Lightning Conductor Release

This month, we are releasing version of the Lightning Conductor Client Side Web Part for Microsoft SharePoint Online. The Lightning Conductor is a content aggregation tool that enables business users of Microsoft SharePoint to find content quickly and easily by aggregating content into a powerful, responsive and modern view. The Lightning Conductor can be configured easily, but with powerful features. You can select columns from your SharePoint Lists or Microsoft Graph Entities, Reorder columns, use grouping, add conditional formatting, calculated columns, and aggregate functions all without the need for code. The Lightning Conductor goes on to provide some built in views such as Calendar and Tile views. In this release, we have some great new features bringing in more support for Microsoft Graph entities such as Microsoft To Do, built in Task and Event views, and more modern conditional formatting which is now seen in Microsoft Lists and Modern SharePoint Lists.

Initially, let’s focus on some of the Microsoft Graph enhancements:

Microsoft Graph Aggregation Enhancements

There are two main improvements to the Lightning Conductor with regards to the Microsoft Graph entities that you can query. The Lightning Conductor is most commonly known for its SharePoint list aggregation features, but for the past few years, we have also extended the capabilities of the Lightning Conductor to allow content throughout Microsoft 365 to be queried easily. Content can be queried and reported upon (without code) from Microsoft 365 applications such as Microsoft Planner, Outlook, OneDrive, SharePoint and also from Users and Groups. This made it possible to build reports on users who may have access to your site, display your Microsoft Planner Plans and Planner Tasks, or OneDrive files and folders. Using the conditional formatting features of the Lightning Conductor, you could easily highlight key information from those entities such as overdue Planner Tasks. Combining these queries with Microsoft SharePoint list rollups using separate views made for powerful scenarios such as being able to view your SharePoint Tasks List content from multiple Task Lists across different Site Collections along with Tasks returned from Microsoft Planner. We have now extended this capability to include Microsoft To Do queries using the Lightning Conductor. This means that using the Lightning Conductor, you could display your Microsoft To Do Tasks, Planner Tasks and Task List content within the same web part instance! The only downside is, you’ll never have a valid excuse for overlooking a task :)

Querying Microsoft to do using Microsoft Graph

Microsoft To Do has become a powerful tool to stay on top of your tasks, those that really are just for you! Microsoft Planner, on the other hand, is great when working as a team on a project and planning tasks for multiple individuals working on the same project. Meanwhile, we have task lists within SharePoint Sites that may span multiple sites, hubs, and site collections. Using the Lightning Conductor, we can present all three in one web part instance allowing for your tasks to be displayed in three views.

A Microsoft To Do query can be created from the quick configuration in just four steps.

  1. Create a new view in the Lightning Conductor and choose To Do Lists as your data source.
  2. Select My To Do Lists as the refinement.
  3. Select Microsoft Graph as the aggregation type.
  4. Choose Task View (Built in JSON view) or the Grid View (Flexible grid of content allowing for column selection and formatting).
Quick Configuration Dialog in the Lightning Conductor

Upon Clicking Save, you’ll be presented with a new stylish JSON view displaying your Microsoft To Do tasks, whilst also allowing the tasks to be completed, or deleted or created.

Microsoft To Do query in the Lightning Conductor allowing for Tasks to be created, completed, or deleted.

Next, we will add a Microsoft Planner Tasks view to the same Web Part instance.

Aggregating Microsoft Planner Plans and Microsoft Planner Tasks using Microsoft Graph and the Lightning Conductor

Similarly to the configuration of Microsoft To Do task items, we can query Microsoft Planner Plans and display the Microsoft Planner Plans and Planner Tasks in one task view.

Querying Microsoft Planner Plans with Microsoft Graph and the Lightning Conductor

Upon clicking Save, you will have a powerful Microsoft Planner view that accompanies your existing Microsoft To Do items view. Simply select the Planner Plan from the combo box, and view the related Planner Tasks. Using the Microsoft Planner view in the Lightning Conductor, tasks can be marked as completed, re-assigned, or created.

Microsoft Planner Tasks in the Lightning Conductor

Next, we will add to the Tasks theme by also aggregating Task list items into the same web part instance. Only this time, we’ll use the Grid View with some of the brand new styling features offered by the version of the Lightning Conductor.

New Modern SharePoint Rollup Features

New features added to the already flexible and modern Grid Views in the Lightning Conductor include People Avatars, Modern Pill Formatting, and the ability to reuse your JSON SharePoint List Column formatting within the Lightning Conductor to provide consistency in your formatting from standard lists to the aggregated content.

Using the Quick Configuration again, we’ll select Tasks as our data source, All Tasks as the refinement, and Current Site and Associated Sites as the source. The latter option refers to a SharePoint Hub Site and any Site associated with that Hub. To complete the configuration, we’ll select the Grid View, and the new Display person avatars option.

Configuring the Lightning Conductor to aggregate Task Lists from the Hub and Associated Sites

Upon clicking Save, you will be presented with a Task list rollup displaying the Assigned To column with people cards and avatars, and new modern pill formatting for the Task Status.

Microsoft Task List Rollup from a Hub Site and Associate Sites with Avatars and People Cards, and modern Pill Conditional Formatting.

Additional formatting can be added, columns created, grouping applied, and so on, by using the dropdown menu of each column while still in Edit mode on your modern SharePoint page.

Setting Column Properties within the Lightning Conductor Grid View

We’ll configure the Priority Column to also provide modern pill formatting.

Applying pill formatting to the Priority column. High, Normal, and Low priority tasks will now be configured in different colours.
New pill formatting in the Grid View

Users can now see all of their Tasks in one place regardless as to whether they were created in Task Lists, Microsoft Planner or Microsoft To Do. This view can be displayed either in SharePoint or Microsoft Teams.

All your Tasks in one web part
Task Lists displayed in Teams

Adding JSON Column Formatting to the Grid View

Within SharePoint Modern Lists and Libraries, you can now apply formatting and conditional formatting using Design Mode or Advanced Mode JSON. Using that same JSON code, you can apply exactly the same formatting to the Lightning Conductor.

design mode column formatting in SharePoint Document Library
Advanced mode (JSON) of column formatting in the Document Library

The same JSON code can be copied from the Document Library modified column, to the column formatting of the Lightning Conductor Modified By Column. Of course, most of the time, you won’t need JSON to apply column formatting to the Lightning Conductor. But, if you want to… You can!

Applying JSON column formatting to the Lightning Conductor

New JSON Views in the Lightning Conductor

The Lightning Conductor in the past has offered JSON views such as a Tile view for Document Library rollups, a Calendar view for Events, Tasks, or Custom Lists, and a Timeline view for Tasks. We now have four new JSON views including Person List, Agenda View, Planner View, and Task View.

Person List

Person View is ideally used against the Users Graph Entity which is shown below along with the configuration

Users Configuration with Person View
Person View in the Lightning Conductor

Agenda View

The Agenda View is intended to be used with Microsoft Groups aggregation. Each Microsoft 365 Group contains a Planner, Library, Discussions, Calendar and much more. Using the Groups entity and the Agenda View, you can select a Microsoft Group from the top drop down, and see an agenda of items within the group’s Calendar.

Configuring the Agenda View with the Lightning Conductor for the Microsoft 365 Groups
The Microsoft Agenda View

The Planner Tasks View can be used against the Planner Plans entity as we demonstrated at the top of this post, or also against the Microsoft 365 Groups entity. The Tasks View we also saw previously in this post when displaying Tasks from Microsoft To Do.

We hope you found this blog post useful on the new features of the Lightning Conductor. If you would like to find out more, download a trial, or arrange a demonstration, please visit the Lightning Conductor page here.

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