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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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