Understanding Office 365 Connectors For Groups

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Understanding Office 365 Connectors For Groups

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Understanding Office 365 Connectors For Groups by Simon Jäger, Microsoft, Sweden.


Video Transcript:

all right welcome to this video about understanding Office 365 connectors for groups my name is Simon Jager and I work as a Technical Evangelist of Microsoft focusing on office and Office 365 development so to start things off I want to point out that I do have a blogpost about the exact same topic where I’m going to cover everything in terms of the same procedures that we’re going to take in this video so if you prefer to follow along in text instead go ahead and check out the blog post at Simon   now the first place I want to take you to is an Office 365 group and if you don’t know what that is thatis essentially a way to put a lot of users within an Office 365 tenant together and give them a tool to collaborate what I mean by that is that we have a shared conversation flow weave a shared calendar we also have shared file space a notebook and the last thing here is something that’s called connectors and connectors as a way for you to feed relevant data from other services into this particular Office 365 group the best way to learn about which connectors that you already have available is essentially to go and click on that button and doing so you’ll be able to browse the different connectors that are already available you’ll find everything from Trello to Twitter you can pull an RSS feeds pulling data from wanderlust and if I go ahead and choose one of these guys I’ll have information and data that the service has chosen to share with this particular group being put straight into the conversation flow what that means is that I’m going to get notifications I’m going to get emails about the different services and the connectors that I put in here so it’s great way of aggregating data into this Office 365 group without having to essentially go out and reach out to each and every individual service now to kick off in order to understand how is how does an actual office justify connector for group work we’re going to start off by adding an incoming web hook connector you can simply browse to find it on if you don’t you can simply go-ahead and search for it like so what I’m going to do here is to click on the Add button and now the only really thing that we have to do here is to give this incoming web hook connector and name so I’m going to name this something like my connector and if you don’t know what and a web hook is it’s essentially a way of creating a call back call back or registering a call back within a services it’s a common concept that you’ve seen around for a while and it’s a way to essentially register perhaps your own servers within another service to be notified about changes or events to be more precise that could be for instance you could have your own service that registers with the Microsoft graph about notifications that are happening within file storage say a user is adding agile or adding an email or something of that sort and the Microsoft graph in this case is able to notify your own service about this change and you’re able to act upon this so I gave my incoming web hook here a name and I chose create and what we’re now given is essentially that the web hook URL or thecal back URL if you will so we’re going Togo ahead and simply save this thing and I’m going to store mine into notepad here and now to illustrate a bit about you know how does this actually work or actually the first thing I might want to point out here is that if we go back into the Office 365 group and we’re in the conversation feed you’ll find that we also got a new activity here and if you click on it you’ll see that we added the incoming web here but to understand how they work and how the you know how do you actually go on about feeding information now into this conversation flow or this opposition to fight group if you’re well we’re going Togo ahead and get into visual studio and what I’m going to do is create a simple console application and it really doesn’t matter how you go on about doing this the only really thing that you need to be able to do is to issue a simple Network call so the code here that I’m going to write or essentially copy from the blog post it’s going to be extremely straightforward and I’ll walk you through what that what the actual codes going to do but the first thing I’m going to do here is to click on new project I’m going to make sure that I’m in the Windows templates and create just a console application let’s call this connector console application and while that’s creating I’m going to pop over to my blog post and find some code here you’ll notice if we’re in the conversation feed what we have is this notion of cards and these cards are essentially what we want to create and what we want to feed information into and the cool thing about this here is that you don’t have to actually create these cards yourself what you simply supply is essentially what is it that you want to be included within this card and then Office 365 is going to take care of actually rendering that and putting out the HTML here so deep because these cards are you know able Tobe in multiple different places you know you’ll find them here in the Office 365web space but you’ll also be able to find them in individual emails so if you would have to render these things in the various different places where the course can exist that would be challenge so you’ll be very happy to know that how you do this is simply by telling officers using two five what you want to be rendered and the rendering job is being taken care of for you and whether you do that is to what I actually swapped over to here is to describe everything with a JSON payload those JSON pay can be very simple with everything from you know simply saying that all right Ingot a text element here and it can be even so complex as having multiple different sections with different parts about what we call facts here which are essentially like the structure of a name of value you’ll have images you’ll have actions that you can take upon this cards they can be fairly complex and the best way to kind of learn about what are the different parts that you can put into your low station payload is to essentially go to the dev outlook.com forward slash connectors forward slash reference web page and in here you’ll actually find a different pieces and bits that you can put into a card which is support and currently and that we will take care of the rendering piece and put that into place for you so what I’m going to do is to simply grab this more complex piece because it’s a little bit more fun to show off and in order for us to use that and put that into the console application we’re going to have to do a little bit of formatting here that I’m going to do in notepad so what I’m going to do first and foremost is to replace all of the quotes and then appropriate the format and then I also have this piece that where I have to add another backslash essentially and at this point I can simply put this in to variable in my newly created solution here and what I’m going to do here now is to just go down here and copy and paste some code so what want to make sure is to grab the HTTP client we’re going to grab this helper function that allows us to do a post request I’m going to be sure to import any required references here let’s actually make that Cost string to make everything look good and at this point we also want to paste the following piece and the last piece that I need here to actually have this application compiled is a web hourly and that web Google URL is that URL that we created from the connector the incoming web hub connect connector and we can go ahead and simply define it up here that’s following and now we’re pretty much done the code at this point is going to compile so what we have is we have the JSON payload that describes the card and then what we do is to post this JSON straight to that endpoint that connector web hook URL that we were giving given and it’s a very straightforward thing that we’re doing if you’re familiar with c-sharp terms we’re using that HTTP built-in stack to essentially post a content and that piece of content is a string content we’re making sure to have that encoded in utf-8 and they’re really I guess the generic thing that you want to make sure is that your content type header is set-to application for slack Jason so that we know that what you’re actually sending to the web hook URL is an actualising payload so we can go ahead and actually run this thing and hopefully we’ll see everything compiling and actually be given a status after the request has been sent now it says okay and that comes from us actually just printing the response code that we’re given from the request and if I now go back into that office365 group you’ll find that I have a new activity here and if I choose to show that I’m actually giving given this fairly complex card which is entirely described by that JSON that I pasted it from my blog post so it’s got the fact here which is essentially the name and value representation it’s got images that’s actually got avenges in here that are being shown properly in this in this scene and you also have an action here that you can take and in this case it’s a I button that it simply takes you back to my blogpost or actually back to my blog in general and if you want to learn more and also follow along a bit more in text or a bit more in detail I do encourage you to go out and check out the blogpost you’ll also find pointers to where you can go and learn more a great resource which has already been mentioned as the dev dot outlook.com or slash connectors page and in here you’ll find everything from getting started learning more about building your own and also a great reference of what you can do in terms of building out the connector cards that you can share so with that I hope that gave you a great understanding of what an office recertify connector is and essentially how they actually work a little bit more underneath the hood

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