Microsoft has started the release of the awaited feature of 'Hub' sites that was introduced last year. Hub sites will allow you to connect related Site Collections to allow easier discovery and collaboration. The core pieces that Hub sites will provide us are:
- Roll up of news and site activity for all sites in the hub
- Search scoped to all sites in the hub
- Unified cross-site navigation managed on the hub
- Consistent theming across joined sites
Along with these features, there are also changes to modern web parts coming as well. Two web parts are being updated and we are getting one new one. These web parts include:
- Highlighted Content
- Sites (new)
The news web part supports the viewing of news pages that you build on your site. News pages are modern SharePoint pages that once published, will become viewable in this web part, in the news section of the mobile app, and be allowed to be promoted in different ways. What we had before was just 'Team' news or the ability to only see the news pages that are built on your site. Basically there was no way to see news across sites. Now with hub sites, we will have the ability to roll up news across all sites that are joined to the hub.
After you create a site and then make it a hub site, you can add the news web part to the home page and by default it will set itself to a new layout called Hub news. This new layout includes columns of stories with thumbnails and information, plus a side bar of headlines of additional stories. Within the web part it will list the site that the news is generated from.
You can still change the layout to something else if you don't want to use Hub news.
Along with the layout you can also now control the sources of the news. This means we can pick what sites are included to be displayed in the news web part. You can now select sources from:
- This site
- All sites in the hub
- Select sites which includes a handy 'associated sites' section to pick from ones already in the hub
This is the most useful modern web part. This allows you to display content in a more dynamic or custom way. This can be used in similar ways that the classic Content Search Web part is used. By default when you add this web part to a page it will default to recent documents. You can then change things like the source of where the content will be coming from, a filter or sort option, and the layout of the display.
With hub sites we now have the ability to choose 'All sites in the hub' as an option to roll up content from.
We also now have the ability for when we select sites we can easily select sites associated with the hub.
This is a new web part that automatically will show sites associated with a hub site or pick your specific sites.
By default it will show all sites in a hub. The source settings use the same configuration as the updates to the News and Highlighted Content web part.
If your site is not part of a hub you can still show specific sites. This also includes the handy 'Sites associated with this hub' option.
Along with the source settings we have 2 different layout options to display the sites, Filmstrip and Cards.