Sharepoint 2013 : Creating team sites (part 4) - Using a team notebook, Using a site mailbox

10/10/2013 7:49:26 PM

Using a team notebook

OneNote 2013 received some significant improvements in the client version of the application. It also received a major overhaul in the web app version in order to bring the browser version closer to parity with the rich client. Based on usability studies of what many teams actually do with SharePoint team sites, three major new components are available to team sites: a shared OneNote team notebook, a team project summary with task timeline, and team mailboxes.

To access the team OneNote notebook, click Notebook in the navigation menu on the left side of the page, as shown in Figure 14. This will open the notebook in the OneNote web app by default. You can also choose to open the team notebook in OneNote on your PC, Mac, or mobile device. Opening it in a native OneNote client app provides the additional benefit of making it available offline and keeping it automatically synchronized.

A screenshot of the left navigation of a site where the link to the team notebook is being called out.

Figure 14. A team notebook appears on the left side of the page in the Quick Launch navigation of a site.

When using a team notebook, all team members who have membership permissions to the site will be able to take notes and share content in the notebook. Sometimes when multiple people are editing the same page, you may need to go back and review (and restore if necessary) a prior version of the page. To accomplish this, you can click the Page Versions button on the View tab of the ribbon.

In a team notebook, multiple people can edit the notebook at the same time—you will see their notes appear as they type them and vice versa. When you have multiple authors working on content in the browser-based version of OneNote, you can click the Show Authors button on the View tab on the ribbon, shown in Figure 15, to see what notes various team members are editing.

A screenshot of the OneNote web application where the Show Authors button is being called out.

Figure 15. Click Show Authors to see what notes team members are editing.

As with the other Office Web Apps, you can access a team notebook from any computer or mobile device. Perhaps your primary work laptop has OneNote 2013 loaded on it, but you also want to read and edit notes from a tablet or other mobile device. As shown in Figure 16, even if you are accessing team notes from a device without a native OneNote app installed, you can still participate and collaborate.

A screenshot of the OneNote web application as seen from within Office Web Applications running on a tablet device.

Figure 16. Here, a team notebook appears on a tablet from within the OneNote web application.

Using a site mailbox

SharePoint team sites have historically centered around shared documents, calendars, and tasks. However, many customers find that email is another major source of collaborative information when managing a project or team. Therefore, SharePoint 2013 introduces site mailboxes to team sites so that team members can have a shared repository of email related to their team and projects. The site mailbox is an innovative new feature in Microsoft Exchange 2013 that improves collaboration and productivity by allowing access to SharePoint 2013 documents and Exchange email via the same interface. With site mailboxes, you can view email in SharePoint, and likewise, you can view documents in Outlook. And just like sharing documents, when a team member puts email in the site mailbox, any member can then access the content.

To add a site mailbox to your team site, select the Site Mailbox tile by clicking Add An App on the Site Settings page. The Site Mailbox tile is shown in Figure 17.

A screenshot of the site mailbox tile image, which could be selected to add a site mailbox to the site.

Figure 17. Click the Site Mailbox tile to add a mailbox to a team site.

As shown in Figure 18, site mailboxes appear not only in SharePoint 2013, but also in Outlook. This gives users easy access to the email and documents for the teams and projects they work with, regardless of whether they are in email or in the SharePoint site. Also, team members can add new documents to a team site’s document libraries directly from Outlook 2013.

A screenshot of a site mailbox as seen from within Outlook. The site mailbox folders appear on the left side navigation of Outlook.

Figure 18. A site mailbox also appears in Outlook.

While site mailboxes appear to be in SharePoint, Exchange Server actually stores the email. By taking this approach, users are able to use the same interface for both their personal email and their team email. SharePoint still stores the documents in the mailbox, thus enabling standard document collaboration features, such as coauthoring. Exchange Server gathers the necessary data from SharePoint to create a document-centric view in Outlook for the user that includes items such as size, most recent author, document title, modified date, and so forth.

From an administrative point of view, SharePoint and Exchange share responsibility for site mailboxes. SharePoint is used to manage the lifecycle and retention of the site mailbox. SharePoint’s eDiscovery console is also used for site mailboxes when you need to perform searches and legal holds. For backup and restore, however, Exchange 2013 is in control. Site mailboxes should be part of your regular Exchange disaster recovery program. Exchange also takes care of quotas for site mailboxes, thus allowing control over settings such as maximum mailbox size, maximum number of emails in a mailbox, and so forth. These quota settings are configured via an Exchange cmdlet called New-SiteMailboxProvisioningPolicy.

 Site mailbox requirements

To add site mailboxes to your team sites, several prerequisites must be in place. At a high level, the following items must be configured prior to using site mailboxes:

  • Site mailboxes are only supported with Exchange 2013.

  • The Exchange web services application programming interface (API) must be installed on all web front-end (WFE) servers in the SharePoint farm.

  • OAuth trust must be configured on both SharePoint and Exchange.

  • Because there will be server-to-server authentication between Exchange and SharePoint, SharePoint Server must have Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) configured for the zones containing web apps with site mailboxes.

  • The app management service application must be added to the farm prior to initializing site mailboxes.

  • Access to files in a document library from a site mailbox requires that users configure the document library as a trusted site in their browsers. If this is not done, they will repeatedly receive a warning that asks them if they trust the file.

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