Tag: public website

What happens with my public website during the Office 365 update?

With the new version of Office 365 for enterprises to be officially launched on 27 February, there are many questions for existing customers regarding the upgrade process. In this article, I will explore what is known regarding the public website that is provided as part of a Office 365 tenant.

In the (still) current version of Office 365, the public website is using a simple design with limited functionality, which has been criticized by a lot of people:

public-website-2010

With the new version of Office 365, the public website will however make use of many SharePoint publishing features and allow more flexibility and functionality:

public-website-2013

Customers who will sign up for Office 365 after the general availability of the new version (27 February) will have the new website only. But what happens to existing customers and their existing public websites once Office 365 will be updated from Wave 14 (based on the 2010 versions, and using the “old & simple” website) to Wave 15 (2013 versions, using the “new & shiny” website)? Following are some important questions and their answers, as far as they are known

Will I lose my existing website once I upgrade?

You’re using Office 365, and you already have a public website. Once you upgrade, this website will not be lost and replaced by a new public website, but rather an additional public website (in the new format) will be made available. So, both of them will co-exist, and you can choose if you want to use one of them, both of them, or none.

How long can I keep my existing ‘old’ website?

This is something that I do not know right now, and I couldn’t find any information on this.

Can I use two custom domains, one for the ‘old’ website, one for the ‘new’ one?

So you want to use something like www.myawesomecompany.com for your old website, and www.ourawesomeproduct.com for the new website? Sadly, this is not possible, as only one custom domain is allowed. So one website can use your custom domain (www.myawesomecompany.com), whereas the other public website would then use the ‘internal’ name (such as mycompany-web.sharepoint.com)

Shall I use a custom domain for the old website or the new one?

I’ll start by quoting Microsoft here (see link at the bottom of this article):

Use the earlier website, which appears on the top of the Manage public website page, if one or both of the following are true for you:

  • You’ve already worked on the website’s design, and you don’t want to spend time designing another Office 365 website. You also might have already associated the website with your custom domain.
  • You’re almost finished designing your original website and you don’t want to start a new one.

Use the new website, which appears below the other website on the Manage public website page, if one of the following is true for you:

  • You haven’t yet started designing a website.
  • You started designing the earlier website, but you haven’t worked on it very much.

We recommend that you use the new website and tools if you haven’t already finished, or have nearly finished, an earlier website. The new website has more features, and includes updated design tools and new templates. It’s faster and easier to create the look and feel that you want for your Office 365 public website compared to the earlier website.

And some additional comments from me: when uncertain, go for the new website. It offers much more functionality, and while this comes with a bit more effort, the end result will be much better, and the benefits outweigh the (small) drawbacks in the long term.

In which ways is the new public website better than the old one?

The old website used a simple web-based editor, that made it easy for companies with little web design knowledge to create their own website. However, this came at the cost of limited functionality and no extensibility.
The new public website makes use of most of SharePoint’s publishing features. It is now possible to use more advanced designs and layouts for content, make use of a lot more SharePoint functionality, and provide a more compelling experience for editors, designers, and visitors. To see an example of the new public website, visit http://www.contosobistro.com/

Where can I find more information on the two public websites?

Resource: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/office365-suite-help/work-with-your-two-office-365-public-websites-HA103148336.aspx

I have more questions about the public websites!

Please leave a comment below, or feel free to contact me

Adding video to your Office 365 public website

Sometimes you may want to add a video to your Office 365 public website. While you could for example upload your video to a service such as YouTube and use the provided HTML code to embed it with the Video Gadget, more than often you may prefer to host the video within your own site.

What you need to do so is your video in a suitable format (e.g. .mov, .flv, .wmv, .mpg, .avi, etc.) and Flowplayer, a free JavaScript library.

Download the latest version of Flowplayer, and unpack the contents of the ZIP file to your documents. Next, open your Office 365 public website, click on Member Login, and then on Documents, and upload the following files to it:
flowplayer.controls-3.2.5.swf, flowplayer-3.2.6.min.js, flowplayer-3.2.7.swf, and style.css (Note: depending on the latest version of flowplayer, the file names may be slightly different). Also, upload your video file to the library (I uploaded a file called flowplayer-700.flv), and you should have the following:
flowplayer1

The second step is to add the video to your page. Click on Web Pages, and click on the Page on which you want to show the video. Insert a HTML Gadget at the desired location, and paste the following code:

<SCRIPT type=text/javascript defer src=”/Documents/flowplayer-3.2.6.min.js”></SCRIPT>
<LINK rel=stylesheet type=text/css href=”/Documents/style.css”>
<A style=”WIDTH: 260px; DISPLAY: block; HEIGHT: 165px” id=player href=”/Documents/flowplayer-700.flv”></A>
<SCRIPT defer>
flowplayer(“player”, “/Documents/flowplayer-3.2.7.swf”);
</SCRIPT>

Note: update the WIDTH and HEIGHT values accordingly, and replace flowplayer-700.flv with your own video.

That’s it! You now have a video embedded in your page:
flowplayer3

Flowplayer offers a lot of flexibility when it comes to its controls and the design, have a look at the documentation for further details on how you can add a preview image to the video, don’t play it immediately by default (use flowplayer(“player”, “/Documents/flowplayer-3.2.7.swf”, {clip: {autoPlay: true}}); )    , and others.

Lastly, if you want to add multiple videos on a single page, do the following:
Add multiple A tags with different IDs (here, player1 and player2), and call them separately in the bottom JavaScript code:

<SCRIPT type=text/javascript defer src=”/Documents/flowplayer-3.2.6.min.js”></SCRIPT>
<LINK rel=stylesheet type=text/css href=”/Documents/style.css”>

<A style=”WIDTH: 260px; DISPLAY: block; HEIGHT: 165px” id=player1 href=”/Documents/flowplayer-700.flv”></A>
<A style=”WIDTH: 260px; DISPLAY: block; HEIGHT: 165px” id=player2 href=”/Documents/flowplayer-700.flv”></A>

<SCRIPT defer>
flowplayer(“player1”, “/Documents/flowplayer-3.2.7.swf”);
flowplayer(“player2”, “/Documents/flowplayer-3.2.7.swf”);
</SCRIPT>