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Case Study

Classic to Modern SharePoint Root Site
Client Background

The client nurture the economic prosperity, ecological health, and social connectivity of people, businesses, organizations and communities in Vermont for the benefit and well-being of all who live here by providing business assistancevalue chain facilitationnetwork development, and strategic planning in agriculture and food systemsforest productswaste managementrenewable energy, and environmental technology sectors.

Existing site home pages and other site pages like wiki and web part pages are classic experiences.

Alif is a Microsoft associate Partner with many years’ experiences in SharePoint and has a reputation for developing successful SharePoint strategies and leading migrations.

Problem

The client nurture the economic prosperity, ecological health, and social connectivity of people, businesses, organizations and communities in Vermont for the benefit and well-being of all who live here by providing business assistancevalue chain facilitationnetwork development, and strategic planning in agriculture and food systemsforest productswaste managementrenewable energy, and environmental technology sectors.

Existing site home pages and other site pages like wiki and web part pages are classic experiences.

Alif is a Microsoft associate Partner with many years’ experiences in SharePoint and has a reputation for developing successful SharePoint strategies and leading migrations.

Assessment

The older Classic SharePoint experience is the legacy SharePoint framework that’s been the foundation of SharePoint for close to two decades. Microsoft no longer invests in the Classic experience.

With Microsoft investing so heavily in Modern SharePoint (importantly the backend for Microsoft Teams), limited mobile support, end of life features and poor usability, Classic is now outdated.

The client wants must prioritize a migration to Modern SharePoint, otherwise they run the risk of being left behind.

Need to take back of all the data containing list and libraries present on SharePoint site.

Solution Delivered

There is no simple upgrade option to move from Classic to Modern SharePoint. Whilst lists and libraries can be converted into Modern views, the underlying sites remain in the Classic experience.

A full migration includes many considerations and thoughtful planning.

To successfully migrate from Classic to Modern, you need the help of a trusted team of experts.

Alif is a Microsoft associate Partner with many years’ experiences in SharePoint and has a reputation for developing successful SharePoint strategies and leading migrations.

Steps involved for Classic to Modern site-

Step 1: Make sure the Root Site is not used.

First, make sure that the current, classic root site and subsites (if any) are not used by anyone. Make sure all the content has been backed up, and no one is synchronizing any libraries from the root site or its subsites to their computers (otherwise when the old site is moved over to the archival URL – more on this later) – it will cause sync issues.

Step 2: Create a modern site first.

For us to replace a classic root site in SharePoint Online, first, we must create a modern site we will use as a replacement. Per Microsoft guidelines, it has to be either a modern team site without an Office 365 Group or a Communication Site. You cannot replace the root site with a Group-connected site.

In almost all of the cases, you want to proceed with a Communication Site Template. This makes sense as you probably will use your root site as the main Hub Site/Intranet Home Site.

Navigate to either a SharePoint Admin Center or SharePoint Start Page and click on Create Site. Then, choose the Communication Site template.

Give your site a name, click Finish-

Your new Communication Site is ready!

Navigate to the SharePoint Admin Center

Next, we need to navigate to the SharePoint Admin Center to begin the root site replacement (swap) process.

Click on Office 365 App Launcher > Admin.

Navigate to the SharePoint Admin Center by clicking on SharePoint under Admin centers.

Click on Active sites to display all your sites (site collections using the old terminology).

Replace a classic root site in SharePoint Online with the modern Communication Site

1. Copy the URL of the Communication Site we created in Step 1

2. Now click on the checkbox next to the root site (the one with just [domain.sharepoint.com] in the URL column, then choose Replace site from the top ribbon (you might need to click on three dots to get to that command)

On the next screen, paste the URL of the Communication Site from Step 1, then click Save,

And just after a few minutes, your site swap will be completed!

This new site must be a team site (without an Office 365 Group) or a communication site.

It can’t be connected to an Office 365 group (the most common type of site in your environment).

The new site cannot be a Hub Site – it can only be a regular site not registered as a Hub yet.

If you are nostalgic about the old site’s look and feel, you can still access it using that archive link.

Once the Modern Site is created, you can convert it into the Hub Site and use it to build out your new, modern Intranet!


Architecture Diagram-

Classic Site                                                      Modern Site






Result/Outcome

Microsoft 365 Groups-  

One of the biggest differences between classic and modern team sites is that modern teams sites are connected to Microsoft 365 groups

Groups let you choose a set of people that you wish to collaborate with and easily set up a collection of resources for those people to share; resources like a shared Outlook inbox, shared calendar, or a document library for collaborating on files. 

You don’t have to worry about manually assigning permissions to all those resources because adding members to the group automatically gives them the permissions, they need to the tools your group provides.

 Microsoft 365 Groups are different from SharePoint groups in that they span across multiple Microsoft 365 resources, are more flexible, and are easier to work with.

 You can easily add people to a group or just share the site with individuals by clicking Settings, then Site permissions on your site.  

Home page-

When you create a classic team site from the team site template, web parts for Announcements, Calendar, and Links are automatically added to the home page, while on a modern site, you get a section for News, Quick links, Site activity, and a Document library.

Branding Using company branding on SharePoint team sites is very common, and for classic sites you may have used site themes, alternate CSS, and master pages.

While these elements are not supported on modern sites, there are new and easier ways to perform site customization and branding.

As an example, you can quickly and easily customize the colors of your SharePoint site by changing the theme to reflect your professional style and brand.

For more information on working with themes, see Change the look of your SharePoint site. For information on how to create custom themes, see SharePoint site theming.

Some of the other differences between classic and modern team sites include faster site provisioning, in-line editing of the quick start menu, and more.

 

Web parts-

 Modern pages use modern web parts. Modern web parts are designed to be easier to use, to be faster, and to look great. With modern web parts, there is no need to employ any code.

It is important to note that, for security reasons, modern web parts do not allow for the insertion of code like JScript.

It is also important to know that classic web parts cannot be used on modern pages, and modern web parts cannot be used on classic pages (unless a developer creates a custom web part that is designed to be used on a classic page).

 Additionally, there is not a 1:1 mapping of classic to modern web parts, but there are web parts that have similar purposes.

To learn about all of the modern web parts, see Using web parts on SharePoint pages. To see which modern web parts have the same purposes as some commonly-used classic web parts, see Classic and modern web part experiences.

For developers, the SharePoint Framework allows for the building of custom modern web parts that show up right in the web part toolbox.

The SharePoint Framework also allows for custom extensions and use of the Microsoft Graph API. 

Additionally, developers can check out the SharePoint starter kit, where you'll find as solution that includes numerous web parts, extensions, and other components that you can use as an example and inspiration for your own customizations.

       

Mobile ready –

Unlike classic pages, modern pages (and in fact all modern features) are designed to be responsive and look great on mobile devices. Get the mobile SharePoint app.

Layout 

When you create a classic web part page, you choose a layout with web part zones to use. The layout can't be changed after the fact. With modern pages, the layout is flexible and can be changed at any time.

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