Using LMS365 with a Site Collection App Catalog (Hiding LMS365 Web Parts from other Sites)

Summary

LMS365 Supports the use of the new Site Collection App Catalogs feature of SharePoint Online. This feature was released for use by Microsoft on May 2018 and allows SharePoint Administrators to configure Site Collection specific App Catalogs for the decentralization and scope limiting of SharePoint Apps so that they are not globally available to all sites in your tenancy.

By incorporating this feature, you may configure LMS365 to only show its Web Parts explicitly on Site Collections where the LMS is configured.

You can read more about the configuration and use of Site Collection App Catalogs by following the link below.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/dev/general-development/site-collection-app-catalog

Introduction

As LMS365 is intended and designed to be used within specific LMS Site Collections (called Course Catalogs) it may be confusing to other members of your SharePoint environment to have access to LMS365 specific web parts such as the LMS365 Course Catalog Web Part, the LMS365 Training Dashboard Web Part, and the LMS365 Course Homepage Web Part.

A standard Team Site on SharePoint that has access to the LMS365 Web Parts

The standard structure of SharePoint Apps in an Office 365 Tenancy is to have the apps installed on a central App Catalog Site so that all apps are accessible on all sites in your SharePoint tenancy. This also includes showcasing the apps' respective SharePoint Web Parts so that can be used in other areas of your SharePoint environment.

However, using the LMS365 Web Parts outside of site collections where the LMS is installed is not supported as these Web Parts pull their relative information from the Site Collection or Sub Site that they are a part of. As such, this will result in an error when trying to utilize the Web Parts on sites where the LMS Apps are not installed.

The error message shown when attempting to use an LMS Web Part on a Site where the LMS App is not installed onto it

To limit confusion, you may opt to configure the LMS to only show the Web Parts on Site Collections where the LMS Apps are installed to by utilizing the Site Collection App Catalog feature. This will effectively mean that instances of the App are only available for use on Site Collections where the LMS App files are added to their respective Site Collection App Catalogs.

This will mean that the Apps and their Web Parts will only be scoped to the specific Site Collections where the LMS is installed into.

Instructions

To configure the LMS to only be scoped for specific Site Collections, please follow the instructions below.

These instructions to configure the LMS to only show on specific sites will need to be performed on every Site Collection where the LMS is installed in order to function properly.

Step 1: Disabling the LMS365 on your Global App Catalog Site

After proper installation of LMS365 to the standard centralized App Catalog, you will need to disable the App from use.

NOTE: Performing this will disable the entire LMS instance from use until the apps are added back to your newly created Site Collection App Catalogs. As such, please perform this change during a time when the LMS is not in use

  1. Navigate to your SharePoint Admin Center and select the Apps section, then App Catalog. This will navigate you to your central App Catalog site.
  2. When on your central App Catalog Site, navigate to Apps for SharePoint and select the edit button for the LMS365 App. Note, you will need to repeat the same steps for the LMS365 Access App as well.
  3. On the form, scroll to the bottom and uncheck the Enabled checkbox
  4. Once you perform this, the LMS365 Web Parts will no longer show, and the App in general will be disabled from use.

Step 2: Downloading a copy of the LMS365 for use on new Site Collection App Catalogs

LMS365 is not just a simple app on a SharePoint environment, it is a combination of multiple 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 requires the app to be installed via Microsoft AppSource, which installs the app to your central App Catalog Site, you will need to download a copy of the App file for use on the specific Site Collections where you have the LMS installed.

To perform this, do the following.

  1. On the central App Catalog site collection, navigate to Apps for SharePoint and select the LMS App. On the ribbon menu select Files and then Download a Copy. Repeat these steps for the LMS365 Access App.
  2. A download prompt will appear for the LMS365.sppkg file. Download the file and save it to your computer. We will be uploading the file to the specific Site Collection App Catalogs where the app should appear.
  3. You may want to store the LMS365.sppkg file in a safe place on your computer so that you can re-upload the file to Site Collections created in the future. Also, do not delete the sppkg file on your central App Catalog site as the file still needs to be stored centrally for the LMS to function properly.

Step 3: Creating the Site Collection App Catalogs for each LMS Course Catalog (Site Collection) and adding the LMS365.sppkg file to them

In order to scope the LMS365 App to the specific Site Collections where the LMS is installed, you will need to create a Site Collection App Catalog for each Site Collection that you wish to include the LMS App.

Full instructions and details on how to configure Site Collection App Catalogs can be found on the link below.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/dev/general-development/site-collection-app-catalog

Note: Because of the design for scoping SharePoint Apps to specific Site Collections, you will need to perform this step on EACH site collection where you want the LMS installed and accessible. This includes future Course Catalog sites that you have created. After each instance of a new Catalog, please repeat this step and perform Step 4 for any newly created Course Catalogs.

  1.  On SharePoint Online Management Shell run the following command as Administrator, replacing TENANT with your tenant subdomain name.
    Connect-SPOService -Url https://TENANT-admin.sharepoint.com
  2. Login with your Office365 Global Tenant Administrator account
  3. Perform the following commands for EACH site collection where the LMS is already installed, replacing TENANT with your tenant subdomain and SITE with the LMS Course Catalog Site
    $site = Get-SPOSite https://TENANT.sharepoint.com/sites/SITE
    Add-SPOSiteCollectionAppCatalog -Site $site
  4. Repeat numbers 1-3 for any newly created Course Catalogs in the future
  5. Navigate to the Site Contents area of the Site Collection you are working on. You will notice that there is a new Apps for SharePoint list in it as well as the LMS365 App greyed out. Click the Apps for SharePoint list
  6. When on the Apps for SharePoint library, upload the LMS365.sppkg file that was downloaded in Step 2 using either the Upload Button or dragging and dropping the file from your computer to the library.
  7. A prompt will show asking if you trust LMS365 and if you would like to "Make this solution available to all sites in the organization". Make sure to check this option and then click Deploy.

    While it may sound counter intuitive, the verbiage of this statement has not been updated yet by Microsoft to reflect its true configuration. In this case, since we are uploading to a Site Collection App Catalog rather than the centralized one, we are actually enabling the app to be accessible to all Sub Sites of the Site Collection, not the organization as a whole.

    This will ensure that the Courses created with the Course Creator are able to have the Course Web Parts needed to function, as all courses in LMS365 are created as Sub Sites in the Course Catalog Site Collection.
  8. Once deployed, you will notice that your LMS Site will function properly again as well as notice that the LMS365 Web Parts are no longer showing on sites where there LMS is not installed into. Remember to repeat these steps for the LMS365 Access App as well.

(Optional) Step 4: Configuring newly created Course Catalogs

If you want to create a new Course Catalog after performing Steps 1-3, you will need to perform additional configurations in order to properly use the LMS for the newly created Course Catalogs.

The reason for this is because the LMS365 Global Admin Center relies on the centrally stored LMS365.sppkg file on the central App Catalog to function properly. This means that there are two options when configuring your newly created Course Catalog for use with the Site Collection App Catalog.

Option 1: Before creating a a new Course Catalog, temporarily enable the LMS App on the central App Catalog and then disable it again after running Step 3 on the newly created Course Catalog

or

Option 2: Leaving the app disabled centrally and then configuring the Web Parts manually on the newly created Course Catalog

To perform Option 1:

  1. Navigate to your central App Catalog detailed in Step 1 and reverse number 3.
  2. Create your Course Catalog as detailed on the LMS365 Installation Guide
  3. Repeat Step 3 as expected, then repeat Step 1

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

To perform Option 2:

  1. Create your Course Catalog as detailed on the LMS365 Installation Guide
  2. Repeat Step 3 as expected
  3. Once the app is available on the Site Collection App Catalog for your newly created Course Catalog, you will need to add the App file to the new Site Collection itself. To do this, go back to Site Contents and select +New then App.
  4. On the Add an App page, search for LMS365 and select the first one if multiple options show up. A popup will ask you to trust the app, select trust it.
  5. Once the App is added to your site, you need to configure the Course Catalog and My Training Dashboard Pages. To do this, navigate to each page and add their respective Web Parts using the standard SharePoint Edit Mode.


This option has the advantage of retaining the steps we had already performed on 1 and keeps the LMS App disabled centrally, but has significantly more administrative work to perform and configure.

Closing

We understand that SharePoint administrators like to fine tune the experience for their users, and utilizing the new Site Collection App Catalog feature of SharePoint Online allows us to more easily scope out our third party apps of SharePoint, including our install of LMS365.

As a reminder, Steps 3 and 4 will need to be performed for each new Course Catalog that you create in order to function properly.

Do contact support if you are experiencing any issues with the steps detailed on this article and inform us of any errors you may see when performing these steps.

Was this article helpful?
2 out of 2 found this helpful
Have more questions? Submit a request

Comments

Article is closed for comments.

Powered by Zendesk