Lightning Conductor – Release

This month (September 2022), we’re releasing a new version of the Lightning Conductor content aggregation web part for SharePoint & Teams.

The Lightning Conductor is a powerful, feature rich, yet intuitive to use content aggregation web part, built under the SharePoint Framework for SharePoint Online, Teams, and SharePoint 2019. The Lightning Conductor provides content aggregation from SharePoint Lists & Libraries from across multiple site collections, hubs, and sites within your Microsoft 365 tenant, as well as content from other sources such as Planner, Teams, OneDrive, and To Do via the Microsoft Graph. Our previously recorded webinar, provides a great overview of the Lightning Conductor and it’s capabilities.

In this release, we’ve made some great improvements, most of which have come from the feedback from our wonderful customers. The improvements include:

  1. A Modern Side Panel for viewing and Editing aggregated SharePoint list or library content.
  2. Built in Calculated Column Templates
  3. A new image slider view
  4. The ability to aggregate from hidden lists
  5. Automatic number formatting based on regional settings
  6. Library aggregation with or without Style libraries
  7. In context help and guidance.

Modern Side Panel for Viewing & Editing Aggregated SharePoint List & Library Content

When you aggregate SharePoint list & library content, the item’s can contain a hyperlink to open them. Those items of course could reside in a different SharePoint site than the one you are currently within. Despite this, the Lightning Conductor, rather than open the item in a new browser tab, can open the item within the context of the current site in a modern side panel. Below, you can see the modern side panel for a Task list in read mode.

The Lightning Conductor also provides you with the ability to edit an item contextually within a modern side panel.

Built in Calculated Column Templates

In addition to columns from lists, libraries, and other data sources, the Lightning Conductor enables you to create calculated columns. Calculated columns may be used to built concatenated strings such as a Full Name from a FirstName and LastName column, display results from a numerical calculated, or even create hyperlinks , buttons, and checkboxes with HTML or Javascript. The truth is, you can pretty much do what you want with a calculated column. For that reason, it’s difficult for Lightning Tools to document every possibility. But!! We have now started to provide some Template calculated columns which can be used exactly as they are, or as a starting point to your own calculated column. Below, you can see the interface offering ‘Merge Columns’, ‘Parent Site Link’, and ‘Parent List Link’. Each of these are regularly requested by our customers through technical support.

New SlideShow View

The Lightning Conductor can display content that is aggregated in different types of view. We offer a Grid View which very much resembles a SharePoint list view with rows and columns. Through the grid view, you can sort, filter, group, and style your aggregated content. However, sometimes you need a specific type of view. For example, if you aggregate from Calendar Lists, The Lightning Conductor can display the aggregated content in a calendar. If you aggregate from Microsoft Planner, or Microsoft To Do, we can display the content in a Task View. Documents can be displayed in a tile view, and so on. A brand new view that we can implemented is the Slide Show view. You can now aggregate from libraries containing image files, and display the images in a slide show. Below, you can see the advanced settings allowing the selection of the Slide Show view, and properties such as Image Change intervals and Image URL Column.

The Slide Show view is a great addition to any page in SharePoint or Teams displaying images from any of the sites that are selected in your scope. Below is a cute cat! You’re welcome 🙂

The Slideshow can also be used when you’re using the quick configuration within the Lightning Conductor. Simply specify the Sites or Site Collections to include, the type of library (such as pictures), and then choose the Slideshow view option.

Document Library with Style Libraries

A while back, the way we create Site in SharePoint changed. Rather than large hierarchical site collections, we create a lot of root sites which may then be associated with a Hub Site. One challenge with that is that you tend to get a lot of style libraries since these are created at in the root site of each site collection. This then made it more cumbersome to exclude style libraries from your aggregated content, when what you’re really after is the document libraries containing your content.

So, a nice little refinement is that you can now simply choose ‘Document Library’ which will exclude the Style Libraries by default, or ‘Document Library (with Style Libraries) should you for some reason want to include them.

Select Hidden lists and libraries as a rollup source

We have received feedback, that sometimes our customers need to aggregate from hidden SharePoint lists & libraries. The Lightning Conductor will now make the hidden lists and libraries selectable as a content source. Note that the lists and libraries appear dimmed in comparison to the unhidden lists and libraries.

Contextual Help & Guidance

As with our other products; Lightning Forms, Social Squared, and DeliverPoint. We have now incorporated inline help within the Lightning Conductor to help get you started with the product. The Getting Started Guide, Tips, and link through to our improved Help Centre will help users to get the best out of The Lightning Conductor.

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