Playlist - The good and the bad

Iron Contributor

Now that videos are stored on SharePoint instead of Stream (Classic), we need to use one or more webparts to display videos in our page(s) depending on how we want to show them. The Playlist is one of the options available.

 

The Playlist is effectively a Microsoft List that uses a new Playlist template. This allows you to manually add links to videos and it will show them either on the left of the list (as shown below) or at the bottom of the list, and when clicking on one of the videos it plays the video directly in the page. To display the Playlist on your SharePoint page you would use the List webpart and select the Playlist you created.

 

 gjen020_0-1694868881457.png

 

We looked at using Playlists and the List webpart as an option since the new Stream webpart doesn't currently have a playlist view, and we can't use the new Stream webpart anyway given its current limitations (see post here). After some testing, I've listed what I see as the good and the bad for the Playlist.

 

The Good

  • Renaming the source video updates the link in the Playlist so the video still plays
  • Moving the source video to/from a folder in the library updates the link in the playlist so the video still plays
  • Works well for very simple scenarios when you just have a few videos
  • Ideally suited for creating a personal list of videos

The Bad

  • No reordering of videos (this is a pain point for us and why people don’t like using them)
    • The last video added always gets added to the top of the list
      • No way to insert a video between other videos or add to the bottom of the list
    • Changing the View Sort Order doesn’t reflect in the Playlist
    • You can't manually reorder videos
    • The Quick Links webpart provides a nice experience with regards to adding links, reordering, option to add a description, etc. I'd suggest Microsoft look at that for how it could work in the Playlist.
  • When adding a Playlist to your page using the List webpart, it will only show (allow you to select) Lists on that site. So, if you wanted to show your Playlist on multiple sites you would need to duplicate the Playlist (List) on all those sites, and then have to manually manage each one when you add/remove videos.
  • We will end up with a LOT of Playlists (Lists) across our site(s) if we use this for displaying our videos within the List webpart on pages.
    • In one of our sites, we will have approx. 100+ channels. This means we would have 100+ Playlists created in the site (one for each channel in our scenario).
    • If one of our videos is associated with multiple channels (using metadata), we would have to know which Playlists to update, and manually go and add the video each time.
    • Instead of just giving users access to upload videos to the library, we would also have to give them similar access to all the Playlists (not ideal as now managing permissions in multiple places).
  • Changing the Title in the source video doesn’t change the Title displayed in the Playlist
  • If I have a link to a video in the Playlist and I delete the source video it leaves a broken link in the playlist (doesn’t automatically remove the link from the Playlist)
  • Adding videos to a Playlist via Power Automate seems to create a JSON error from looking at other posts. I'll confirm with some more testing. Has anyone from Microsoft (or others) come across this issue?

I definitely don't see this option (Playlist and List webpart) as an alternative to using one of the other webparts available if you wanted to dynamically show videos on your page when you add a video to the library. If you added a video to the library, you would also need to manually go and add it to the Playlist(s).

 

Would be good to get your thoughts/experiences on how it works for you, and whether there are other things we can add (for good and bad).

 

We are waiting anxiously for the new Stream webpart to get the Playlist display (coming soon) plus a number of other critical updates such as filtering, etc. (will be waiting a while for the updates unfortunately).

 

5 Replies
Overall I agree with your assessment except for your first bullet point under The Bad. You CAN reorder videos and insert videos in-between others. You have to add a column to the list for ordering where you assign a number to the videos. Then you have to update the Playlist view to tell it to sort by that column. Once you do this, then you can add new videos and adjust the numbers to add them at the beginning, the middle or the end. I would recommend using increments of 10 (10, 20, 30, etc. rather than 1, 2, 3, etc) if you anticipate adding videos in the middle of the list.

I think we are all going to find that once the new formats for the highlighted content web part arrive that allow you to play the videos inline (carousel and filmstrip) that this will be the way to go because you can configure it to pick up videos from multiple sites using managed properties (which is advanced configuration that might require you work with your SharePoint Admin) and it can automatically update the order depending on your requirements.
I really like the concept, but so many of those items under The Bad are dealbreakers. Especially not being able to embed it on sites other than the one it's built on.

@karen_dredske Using another column to reorder videos might work for smaller organizations, but it's not feasible for everyone. There's no way I could train hundreds of people who are handling this sort of thing as "other duties as assigned" in their job description to do that properly.
@Tasmania I understand. I dislike most of the items in The Bad list also. Once the new formats are available in the Highlighted content web part I don't think I will have a reason to use the Playlist at all. . . but I would LOVE to have the playlist display (UI) available on the highlighted content web part. Then it would eliminate almost all the items on The Bad list - you would just have to train people how to configure the highlighted content web part and they can use that for more than just videos. If you have any content owners of sites they may be using them for displaying documents right now also.

@gjen020 I have another issue which I have no explanation for. I wanted to modify the playlist template slightly which means modifying the JSON for the Thumbnail column. What I have found is that it is impossible to change the JSON but I don't know how changes are being blocked. For example, suppose I make an apparently minor change such as changing the letter "e" in the first "elmType" to "e". In other words I have not made a change at all. The list will now show "Something went wrong" and "Undefined is not valid JSON". Similarly, if I copy the JSON text into notepad or notepad++ and copy it back again without making any changes, the list displays the same error. Even highlighting all the text in the column formatting box, cutting it and pasting it straight back has the same effect.

 

I can't see any checksums anywhere so I don't know how Sharepoint knows that "e" is not "e" but there we are. I either use the template exactly as is or not at all. I should add that the playlist template works before I make any changes so its not that it is broken to begin with.

@gjen020 

One more detail that I believe is missing is that the thumbnail used in the playlist is not replaced, when the mp4 file is replaced and given a new thumbnail (frame selection).

The sharepoint list (playlist) contains a long link to the thumbnail that is selected for the original version of the video but it does not change to the new one.