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Tag Archives: msgraph

DIY: Integrating Trådfri lights with Teams presence

It seems that Work from Home (WFH) is here to stay, it’s okay. I’d say, Work from a Smart Home is even more okay. To me, Home Automation (HA) and Work from Home (WFH) are really two peas in a pod.

Today’s “guest” is a tiny application that I’ve set up on my raspberry pi to listen to my presence (status) in Teams and show it with colors of my smart RGB light (IKEA Trådfri).

The code

You can find the application on github:

I’ll try to provide the needed documentation on the github repo and focus more on the story part in this blog post.

The story

I stumbled upon Elio Struyf’s blog post and I was amazed:

Wow! I thought immediately: that would be a cool challenge, I wanted to set up this, too. Although, with some adjustments for my smart home:

  • I wanted to run the whole application on one raspberry pi only, because I don’t have the second one, neither I have HomeBridge installation (maybe something for future projects, though).
  • I wanted to have as little code as possible, maintenance should be kept to minimal.
  • I wanted to use python in order to learn more python and because python seems to be the most supported language on the pi.
  • I wanted to use IKEA Trådfri lights (with a gateway and a remote) that I already have invested into.

I omit the configuration steps for Trådfri lights and Raspberry Pi, you can see them in my previous blog post:

Why show Teams presence with a smart light

Elio wrote his blog post in April this year – in the times of the lockdown in Belgium. In Sweden, we hadn’t a real lockdown, but it seems that it might come times when my children would need to be at home more while I work. In that case a superclear system that shows when I have important meetings is just awesome. Maybe, with that I am prepared for such times.

But to be really honest, the main driving factor is the fact that it is very satisfying to tinker around with this DIY stuff 😜😎

Lessons learned

There is a python wrapper for MSGraph which is awesome, but it needs more contributors:

In your Azure AD App Registration you can specify auth flow type as public, with that you don’t need to store a client secret for delegated access. That was a kind of a new thing to me.

Presence endpoint in MSGraph is in beta, make sure you call the beta endpoint. The scope is ‘https://graph.microsoft.com/Presence.Read’ and you need an admin consent for that permission grant.

Using Sway as a simple static site builder

Sometimes all you need is just a simple static web page: instructions, a landing page, a collection of links. I think I have a perfect use case for Sway. Consider a scenario similar to what Laura Kokkarinen writes in her blog post:

An external user invitation needs an inviteRedirectUrl. Usually it is myapps.microsoft.com. In Laura’s case it was a given extranet url.

In our case we don’t know where an external user will land. After the invitation the external user will be added to some team or a collaboration site.

The default myapps.microsoft.com is a tool where a user can administer his account and accesses, but it might be a confusing place to be sent to after the invitation acceptance process.

A simple static page with clear information is just enough in our case. Fortunately, there is Sway, a simple (but still great) web page builder.

An example of a landing page, defined in Sway.

Following alternatives were considered for our landing page:

  • An “extranet” page in SharePoint Online. It takes time to set up if you don’t have an extranet.
  • A page in a public portal. Comms and IT must be involved.
  • A static web page in a blob storage / Azure CDN. It requires some basic web development for design and IT-driven deployment.
  • Azure App or Azure Function. Actually here it would mean going beyond static. For the initial phase, serving a static page, would also mean basic development and deployment by IT.

Advantages of a Sway page

  • Easy to create a static web page
  • Beautiful templates and an easy way to alter the design
  • Can be driven by the business/comms completely. We only need the url (to put into the invitation call to MS Graph).
  • Does not require any development or deployment.
  • Videos, documents can be embedded easily
  • A sway can be shared with anyone using the link. It means no additional infrastructure steps for this to work (such as firewall, dns etc).

There are some disadvantages, too:

  • The domain is too generic: sway.office.com. It might look suspicious to some users. Maybe there is a way to use own domain?
  • A Sway cannot have different languages and switch them based on the user’s locale. It would be great to have something similar to the “Multilingual” functionality in Forms. But still, as a static web page, Sway is doing great, even without the “Multilinguality”.

Summary

Sway is an easy “business friendly”, no-code solution for simple, still good-looking web pages, that can be created and updated in no time and shared easily. Being a member of the bigger Microsoft 365 ecosystem, it fills a certain gap where the business can work together with IT and deliver solutions faster.

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