GroupMe functionality to Office 365 Groups seems like a no-brainer to me, but there doesn't seem to be a focus from Redmomd on this working style.

Skype for Business Contact List Changes are Not Saved

As more and more companies adopt a hybrid approach to Office 365 there is an increasing mix of on-premises and online users, but not all policies applied on-premises will carry over to Office 365 as gracefully as you might hope.

As an example, consider an organization that has determined tha users with both a Mac and PC couldn't possibly have the need to update their contact list from a Mac client so they've enabled the Unified Contact Store (UCS). For the nerds, this means that:

Set-CsUserServicesPolicy -Identity Global -UcsAllowed $true

Now consider that user has signed in on a PC and successfully migrated their contact list to UCS at some point. And that same user later migrates to Skype for Business Online where the global UcsAllowed paramater is set to $false by default.

The end result is the user will find they are unable to have changes persist to their contact list. The Skype for Business client honors new additions or changes to group membership within the UI during that session, but those modifications will be removed on the next sign-in or registration refresh. If the user adds a contact, moves them to another group, or removes them from the contact list, the original contact list will be reset on the next registration attempt.

On the other hand, this is a really nice trick to play on someone if you want to make them think they've lost their mind.

The issue here is that the user was previously using UCS, but Office 365 does not allow for this feature by default. When the user signs in UCS kicks in to provide the contact list, but changes are only being saved against the Skype for Business Server because the policy prevents UCS.

In order to resolve the situation you'll need to roll the user back to using the Skype for Business Server contact list provider option via:

Invoke-CsUcsRollBack -Identity [username]

This will force the user to immediately sign out, but will start using the Skype for Business Server as the contact list provider on the next sign-in.