VisualSP Architecture Overview

Applies to: VisualSP
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Technology Architecture

The VisualSP backend is fully deployed within the Microsoft Azure cloud for maximum scalability, availability, and support. Backend processing is provided by Microsoft Azure App Service, data is stored in a Microsoft Azure Cloud SQL Database, and analytics are provided by Microsoft Azure HDInsight.

The end user experience is provided by a browser extension. The extension is available for the latest version of Internet Explorer, the previous version of Internet Explorer, the latest version of Google Chrome, the latest version of Edge, and the latest version of Mozilla Firefox.

Content produced by VisualSP is served via Microsoft Azure Media Services. Content created by Microsoft may be served from any of Microsoft’s online properties as well as

The extension recognizes when a user is visiting an Microsoft 365 application, a SharePoint On-Premises deployment, or any other web-based application where VisualSP has been deployed.

Data Flow Architecture

The user visits a page in Microsoft 365, SharePoint On-Premises, or other web-based application.

The browser extension requests the Help Items the current user has access to on that page. If the plugin has not been registered, only content that has been flagged as visible to Anonymous Users will be returned. If the plugin has been registered, Help Items data is returned from the Content Packs the organization has purchased, along with any custom Help Items created by the organization.

If the user is in a Group with an Editor, Application Administrator, or Organization Administrator role, the interface is also customized to support the user’s elevated permissions.

Help Item Architecture

Help Items are rendered in the browser plugin where they can be easily accessed via the VisualSP Help Tab slide out panel. The Panel initially displays Help Item groups, which expand when clicked on to show the icons and titles of the Help Items in that group.

When a Help Item is clicked on, a dialog opens displaying the referenced Help Item media (this may or may not be applicable to Walkthroughs, depending on how that particular walkthrough is configured). Linked media may exist on any server anywhere, but users must have read access to all media that is referenced. A list of allowed media types is included at the end of this document.

Help Items and Help Item Groups are defined at the App Scope level. The currently defined App Scopes are listed at the end of this document.

Each App Scope has its own unique set of Help Items and Help Item groups. They are not shared with other App Scopes. Help Items are displayed in the VisualSP Help Tab on every page the user visits within that App Scope if the Help Item’s target page has not been more granularly refined. Each Help Item may be filtered to only display on pages where the URL matches a specified pattern.

For Help Items in the SharePoint Online and SharePoint On-Premises App Scope, one or more SharePoint Scopes may be selected as well. The available SharePoint Scopes are listed at the end of this document.

Organization and Permissions Architecture

When an organization is initially set up, one group is created as the Organization Administrators group at least one organization member is added to the group. This member can add other users to the Organization Administrators Group if needed and also create and manage other permission groups.

Permissions within VisualSP for Microsoft 365 are managed on a Group basis. Each organization can create as many groups as they need. Each group will be given a Role of either Organization Administrator, App Administrator, or Editor.

If a Group has a role of App Administrator Editor, one or more App Scopes must also be selected. Users are then added as Members of the group. Users are always added by their organization email address. If they have not yet registered a VisualSP browser extension, the user’s name will show as “Unknown, Unknown.” Permission changes take effect as soon as the changes are saved. If a user was added to a group before registering a VisualSP browser extension, the user will be able to use the elevated permissions which were granted immediately after registration is complete.

A user may also be a member of multiple Groups. If a user is a member of multiple groups, all the permissions for all groups are granted to the member.

Users with elevated permissions will see additional options in the VisualSP Help Tab slide-out menu. If the user is an Editor or App Administrator for the App Scope the page is in, or the user is an Organization Administrator, an additional menu will be available in the VisualSP Help Tab slide out panel where the user can Enable Edit Mode and Disable Edit Mode.

When Edit Mode is Enabled in the VisualSP browser extension, the user can edit existing Help Items and Help Item Groups and create new Help Items and Help Item Groups. All editing of Help Items is done in the VisualSP Management Panel which slides up from the bottom of the browser window. This panel can also be ‘popped out’ as a separate browser window.

For any Help Item, if the “Is Published” field is set to “No”, only users with Editor and Administrator permissions for the Help Item’s App Scope will be able to see it. All other users will be able to see the Help Item as soon as “Is Published” is set to “Yes”.

App Administrators and Organizational Administrators will see a menu options for Manage My Organization. Selecting either of these options opens the VisualSP Management Dialog. This dialog can be ‘popped out’ into a separate browser window.

Organization Administrators can choose to Delete access for a particular user, which is helpful to maintain a particular level or participants for a certain license level or to keep employees who have left the organization from being able to access organization specific Help Items after leaving the organization.

Organization Administrators can also access Analytics for the organization.

Media Types and Viewers App Scopes SharePoint Scopes

Custom EMBED Tags

Custom OBJECT Tags

Documents (.pdf, .docx, etc...)

Images (.png, jpg, .gif, etc…)


  • Default Video Player
  • HTML5 Video Player
  • Windows Media Player


YouTube Videos
Microsoft Azure

Microsoft CRM Admin Center

Microsoft Excel Online

Microsoft Exchange Admin Center

Microsoft 365 Admin

Microsoft 365 Calendar

Microsoft 365 Delve

Microsoft 365 E-Mail

Microsoft 365 Power Automate

Microsoft 365 My Account Page

Microsoft 365 OneDrive

Microsoft 365 OneNote

Microsoft 365 People

Microsoft 365 Planner

Microsoft 365 PowerApps

Microsoft 365 PowerBI

Microsoft 365 Security & Compliance

Microsoft 365 SharePoint Online

Microsoft 365 SharePoint Online Admin Center

Microsoft 365 SharePoint Site Directory

Microsoft 365 Start Page

Microsoft 365 Store

Microsoft 365 Sway

Microsoft 365 Tasks

Microsoft 365 Video

Microsoft PowerPoint Online

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Word Online

Microsoft Yammer Admin Center

Nintex Workflow Cloud

SharePoint On-Premises


Access Request List

Announcements List

App Data Catalog

Asset Library

Blog Categories List

Blog Comments List

Blog Post

Blog Posts List

Calendar List

Contacts List

Custom List

Data Connection Library

Data Sources Library

Design Catalog

Discussion Board

Document Library

External List

Form Library

Gantt Tasks List

Issue Tracking List

Library Settings Page

Links List

List Settings Page

List Template Gallery

Maintenance Logs List

Master Page Gallery

My Site Document Library

My Sites About Me Page

My Sites Newsfeed Page

No Code Workflows Library

People and Groups Page

Permissions Page

Picture Library

Project Sites Page

Promoted Links List

Publishing Page

Publishing Pages Library

Recycle Bin

Report Library

Site Columns

Site Content Types

Site Contents Page

Site Settings Page

Site Template Catalog

Slide Library

Solution Gallery


Survey List Settings Page

Tasks List

Term Store

Theme Gallery

User Information List

Web Part Gallery

Wiki Page

Wiki Page Library

Workflow History Library

Workflow Process Library

Updated on February 8, 2021

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