The new blog in Office 365 – a deep dive

Microsoft are currently rolling out a new personal blogging experience in Office 365. My company’s (Puzzlepart) tenant got it, but my Office 365 Developer tenant is still waiting.. Impatiently..

If you got it in your tenant, this tile should show up on your “About me”-page:

The new blog in Office 365 - some technical insights 02

(This tile should also give you a link back to your old blog)
Clicking “All Posts” will give you a tile view of all your posts:

The new blog in Office 365 - some technical insights 06

The editorial experience

Clicking “New Post” will send you to a Sway-ish blog experience:
The new blog in Office 365 - some technical insights 01

Here ou’ll fill in Title, Subtitle and pick an image if you’d like (you can pick it from your computer, or from your OneDrive).

Then you’re ready to write to write some content. You can currently use the following “features”:

The new blog in Office 365 - some technical insights 03

The new blog engine give you very basic formatting possibilities, with no control of the HTML. With the old blog engine, I think the best feature was publishing with Word – this is now gone.

This might be a good thing though..? It gives a more consistent look and feel through your colleagues blogposts.

The result

This is how your blog posts will end up:
The new blog in Office 365 - some technical insights 04

Behind the scenes

So what happens behind the scenes – technically?

Your blog posts and the related images will be saved in separate libraries under your personal portal page.

Blog posts
.pointpub files in Pages library.
URL: https://yourtenant.sharepoint.com/portals/personal/[your username]/pPg/

Images
In a Images library.
URL: https://yourtenant.sharepoint.com/portals/personal/[your username]/pImg/
So what are in these blog post .pointpub files? It’s JSON actually – not your everyday publishing page. The Title and Author of your blog post is saved on the actual list item, but the rest of the information is stored as JSON in the .pointpub file.

Here’s the JSON structure for you:

The new blog in Office 365 - some technical insights 05

Title, SubTitle and ThumbnailSource (the url of the “rollup image”) is found on the first level. The content of your blogpost is stored inside the ControlData object.

Why are they using JSON? I think this is very interesting. Are they using some kind of template engine for rendering? Angular?

What if we want to show a rollup of blogpost with title, author and image – can we retrieve this JSON? Search only gives us Title, Author and Path directly.

I’ve found a solution – which will be presented in a new blog post shortly.

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