What is LiveTiles Design for SharePoint and Why do Organizations Use It?
LiveTiles Design is an application that enables organizations to accelerate delivery of tailored, consumer grade user experiences via their existing investment in the SharePoint platform - without the time, costs and risks associated with traditional custom development.
How is LiveTiles Design for SharePoint Utilized in Organizations?
Organizations use LiveTiles to build many kinds of business solutions - traditional intranets used for corporate communications and document management, extranets for communicating with vendors and partners and custom portals focused on managing specific business processes.
Iterative & Evergreen Ethos
Importantly, LiveTiles provides an approach not just to meeting the specific needs of a single project, but an ability to rapidly respond to new business needs as they arise through time. This ethos is exemplified by our iterative release of new capabilities based on industry and client feedback.
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS & PREREQUISITES
Typically, any customer with a subscription to Office 365 SharePoint Online or licensed for SharePoint Server 2019, 2016, 2013 is ready to use LiveTiles after basic configurations.
Office 365 SharePoint Online Deployments
- Deploy an App Catalog via the Office 365 Administration Center
- Allow Custom Scripting via the Office 365 Administration Center
SharePoint Server 2019, 2016, 2013
Deploy an App Catalog via the SharePoint Server Central Administration
LiveTiles will function in:
- Internet Explorer 11
- Current version of Chrome
- Current version of Firefox
- Current versions of iOS browsers
- Current versions of Android browsers
Classic & Modern SharePoint Support
LiveTiles Design is designed to function inside either Classic or Modern SharePoint sites.
Installation of the LiveTiles App
The LiveTiles Design app conforms to Microsoft requirements for the SharePoint Add-in model. The LiveTiles Design appx package install into a sub-site in the target site collection with the requisite assets and two additional SharePoint permissions groups – LiveTiles Owners and LiveTiles Designers.
Runtime – Designers
When a LiveTiles Owner or LiveTiles Designer utilizes LiveTiles Design, the app communicates with requisite components via CSOM and REST APIs.
Runtime – End Users
When an end user accesses a LiveTiles page they are generally unaware of the LiveTiles Design app itself, they are simply accessing web pages inside SharePoint.
INFORMATION SECURITY & COMPLIANCE
LiveTiles Design is not a Content Management System (CMS) and relies on SharePoint for the hosting of data. Therefore, it is important to note that LiveTiles Design does not host any content – content lives 100% inside your Office 365 tenant or on your SharePoint Server.
Communication Between Your Environment & LiveTiles
- Secure HTTPS connection to the LiveTiles source hosted on Microsoft Azure
- Secure HTTPS connection to the LiveTiles Licensing Service (LTLS) hosted on Microsoft Azure
- Anonymous user telemetry and error capturing via Microsoft Azure Application Insights
- Third party Intercom service which enables two-way real-time communication with the LiveTiles Client Success Team
- LiveTiles Intelligence which may be activated by Administrators to report anonymous / de-identified user activity back for the purpose of providing page usage analytics – See the last section which covers Intelligence
Information Security & Compliance
Solutions built with LiveTiles will 100% inherit and respect any information governance policies that you have in place, for example through the Microsoft Security & Compliance Center for Office 365.
USER AUTHENTICATION & PERMISSIONS
Understanding User Authentication
Users don’t authenticate into LiveTiles per se. Rather, your users authenticate into your SharePoint solution built with LiveTiles through whatever authentication mechanism you have in place for access to Office 365 or your on-premise server.
Understanding User Permissions in the Context of SharePoint Permissions
LiveTiles has no implications for “end-users” of SharePoint solutions built with LiveTiles as they are simply interacting with SharePoint web pages built with LiveTiles. This can be contrasted with the small number of approved users who will be given access to the LiveTiles Design app itself as “Owners” or “Designers”. In summary, when planning for user permissions site you should simply start by understanding permission levels in SharePoint. Solutions built with LiveTiles will 100% inherit and respect whatever permissions model you choose to apply.
LiveTiles Design App Permissions – LiveTiles Owners & LiveTiles Designers
Users that will have the ability to design experiences using LiveTiles are additionally added to the SharePoint permissions groups “LiveTiles Owners” or “LiveTiles Designers”. LiveTiles Owners have full control over the application and can nominate specific page components and tiles that cannot be altered or configured by LiveTiles Designers. LiveTiles Designers can interact with the application, with access to all features except those that LiveTiles Owners have restricted them from.
MANAGING & SCALING BUSINESS SOLUTIONS
Centralized Management Console
LiveTiles Design provides a central console for IT to view and manage access to the artifacts produces during a LiveTiles deployment – this includes brand elements, page layout templates and individual page elements / web parts that we refer to as “tiles”. Because these objects are stored as files in SharePoint lists, access to them can be controlled through SharePoint permissions.
Scaling via Simplified Templating Mechanisms
LiveTiles Design provides robust mechanisms for scalable, predictable and repeatable deployments through the packaging up of LiveTiles assets from one site for deployment to another. Entire page configurations can be packed up into TGZ format or individual components packaged as JSON.
Does LiveTiles Impact Default Master Page Files?
No. Microsoft have officially recommended in Branding Guidance for SharePoint Online Portals that organizations do not achieve custom branding and layouts through customization of default master pages. LiveTiles adheres to the recommended best practices for branding by making the injection of custom features and function part of the app itself and default master pages are not impacted.
CUSTOMIZATION & EXTENSIBILITY
Options for Developers
Connecting to External Data Sources via REST API Services
Web developers can use the Custom Tile to develop UI components that allow users to interact with data from external (non-SharePoint) data sources. Typically, this will be achieved by creating a tile that makes an AJAX request to REST API endpoint of the target system and tiles can support complete GET, PUT, POST, DELETE operations. The success of these tiles typically depends on then capabilities of the target system’s API to provide the requisite dataset and functionality and handling user authentication between systems.
The LiveTiles API provides a mechanism for developers to handle connection and authentication to the Microsoft Office Graph API when developing their own custom tile components.
How are updates to the LiveTiles app performed?
LiveTiles is an “evergreen” product with ongoing feature and function enhancements delivered on a regular basis in accordance with our Product Roadmap. Updates are rolled out automatically via a secure connection to the Microsoft Azure CDN.
Are updates received automatically or manually and is there any downtime?
Updates are received automatically, and no downtime is required.
How do updates impact existing LiveTiles deployments?
Updates focus on extension and not deprecation. Pages built with LiveTiles are unaffected until a LiveTiles Owner or Designer chooses to begin reconfiguring the deployment with the enhanced functionality.
LiveTiles Intelligence enables you to make data-driven decisions about how to improve your portal experience by collecting usage analytics and reporting them back in a format that is easy to understand.
LiveTiles Intelligence does not collect/store users’ Personally Identifiable Information (PII). When a user accesses a LiveTiles Design page, LiveTiles Intelligence removes all user details and gives that user a Unique User ID. Interactions performed by a user are streamed to an Azure blob storage which is hosted by LiveTiles and LiveTiles customers can choose which Azure data center they would like to use to host their data. Data is streamed to an Azure Blob. From there an Azure Function is run which aggregates the data into the LiveTiles SQL database. From here the UI accesses the information for display purposes.
The following is a list of events collected and measured in LiveTiles Design Intelligence:
- LiveTiles tile loads
- Page URL
- Tile clicks
- Page loads
- Browser used to access the page
- Device used to access the page
- Users department
- Page engagement score which is a formula based on page loads, number of page events per session, number of sessions & number of unique user visits.
HELP & SUPPORT
Please do not hesitate to be in contact with LiveTiles for any further information that you require: