SharePoint List Aggregation: Top 10 Tips and Tricks for the Lightning Conductor

Introduction:


The Lightning Conductor is a SharePoint list aggregation web part tailored for modern SharePoint, developed using the SharePoint Framework (SPFx). It enables users to aggregate SharePoint lists and libraries from multiple sites or site collections into a single view. Beyond SharePoint, it supports aggregation from Microsoft Graph Entities like Microsoft Planner, Microsoft To Do, OneDrive, and Messages, and integrates with external data sources such as Salesforce or JIRA through External connectors.

This tool offers both search-based and real-time aggregation, providing flexibility in how data is compiled and displayed. With the Lightning Conductor, users can design custom views to best fit their data presentation needs. The grid view feature allows for customization in adding or removing columns, applying conditional formatting, grouping, and using aggregate functions. Additionally, there are built-in views available, such as Calendar or Image Carousel, and it supports Microsoft Adaptive Card views for a more dynamic data presentation.

In essence, the Lightning Conductor enhances SharePoint’s data aggregation and visualization capabilities, making it easier for users to access and analyze data from various sources in a unified manner.

In this post, we’ll explore ten practical tips and tricks for the Lightning Conductor, focusing on configuration of Microsoft SharePoint List aggregation, Microsoft Graph Entity Reporting, and integration with external data sources. These strategies are aimed at improving data management and visualization within SharePoint, offering straightforward guidance for users of all levels to enhance their use of SharePoint.

SharePoint List Aggregation

  • Tip #1: Utilizing Quick Configuration for Standard SharePoint Lists and Libraries
    Quick Configuration in the Lightning Conductor simplifies the aggregation process for common SharePoint list and library types, including Tasks, Documents, and Images. This feature is particularly useful for users who want to quickly aggregate data without the need for extensive customization. With Quick Configuration, views are pre-configured, allowing users to easily select between Grid View or the built-in JSON or Adaptive Card views. This approach not only saves time but also ensures that users can efficiently display their data in a format that best suits their immediate needs. Whether you’re looking to showcase a simple task list or a gallery of images, Quick Configuration streamlines the setup process, making it straightforward to get your data aggregation up and running with minimal effort.
Lightning Conductor - Quick Configuration for aggregation SharePoint list and libraries
Lightning Conductor – Quick Configuration for aggregation SharePoint list and libraries
  • Tip #2: Advanced Configuration for Detailed Content Aggregation
    Advanced Configuration in the Lightning Conductor takes data aggregation and customization to the next level, offering users the granularity needed for precise control over their content sources. This feature enables the selection of specific SharePoint lists or sites, making it ideal for targeted data aggregation. Moreover, Advanced Configuration supports the use of custom columns and content types, allowing for more control over the way your content is displayed. Users are not limited to pre-configured views; they can build their own grid views or choose JSON or Adaptive Card views, with the additional flexibility to customize these options further or develop entirely new ones. This level of detail in configuration is perfect for users who require specific data displays and functionality beyond the basics, facilitating a more refined approach to SharePoint content aggregation.
Lightning Conductor Advanced Configuration - Allowing for precise configuration of content aggregation in SharePoint
Lightning Conductor Advanced Configuration – Allowing for precise configuration of content aggregation in SharePoint

Beyond SharePoint Lists and Libraries

  • Tip #3: Aggregating Data Beyond SharePoint with Microsoft Graph
    The evolution of Microsoft 365 has introduced a variety of apps for diverse tasks and data management needs, such as Planner for tasks, To Do for personal task management, and OneDrive for document storage. The Lightning Conductor leverages the Microsoft Graph to extend its aggregation capabilities beyond traditional SharePoint lists and libraries. By utilizing Microsoft Graph, users can aggregate and report on data across many Microsoft 365 apps, not just within SharePoint. This feature allows for a unified view of tasks, documents, and other data types across the Microsoft 365 suite, enhancing the ability to manage and visualize data from a centralized platform. Whether it’s tasks in Planner and To Do or documents stored in OneDrive, the Lightning Conductor’s integration with Microsoft Graph makes it possible to bring together and report on data from across your Microsoft 365 environment in a cohesive and efficient manner.
Lightning Conductor - Aggregating beyond SharePoint with the Microsoft Graph
Lightning Conductor – Aggregating beyond SharePoint with the Microsoft Graph
  • Tip #4: Merging Views for Comprehensive Data Visualization
    The Lightning Conductor offers a unique feature that allows users to merge views, combining content from various data sources into a single, unified view. This means you can display task list content alongside Planner tasks and To Do items, as well as documents from OneDrive and SharePoint document libraries, all within the same view. This approach not only streamlines the data visualization process but also enhances productivity by providing a comprehensive overview of all relevant content in one place. Whether it’s managing tasks across different platforms or accessing documents stored in various locations, merging views in the Lightning Conductor enables a more efficient and powerful way to view and interact with your data across Microsoft 365 apps.
Lightning Conductor - Combining Multiple Views into one. e.g. Task Lists, Planner Tasks, and Microsoft To Do Tasks in one view.
Lightning Conductor – Combining Multiple Views into one. e.g. Task Lists, Planner Tasks, and Microsoft To Do Tasks in one view.

Beyond Microsoft 365

  • Tip #5: Integrating External Content Sources for Enhanced Reporting
    The Lightning Conductor extends its capabilities beyond Microsoft 365, allowing users to connect to an almost unlimited range of external content sources directly within Microsoft SharePoint or Teams. This feature supports popular platforms like JIRA, Salesforce, websites, and Oracle content, enabling a seamless integration of external data into your SharePoint environment. Once connected to these external sources, you can leverage Lightning Conductor’s view features, such as conditional formatting and grouping, to organize and present the data in a more meaningful way. This integration not only facilitates better business decisions by providing a comprehensive view of all relevant data but also enhances reporting capabilities within SharePoint. Whether it’s tracking project progress in JIRA or analyzing customer data from Salesforce, the ability to incorporate and manipulate external data through the Lightning Conductor transforms SharePoint into a central hub for all your business intelligence needs.
Displaying content using External Graph Connectors - In this case, displaying issues from JIRA
Displaying content using External Graph Connectors – In this case, displaying issues from JIRA

Making Connections

  • Tip #6: Enhancing Data Interaction with Web Part Connections
    The Lightning Conductor allows for connections to other web parts to improve data interaction and presentation in SharePoint. Linking two Lightning Conductor instances enables users to select an item in one instance and view related details, such as a document preview, in another instance on the same page. This feature enhances the user experience by providing immediate, contextual information without leaving the main view. Additionally, integration with the Lightning Filters web part simplifies filtering across multiple web parts on a single page, making data more relevant and accessible to users.
Connect two Lightning Conductors allowing for Document Previews from a selected document in an aggregated view.
Connect two Lightning Conductors allowing for Document Previews from a selected document in an aggregated view.
Easily configure Document Previews from another connected Lightning Conductor Instance.
Easily configure Document Previews from another connected Lightning Conductor Instance.
  • Tip #7: Visualizing Data with the Data Viewer Web Part Connection
    Connecting the Lightning Conductor to the Data Viewer Web Part transforms data presentation by enabling simultaneous display of aggregated content and visual charts on the same page. This connection offers a powerful way to represent data visually, making it easier to understand and analyze. By displaying data in both report and chart formats, users gain a comprehensive view of their information, supporting better decision-making. This integration showcases the flexibility of the Lightning Conductor in enhancing data visualization and analysis within SharePoint environments.
Lightning Conductor - Aggregated Tasks displayed within a Chart using web part connections between the Lightning Conductor and The Data Viewer.
Lightning Conductor – Aggregated Tasks displayed within a Chart using web part connections between the Lightning Conductor and The Data Viewer.

Performance Beyond BeliEF

  • Tip #8: Optimizing Performance with Search-Based Queries
    For aggregating content across large scopes within SharePoint, utilizing search-based queries over real-time object model queries with the Lightning Conductor significantly enhances performance. This approach allows SharePoint list and library content to be displayed almost instantaneously. Search-based queries are especially effective in environments with extensive data, where traditional real-time queries might slow down data retrieval.
Configuring a Search Query in the Lightning Conductor Advanced Configuration to aggregate all Documents
Configuring a Search Query in the Lightning Conductor Advanced Configuration to aggregate all Documents
  • Tip #9: Transitioning to Search-Based Queries for Scalability
    As SharePoint lists and libraries expand, maintaining performance becomes crucial. The Lightning Conductor offers a simple solution to enhance scalability and efficiency: with just a click of a button, you can switch from real-time object model queries to search-based queries. This feature is designed to handle the growing demands of large lists and libraries, converting all your existing configurations to a search-based seamlessly. By making this switch, your aggregations are optimized for better performance, accommodating larger volumes of data with ease. This “magic button” ensures that as your SharePoint environment grows, your ability to aggregate and display data remains fast and efficient.
Click the 'Magic Button' to convert from Object Model to Search based content aggregation.
Click the ‘Magic Button’ to convert from Object Model to Search based content aggregation.

Tip #10: Ensuring Data Security with Out-of-the-Box Security Trimming

  • Tip #10: Ensuring Data Security with Out-of-the-Box Security Trimming
    The Lightning Conductor is built with security in mind, featuring out-of-the-box security trimming. This ensures that when aggregating data across multiple apps, lists, and libraries, users will only see the information they are authorized to access. Regardless of the breadth of data aggregated, individual user permissions govern visibility, maintaining data security and compliance. This automatic filtering respects SharePoint’s native security settings, providing peace of mind that sensitive information remains protected while still offering comprehensive data aggregation capabilities.

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