Issues with the new SharePoint interface for document and picture libraries

Let’s start with the positive aspects of this new interface. It’s responsive and integrates really well into the OneDrive app for mobile devices. However there are currently a number of setbacks for users when switching to the new look interface. Users should consider it carefully before turning the new interface on at tenancy level or on a per user basis.

New Document and Picture Library

No JS Link property

Microsoft have mentioned that there is still some functionality to roll out, however they have not been specific about what that will include. A large number of businesses use JS Link to highlight data in a list or library and to add some custom actions at the item level. This is done using the Microsoft best practices of using client side JavaScript, however we are still awaiting this functionality in the new interface. New features are being added to the new interface such as content types and custom columns so we can only hope that this will also be added before the full implementation of the new interface in 2017.

No JS actions to brand the interface

A while ago I blogged about using JS instead of custom master pages to brand the look and feel. Again this is client side code and was Microsoft best practice, however this doesn’t seem to apply to the new view. The new look interface despite being modern and minimalist is bland and unbranded. Most companies/schools want branded intranets, they are always keen to get away from the “SharePoint” look. Although the new interface is modern and responsive, all of the pages look the same and it is possible that we will fall into the trap of looking like SharePoint again. Theming engines do not offer the bespoke customisation that most users require. The future of SharePoint event and videos did mention a chrome as part of the SharePoint framework so we can only hope that this is exposed to JS developers.

No image link in picture libraries

On occasions users require a link to a document or image inside a library. This used to be easy for users to do, open it up and copy the URL. This is no longer possible for an image library as each image opens up in a lightbox view. There are no options to get a link to the exact image, in fact there is an option called “get a link” but this shares the image and changes the permissions rather than giving a URL link (for users to use on a site or email).

These are the initial issues I have found with the new look interface. It seems to be have been rushed out to tenancies without investigation into how customers use library views within SharePoint. Although there is a benefit having a similar interface to OneDrive and having it work as a single page application, the fact that it is part of a SharePoint site and has that extra SharePoint functionality makes it usable to end users. The new views will run side by side until 2017, hopefully by then Microsoft will have resolved the issues and released the new SharePoint framework for Microsoft partners (due to go live in autumn 2016) to get developing branding and custom JS solutions.

UPDATE: 08/07/2016

Microsoft have released this update confirming that there is still functionality to be added to the new user experience. Looks very positive for JS links and other missing functionality: http://dev.office.com/blogs/update-on-modern-document-libraries-and-extensiblity

6 thoughts on “Issues with the new SharePoint interface for document and picture libraries

  1. Shaun Parfett

    Thanks very much for this info. Tony. I am also struggling to find a “Connect to client” or “Connect to Outlook” option in the new interface.

    Reply
    1. Tony Phillips Post author

      Hi Shaun,

      Although you can use the new interface, we recommend sticking to the classic mode for now (you can set this in your admin centre). The new views still have limited functionality and will not be permanently replacing the classic interface until all required functionality is moved across. Please see this update from Microsoft: http://dev.office.com/blogs/update-on-modern-document-libraries-and-extensiblity

      I can’t guarantee that this functionality will be brought across but it looks like they have plenty more work to do on the new user experience before it goes live.

      Thanks,
      Tony

      Reply
  2. kjell lindqvist

    I am really confused about using a picture library in combination with eg powerpoint. I want to insert a picture from the sharepoint library from powerpoint. I cannot figure out how to access the picturelibrary from powerpoint. Has Microsoft not created this function? (This is what I am being told by consultants). Really grateful for help

    Reply
    1. Tony Phillips Post author

      Hi Kjell,

      Thank you for posting a comment here. You are right to be frustrated. In PowerPoint, there is no option to directly insert an image from a SharePoint picture library. If you are using a PC, the only workaround I can suggest is to use the “Sync” button on the picture library. This will sync the SharePoint picture library onto your PC and you can then use it in PowerPoint. Not the best solution for a Cloud product though!

      Hope that helps,
      Tony

      Reply
  3. adarsh

    I am facing performance issues with SharePoint Online modern Experience in on site collection. That site contain a lot of data but was wroking fine in classic mode. Please suggest how to increase performance

    Reply
    1. Tony Phillips Post author

      Hi Adarsh,

      Are there any particular web parts on the modern page surfacing large data? If not, I would log a call with Microsoft support in the admin centre, as the modern experience should be quicker. If you are surfacing lots of data, you may want to try indexing lists and paging them.

      Thanks,
      Tony

      Reply

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