Friday, March 30, 2007

Supplemental documentation for Office SharePoint Server

 

These visio diagrams are useful if you need to architect MOSS infrastructure...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I Passed! (part 2)

"Congratulations on earning your Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0: Application Development certification!"

Friday, March 23, 2007

Comparing Lotus Notes and MOSS Features

I was thinking about how Lotus Notes features map to MOSS 2007 features. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list, but may provide some food for thought....

 

Lotus Notes Feature

MOSS 2007 Feature

Description

Reader and Author names fields

Item level security

We have prototyped an implementation of this which allows the programmatic setting of the item security based on metadata values.

Forms

Forms Server (InfoPath) or SharePoint Lists

InfoPath 2007 and Forms Server allow the creation of sophisticated forms which can be published and used through the browser interface. For some applications the standard forms in a list may be adequate. It is also possible to hook customised ASPX pages into lists.

Views

SharePoint Views, DataView Web Parts, Query View Web Parts

There are many powerful ways of representing views in MOSS. There are the native views, Query View web part and Data View web part (created in SharePoint Designer).

User Management (NAB)

Active Directory, LDAP, SQL authentication providers

MOSS uses AD and SharePoint groups to control access.

Databases

Sites and Libraries

Potentially the SharePoint site could be the container for what is currently represented by a Notes database. Also, it may be more appropriate to use Lists and Libraries in one site where an application is currently split across Lotus Notes databases.

Search

Search

MOSS search can index the content and will honour the security. Non SharePoint data sources can also be indexed for search, including Lotus Notes databases, SQL Server and many others using the Business Data Catalog.

Lookups

Site Columns and BDC

MOSS has the concept of site columns which can be created at the top level site and then used in sub sites in the hierarchy. These columns can lookup data from other lists as well as external data sources via the Business Data Catalog

Workflow

Workflow Foundation

MOSS has some out of the box workflows and can also host custom workflows built either with Office SharePoint Deesigner 2007 or Visual Studion 2005. There are also products that can be implemented with MOSS such as K2.Net.

Agents

Custom code attached to events or workflows

There are a number of alternatives for this. We can utilise workflow functionality to cause code to run. We can also attach code to the various SharePoint events.

Email agents

Workflow Foundation

Notifications to items can be performed utilising the SharePoint Workflow functionality.

Database Templates

Site Templates

In a similar way that you can create a Notes template and create databases from that template, you can also create a MOSS Site templates or definitions from which to create new sites

Thursday, March 22, 2007

I passed!

Congratulations on earning your Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist: Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Application Development certification! We hope you enjoy the benefits of your certification and of membership in the Microsoft Certified Professional community.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Setting up a demo for Excel Services with connection to a data source

I was trying to find a good source of information on how to setup Excel services with access to an external Data Source.

My colleague Alain pointed me to this TechNet article which leads you through configuring External Data connections for Excel Services

http://technet2.microsoft.com/Office/en-us/library/7e6ce086-57b6-4ef2-8117-e725de18f2401033.mspx?mfr=true

Monday, March 12, 2007

Getting user information in an InfoPath Form

I was building a demonstration form in InfoPath last week, and it occured to me that if I wanted to get more info than just the user name, how would I go about that?

This article explains how to use the UserProfileService of MOSS 2007;

http://blogs.msdn.com/infopath/archive/2007/03/07/get-the-user-profile-through-moss-web-services.aspx

Want to know about SharePoint Client Access Licences?

 

http://www.microsoft.com/calsuites/enterprise.mspx

http://www.microsoft.com/calsuites/core.mspx

Thanks to Serge Lenbet for pointing this out...

http://sergelenbet.spaces.live.com/Blog/cns!85C6ACD88A39D702!375.entry

Friday, March 9, 2007

Cascading dropdowns in Forms Server

  

One of the things that is not supported in the Browser version of InfoPath forms is Filtering of data sources. If you want to achieve the 'Cascading dropdown' effect of one selection filtering another, then you can use a web service and pass a parameter to it. See the following blog entry from Scott Heim for more details;

http://blogs.msdn.com/infopath/archive/2006/10/12/cascading-dropdowns-in-browser-forms.aspx

Collecting data with Microsoft Office Access 2007 and InfoPath 2007

Did you know that you can use Microsoft Access to generate InfoPath forms which can be used with Outlook to gather data from people and automatically collate the responses to the email back into Access?

From the Access Help;

Microsoft Office Access 2007 makes it easy to gather data from people who are located anywhere on the globe, such as members of your sales team, survey participants, or contacts. Office Access 2007 works with Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 to help you to generate and send an e-mail message that includes a data entry form. When the recipients fill out the forms and send them back to you, the replies are processed according to your specifications. For example, if you choose to have the replies automatically processed, the contents of the form are added to the appropriate table in your database as soon as the reply reaches your inbox. This new feature, the Collect data through e-mail messages Wizard, can save you hours that you might have otherwise spent entering data on behalf of your users.

Check out this blog entry by Balamurali Balaji;

http://www.codeproject.com/useritems/integration.asp

Monday, March 5, 2007

Printing Forms

When we recently did a Forms Server project, one of the things that impressed me was the feature Microsoft have added called the 'Print View'. Until we came to this project it had not really occurred to me the issues with printing a web based form. If you have ever tried it previously, the page would just break wherever, so that made it difficult to print a form which has to be physically signed.

With InfoPath 2007 and Forms Server, you can insert page breaks into your forms, and then from the form in your browser, you select 'Print View' and it installs what I assume is an ActiveX which allows it to be printed including the page breaks.

Some more info on this can be found here http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/infopath/HA101514381033.aspx

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Fitting a boat window

It's time to try to reseal the windows on my boat again. One of the challenges of boating is the seemingly endless list of maintenance tasks to do. I have perspex windows which are screwed on to the side of the boat. I once attempted to do this task before. The logical thing seemed to be to get a power screw driver, take out the many screws. Clean all of the old sealant off, apply new sealant and screw it back on again (using the power screw driver). I have since learned that I did several things wrong... I found the following useful information at http://www.eagleboatwindows.co.uk/hints.asp;

 

Fitting a frameless Perspex window

Warning - do not use a powered screwdriver when fitting a Perspex window!

As with the aluminium framed window above, the notes below refer to sealing the window with the non-setting bedding compound as supplied by Eagle Boat Windows which again is recommended for this application.

Check the fit of the window on the side of the boat and check the alignment of the fixing holes. It may help to carry out a "dry" fit of the window using all the fixings to make sure that there are no problems.

To fit the windows, cut the nozzle of the bedding compound at 45°, and apply a 6mm/¼" bead of bedding compound in line with the screw holes around the inside of the window that butts against the GRP/wood of your boat.

If your window is not being fitted to a flat surface (e.g. it is fitted to the side of your boat), then it may be helpful to insert a small plain stainless steel washer between the Perspex and your boat at each screw position. This will ensure that the thickness bedding compound is even over the whole length of the window and that there will be little or no migration of bedding compound in the middle area of the window.

Present the window to the aperture (remember orientation!) and press it against the boat. You will see a witness of bedding compound appear in the holes where the screws locate and this must be removed. Insert the screws and tighten very lightly around the window. Working your way around the window several times, tighten the screws so that there is an even gap of about 1 to 2mm between the Perspex and the boat. Always be aware of the torque you are applying to the screw and watch for any bowing of the window between the screws.

Leave the witness of bedding compound to harden for a few days and then, using the small plastic scraper supplied, peel off the excess compound. If there are any stubborn remnants of material, use a soft cloth and White Spirit to remove it.

Jan Tielens’ SmartPart for SharePoint – ASP.Net AJAX Support

Check out the newest SmartPart for SharePoint from Jan Tielens which allows you to host ASP.Net Web User Controls in SharePoint web parts.

In particular have a look at his screen cast which shows it being used with Asp.Net AJAX. It looks very cool.

Check out the rest of Jan's blog

Friday, March 2, 2007

When should I use Groove?

Microsoft has a pretty good product (IMO) in Groove which came as part of the acquisition of Groove Network. It is a 'thick' client application designed for peer to peer collaboration and sharing.

More information at http://office.microsoft.com/en-au/groove/default.aspx

Some of the key features of Groove are;

  • Security – encrypted content on your hard drive and encrypted communications over http
  • Collaboration across firewalls – you can invite people outside your organisation to participate in a workspace. You don't need to involve IT and you can communicate through firewalls.
  • Efficient use of bandwidth – when Groove synchronises workspaces, it only ships the deltas (changes) to files across the network. So imagine you are collaborating on a document which is several MB in size, you don't want to be shipping that across low bandwidth connections whenever you change it. Groove ONLY sends the changes which makes it very effiecient.
  • Integration with SharePoint – You can take a Document Library offline from SharePoint, make changes to the documents and then resync them with SharePoint. (This does ship the whole document back and forth each time)

So people ask me, 'when should I use Groove and when should I use SharePoint?

My opinion on this is as follows;

Consider Groove for smallish teams of people who are highly mobile or work in different organisations to collaborate on projects and documents. As it has been explained to me, Groove is good for <50 people per workspace before the performance starts to degrade. If I need to communicate across firewall boundaries, I can securely exchange documents and files with other parties very easily. (Much more efficient and secure than email or ftp). If I need to collaborate on large files, Groove is excellent for its efficiency of data synchronisation. Once you finish, publish the completed documents and files into SharePoint for the broader audience.

For broader audiences within your organisation who are connected to your network, SharePoint may be a better solution. The data benefits from all of the features of SharePoint, is stored centrally, is searchable etc. Note that Outlook 2007 has some offline capabilities for SharePoint content. You can take a SharePoint list or library into Outlook, but this is really a one way sync (SharePoint to Outlook) Also, you need to consider if you want all of that data stored in your outlook data files.....