Manage LMS365 (Learn365) web parts via the site collection app catalog

Introduction

LMS365 (Learn365) supports use of the SharePoint Online Site Collection App Catalogs feature on specific site collections (course catalogs). The feature enables SharePoint admins to configure the specific site collection app catalog the way that apps deployed to the site collection app catalog can only be installed in that particular site collection (course catalog) but not on all sites of the tenant.

By incorporating this feature, you may configure LMS365 (Learn365) to only show its web parts explicitly on the site collections (course catalogs) where the LMS365 app is added.

 

Use of the LMS365 app and its web parts in SharePoint

In you SharePoint tenant, by default, all the apps are installed on a SharePoint tenant app catalog so that all apps are accessible on all site collections in your tenant. This also includes showcasing the apps' respective SharePoint web parts so that can be used in other areas of your SharePoint environment.

The LMS365 app is designed to be used within specific LMS365 site collections called course catalogs.

By default, the LMS365 (Learn365) web parts (LMS365 Course Catalog, LMS365 Dashboard, and LMS365 Course Homepage) can be added to any SharePoint site, along with other SharePoint webparts, as shown in the following image.

For more information about use of webparts on SharePoint pages, refer to this Microsoft documentation article.

 

adding_webparts.png

A Team Site on SharePoint that has access to the LMS365 (Learn365) web parts

 

When trying to utilize the LMS365 (Learn365) web parts outside of the site collections (course catalogs), on SharePoint sites where the LMS365 app isn't installed, this will result in an error. This happens because the LMS365 (Learn365) web parts pull their relative information from the SharePoint site collection where the LMS365 app is installed.

 

LMS_app_isn_t_installed.png

The error message shown when attempting to use an LMS365 (Learn365) web part on a site where the LMS365 app isn't installed onto it

 

To avoid this, you may opt to show the LMS365 (Learn365) web parts only on site collections (course catalogs) where the LMS365 app files are installed to by utilizing the SharePoint Site Collection App Catalog feature. This will effectively mean that instances of the LMS365 app are only available for use on site collections (course catalogs) where the LMS365 app files are added to their respective site collection app catalogs.

This means that LMS365 (Learn365) and its web parts will only be scoped to the specific site collections where the LMS365 app is installed into.

 

Configure the LMS365 (Learn365) web parts to be scoped only for specific site collections (course catalogs)

Required role: Microsoft 365 global admin

To configure the LMS365 (Learn365) web parts to only be scoped for specific site collections (course catalogs) on your tenant, follow the instructions below. These instructions will need to be performed on every site collection (course catalog) for LMS365 (Learn365) to function properly on them.

 

Step #1: disable the LMS365 app on your SharePoint tenant app catalog

Perform step #1 during a time when LMS365 (Learn365) isn't in use because this step disables the entire LMS365 (Learn365) instance from use until the LMS365 apps are added back to your newly created site collection app catalogs.

When LMS365 (Learn365) is installed on SharePoint, the LMS365 app is added to the SharePoint tenant app catalog.

As a result of performance of step #1, the LMS365 app will be disabled on the tenant, and the LMS365 (Learn365) web parts will no longer show in the list of available web parts to be added to SharePoint sites.

 

IMPORTANT   

Don't delete the LMS365 app files from the SharePoint tenant app catalog. These files still must be stored centrally for LMS365 (Learn365) to function properly on specific site collections (course catalogs) of the tenant.

 

To disable LMS365 (Learn365) from the SharePoint tenant app catalog, follow these steps:

1. Navigate to your SharePoint admin center > More features > the Apps section > Open

2. From the opened Manage apps page, select More features > Tenant wide extensions > Open.

3. From the opened Tenant wide extensions page, select Apps for SharePoint.

4. On the opened Apps for SharePoint page, select the Edit icon for the LMS365 app

 

editing_the_app_icon.png

 

5. On the opened Edit page, scroll to the bottom and clear the checkbox for Enabled

 

clear_the_checkbox.png

 

6. Select Save to save the changes.

7. On the Apps for SharePoint page, repeat steps 4 - 6 for the LMS365.AccessApp.

 

Step #2: download a copy of the LMS365 app files 

LMS365 (Learn365) runs within the Microsoft 365 SharePoint Online environment. LMS365 (Learn365) uses a variety of technologies, including Azure, SQL, Graph API, and more. Because of this, all installations of the LMS365 Cloud Suite need to first be installed centrally and then configured to be accessible on a site collection basis via the site collection app catalog sites.

Since a standard install of LMS365 (Learn365) requires the app to be installed via Microsoft AppSource, which installs the app to your tenant app catalog, you'll need to download a copy of the LMS365 app files for use on the specific site collections where you LMS365 (Learn365) is installed.

 

IMPORTANT   

Don't delete the LMS365 app files from the SharePoint tenant app catalog. These files still must be stored centrally for LMS365 (Learn365) to function properly on specific site collections (course catalogs) of the tenant.

 

To download a copy of the LMS365 app files, follow these steps:

1. Navigate to your SharePoint admin center > More features > the Apps section > Open

2. From the opened Manage apps page, select More features > Tenant wide extensions > Open.

3. From the opened Tenant wide extensions page, select Apps for SharePoint.

4. On the opened Apps for SharePoint page, select the LMS365 app file.

5. From the Files tab, select Download a Copy. The LMS365.sppkg file will be downloaded to your local device.

6. On the opened Apps for SharePoint page, select the LMS365.AccessApp file and perform step 5. The LMS365.AccessApp.app file will be downloaded to your device.

Later, you'll upload these files to the relevant site collection app catalogs where the LMS365 app should be available.

 

download_the_copy_of_LMS365_app.png

 

Step #3: create a site collection app catalog 

To scope the LMS365 app to the specific course catalogs (site collections), you should create a site collection app catalog for each site collection (course catalog) that you wish to include the LMS365 app.

This includes future course catalog. 

After executing the script below, the Apps for SharePoint library will be added to your course catalog (site collection), where you'll be able to deploy LMS365 (Learn365).

In the following steps, the SharePoint Online Management Shell is used to create a site collection app catalog. More options to configure site collection app catalogs can be found in this Microsoft documentation article.

 

To create a site collection app catalog:

1. On the SharePoint Online Management Shell as the SharePoint tenant admin, run the following command, replacing TENANT with your tenant subdomain name.

 

  Connect-SPOService -Url https://TENANT-admin.sharepoint.com

 

2. Perform the following commands for each site collection (course catalog) where the LMS365 app is already installed, where TENANT is your tenant subdomain and SITE is the location of your LMS course catalog site.

 

  $site = Get-SPOSite https://TENANT.sharepoint.com/sites/SITE
  Add-SPOSiteCollectionAppCatalog -Site $site

 

Step #4: add the LMS365 (Learn365) files to a site collection app catalog

1. After executing step #3, navigate to the SharePoint Site contents area of the course catalog you're working on. Now, there's a new Apps for SharePoint list in the Content tab. Select the Apps for SharePoint list to open the Apps for SharePoint library.

 

apps_for_sharepoint_library.png

 

2. When in the Apps for SharePoint library, upload the LMS365.sppkg and LMS365.AccessApp.app files that you downloaded to your device in step #2. Upload them one by one, by either selecting Upload or dragging and dropping the files from your device to the library.

3. When prompted to "Make this solution available to all sites in the organization", make sure to check this option and then select Deploy.

Despite the wording, when you check this box, LMS365 (Learn365) will be available immediately, but only in the same site collection (course catalog) where the LMS365 app files were added.

 

uploading_app_files.png

 

In this case, since you're uploading to a site collection app catalog rather than the tenant app catalog, you're enabling the LMS365 app to be accessible to all pages of the site collection (course catalog), not the organization as a whole.

This will ensure that training created within the course catalog has the web parts needed to function, because all courses in LMS365 (Learn365) are created as pages in the course catalog site collection.

Once deployed, you'll notice that your LMS365 (Learn365) site will function properly again, and that the LMS365 (Learn365) web parts are no longer showing on sites where LMS365 (Learn365) isn't installed.

 

Configure newly created course catalogs

When you create a new course catalog (site collection) on your tenant after performing steps #1- #4, you'll need to perform additional configurations to properly use LMS365 (Learn365) for the newly created course catalogs.

The reason for this is because the LMS365 (Learn365) Admin Center relies on the centrally stored LMS365.sppkg file on the tenant app catalog to function properly. This means that there are two options to configure your newly created course catalog for use with the site collection app catalog.

 

Option 1

Before creating a new course catalog, temporarily enable the LMS365 app on the tenant app catalog. 

This is the recommended path to take as it's easier and has less administrative load to perform, but has the negative affect of showing the LMS365 apps to your entire tenancy when it's enabled again. Plan accordingly for this and any other changes that may occur during this time frame.

To perform option 1, follow these steps:

1. To temporary enable the LMS365 app in the tenant app catalog, navigate to tenant app catalog as detailed in step #1 and select the Enabled checkbox. Save the changes.

2. Create a new course catalog as detailed in this article.

3. Perform step #3 and #4 on the newly created site collection (course catalog).

4. Perform step #1.

 

Option 2

Keep the LMS365 app disabled on the tenant app catalog and configure the LMS365 (Learn365) web parts manually on the newly created course catalog and its pages.

This option has the advantage of retaining the steps you had already performed and keeps the LMS365 app disabled centrally, but has more administrative work to perform and configure.

1. Create a new course catalog, as described in this article.

2. Perform step #3 and #4 for the newly created site collection (course catalog).

3. Add the LMS365 app to the newly site collection (course catalog).

To do this, go to SharePoint Site contents of the course catalog, select +NewApp.

 

add_an_app.png

 

4. On the opened page, for the LMS365 app, select Add.

On the opened window, select Trust it to confirm you trust the app.

 

add_LMS365_app.png

 

5. Add LMS365 (Learn365) web parts to the course catalog page and My Training Dashboard page. To do this, navigate to the relevant page and add their respective web parts using the standard SharePoint edit mode.

  • The LMS365 Course catalog web part for the catalog page, as in the image below.

 

course_catalog_webpart.png

 

  • The LMS365 Dashboard web part for My Training Dashboard page, as in the image below.

 

my_training_dashboard_web_parts.png

 

Summary

We understand that SharePoint admins like to fine tune the experience for their users, and using the Site Collection App Catalog feature of SharePoint Online enables us to more easily scope out our third party apps of SharePoint, including our install of LMS365 (Learn365).

Contact Zensai Product Support if you experience issues with any of the steps detailed in this article and inform us of any errors you see when performing these steps.

 

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