Getting to know SharePoint Embedded

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SharePoint Embedded has recently become a part of the Microsoft 365 suite, as announced by Microsoft during the ESPC23 conference held a few days ago. This new addition aims to enhance the capabilities of business teams within companies allowing to build a more personalized experience.

Surprised person about something he discovered in his laptop by DALLE-3In this article, I will delve into the details of SharePoint Embedded based on the information provided by Microsoft. By the end of this read, I hope you get a clearer comprehension of the purpose and functionality of this innovative service, as well as insights on how to effectively utilize it.

You can find the original article at https://intranetfromthetrenches.substack.com/p/getting-to-know-sharepoint-embedded. Check all my articles on the Intranet from the Trenches. Thanks for your support!

What is SharePoint Embedded

SharePoint Embedded functions as Microsoft’s headless CMS, drawing its features from SharePoint, with a specific emphasis on document-related functionalities. To clarify, SharePoint Embedded is tailored exclusively for document management. This requires a shift in your SharePoint mindset, where the primary focus should revolve around efficient document handling.

Microsoft SharePoint Embedded is a cloud-based file and document management system suitable for use in any application.

“SharePoint Embedded Overview.” Microsoft Learn, 28 Nov. 2023, https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/dev/embedded/overview

In addition, SharePoint Embedded operates through APIs, eliminating a user interface for direct interaction. It offers a set of endpoints enabling the development of applications dependent on this service for document management. Consider a scenario where a web application provides an end-user manual link as a PDF. Now, instead of establishing a SharePoint Online site or OneDrive folder, you can place this document in a SharePoint Embedded folder, optimizing resource allocation for a single file.

SharePoint Embedded is a new API-only solution which enables app developers to harness the power of the Microsoft 365 file and document storage platform for any app

“SharePoint Embedded Overview.” Microsoft Learn, 28 Nov. 2023, https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/dev/embedded/overview

The API endpoints for SharePoint Embedded will be accessible through Microsoft Graph. Developers with experience in calling these endpoints should encounter no difficulties in requesting new ones. I presume that many of these new endpoints will be either based on or similar to the existing ones used for managing documents in OneDrive and SharePoint.

It’s all about documents

The most important thing to understand about SharePoint Embedded is that it’s all about handling documents. In the past, Microsoft dropped some hints to help us figure out where this new service was heading. One suggestion was to think of it like a Headless CMS, where you can manage data and documents independently without creating a SharePoint site. However, the recent announcement clarified that the main focus is specifically on documents. This doesn’t rule out the possibility of changes in the future, like adding features for managing data, such as lists.

With documents at the core of everything, it’s essential to grasp how the internal organization works to efficiently store our documents. To begin, documents must be kept in something called a Container, which is akin to the concept of a Document Library in SharePoint. This container has the capacity to hold numerous files, with a maximum limit of 30 million files or 25 terabytes of information.

SharePoint Embedded Architecture by MicrosoftMoreover, these containers must be grounded in a Container Type, enabling the establishment of security settings for all containers. This implies that user permissions are configured in the Container Type and promptly copied to the offspring containers. There’s a limitation of 100 thousand containers or 100 terabytes of information for a particular Container Type.

Finally, but certainly not least, an Application is the one responsible for overseeing the Container Types. It’s fair to say that without an Application, nothing in SharePoint Embedded would function. The Application serves as the foundational element of SharePoint Embedded. It’s important to note that you can only have one Container Type per Application, establishing a one-to-one relationship.

It’s worth mentioning that these limits might change in the coming weeks and months, allowing Microsoft to adjust to the specific needs of different companies.

With Microsoft 365 benefits

I’ve covered the meaning and internal organization of SharePoint Embedded, but I haven’t talked about where it’s located. Microsoft houses this service in the customer’s Microsoft 365 tenant, keeping all documents under the same rules established in that tenant.

For instance, if you’ve configured Microsoft Purview, those settings also apply to the documents stored in SharePoint Embedded. This setup offers a security advantage, allowing companies to enforce consistent policies for all document types.

Perhaps the most noteworthy feature for end-users is the ability to work with documents just like in any other Microsoft 365 location. Office Web applications or Office Desktop apps can seamlessly handle documents stored in SharePoint Embedded as if they were in SharePoint Online or OneDrive. Picture users collaboratively editing Word documents stored in your SharePoint Embedded application simultaneously.

And that’s not all—there are numerous default features available, such as versioning, comparing versions, restoring selected versions, document sharing, inviting collaboration via email, mentioning in comments, search functionality, and a recycle bin, to name a few.

Conclusion

I’m genuinely thrilled about this upcoming Microsoft service, set to be available to everyone next year. I think it has the potential to inspire companies to rethink how their business teams collaborate, especially in terms of document management. The prospect of creating innovative custom applications, both small and large, is particularly exciting.

On the flip side, I’m curious to see how SharePoint Embedded will influence other Microsoft 365 services like Power Platform. Will it serve as a complement for Power Apps or Power Pages, or could it possibly replace them? These are questions that will unfold in the coming months, and I plan to explore and discuss them in upcoming articles.

While we wait for that, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Are you as enthusiastic as I am, or do you believe this might be just another service with little impact in the end?

References

Jaime López
WRITTEN BY

Jaime López

I'm an experienced Microsoft 365 professional, specializing in innovative solutions. Passionate about staying updated and helping clients succeed.

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