Thursday, May 28, 2009
Microsoft is making a pass available to its SharePoint Conference 2009 (Oct. 19 –22 in Las Vegas) to the person who designs a new look for the conference website —built in and on SharePoint, of course. Go here for more details. And BZ Media, through SharePoint Reviews, will award a pass to SPTechCon, the SharePoint Technology Conference (June 22 –24 in Boston), to a contributor to their website.
Have you installed the SharePoint Service Pack 2 yet? No? Why not? You just aren’t excited? Well, that is crazy talk.
Maybe you are yawning at all of the awesome fixes that are listed here and here? Or perhaps you heard about the teeny, tiny bug with it resetting your license to trial, discussed here. (Actually, this is really important to read!) Or it could be that new stuff scares you and you are sticking with RTM even though it is no longer supported, as mentioned here. Then what compelling reason can I offer you to install Service Pack 2?
It is a simple extension that has been added to SP2, stsadm.exe, or preupgradecheck. That, in a nutshell, is why you should upgrade. I can still hear the objections: “But Shane, we aren’t worried about upgrading, it is a long time away.” That is true, but I am not excited about the command for that reason. Instead, I am excited because this tool makes a great health checker. You can run this command against your production server because it makes no changes; it only reads your databases, and then reviews the output to make sure things are running okey-dokey.
When the command finishes processing, it will spit out a wonderful report in the form of a Web page and will open it with your favorite browser. Now you can kick back in your easy-chair and read all about your farm. Some of the information you will find includes:
a list of your SSPs and the associated index and database sizes
what Features you have installed and their current status
a listing of all large lists you have that exceed best practices
any customized list views and field types that will not be upgraded
and a host of other issues that SharePoint feels that are just not right
So now aren’t you excited? I know I am.
If you need more reasons to install SP2, check out Todd Klindt’s post on new commands in SP2. And as always, if you need an install guide for SP2, I wrote a quick blog post on the topic.
Until next time, keep mooooooving along.
Shane Young is the principal consultant at SharePoint 911 and a member of the advisory board for SPTechCon
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The new software is an extension to SharePoint’s Data Zoom Web part, which enables users to build data-driven content into any page, according to the company. With the extension, salesforce.com data such as contacts and accounts can be pulled into SharePoint, where reporting and querying of the data can be done. The extension costs US$4,995 per server.
The first add-on, Metadata Security for SharePoint, enables organizations to set permissions based on metadata, so that a metadata tag of “legal” could restrict access to that document to the legal department, explained Charlie Pulfer, vice president of product development for Titus.
Pulfer explained that in native SharePoint, you either have to go into each document one at a time to set restrictions, or create multiple document libraries to apply broad permissions. The maintenance of multiple libraries is high, he said, and “not the best way to share information.” Titus’ solution uses the custom columns feature within SharePoint to create new categories that become the metadata that Titus’ software uses for security, Pulfer said.
The other add-ons are PDF Control for SharePoint, which automatically creates a PDF version of any document stored to a document library; Document Marking for SharePoint, which automatically puts the metadata classifications into the document as a header, footer or watermark when the document is uploaded into a document library; and a small utility that converts Office 2003 documents to Office 2007 documents.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Garrick Herrmann, RepliWeb vice president, said the company looks at application deployment as a business process that requires authorization, governance, audit and control capabilities. One of the key features of the software is its ability to let users stage their deployments for testing and adherence to policies before putting them into production, Herrmann said. The ROSS software also lets users schedule deployments, and roll back to the previous state if something is deployed in error. ROSS also uses encryption and compression to disseminate content reliably, he added.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
By Chris Caravajal
One of the increasing uses of SharePoint is to create and configure workflows. What are workflows? In short, they are automated business processes. They follow a predefined procedure to carry out the completion of a task or process. Because these processes are managed by the SharePoint server, they provide a level of consistency and manageability that is unparalleled by user-run processes.
If you would like to use the SharePoint Technologies workflow feature, you have three options to choose from: the out-of-the-box workflow templates, SharePoint Designer workflows or Visual Studio workflows. When deciding on which option to use, you must first take a look at the business process and how it will be used within SharePoint. Then you can take a look at the options, along with the pros and cons that go with selecting that particular option. In most cases, the process will allow you to make a clear decision on the most suitable workflow option to select. To give you a better idea of the options, I will go through how they can be used.
The first option will look at the out-of-the-box workflow templates. Depending on the version of SharePoint you are using, you will have different workflow templates that will be available:
Windows SharePoint Services 3.0:
Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Standard and Enterprise:
- Three-State Workflow
- Three-State Workflow
- Approval Workflow
- Collect Feedback
- Collect Signatures
- Disposition Approval
- Group Approval
- Translation Management
The advantage to using these templates is that they come with SharePoint, they are reusable templates and they can be created, configured, edited or deleted by your users. All that is needed is some additional training for your users. The disadvantage is that the templates are very specific as to their capabilities. You will not be able to change the process/steps of the workflow. What you see is what you get, so if your business process varies in any way, then this option will not work.
The next option is to use SharePoint Designer to create a workflow. SharePoint Designer provides a set of conditions and actions that can be used to create a wide variety of workflows. This option allows for much more flexibility than using the out-of-the-box templates, and similarly, your users can create these workflows. The main downside to using this option is that the workflow that is created is not a template; it is a workflow association that is being used by one list or library. As such, any workflows that you create with SharePoint Designer will not be reusable. Each time you want a workflow to be associated with a list or library, one of your users will have to manually create it.
The last option is to create a custom workflow with Visual Studio. This option allows for the most flexibility and options, as well as creating reusable workflow templates. Using custom code, you can create just about anything. However, only experienced developers will be able to build these solutions, and as such, this tends to be a more expensive, and slower, option.
By using the workflow capabilities of SharePoint, you have the potential to drastically improve the way your business processes are run and managed. Having worked with SharePoint for almost two years now, this area of discussion is where we see a large return on investment. Want to impress your boss? Build him some workflows and show him the results!
If you would like to see some additional information on workflows, here is a link to a great Microsoft white paper: Office SharePoint Server 2007 Workflow Whitepaper.Chris Caravajal is a consultant with SharePoint 911.
The new governance software gives users the ability to track permissions to data access, and can provide auditing across numerous sites, according to the company. This lets users troubleshoot problems with data access, and ensure the permissions granted are authorized and don’t need to be revoked.
“Securing business data in Microsoft SharePoint is as important as it is in Windows and Unix file system environments, but even more challenging because of significant access control complexity and the rapid proliferation of SharePoint,” said Varonis CEO Yaki Faitelson in a statement. “Varonis has leveraged its vast file system protection expertise to bring comprehendisve auditing and least privilege access guidance to SharePoint data use.”
Monday, May 11, 2009
Idera’s SharePoint Backup, coupled with Falconstor’s FDS data deduplication and replication technology, offers users end-to-end automated backup and recovery of site collections down to the document level, according to Rick Pleczko, president and CEO of Idera. “This lets end users recover anything they want depending on the conditions you put upon them, and saves admins a heck of a lot of time,” he said.
As SharePoint data grows within organizations, the capability within FDS to do deduplication can result in a huge savings in storage costs. “Users can store masses of SharePoint historical data with very little overhead,” Pleczko said. “The dedupe runs at about 90 percent.”
Idera made the announcement today at Microsoft’s TechEd conference, where Idera also announced version 6.0 of its flagship SQL monitoring product Diagnostic Manager with automated problem resolution and alerting. Pleczko explained that when an organization is running low on space in a database, for example, the monitor will automatically specify corrective action and launch an executable to incrementally provision more space. Or, if a database log file is near full, the monitor can run a job to groom the log, Pleczko said. This cuts down on having to ask the database administrators to take on these tasks, freeing them up for larger projects and cutting down the time and cost of getting these jobs done.
Idera also released version 3.0 of PowerShell Plus, with new “quick-click solutions” that are prepackaged scripts for common management tasks for SharePoint.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
“Good Lord - I've heard about this - cat juggling! Stop! Stop! Stop it! Stop it! Stop it! How could there be a god that would let this happen?” -- Steve Martin, in "The Jerk"
Sometimes, that's what it has felt like putting the conference schedule together for Boston's June 22-24 SPTechCon. One speaker finds he can no longer make it, and you try to move another into that slot, but there's a conflict with a flight out, so that won't work. You end up having to move around six speakers to accommodate the one move, and no matter what you try, you end getting scratched or bitten. I believe planning out the architecture for an enterprise-wide SharePoint implementation is less complicated than this. (Probably not, but you see where I'm coming from!)
It all works out in the end, though, and I'm excited to say we've added some outstanding new sessions, which I'll be highlighting in the coming days. Three will be presented by Microsoft technical directors and a fourth brings back one of the most popular sessions from January's SPTechCon in Burlingame.
As if that's not reason enough to register right now, an early-bird discount expires Friday, May 8. That's tomorrow. Sign up for the conference now and save $330 off the price.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
While the code is quite simple, many SharePoint professionals are new to XSL, so I thought this might be a good time to give a really quick introduction. First, what is XSL and why is it important to SharePoint? XSL stands for Extensible Stylesheet Language, and it is primarily used to transform raw XML into various human readable formats (most commonly HTML). To parse an XML file, XSL uses a technology known as XPath ( XML Path Language). XPath uses expressions to select sets of nodes in an XML file and hands them off in a useful manner to XSL for styling as HTML. Many of the out-of-the-box SharePoint Web Parts utilize XML and XSL to allow developers and designers to style data easily.
For displaying the Twitter feed, I utilized the XML Web Part, which is a very simple Web Part that just connects an XML file (local or on a remote server) with an XSL stylesheet. In this case, the XML file was an RSS feed of my Twitter timeline. RSS is nothing more than XML in a specific format. SharePoint will load this XML data and apply the assigned XSL. To understand the XSL, let ’s look at some of the key lines from my example.
The XSL stylesheet starts with:
<?xml version= "1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<xsl:stylesheet version= "1.0 " xmlns:xsl= "http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform">
<xsl:output method= "html" />