We now have access to an extended trial of Microsoft Office 365 Enterprise Edition. This will now enable us to actively use and test features of the service that the University may upgrade to in the near future. We will now begin to look at complex workflows, integrating InfoPath Forms, and RSS Feeds amongst others. In a just couple of days we have managed to give the site some basic branding, after coming across many difficulties trying the same thing in the Small Business Edition. As always we will keep posting with our progress.
In a recent meeting that Michael and I set up, we were asked about Info Path and Office 365, unfortunately would could not answer the question as we had not looked into Info path at that time. I have quickly checked it out this morning and it appears to be quite a useful tool in SharePoint development. Info path can easily create forms for SharePoint 2010+, granted this can already be done within SharePoint online, however, it is possible to customize it with different fonts and images to make it look more professional. There is an example of this on the right. Info Path needs to be connected to be connected to the SharePoint site before anything can be made for SharePoint. It is also only compatible with the Enterprise edition of Office 365, therefore making it difficult to test this program.
For the majority of organisations and businesses, branding of SharePoint sites will be essential. There are a few strategies to implementing branding on SharePoint sites, including but not limited to, master pages, page layouts and CSS. Master pages define the shared elements to the site, such as logo, navigation and footers, while page layouts offer a powerful and flexible way to mange the overall look to the sites pages. CSS is used to control the overall display of page elements, including images, fonts, layouts and page structure.
This article goes into detail about SharePoint customisation. It’s split into three articles.
Part 1: http://www.sharepointpromag.com/article/sharepoint/sharepoint-branding-101-how-to-implement-a-custom-branded-site-129843
Part 2: http://www.sharepointpromag.com/article/sharepoint/sharepoint-branding-master-pages-136262
Part 3: Coming Soon.
Another useful article I read about SharePoint Branding can be found at: http://www.heathersolomon.com/blog/articles/brandsppart2.aspx