Using the PnP SharePoint starter kit with Powell 365

by Esther Daga

Behind the Powell 365 intranet, we use a designer tool called Powell Manager. The SharePoint designer can configure and deploy everything on SharePoint and delivers an intranet that fits the specific needs of each of our customers. 

In a nutshell, Powell Manager helps the IT department take advantage of SharePoint to build any kind of communication and collaborative workplace via a simplified process. With Powell Manager, IT departments design and deploy SharePoint templates and structures without any coding. The tool also manages, maintains and updates SharePoint and Group environments in a streamlined and automated way. 

It is important to note that Powell Manager is not only the tool used to deploy Powell 365 portals, but also to customize and enrich SharePoint and the Modern Experience with all the standard development features provided by Microsoft. Powell Manager is compatible with Site Design with Site Script, Office Dev PnP schemas, the new SharePoint framework SPFx and more… 

A good way to highlight the power of Powell Manager is to use the PnP SharePoint starter kit (GitHub repository). The PnP SharePoint Starter kit is a solution designed for SharePoint Online that was recently unveiled at the latest SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas. This kit provides numerous web parts, extensions, and other components that can be used as examples or inspiration for your own customizations.

Below, I will walk you through the two-part process for implementing and using the PnP SharePoint starter kit within Powell Manager.

PnP Starter Kit


The technical part (or not)

Step 1: Download the solution from GitHub & compile the solution 

Step 2: Open the four schemas (Portal.xml, solution.xml, PnP-PortalFooter-Links.xml, Collab.xml) and remove unnecessary features. In our case, we will remove the site design deployment, the default content section and the right management section 

Step 3: Open Powell Manager and upload the four schema files into the Powell Manager PnP schema catalog & the app into the Powell Manager App catalog.  


The fun part

We are ready to play! From here there are multiple options to use the PnP starter kit. 

Option 1: “out of the box”

Create a new blank communication site template. Within Powell Manager this takes two clicks. Then, activate the different features in the extensions section that you want.

 PnP Starter Kit

The template is ready to use: 

  • The PnP schemas will create the site structure (pages, lists & content) 
  • The application customizers will extend the native template with the features of the starter kit (alerts and so on…) 

You can now use the Site Design feature to make the PnP SharePoint Starter kit available on the SharePoint homepage or simply deploy it on a new site collection through the Powell Manager deploy section. Voila: 


 PnP Starter Kit


Option 2: Select specific features and use them within a personal communication site template.

For example, you really like the footer feature and want to add it to your Powell 365 Portal. It is so simple!

Just open your existing communication site built with Powell Manager. Then activate the foot extension. To activate the footer extension and add the PnP schema for the list “PnP-PortalFooter-Links”. 

 PnP Starter Kit


As showed, it is simple to extend your Powell 365 intranet with any feature provided by the new SharePoint Framework SPFx. You can pick any free project on GitHub and use it within Powell Manager, in just a few minutes. Benefit from all the latest functionalities within your Portal.
Use the Powell Modern sites templates with Site Design & Site Script today. The Powell Manager design engine is constantly updated to provide clients with the latest Microsoft features. Manage and evolve your portal over the time and be always up to date with Powell Manager!

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