SharePoint Online Mobile/Touch Experience Only Works with Collaboration Sites

SharePoint Online comes with a specific mobile experience designed for touch devices.  Here is what a typical collaboration site looks like on an IPhone:

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However, this experience only works with Collaboration Sites.

The publishing is governed by the master page and page layouts and there is no alternative mobile experience provided by default – you have to provide this yourself. 

Here is a default publishing site running on an IPhone:

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Here is what a Blog Site and Wiki Site looks like on the iPhone:

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The worst version is actually the Project Site – the page isn’t responsive and doesn’t render well at all on the iPhone.

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New Azure Data Factory Editor Available

Azure Data Factory is Microsoft’s new cloud based data processing service, launched in preview last October.  Similar to SSIS but expanded to support cloud based data processing services, Azure Data Factory allows you to compose storage, movement and data processing pipelines using ETL workflows.  These pipeline can include MapReduce programs, Pig and Hive transformations and custom .NET based modules.

Azure Data Factory allows you to combine cloud and on premise sources into a single ETL process and is priced per activity to support pay for use costing models.

One of the complexities of using Azure Data Factory is unlike SSIS, there is no easy to use graphical editor to compose pipelines.  Instead, you build them using complex JSON structures organized into pipelines and run using PowerShell.

Microsoft has just launched a new ADF Editor that allows you to create pipelines more easily.  While not a GUI based tool, the ADF Editor provides a more prescriptive way to assemble and edit your JSON ADF commands and to deploy pipelines directly from the tool.

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OneDrive REST API Published

Microsoft has launched a new REST API for OneDrive.  This will allow anyone developing web, mobile or client server applications to pull, push or search files located in OneDrive. 

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The REST API is straightforward and JSON based.  One of the neat things is that it provides a service for tracking changes to a user’s OneDrive so that for example you could download only the files that have changed since the last synchronization.

Using the REST API, you can upload large files (up to 10 GB) with support for resumption of uploads on network failure.

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Row Level Security and Data Masking Available in Azure SQL in Preview

Row Level Security

imageAt the end of January, Microsoft launched a new Row Level Security implementation in preview for Azure SQL.

Row Level Security in Azure SQL allows you to set policies using SQL statements which filter data based on the users identity.  This can be done based on the logged in user connected directly to the database or through an application. 

The basic idea of Row Level Security is the ability to filter queries based on user credentials either supplied directly when a user connects directly to the database or passed in by an application passing in a user identity.

The implementation details can be found in this article.

Data Masking

Another new feature available in Azure SQL in preview is Data Masking.  The concept of data masking is that based on policies, you can prescribe that when a user selects data from a table the data can be returned as masked data, e.g. XXXXXXX instead of the original value.  The policy you set allows you to specify:

  • Who receives masked data and who receives original data
  • Which tables and columns are masked
  • Whether to mask based on the source table name / column name or the alias provided in the query
  • Whether to restrict developers directly connected to the database
  • Format of masking based on a set of masking functions

The masking function allows you to mask common types of sensitive information.  For example:

  • Credit Card: XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-1234
  • Social Security Number: XXX-XX-XX12
  • Email Address: aXX@XXXX.com

You can also use your own masking patterns using the Custom Text function.

Unlike Row Level Security, Data Masking is set up either through the Azure Portal or through a REST API, not through SQL.

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Informatica and Microsoft Partner Together on Big Data ETL through Informatica Cloud

Informatica has announced a partnership with Microsoft whereby Informatica Cloud customers will be able to use a new Cloud Integration Secure Agent for Microsoft Azure.  The agent is available in the Azure Marketplace where you can spin up a new VM containing the agent with a few clicks.

The Informatica Cloud Secure Agent is a lightweight program running on premises or on Azure enabling secure integration between Azure and your on- premises applications and databases, cloud applications and other data sources. Data is not staged in Informatica Cloud. Instead, a direct connection is established between the Secure Agent and Azure. Informatica Cloud can also be used for bi-directional data integration between on-premises source and target end points.

The Informatica Cloud agent is now available in Linux and Windows virtual machines on Azure. That will enable enterprise customers to create data pipelines from both on-premises systems and the cloud to Azure data services such as Azure HDInsight, Azure Machine Learning, Azure Data Factory and others, for management and analysis.

Using these two technologies together, this means an expanded data integration and ETL processing eco-system that extends using Informatica across many different platforms, cloud and on-premise, etc.

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