Learn to Build Activity Feed Apps for SharePoint Lists Using Search Results
Paul Culmsee is an app maker, business strategist, Microsoft MVP, and all up technology enthusiast who is always willing to share professional experiences, best practices, and fun app stories! Today I'd like to highlight one of his latest blogs which he entitled "How to make a PowerApps activity feed via SharePoint search". This 3-part series of blogs showcases how we can combine the rich features and services in Office 365, SharePoint, Azure, and PowerApps to create highly practical business applications for productivity and collaboration.
The Solution Goals:
The app that Paul has built is delivering a feed of information from several different SharePoint lists, consolidating only relevant information for the consumer as an "activity log" or information gallery. In common business scenarios these feeds can be used to share news and announcements, manage project task assignments or completion, and can even be used to monitor eating patterns, or emotions in medical or fitness scenarios. This type of app is often appreciated in the collaboration space, as it helps users share and discover relevant information snippets. My favorite part is the clever use of search results (see more on Result Sources). I remember when we first started using the Content by Search webpart to configure our search results on SharePoint (that stuff was huge for us). Amazingly, I believe that was only 2 or 3 years ago (now well known as the "CBS" webpart)! Today, just imagining that level of precise relevance in search results as a source of app data really impressed all of us over here!
Paul shared a screen shot of his daughters sample app (since the production app was confidential). It's an adorable 'Cat-alogue' activity feed app. Huge kudos and thanks to his brilliant daughter Ashlee!
Activity Logs have loads of uses though! Imagine the following scenerios where having an activity feed from multiple data sources or lists would be beneficial:
News and Announcement Feeds in SharePoint lists (the ones we see on the home pages of communities for instance)
Event Planning Activities (pulling data together into a single app such as registration stats, speaker planning, progress on room logistics, hotel and car discounts, etc.)
Punch List Comments and Follow-ups (where different roles are logging comments on final punch list items for project completion)
Yammer Feeds Associated with SharePoint Data or Documents (data mash up of related content from SharePoint and Yammer, or SharePoint and Slack)
Support Response Feeds (showing only responses involving the current consumer of the app)
Cross-Group Project Request Activities (combining project health factors: scoping, schedule, and cost adjustments)
Issue or Problem Management (composite info on problems, with investigation notes, related tasks and/or document comments)
Fitness Activity Log (with food, exercise, and workout journals)
Psychological Activity Feeds such as Mood Logs (to view activities, circumstances, or conditions around the time of the mood logged)
Vehicle and Equipment Maintenance Logs (showing types of maintenance across several categories: repair, reoccuring maintenance, decommissioning, etc.)
Another example Activity Feed UI in PowerApps:
Paul's solution starts on a very straight forward Power User level, and then is built upon to demonstrate how easy it is to extend solutions using Pro Developer extendability options. The components of the solution were:
- SharePoint List Data
- A custom SharePoint Search Result Source
- An Azure Function (via PowerShell)
- A PowerApps Custom Connector
Paul's Blog Postings on CleverWorkarounds.com:
Video Demonstrations and Walkthroughs: