MS Teams as Hub for StartWithTeams

We are using the node.js based tool Hexo to generate this website. In our process MS Teams has an important role. It works as our central information hub:

  • Teams brings together information from different external and internal sources.
  • This tool of Microsoft also helps us to coordinate the publishing process of the posts for this site.

Hexo and creating posts

For a better understanding how MS Teams supports us in this case some more information about Hexo and how it works is helpful: Hexo is a fast and simple blog framework. To use the framework you also need node.js and git on your client or server. The editors write posts in markdown, then Hexo generates static html files. These static files are copied/deployed to a web server.
As you can see on the architecture overview image at the bottom left corner:

  1. In a first step we use Visual Studio Code for creating a draft post in markdown language. From a technical point of view these files are simple text files.
  2. Once an editor has finished the draft version, he synchonizes that file and all corresponding resources (like images) with our Visual Studio Team Services.
  3. Then another editor reviews the post and makes some annotations or changes.
  4. In the last step the static files (like html files) are generated and copied to our web server. The new post is now released.
  5. After publishing a new tweet will be created by MS Flow. For more information about this step read our post Use Flow to bring Posts on Twitter

The role of MS Teams

At this point MS Teams helps us to control the publishing workflow. Whenever an editor commits and synchronizes a new post from his client computer to Visual Studio Team Services a new entry in the conversation thread of Teams will be created.

In the conversation thread we can now discuss this post or just approve. The connection to Visual Studio Team Services can be easily configured in just a few minutes. We added the Visual Studio Team Services connector to our channel.

We also added a RSS Connector to our StartWithTeams site. This connector gets all new post by RSS and adds them to our Teams conversation.

As last action, we automatically create a new tweet in our Twitter feed using MS Flow. See this post for a detailled description.

Other information sources

To stay informed about activities and other news about MS Teams we have added some more connectors (RSS, Twitter) to our Teams. We added more RSS and Twitter connectors to automatically receive information from e.g. Office Blogs or Techcommunity. This saves a lot of time because we don’t need to scan all information sources manually. And if a team member detects a new good source, we add it and all of our team members get the news.