Creating an Office 365 for Education domain

If you represent a school or educational institution, make sure you sign up for Office 365 for Education. It will simplify the process of getting the education benefits (pricing). This is how you do it:

Create domain

Go to Office 365 for Education, click on Compare Plans, and click on Sign up for 30-day trial. You will be asked to select a domain name and the format will be <DomainName>

Verify domain

Go to Management – Domains and add a new domain. It does not need to be a .EDU-domain.

 Update DNS

You need to verify the ownership of the domain. Do this by setting the TXT of @ in the DNS, or by pointing the MX to it. If you set the MX all mail will be directed to Office 365.

The TXT record may need to be added as a string “MS=ms73700918”.

Usually Microsoft will recognize the DNS updates within minutes, but it may take a few hours. When this is done there will be a few more hours before your domain is verified as an EDU domain. When this is done your are all set to go and “purchase” EDU licenses.

Lync federation with Office 365

It is possible to use federation between Lync in Office 365 and Lync on premises. There have been serveral issues discussed on the Office 365 community and Microsoft has a support article to provide help. I will try to describe the DNS record step more in detail, since this seems to be the problem. Basically you need to to the following:

Add SRV DNS record for Lync federation. According to Microsoft you should add the following:

The problem here is to understand how to add the record. It needs to be added as _sipfederationtls._tcp.<DomainName> and the value as 100 1 5061 Look at this example:

The record can be tested with this great tool:

Also, you need to allow federation for your Office 365 domain. Go to the Office 365 admin portal and click on Lync. Open the domain for exteral communication, either by allowing all communication or adding domains to the exception list.

Highlights of SPC12

Here are my three quickies from SPC12.

Office 365 vs On-premise

Even though Microsoft claim a huge investment in SharePoint Server 2013, the main focus is in SharePoint Online and Office 365. There are still a few limitations what you can do in the cloud, things that can only be done on premise, but future releases will probably be the other way around. Go for the cloud if possible.

WCF is out, REST is in

The API for accessing /_api/client.svc (former /_vti_bin/client.svc) has been extended and most information can be pulled out using REST, which is fast and simple. When communication with SharePoint, use either REST or CSOM (Client-Server Object Model). There are few reasons for using WCF or any other method.

Consider hosting apps

The first two tips are simple guidelines. This is a call for concideration. When hosting an app there are three possible ways:

  • SharePoint hosted app
  • Autohosted app
  • Providerhosted app

Not only will these three methods convey various limitations on what you can do, they will also bring differnt concerns regarding authorization. This will be discussed more later.