How to create & setup Dynamic Microsoft 365 Group or Distribution list based on the user’s domain for Teams, Yammer and Exchange

There are many organizations maintaining multiple domains on a single Microsoft 365 or Azure AD tenant, in those cases there might be a need to create dynamic Microsoft 365 groups, security groups & distributions list based on the user’s domain to manage the group’s membership. On this blogpost, let us see how to

  1. Create Dynamic Microsoft 365 group based on the user’s domain for Teams & Yammer
  2. Create a Dynamic distribution list based on user’s domain in Exchange online

To begin with let us see some basics of a Dynamic group. The membership of a dynamic group will automatically update as people join, leave, or move within the organization whenever the user’s Azure Active Directory attributes are changed. In simple terms, rules determines the group membership. The users will be added or removed automatically as and when the user attributes change or users join and leave the tenant which reduces the administrative effort of adding and removing users from a group. Dynamic group can be created based on variety of attributes including role, location, department etc.

Create Dynamic Microsoft 365 group based on the user’s domain for Teams & Yammer

Microsoft Teams and Yammer (Microsoft 365 Connected) supports dynamic membership. It enables the membership of Team or Yammer to be defined by one or more rules that check for certain attributes in Azure AD. Microsoft Teams & Yammer creates a Microsoft 365 group in Azure AD. For this post, the membership rule will be simple one which is based on the user’s domain and country. You can also have a complex rule involving multiple Azure AD attributes like Title, Geography, Department etc. Before we proceed further, there are some pre-requisite & facts to be considered before creating a dynamic group.

  • User Administrator or Global administrator role in Azure AD
  • Users you foresee to be part of a dynamic group membership rule should have an Azure AD premium License P1 or P2
    • Microsoft 365 E3, E5, Front line workers MF3 & MF1 has Azure AD premium 1 service which should suffice.
  • An Azure AD organization can have maximum of 5000 dynamic groups.
  • Any number of Azure AD resources can be members of a single group.

Dynamic Membership based on Domain for Teams:

To create a Dynamic membership MS team, create a Microsoft 365 group first with Dynamic membership in Azure Active directory. You can create a dynamic group from PowerShell but here I will be using Azure Ad GUI to create the dynamic Microsoft 365 group with rule to add users based on their domain and country. I have added a domain m365pal.me to my Azure AD tenant which I will be using here for this example.

  1. Sign in to Azure AD Admin center with administrator role in the Azure AD organization
  2. Click Groups and then click + New Group
  3. Select the Group type as Microsoft 365. Dynamic membership will also work with Security group but for team it should be Microsoft 365 group.
  4. Enter the Group Name & Group email address
  5. Select the Membership type as Dynamic User
  6. Select the Owner and then
  7. Under Dynamic user members section, click Add dynamic query
  8. In Dynamic membership rules panel, add rule to define membership based on users domain & country
    • First rule for Domain: under Property column select userPrinicipalName, Operator should be Contains and the Value should be the domain name in format “@yourdomain.com”. This rule will add all users with the UPN user@yourdomain.com. Now click + Add expression to add the second rule
    • Second rule for country: under Property column select country, Operator should be  Equals and the value should be the country name.
  1. You can also validate the rules by clicking the link Validate Rules and then by adding users to check if the user satisfies the rule
  2. Click Save. This is how it should look like
  1. Click Create.
  2. After waiting for couple of minutes, check the group membership. Please find below screenshot for the group which has two members satisfying the condition. You can also notice the + Add members link is disabled since the group is dynamic membership and not assigned. To modify the rules, click the link Dynamic membership rules link.
  1. Now we are ready to create the MS Teams, go to https://teams.microsoft.com/ and then click Join or create a team at the left bottom corner and then Click Create a team
  2. Click From a group or team and then click Microsoft 365 group
  3. Now select the group you have created in Azure AD and then click Create.
  1. The team is now created, you can find the team on the list. Check the membership of the team which will have the two users satisfying the rules and the owner of the group. One more thing to notice here is the message which says The membership settings prevents you from adding or removing members.
  1. Voila! Dynamic Microsoft team is now created & setup.

If you have an existing team to be converted to a Dynamic team, find the Microsoft 365 group in Azure AD for the Team you wish to convert and then update the membership status from Assigned to Dynamic user with membership rules

Dynamic Membership based on Domain for Yammer:

Yammer (Microsoft 365 Connected) also supports dynamic membership. Find the steps below to create a dynamic yammer group based on the user’s domain. Find the steps below

  1. Sign in to https://yammer.com/ with your organizational ID
  2. Click Create a Community and then Enter the name of the Community
  3. Click the button Create
  1. Now sign in to Azure AD Admin center to the update the membership settings of the Microsoft 365 group connected to the Yammer community. Find the yammer group and then click
  1. Click Properties under the Manage blade and then change the membership type from Assigned to Dynamic user
  1. After updating the membership type to Dynamic user. You will now have option to enter the dynamic query. Click dynamic query
  1. In Dynamic membership rules panel, add rule to define membership based on users domain
    • Rule for Domain: under Property column select userPrinicipalName, Operator should be Contains and the Value should be the domain name in format “@yourdomain.com”. This rule will add all users with the UPN user@yourdomain.com. Now click + Add expression to add rules based on need
    • Click Save
  1. Click Save. Wait for couple of minutes for the membership to be updated.
  2. Now check the Yammer group in Yammer.com for the membership status. Please find below screenshot for your reference which will not have the + icon on the highlighted members section for adding users since this is now a dynamic yammer group

Also, Microsoft 365 group/Security group can be used for different use cases. See some sample use cases below

  • You can use to target SharePoint page/news to specific audience with the help of Microsoft 365 group or Security group. Will it not be more powerful if you use dynamic groups within a SharePoint to target content certain group of audience!
  • Assign Microsoft Licenses to users based on Dynamic Group.
  • Grant access to an App (PowerApps etc) using the dynamic group targeting certain departments, geographies etc

Reference:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/enterprise-users/groups-create-rule

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/enterprise-users/groups-dynamic-membership

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/dynamic-memberships

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/yammer/manage-yammer-groups/create-a-dynamic-group

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/yammer/manage-yammer-groups/yammer-and-office-365-groups

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/active-directory/enterprise-users/directory-service-limits-restrictions

Create a Dynamic distribution list based on user’s domain in Exchange online:

Dynamic distribution groups are mail-enabled Active Directory group to distribute email messages to all its members within a Microsoft Exchange organization. Unlike regular distribution lists that contain a defined set of members, the membership list for dynamic distribution groups is calculated each time a message is sent to the group, based on the filters and conditions that you define in the group. You can create a Dynamic Distribution list from Exchange Admin center as shown below but the options to write advanced filter conditions or rules are limited so PowerShell is preferred.

Dynamic Distribution list from PowerShell:

Make sure the Exchange online PowerShell module is installed. There are some limitations to create a recipient filter (Rules) that worked based on user’s domain with the operator like or contains but there is a workaround. The filter works based on the exchange property WindowsEmailAddress which is always the primary SMTP address, you can also consider using the property WindowsLiveID. Follow the steps below to create a Dynamic Distribution list based on user’s domain

  1. Load the module by the running the command Import-Module ExchangeOnlineManagement
  2. Connect to the Exchange online PowerShell in Microsoft 365
Connect-ExchangeOnline -UserPrincipalName userId@domain.com -ShowProgress $true
  1. After authentication, enter the following command to create the Dynamic DL based on User’s domain. I have added the RecipientTypeDetails in the RecipientFilter to apply the filter rule only to user mailboxes which excludes the SharedMailboxes
New-DynamicDistributionGroup -Name "All Users - M365PAL DL" -RecipientFilter "(RecipientTypeDetails -eq 'UserMailbox') -and (WindowsEmailAddress -eq '*@yourdomain.com')"
  1. You can also validate the users using the following script
Get-Recipient -RecipientPreviewFilter (Get-DynamicDistributionGroup "All Users - M365PAL DL").RecipientFilter
  1. To view the attributes to be used in the recipient filter enter the following command
Get-User -Identity user@yourdomain.com | Format-List

Reference:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/exchange/recipients/dynamic-distribution-groups/dynamic-distribution-groups

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powershell/module/exchange/get-user

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/exchange/recipients/dynamic-distribution-groups/view-dynamic-distribution-group-members

Summary: On this post we have seen how to create dynamic groups based on user’s domain. Do some planning to start using the dynamic groups which will help reduce lot of administrative overhead. Hope you have found this informational & helpful. Let me know any feedback or comments on the comment section below

Trigger an Azure Webjob from Power Automate

On this post let us see how to trigger or run a WebJob from Power Automate. WebJob is a powerful service in Azure keeping in mind the supported file types or programs it can run. Before proceeding with the instructions to call a WebJob in Power Automate, let us see some basics of an Azure WebJob. WebJobs is a feature of Azure App Service that enables you to run a program or script in the same instance of the Azure web app with no additional cost. As of now it is not supported in App service plan for Linux. There are two types of WebJobs

  1. Continuous WebJob
    • Starts immediately when the WebJob is created. To keep the job from ending, the program or script typically does its work inside an endless loop.
    • Runs on all instances that the web app runs on. You can optionally restrict the WebJob to a single instance.
  2. Triggered WebJob
    • Starts only when triggered manually or on a schedule based on CRON expression.
    • Runs on a single instance that Azure selects for load balancing.

Supported file types for scripts or programs:

The following file types are supported:

  • .cmd, .bat, .exe (using Windows cmd)
  • .ps1 (using PowerShell)
  • .sh (using Bash)
  • .php (using PHP)
  • .py (using Python)
  • .js (using Node.js)
  • .jar (using Java)

Check here the documentation from Microsoft to choose between Flow, Logic Apps, Functions & Webjobs for your automation services with comparisons against each other. If you are using a Function app with a Consumption plan your function can run only to a max of 10 mins. If you have a long running task on a webjob, set this property in the App service Application setting from the Configuration blade as shown below

The above setting is to avoid idling out if there is no CPU activity. The IDLE timeout setting is set to 1 hour in the above screenshot.

Azure WebJobs SDK:

There is a Powerful Azure WebJobs SDK which simplifies the task of writing background processing code that runs in WebJobs. It makes it easier to write code that reads or writes from Azure Storage account and it also facilitates to trigger the WebJob if there is any new data on the queue, blob, table, service bus for an event driven architecture. Azure functions is built on the WebJobs SDK. If you set your web app to run continuous or scheduled (timer-trigger) WebJobs, enable the Always on setting on your web app’s Azure Configuration page to ensure that the WebJobs run reliably. This feature is available only in the Basic, Standard, and Premium tiers of the App service plan.

Create and Deploy a WebJob:

To call a WebJob from Power Automate, let us create a Triggered WebJob (.Net Framework) from Visual Studio. There is a also support for .NET Core console apps as WebJobs. Refer this documentation from Microsoft to create a WebJob from Visual Studio. In Visual studio there is a template to create a WebJob project as shown below

This is how the VS project looks like

The Program.cs has the code to ensure that the Job will be running continuously, for this case it is not required comment or remove the code which is highlighted. The Functions.cs has the code to pick up the message from the Storage Queue (Event-Driven) through the WebJobs SDK runtime, the WebApp must set to Always on to make it work. For this example, it is not required since it is going to be a triggered Job so the file Functions.cs can be deleted.

If you have any arguments to be passed from Power Automate, you can access it on your code as shown below

To deploy the WebJob, right click the project and select Publish. If there is no publish profile yet, create one or export it from Azure WebApp and then Publish. To know more about the Publish settings In the Publish tab, choose Edit as shown below

The WebJob will be now in Azure. Go to your Azure WebApp or App Service and click WebJobs under the settings blade to find the WebJob deployed from Visual Studio. Find the WebJob in the Azure portal

WebJobs API endpoint for the WebJob:

There are API endpoints available for the Azure WebJob which will be used for triggering the WebJob from Power Automate. Go through the following documentation for more details on the list of available endpoints:

https://github.com/projectkudu/kudu/wiki/WebJobs-API

To Trigger or Start a WebJob, you should have the Webhook URL from the Azure Portal. To get the URL, click Properties after selecting the WebJob as shown below

Copy the Web hook URL, User Name and Password to be later used in Power Automate. Let us trigger the WebJob from Postman client using the above information

Method: Post

URL: https://yourappname.scm.azurewebsites.net/api/triggeredwebjobs/webjobname/run

Authorization Type: Basic Auth

User Name and Password copied from the Portal

This will trigger the Job.

If there are parameters to be passed, the API would be like

https://youwebappname.scm.azurewebsites.net/api/triggeredwebjobs/youwebjobname/run?arguments={arg1} {arg2}

Trigger from Power Automate:

Till now we have the WebJob published in Azure, can we call an API in Power Automate. Yes, it is possible with the help of the Premium action HTTP as shown below

Voila! The WebJob has been triggered from Power Automate.

Summary: On this post we have seen how to call a WebJob using PowerAutomate. There is also a trigger to calla  Flow from a PowerApp, which could be used to start the WebJob. Hope you have found this informational & helpful. Let me know any feedback or comments on the comment section below

How to find the Operating System and stack of an existing Azure website

Azure websites also known as app service can be easily created through multiple interfaces like Azure Power shell, CLI, Azure portal etc. While creating the website or App Service you will have to select the operating system, default choice is Windows. OS selection also depends on the runtime version you select (.NET framework, .Net core, Java etc). If you have an existing website connected to an App service plan, by the time I write this post you can’t find the OS information on the Overview or configuration section of the App service or App service plan. Let us see how we can find it

Option 1:

In the Azure portal, select the App service plan of the Azure Website. In the app service plan left menu, select App under settings blade. For Windows OS, it will be as app for type

For Linux website, it will be as app, linux for type

Option 2:

In the Azure portal, select the App service. In the left menu, select Advanced Tools under Development Tools blade. Click go

Once the Advanced Tools is opened, click Environment on the Top Left corner. You can find the OS under System Info. For Windows App service

For Linux App service:

To know the runtime stack, In the Azure portal, select the App service. In the left menu, select Configuration under Settings blade. Click General Settings

Hope you have found this informational. Sharing is caring

Hosting static HTML content in SharePoint Online site & Azure

The SharePoint Online experience which you get by default for all the sites you create in the tenant is modern by default. The site pages you create in the modern experience are fast, easy to author and support rich multimedia content. The pages look great on any experience i.e. mobiles, browser, SharePoint App. If you wanted to host static HTML content with JavaScript, CSS, BootStrap on a SharePoint Online site it is not feasible though it was easily doable with Classic SharePoint site. The reason is by default you are not allowed to run custom scripts to change the look & feel & behaviour of the sites for security reason in a Modern SharePoint Online site. But we have control to manage this setting at different levels

  1. Organizational Level
  2. Site Level

On this blog post let’s see how to host static content (HTML, JS, CSS, Images et) by updating the site scripts settings at the site level. At the end I write some options to host Static content in Azure.

Pre-requisite:

  1. Modern SharePoint Communication Site
  2. SharePoint Online Tenant Admin access for executing few PowerShell commands
  3. HTML Content
  4. Access to Azure Subscription as a Contributor to test static content hosting in Azure

Hosting Static content on a SharePoint Online Site:

For sample HTML content I’ve downloaded from the following Azure Sample GitHub repo

https://github.com/Azure-Samples/app-service-web-html-get-started

Step 1:

Connect a SharePoint Online administrator to a SharePoint Online connection. This cmdlet must run before any other SharePoint Online cmdlets can run

Connect-SPOService -Url https://domain-admin.sharepoint.com

Step 2:

Run a Power shell command to disable the property DenyAddAndCustomizePages at the site level by running the following command

Set-SPOsite https://domain.sharepoint.com/sites/sitename -DenyAddAndCustomizePages 0

Step 3:

Verify if DenyAddAndCustomizePages is Disabled. To check this the property value run the following command

Get-SPOSite -Identity https://domain.sharepoint.com/sites/sitename -Detailed | select DenyAddAndCustomizePages

Step 4:

Be ready with the HTML sample. I’ve downloaded static content from the Azure HTML Sample github repo which has

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript

If there is any file with HTML extension, rename the extension to .aspx. On this sample there was 1 HTML file by the name index.html, I’ve renamed the file index.html to index.aspx

Step 5:

Open the SharePoint Online Communication site in the browser & navigate to the Document library. I’ve chosen the default document library (Shared Documents) for the storing the HTML, you can also create a custom document library, site assets library.

Upload the folder which has the .HTML file renamed to .aspx and the supporting files (JS, Images, CSS etc)

After the upload

Click the index.aspx file, it should render the file with HTML, CSS, JS etc as shown below

The URL of the HTML page will be in the following structure for the index.aspx file

https://domain.sharepoint.com/sites/sitename/Shared Documents/HTML_sample_for_Azure_App_Service/index.aspx

Step 6:

You can now Enable the property DenyAddAndCustomizePages by executing the following SharePoint Online PowerShell cmdlet

Set-SPOsite https://domain.sharepoint.com/sites/sitename -DenyAddAndCustomizePages 1

If you wanted to add another HTML file after the above command, you will have to disable the property DenyAddAndCustomizePages before adding the HTML file. I’ve shown you how to host static HTML on SharePoint Online site which will not cost you anything provided there is Microsoft 365 license. If you need additional features like Custom domain, anonymous access, deployments etc you can do so with Azure.

Static Content in Azure:

There are couple of options in Azure to host your HTML as shown below

  1. Azure App service
    • You can create an App service in Azure to host your static HTML. There is Microsoft documentation with detailed instruction to set this up. You can lot of options with App service like Auto scaling, Custom domain, Anonymous access, auto deployments etc. There is also a Free pricing tier F1 for hosting your content.
  2. Azure Static Webapps
    • As of now the service is in Preview mode which automatically builds and deploys full stack webapps to Azure from Github repository. During preview, its free of cost. I’ve recently tested this, if you wanted to try go through this documentation.
    • VS Code extension for Static Webapps
    • You can also serve dynamic content with Azure functions integration.
  3. Azure Storage
    • This service also has capability to serve static content (HTML, CSS, JS & image) from the blob container. To know more, check this documentation from Microsoft.

Summary: On this post we have seen options to host static content in SharePoint Online site & Azure. Based on your requirement (Anonymous access, custom domain, cost etc) you can choose one from the options given above. Hope you have found this informational & helpful in some way. If there is some other option to host static content, please let me know on the comment section below