Your .NET and Microsoft technologies specialist in Western Switzerland RSS 2.0
# Wednesday, 05 October 2011

<Disclaimer>This is personal notes of what I retained during the session. This can be incomplete, partially right or wrong. It is just part of the notes I took and what retained my attention. Nothing prevents the user to get more information on their favorite web site.</Disclaimer>

Description of a proposal generation system on SharePoint 2010 for a legal department.

Scenarios cover generating documents from database, compose a new document from multiple ones and to split a document into several ones.

From a BCS entity, the goal is to create a job that generates a single document for every people entity stored in a database, containing the data about the person. The generated document is stored in a document library, all of that without any human interaction.

To create a proposal, the client is selected, title is specified, proposal template and layout is selected. Then, sections are built by picking content. Each section can be send for approval. Finally, the document is generated and stored in a document library.

The system allows users to write new Word template and use the new templates, by using controls. The engine takes the template and fill-in the content controls, using the data located in a database.

From the content control, the <Config> tag is used to read the BCS configuration. DatabaseBackedMetadataCatalog object contains the complete list of BCS entities that would also available in the Central Administration. Type of content supported : Text, Rich Text and Images.

In BCS, one ECT per snippets.

Templates are stored in a dedicated document library. To create or modify a template, switch the document into design mode. Thus, you can add the content controls you need. The first one to add is the Config one that tells what ECT is associated with this Word document. The content control’s Title specify the type of data (Text, Image, etc) and Tag specifies the name of the entity’s property to insert. No need to code to create the template.

A Word document is just a zipped file containing other XML documents. The Word content is defined in the document.xml file. The goal of OpenXML is to manipulate Office documents without the client applications. But, the format is quite complicated. One of the reason why we haven’t seen many document generation based solution is the complexity of OpenXML. A really useful tool is Document Builder.

A document is a collection of Paragraphs that can contain Image or Comment. And a Comment can also have an Image inside. A Paragraph containing a Header can also SmartArt and Image => Interrelated Markup.

PowerTools on CodePlex combines PowerShell and OpenXML and can be used to merge comments, accept tracked changes, convert to HTML and helps composing or splitting documents.

The steps do build a composed document is first to create a set of sources and send them to Document Builder. For splitting, the division is done using queries and for each item, use Document Builder to create a new document.

Document Builder comes as a class that has to be added to the Visual Studio project.

Word Automation Services adds the Save As functionality to SharePoint, converting to HTML, XML, PDF or XPS. It runs periodically and can be configured to only convert to some type of documents.

Wednesday, 05 October 2011 22:59:51 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SPC11

<Disclaimer>This is personal notes of what I retained during the session. This can be incomplete, partially right or wrong. It is just part of the notes I took and what retained my attention. Nothing prevents the user to get more information on their favorite web site.</Disclaimer>

DSC04660MY site is the backbone of the social capabilities of SharePoint. Social is becoming more interesting to companies. Employees connected to a wide range of colleagues generate $83000 more in revenue per year. Social in SharePoint can be achieved starting with the team sites or tagging. It also helps people working together. There are numerous components in SharePoint to support social networking, but, out-of-the-box, it does not look good.

Branding for My Sites is similar to the traditional SharePoint Branding and reuses most of the branding of the general sites. The rule is for you to decide how far you want to brand your My Sites. Again, start with one of the out-of-the-box master pages or from of the Starter Master Pages. The default master page for My Sites is mysite.master. The global navigation should match the branding. Because the mysite.master is based on v4.master, a lot of the branding can be reused.

For the global navigation, leave the inner content arranged normally.

Tip : edit the CSS files on a local VM or on a local server, because it will affect all users.

Changing the global navigation or the sub-navigation bar can be done from the SharePoint UI. To override the global navigation, you need to override the GlobalNavigation delegate control. But it means the creation of a feature for the deployment.

Once the branding is done, it has to be deployed on all the mysites and applied automatically. The steps are : Create a feature for move the files where they need to go, Create a feature receiver to switch the master page, Uuse a feature stapler to ensure that when the personal site is created, the branding is applied.

Branding feature is scoped at the web level and deploy files to folders and the receiver switches the master page. The deployment feature can be developed outside the My Sites. The switch of the master page has to be done using a feature (code in the FeatureActivated receiver) as well, as the publishing feature is not activated and it is not possible to change the master page from the SharePoint UI. Do not forget to also write the FeatureDeactivated to come back to the original master page.

Controlling the web part deployment can be tricky. An example of the code that does that must run after the default.aspx is created. The solution is creating a server control into the customer master page. At page load, there is a check if it is the 1st time and get a reference to the default.aspx page and get the WebPartManager. Then, it gets the instructions from an XML file and build a hashtable of the web parts and apply the instructions. Finally, it sets a flag to not run again.

If you want to deploy different web parts for different types of users, after getting the WebPartManager, a check of the user profile can be done. Instructions are thus in the XML file.

Wednesday, 05 October 2011 19:30:52 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SPC11

<Disclaimer>This is personal notes of what I retained during the session. This can be incomplete, partially right or wrong. It is just part of the notes I took and what retained my attention. Nothing prevents the user to get more information on their favorite web site.</Disclaimer>

3 server roles : Web Role, Application role, database role.

Scaling web role servers is based on user traffic and concurrent load. The main way to scale is to add servers.

Application server role : scaling based mainly on the content

Database server role : Adding storage does not mean it is performant. Ideally, content and configuration database should be hosted separately from service application database. The sizing of the database depends on how backup and restore capabilities are.

What can influence your design is of course the business and users, but also the IT best practices.

As soon as you add custom code, it impacts the performance.

Is your company really a 24/7 one ? what kind of peak event you have ? 98% of the operations are reading content.

Design first for redundancy and availability before performance. You can always improve the servers afterwards. HD failure is the most common HW failure.

Process cycle is usually Analyze, Deploy, Observe. Regarding the monitoring phase (Observe), capture real-time data and also on the host machines if virtualizing.

Wednesday, 05 October 2011 18:15:57 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SPC11

<Disclaimer>This is personal notes of what I retained during the session. This can be incomplete, partially right or wrong. It is just part of the notes I took and what retained my attention. Nothing prevents the user to get more information on their favorite web site.</Disclaimer>

Technology is only 20% part of the success and it is really easy to make mistakes. Because of no policies, no training (not only class training, but just-in-time training). Don’t let your users managing the security, security is difficult to understand for end-users. SharePoint IS an enterprise application and information is the enterprise’s asset. So, it is very important to plan your SharePoint implementation.

If no governance, no rules, someone can get hurt. Guidelines are the road-signs for directions.

Ten steps in a governance planning (not all are absolutely necessary) : Identify an inclusive team, Frame decisions, determine your deployment model, define a clear vision, roles and responsibilities identification (including writing the job descriptions), develop guiding principles, decide your organization comfort level with social computing, policies and guidelines (or best practices) definition, documentation of the plan (but be careful to keep it small, no one ready a 100 pages document), and finally socialize and promote your implementation if we want to have an acceptance of the governance.

First the team should have to power to take decisions and should not be bigger than 4-5 people. Let the people discussing each topic of the governance, one topic per meeting. Then, in a second step, engage more people from IT, HR, Communications, etc. This has to be done before the roll-out.

Framing decisions : who creates sites, manage navigation, how much users can design (for example, don’t let them use SharePoint Designed until they are trained). Who controls the branding ? Who managed metadata, security ? What is the default access ? What happens when people does not comply to the governance ? Who maintain the governance plan ? Because it will change afterwards.

Determine your model : basically, how the solution is organized. Normally, the more public the information is, the tighter the control should be. When dealing with department specific (private) information, there can be less control. Do not take the default MS team site and give it to the users ! Looser control can be applied to team site and no governance on My Sites.

Establish a clear vision : It is the “why” of the governance plan. Why to have and apply a governance plan. It is composed of business goals (can be simple and a single phrase).

Roles and Responsibilities : Tasks must be in the job description of the people involved in the team. Don’t assume you have the resource internally. Typical roles are Executive Sponsor (normally the CEO), the Steering Committee, the Business Owner, the IT Solution Administrator (they must not own the solution, so they cannot be the BO), technology support, power users to train or help the users, metadata manager (should be coming from an information science background).

As a best practice, the roles that we can have are Communications, Training (training people should be very involved in the governance planning definition), because the training will already tailored by the governance. Change Management / Adoption, Center of Excellence (coaches to help users to get started).

Site Roles : site sponsor / owner (who has to be clearly visible on the pages in case of need for contact), site designer, site steward for day-to-day management and security monitoring, member and visitors. The Owner is accountable, but we’re all responsible !

Develop Guiding Principles example : No more email attachments, rather, send links to document.

Think about Social Computing : Only one good reason : if you have a business problem to solve. So, the business problem has to be identified first with use cases, define your governance plan and prepare your communications plan. No anonymous content. My Sites, what is comfortable, legal.

Define Policies and Guidelines : policies are rules, guidelines are more best-practices. They have to be published somewhere where it is easily findable.

Document the Plan : it has to be “consumable”, up to date and in context. Target the sections (short) to specific audiences. It can be supported by supplements, like quick cards.

Socialize and Promote : always communicate, be responsive to feedbacks.

Wednesday, 05 October 2011 02:10:49 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SPC11
# Tuesday, 04 October 2011

<Disclaimer>This is personal notes of what I retained during the session. This can be incomplete, partially right or wrong. It is just part of the notes I took and what retained my attention. Nothing prevents the user to get more information on their favorite web site.</Disclaimer>

DSC04573Nowadays, providing reporting capabilities to SharePoint is quite challenging and require different skillset.

With Denali, available in CTP3, it will come as a shared service, will support WCF and Claims Based communications, Powershell, administration will be done in the Central Administration and logging will be done in the ULS. In terms of performance, report viewer will use AJAX and a performance improvement of 30-60% is expected.

There is a separate pack for the Add-In to be installed on the WFEs and scripting will be done using PowerShell instead of WMI. For the configuration, just go in the Service Application of the Central Administration.

Today, people are overloaded by the amount of data, the number of reports generated can be too much for the users. With the alerting system of Denali, it is possible to set an alert for a report in order to be notified when data used in that report have changed. But, be careful, because it can be a good spam generator. It is possible to assign rules, schedule, parameters to an alert.

Denali supports the new 2007/2010 format, for Word and Excel and compressed files can be generated. Rdl files will also have a new format, rdlx.

The Crescent Project is “an interactive data exploration and visual presentation experience”…A demo is shown where an interactive report is built in a web browser, with table, and chart.

BIDS, RDLC Designer and Report Viewer controls will be available into VS2010. Microsoft is also working in moving to Dev 11. The goal is to separate the RS VS Addin. SQL Azure Reporting is the Reporting on the Cloud solution. It means that report can be built in BIDS and then deployed on Azure, from BIDS as well, in order to benefit of the same features of Azure. Currently, it is limited to SQL Azure data. The reports can also be embedded in your Azure application.

Tuesday, 04 October 2011 19:36:05 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SPC11

<Disclaimer>This is personal notes of what I retained during the session. This can be incomplete, partially right or wrong. It is just part of the notes I took and what retained my attention. Nothing prevents the user to get more information on their favorite web site.</Disclaimer>

DSC04572New guidance issued by Microsoft in June with a possibility to scale up to 4TB (or beyond) for the content database. It requires 2 IOPs per GB, split in several content database to reduce the I/O contention. It is also recommended to upgrade to SP1.

The unlimited size support is for record center and document center only. On the other side, avoid using alerts, workflows and item-level security.

To achieve the needed performance, it is better to have more and faster disks, rather than larger and slower disks. Isolate the TEMPDB on its own RAID volume, the same apply for the log files. RAID  5 is acceptable, but RAID 1+0 is recommended. For a large number of items, row density is important in the content database. For the search crawl, the recommended limit is at 25 million.

To estimate the storage requirements, you need to know the number and types of documents, because it impacts the crawler performances. The average file size is also important. Documents large than 16 MB are not crawled by SharePoint, by default. Can be increased to a max of 64MB. The number of versions per document has to be taken in account.

<snip>A lot of formulas are presented, check the video and the powerpoint deck to get the details</snip>

To test the storage performance, there are two free tools, SQLIO (from Microsoft) and IOMeter. The testing files should be larger than the SAN cache and testing should be done for an hour or more. Storage should be dedicated.

Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is how much I can loose and the Recovery Time Objective (RTO) is how much time I can wait for the recovery. We need to be monitor in order to be sure we can achieve the RPO and RTO. If RPO states 2 hours but backup take 4 hours => FAIL.

Tuesday, 04 October 2011 18:07:22 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SPC11

<Disclaimer>This is personal notes of what I retained during the session. This can be incomplete, partially right or wrong. It is just part of the notes I took and what retained my attention. Nothing prevents the user to get more information on their favorite web site.</Disclaimer>

DSC04537Best Practice cycle : Capacity Planning, Architect for Scale, Pilot & Test, Deploy, Monitor & Validate

Different kind of cache : ASP.NET in RAM of WFEs, SharePoint Object Cache also in RAM of WFEs, Disk-based for BLOBs sitting on the disk of WFEs for static files.

When sponsors really want “real-time” on the site, ask how often the content is updated and what it means (bad or not) to wait 1 minute for updates.

A quick formula : 1 – (number of requests per second / number of seconds of caching) = % of work saved for the server.

Output cache can be activated in the Central Administration. Trade-off between freshness and work saved. Avoid check for changes capability (50% performance drop). A good question to also ask is by what you want to vary the cache. More variations = more requests uncached.

Using System.Web.UI.WebControls.Substitution will make your control to run at every request.

Check that ASP.NET cache is working by enabling cache information on pages. For DB, use the SQL Profiler instead of the Developer Dashboard, because it is cached with the page.

Object cache is used by the CQWP and Navigation control and is configured in the Central Administration. The bigger the better. It can also be time-based or check if cache is still valid with the corresponding performance hit. Cache more results only if different users have different permissions, so on internet sites, it should not be the case. Two “super” accounts have to be configured for Full Control User Policy (SuperUser) and for Full Read User Policy (SuperReader).

When accessing from the client side, write a web service that use the object cache and call it from the client application rather than using the Client-OM (because it is not cached !).

BLOB cache is configured in the web.config. Put the cache on a specific drive separated from the OS or Logs. Store a maximum of file (by setting the extensions). The more you cache, the better. The same applies for the timing, the longer the better with a trade-off regarding the updates of the files.

Using a CDN is good anyway, as it will put less pressure on the servers. But it means that CDN is an external storage (permissions, etc !). Files that almost never change are good candidates for CDN. A quick win is to use jQuery or Modernizr.

Activate the IIS static and dynamic compression.

Two models for authoring : in-place where authors update content on the production environment, or content deployment where authors use a different environment for publishing and the scheduled deployment jobs push the updates to the production environment. It is good when review has to be done (legal, communication, etc) but it adds latency and temporary de-synchronization. The bigger the update, the longer the latency.

Content deployment with an automated schedule of 15 minutes has no value.

Tip 1 : User SQL Server 2008 Enterprise + Snapshots. SharePoint takes Content DB snapshots before making the export and deletes it after the export is completed.

Tip 2 : Custom Solutions must be aware of content deployment, because during the content deployment, the activation of the solution will be activated after the content DB is exported. In order to be aware, check if content deployment is running in the activation handler and do not create list or other content as they will already exist.

Plan for variations, to avoid to have to copy the root content into the source label. Consider On-Demand propagation, because otherwise, target label owners will have to delete the versions they don’t need.

Tuesday, 04 October 2011 00:43:13 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SPC11
# Monday, 03 October 2011

<Disclaimer>This is personal notes of what I retained during the session. This can be incomplete, partially right or wrong. It is just part of the notes I took and what retained my attention. Nothing prevents the user to get more information on their favorite web site.</Disclaimer>

DSC04534Your success factors, like the number of visitors, page views or conversion rate.

Every body of the SharePoint branding team is around the Business Sponsor, technical people or business oriented people.

The Information Architect defines the content hierarchy of your sites and SharePoint structure. This is the first step of the process.

Then, we go into wireframing by designing one wireframe per page type.

The next step is design comps and is just a picture and it is done usually with an eye of the communication department. From that design, we can build a functional prototype with already some functional navigation. This functional prototype can be reused (95%) for the build phase.

Some tools : Visio 2010 for Information Architecture and Wireframes, Expression Design 4 for the Design Comps and Expression Web 4 for the functional prototype.

Integrating social network is now key and there is already a certain number of plug-ins to integrate Facebook, with Like and Comment for example, provided by Facebook. The generated HTML can then be inserted in the SharePoint web part. The social network integration must be thought early in the design process and not just at the build phase.

Three options to support the mobiles : mobile browser which needs to support different types of screens but it can be problematic if SharePoint is heavily branded; mobile application using the SharePoint APIs, but in order to support the different technologies you have to build different applications and different development tools and languages; finally HTML5, which provides the richness of a mobile application, but support from device to device can vary.

Publishing features provide new master pages, page layouts, some additional web parts, output caching and a lot of interesting things.

Company logo, page header and footer or basically everything that should go on every pages has to go in a master page. The way web parts, page controls, layouts is part of page layouts.

Always start with one of the existing out-of-the-box master page (v4, nightandday, minimal), or go to Codeplex to get one of the starter master page.

Users use more and more search, FAST provides more capabilities like scalability or visual best bets or also the exact count on the refiners.

For external search engines (SEO), the content is key, along with setting meaningful site and page names titles, HTML metadata, don’t use Silverlight or Flash for the navigation to not prevent search engines to follow the links to your content.

Normally, there are two environments : authoring farm on the internal network and production farm available on the web. The can be extended with a staging farm, also on the internal network. This environment should be used to test new content and new features together. When it looks good, then it can be deployed on the production.

To extend the web analytics report provided out-of-the-box by SharePoint : webtrends or intlock with Cardiolog Suite for SharePoint.

Monday, 03 October 2011 22:53:47 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SPC11

<Disclaimer>This is personal notes of what I retained during the session. This can be incomplete, partially right or wrong. It is just part of the notes I took and what retained my attention. Nothing prevents the user to get more information on their favorite web site.</Disclaimer>

DSC04533Some nice web sites with cool branding are presented : Brembo.com, qualia.com.au, chilis.com, calphalon.com, choosechicago.com, sharpie.com, etc

SharePoint can be fully branded and there is almost no limitations, but it is better to spend time upfront to do the things correctly the first time.

First, define your vision and goals and how to measure if we reached the goals. Then, build the team and planning and not directly going into creating the branding. Some specific requirements : types of content, style guidelines, navigation, search.

A design should be clean and simple and remember the 3-clicks rule : everything should be available with 3 clicks. In terms of usability, system response can vary from the implementation. Search is important as more and more users are navigating using search on a website

Show your concepts in B&W because it keeps the focus of the stakeholders on the concepts and not on the images and colors that are probably not yet defined at this stage.

In short, the process is : Requirements, Wireframes, Technical Specifications, Creative Components

Design Theory : Contrast, Repetition, Alignement and Proximity (CRAP Smile )

Use Microsoft Expression Design or Photoshop (an example of a grid design is presented) and start by a paper version. Keep on the ground and avoid things that are hard.

Use the A/B testing, by presenting two versions of the design and see which is the preferred one. Test the navigability and how users can find content (not only by searching).

Before going to SharePoint, check by doing an HTML site and use the XHTML Strict Doctype and test in the target browsers.

Different efforts for branding : Full, by doing the complete Master Pages, Layouts, CSS etc; Medium, by doing CSS, images and alternate CSS; And Low, by using only the out-of-the-box masters pages, UI and themes.

Use a start master page and modify it even by moving or hiding OOB elements.

Page Layouts can be considered as templates for page content. The most used web parts are CEWP and CQWP. The first can be used to add Javascript and CSS to page, the second to rollup content. One important thing is that HTML content fields remove the Javascript.

For mobile devices, turn off the mobile view and Android and iOS devices are not well supported.

Tag and document your content using meta-data in page layouts. Also, name the pages correctly.

Deployment process : MP, PL, CSS, WP are completed, then deploy and ensure that everything look fine. Then, enter real data to again check that everything is ok.

Monday, 03 October 2011 19:59:28 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SPC11
# Monday, 19 September 2011

In few weeks will start the Microsoft SharePoint Conference in Anaheim and I have the chance to attend and meet great people there.

So, see you in the US !

Print

You can also follow the discussion on twitter with the tag #spc11

Monday, 19 September 2011 18:17:10 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SharePoint | SPC11
# Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Title : Delivering Happiness – A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

Author : Tony Hsieh

Summary :
This is the first time since a long time that I did not read anything else than SharePoint books. Tony Hsieh is the CEO of Zappos.com, a e-Commerce platform for shoes, clothes, bags and a lot of other things. In his book, Tony traces his path from his boyhood and his first motivations, through the current state his flagship company. Going into several details or anecdotes of the building of first LinkExchange, then Zappos.

The book is split in three sections, the first setting the stage, describing his first attempts for businesses during his childhood, then at college and at university, finishing with the funding of Zappos through a self-made incubator. The second section focus on how he and his team built the culture of the company, some tricks to be better than some competitors and how they made Zappos the number one of the customer service (some other companies should take some examples…). The third section talks more about the public communications and marketing of the brand before selling Zappos to Amazon.

Book Review :
Wow ! Smile I read this book like a novel. When you start, you want to continue reading.

Reading how an entrepreneur starts, fails then starts again and fights against external factors like logistics issues or economic crisis is really interesting. Seeing also how he changed his focus from just making money to make everyone happy with all the way to this end is very exciting. Definitely, some ideas or variations of them can be taken from him, even if I think that most of them can (only) apply to start-ups. Some others are more applicable to retail companies than other sectors. It is a very stimulating book. I don’t want to emphasize too much on the only one less-positive point I found : one cannot let me think that at the end, writing such book was not with some marketing or sales improvements in mind, which I would totally accept.

Finally, the concept of “delivering happiness” worth on itself to be spread and tried to be applied. A book to read for all enterpreneurs.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011 21:31:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Book Review
# Thursday, 11 August 2011

Title : SharePoint 2010 User's Guide: Learning Microsoft's Collaboration and Productivity Platform

Authors : Seth Bates, Tony Smith

Summary :
Starting from the basics of the use of SharePoint 2010, this book starts with a description of sites and workspaces in SharePoint Foundation 2010 before going in some details of SharePoint Server 2010. After that, it goes to the lists and libraries and how to use and configure them, before addressing the workflows, pages and web parts. Two chapters are respectively dedicated to the personalization features and to the Office Services of SharePoint. The book ends with 3 cases of usage of the before-mentioned functionalities of SharePoint, with document management, project collaboration and finally dashboards and reports.

Book Review :
If you want a step-by-step guide to SharePoint 2010, it is definitely the one you need. It is the 2010 version of the book I reviewed one year and half ago. Nevertheless, it is efficient and guides the reader through all the steps of configuring your SharePoint environment, as a power user or as a regular user. Even if I can say that I am a quite advanced user and that I know pretty well the platform, it is a good thing to make a stop on this book. You always learn some little tricks here and there that your users will see and not you, because you always have the head down to the difficult things. On the other side, it is not a book for administrators. As the title mentions it, it is a user’s guide. Finally, I was looking for a good resources to help consultants starting on SharePoint and with this book I think I found the right tool.

Thursday, 11 August 2011 00:15:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Book Review | SharePoint
# Wednesday, 03 August 2011

Title : Pro  SharePoint 2010 Solution Development

Authors : Ed Hild, Chad Wach

Summary :
After a quick introduction to the new features of SharePoint 2010 and how to develop solutions using Visual Studio, the authors continue with an overview of what Office development can offer to the users. Then, they continue by explaining how to integrate Excel workbooks with an interesting collaboration between Excel, InfoPath and SharePoint. After Excel, it is the turn to Word and how to get SharePoint list data in a document or creating a PowerPoint presentation to build reports automatically. The way external data are consumed is presented with an example of integration of LOB data into Outlook, before an interesting example of a site provisioning using a workflow designed in Visio. The last chapters go through the use of Access, Visio Services and the use of external services like Bing Map in a SharePoint application.

Book Review :
At first glance, I was surprised, given the title of the book, that not a lot of SharePoint development was explained. In fact, the complete title of the book “Pro SharePoint 2010 Solution Development – Combining .NET, SharePoint, and Office 2010” should be read to understand what is inside. Not a big deal, as nowadays, integrating an enterprise solution like SharePoint with the Office applications is almost a daily job. And for that, this book is really good. Rather than trying to absolutely have standalone SharePoint applications, it is pragmatic and proposes business solutions to help people working in their familiar environments (Excel, Word or PowerPoint). This book proposes a lot of practical examples with possible improvements that at least can give ideas when the need for solution for your information worker appears. Nice examples, many samples, if you want a good Office / SharePoint development book, it is a good one.

Wednesday, 03 August 2011 20:02:39 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Book Review | SharePoint
# Wednesday, 06 July 2011

During a migration from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010, there was a site containing several Forms Libraries and, among them, a library relying on a template calling the UserGroup web service of SharePoint.

So, after the migration of the libraries themselves, the change of the datasources to point to the correct servers and different little other things, we faced the error below when the form was loading :

infopathsoaperror

Or, in full text : “The SOAP response indicates that an error occurred on the server:

Exception of type 'Microsoft.SharePoint.SoapServer.SoapServerException' was thrown.
<detail><errorstring xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/sharepoint/soap/">The parameter name cannot be empty or bigger than 255 characters.</errorstring><errorcode xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/sharepoint/soap/">0x80131600</errorcode></detail>”

Luckily, my colleague Julien told me about the not enough popular blog post of Ian Chivers about using the User Group web service. But, it was not the end. Even after the change of the GetUserCollectionFromGroupX.xsd file as written in the before mentioned post, the message was still displaying. It seemed that the parameter sent to the web service was empty, so the question was “how to set the parameter” ? Our requirement was not to have a dynamic parameter to be set at runtime. It was sufficient to have a constant group sent to the web service. Therefore, after having extracted the files composing the .xsn file, modified the .xsd one, we had to modify the GetUserCollectionFromGroupX.xml to precise the parameter, as follows :

1 <dfs:myFields xmlns:dfs="http://schemas.microsoft.com/office/infopath/2003/dataFormSolution" xmlns:tns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/sharepoint/soap/directory/" xmlns:my="http://schemas.microsoft.com/office/infopath/2003/myXSD/2010-12-22T15:30:19" xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema"> 2 <dfs:queryFields> 3 <tns:GetUserCollectionFromGroup> 4 <tns:groupName>TheGroup</tns:groupName> 5 </tns:GetUserCollectionFromGroup> 6 </dfs:queryFields> 7 <dfs:dataFields> 8 <tns:GetUserCollectionFromGroupResponse> 9 <tns:GetUserCollectionFromGroupResult> 10 <tns:GetUserCollectionFromGroup> 11 <tns:groupName> 12 </tns:groupName> 13 </tns:GetUserCollectionFromGroup> 14 </tns:GetUserCollectionFromGroupResult> 15 </tns:GetUserCollectionFromGroupResponse> 16 </dfs:dataFields> 17 </dfs:myFields>

The steps after that were easy : opening the .xsf file in design, saving it as a .xsn one and publishing it to the target library.

So, after several hours, we were finally able to connect again the web services, but we spent a quite amount of time in trying, googling and so on. It was then obvious to share and also keep a self note about this topic.

Ah, yes, before closing this post, I take the occasion to congratulate my friend and colleague for his nomination as a Windows Azure MVP : @bsoulier (Benjamin Soulier). Well Done man !

Wednesday, 06 July 2011 21:45:52 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
InfoPath | SharePoint
# Monday, 04 April 2011

TD2011logo If you attend the Microsoft Techdays in Geneva that are taking place tomorrow (Tuesday) and Wednesday, you are welcome to meet the Cambridge Technology Partners team. On the booth, there will be a demo showing an application, SharePlus, made by SouthLabs used to access SharePoint content. We will show you how you can still have your documents and data at your hand, with an iPad.

This year, the TechDays will focus on the Microsoft’s answer regarding the cloud with Azure. Indeed, several presentations will speak about this technology.

And don’t forget to attend the two presentations of my friend Benjamin Soulier, with “Les nouveautés de Windows Azure”, Tuesday at 3pm in the development track, and with “Le meilleur des deux mondes : SharePoint et Azure”, Wednesday at 4pm, also in the development track.

Monday, 04 April 2011 21:29:11 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SharePoint | TechDays
# Saturday, 05 February 2011

Title : Microsoft SharePoint 2010 – Building Solutions for SharePoint 2010

Author : Sahil Malik

514bKibhb7L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_[1]

Summary :
This book explores different areas of the SharePoint 2010 developments starting from the beginning namely the deployment using the feature and solution framework and the development of webparts.
It then continues with the different aspects of accessing data stored in SharePoint, ADO.NET Data Servers, the REST API, writing custom WCF services and also the Client Object Model.
Two chapters focus on the SharePoint data management, talking, among other things, about scalability, list throttling, CAML and LINQ queries.
The last chapters describes the BCS, the workflows and the Business Intelligence features of SharePoint 2010.

Book Review :
I don’t think there is a need to present Sahil Malik, the famous MVP. The book is taking practical examples, and what I really liked is the first chapters about the build of the SharePoint development box along with the other environments needed. Moreover, whenever it was possible, he used Sandboxed solutions to illustrate the concepts and the code presented is clear and easy to follow.
The only thing I might say is that he could have gone more deeply in some concepts, but that is likely because with some experience you expect more in-depth content.
But, at the end, it is an excellent book and with the previous book I read, you have a quite complete reference on SharePoint 2010 development.

Saturday, 05 February 2011 02:30:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Book Review | SharePoint
# Wednesday, 02 February 2011

orchardlogo The last week-end I wanted to give a try to the install of the free and open-source content management application, named Orchard. I knew before that Orchard is based on the .NET framework 4.0 and that could cause some issues with my existing blog engine (dasBlog). Nevertheless, I decided to take the chance and to try to make then working together.

First, the deployment. This is really simple as I took the Orchard web which only needs to be copied on the web server. This did not cause any problem.

Then, update of the configuration and this became more difficult. I had to make the blog engine virtual directory to specifically use the .NET 2.0 framework and breaking the inheritance of web.config, using the <location> element. The Orchard install then went almost fine, but the blog was in a very bad state, complaining that the file eurl.axd/[AVeryBigNumber] was not found.

In fact, as soon as you set your IIS root application to run the .NET framework 4.0, no matter the configuration inheritance is broken or using the .NET 2.0 framework using a dedicated application pool, the sub virtual directories detect that the version 4.0 is present. For a complete explanation, please read the ASP.NET 4 breaking-changes whitepaper.

The conclusion of this journey is that I had to revert back to a plain .NET 2.0 runtime in order to have this blog back up and running.

Thanks to the Brinkster support team who spend long time to help me and to try different configurations on the server. But unfortunately, except having another web site, there is no solution, as changing a registry value is of course not possible in such environment.

Wednesday, 02 February 2011 21:02:05 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Blog Life | Programming
# Wednesday, 01 December 2010

Sometimes, checking permissions on a SharePoint site is quite a hassle and I several times had permissions issues especially when working on an anonymous access enabled application (see one reference here) and you don't know where it is coming from.

I found a tool that can be very helpful in discovering the permission details for an item or a page.

See the article on the Rodney Viana's blog, and the tool download on Codeplex

Wednesday, 01 December 2010 06:07:02 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SharePoint
# Wednesday, 03 November 2010

Title : Professional SharePoint 2010 Development

Authors : Tom Rizzo, Reza Alirezaei, Paul J. Swider, Scot Hillier, Jeff Fried, Kenneth Schaefer

Summary :
This book was the first one available talking about SharePoint 2010 development. Therefore, as it was available soon after the RTM version of SharePoint, we could expect that some points would not have been perfectly addressed.
Nevertheless, it covers almost the whole range of topics that a developer may face.
It starts by, of course, an introduction to the new platform, an overview of the developer tools and the list of enhancements for the IT Pros. After that, collaboration, social computing, search, ECM, through workflows and business intelligence are described. One of the last topic is about the promising SharePoint Online.

Book Review :
Very honestly, the whole introduction can be skipped. It means the first 4 chapters as they are too high level. I found them also too long.
After these chapters, it goes well in the details, with many examples besides code illustrating the notions explained. On the other side, and with the experience of the platform, I found two points where the book is not going enough in the subject. The first one, even if packaging and deployment is explained, after a bit along the book, this is no longer addressed and sometimes leave the reader at "how can I deploy this ?".
The second point is in regards to SharePoint Online which is not covered enough. Maybe because the platform was not ready, but this topic deserves to be more developed.
Overall, this book is a very good one and will be very useful for the developers.

Wednesday, 03 November 2010 07:39:11 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Book Review
# Monday, 11 October 2010

Great day !

Steve Balllmer announced today the availability of the first devices that will support Windows Phone 7. Among them, 4 HTC devices. I just need to make a choice now :-)

Monday, 11 October 2010 19:28:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [2] -
Technical
# Thursday, 09 September 2010

The next Swiss SharePoint Club event will take place in Geneva, at the Cooperative Migros.

In the agenda, Business Intelligence, SharePoint Online, branding and web content management, and metadate with SharePoint 2010.

To have a detailed agenda, go on the Club SPS web site

Thursday, 09 September 2010 11:01:28 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SharePoint
# Tuesday, 07 September 2010

Title : Microsoft Visio 2010 - Business Process Diagramming and Validation

Author : David J. Parker

Summary :
Microsoft Visio 2010, Business Process Diagramming and Validation, written by the Visio MVP David Parker focuses on Visio 2010 and its use for validating diagrams. Moreover, the edition that is the subject of the book is the Premium one. The reason for that is because only the Premium Edition has the diagram validation feature.
It starts by a description of the new features of Visio 2010. It continues with the description of the Microsoft Visio Object Model and the Connectivity API used to run through the diagram, its shapes and their connections. After this, the necessary ShapeSheet is explained, before going through the validation API.
After all that theory, some practice with the development of a Visio Add-In in WPF to explore the ShapeSheets and the validation rules. This Add-in is then used in all the next chapters to create validation rules.
A complete chapter is dedicated to the publishing and packaging of Visio templates, including validation rules.

Book Review :
The book leads the reader from the beginning, exploring the Visio Object model to a completely packaged Visio template containing validation rules, which is very interesting and easy to follow. The explanations and examples are clear and illustrated with comprehensive piece of code. Especially, the packaging part that I found particularly well explained.
On the other side, some part of the book have big pieces of code, which is good because you don't have to be online to get the source code on a web site (even if the complete solution described in the book is available on a dedicated site). But, this makes sometimes these part more difficult to follow and a bit heavy.
Finally, a good book for developers and power users that want to start implementing diagram validation.

For the people that want a free sample chapter of the book (Understanding the Microsoft Visio Object Model), they can follow this link.

Tuesday, 07 September 2010 21:09:01 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Book Review
# Sunday, 25 July 2010

Title : SharePoint 2010 for dummies

Author : Vanessa L. Williams

Summary :
This book places the readers at the place of a user or a power user of the SharePoint 2010 platform. It describes the functionnalities or feature of the lists, document libraries and goes through the different aspects of SharePoint 2010. But it does not stop at the end-user level and goes beyond, by explaining some tricks or some administrator functions.
Several advanced features are demonstrated, like the Excel Services, the Business Connectivity Services, just to name a few.

Book Review :
Ok, colleagues were wondering why I was reading such kind of book. That is true, if you want a developer or a complete guide to SharePoint 2010, pass your way, this book is definitely not for you. Anyway, when all the day-long you work either as a developer or working at the implementation of a SharePoint 2010 solution, there is a tendancy to forget the basics, or just how users are approaching the product. Not only that. It is the kind of book that your users or your clients will read most likely. It is always good to put yourself in their shoes and see SharePoint from their viewpoint, just to see how they understand the product.
For someone that has already some notions of SharePoint, this book is easy to go through. It has a good level for end-users and power users (not administrators !). Finally, it is interesting to see it as a starting point for other books going more deeper in SharePoint 2010 and definitely, a book that SharePoint users should have.

Sunday, 25 July 2010 15:30:41 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Book Review
# Wednesday, 21 July 2010

You may not have notice, but this blog has been upgraded.

As it was running on an old version of the DasBlog engine, it was the time to upgrade to the version 2.3. It is now done and running...

Wednesday, 21 July 2010 09:46:29 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Blog Life
# Friday, 16 July 2010

In SharePoint 2007 we had a problem when we wanted to create calculated columns using either the [Today] or [Me], respectively giving the current date and the current user. If you search on the web, a lot of pages are describing and talking about the workaround. The workaround is to create a "Today" or a "Me" column with the standard and default settings, writing the formula and then, finally, to delete the created columns.

I hoped that in SharePoint 2010, this was fixed. But when I created my first calculated column based on dates, here is what I got :

Exactly the same error we have in SharePoint 2007.

And.....exactly the same workaround. So, is it not considered as a bug or a problem for Microsoft ? Sure, there is a workaround, but it is quite annoying to create columns just to delete them right after. And, last but not least, when the formula has to be udpated, ensure that these columns are present otherwise, it will be impossible to save the new formula.

UPDATE

I got a correction from Ryan (see comment below) and indeed, the what-was-called-so-far-a-workaround in many pages on the web (and here also :-) ) is in fact not a viable solution. In fact, the column using this "trick" will only be updated and calculated when the item is updated. To see the confirmation of this, create a column with a formula like this : =IF([StartDate]>[Today],"Future","Started") with StartDate being a manually-set date and wait for that StartDate to be reached. If the item is not updated, the column will keep the "Future" label.

Anyway, the fact that it is not possible to have such functionality in SP2010 is a bit pity.

Thanks to Ryan for the correction

Friday, 16 July 2010 11:36:15 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [2] -
SharePoint | Technical
# Friday, 25 June 2010

When you implement a solution, you test it in different situation and depending on the results, of course, you correct the little mistakes that may be present. What I found very interesting so far in software development is the way to reproduce a behaviour following a given set of steps. For the same steps, you get the same result. That is also a way to qualify a bug or a defect, most of the times.
So, what is more frustrating when the problem or the bug happens randomly ?
However, that is what happened recently on a SharePoint 2007 web site during a roll-out.

The symptoms ?
Having activated the anonymous access, pages prompted the users for credentials and when no credentials were entered, a simple message "401 Unauthorized" was displayed. Now, on that same page, simply pressing F5 to refresh was loading and displaying the page correctly.

Checks ?
Checked that all the resources were accessible by anonymous users, being CSS, images, documents, etc. Some images were referenced using absolute URLs, but apart from that, nothing special.
Checked in the Windows Event Log, absolutely nothing related to this problem.
Checked the ULS, crawled megs of text files, several "excessive number of SPRequest" messages were present, but they were here before the roll-out as well. The only clue was some "Access denied" messages, but, no reference to a resource or no stack trace.
Checked also the web.config, everything was ok. And anyway, this is normally handled by SharePoint.
Checked the IIS Directory Security permissions, verifying the identity of the user used by the application pool, but here again, everything was normal.
Custom code doing a forbidden action ? After a complete removal of the three custom controls, the problem persisted, so, it was not that.
After hours and hours of investigation, I found one thing. The Master Page and Page Layouts gallery was not accessible anonymously, so I fixed this first, but still, the 401 issue was still here. Being in the library I decided to check the content of the master pages and the page layouts and found couple of "__designer" tags referencing resources. We indeed used the SharePoint Designer to apply some changes, but never had this problem before. But, to be sure and to definitely clean these files, every "__designer" tags have been removed and pages provisionned again.

The result ?
Everything was fine. So, for some reasons, the tags added by SharePoint Designer seem to cause access issues, but not all the times.
In this particular case, what was really annoying is that nothing can lead you to the solution or where the problem is located. A lot of people wrote about 401 random issues, caused by either a hotfix applied here or load-balancer problems there, but mine was still another one.
So, before spending hours or days looking for useless (in that specific situation) logs, check your master page or your page layouts and remove "__designer" tags. Check also that they are accessible anonymously.

Friday, 25 June 2010 11:29:06 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SharePoint | Technical
# Sunday, 13 June 2010

Title : Mastering Your Organization's Processes

Authors : John O'Connell, Jon Pyke, Roger Whitehead

Summary :
In another post I mentioned why BPM is important today for the companies. Mastering the processes and the change is primordial for the managers in an enterprise. This book explains what is a business processes and their management, then describes the different systems of an organization. It also defines the actors involved in business processes, such as the ones outside the organization, the people and other systems. Finally, it gives some strategies for BPM and also some guidance to choose a BPM product.

Review :
I found this book difficult to read, most likely because I am not in the targeted audience for this kind of book. For me, it was too high-level and too conceptual. It seems, for me, that to apply the concept, there will be a missing pieces between the book and the reality of the field. One great positive point : every chapter ends with a case study that is very well explained.

Sunday, 13 June 2010 23:33:47 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Book Review
# Thursday, 10 June 2010

Title : Business Process Change - A Manager's Guide to Improving, Redesigning, and Automating

Authors : Paul Harmon

Summary :
In the software industry, BPM or Business Process Management is present since the mid-90's. Even earlier according to different sources. But nothing is really new and nothing has really changed since Henry Ford in 1903 when he started Ford Motor to design and build a high-quality but easy to assemble car. What is done since ages in the manufactory industries tried to be applied to many other sectors.

Nowadays, having the best product on the market is not enough and companies have to constantly adapt themselves to changing parameters such as new competitors, suppliers, new technologies and so on. Today, it seems that the only way for a company to survive is its business processes and its ability to change them quickly (others would put the word "agile" here, but I keep myself making this shortcut).

The book starts by explaining the value chain and what is process management. A whole part is dedicated to the modelisation of the processes before going into BPM, including Six Sigma. In the middle of the book, some technologies are explored, such as XML and some ERP systems without forgetting UML.

Review :
Really good book, with excellent explanation. What I liked was also the level of details and the numerous examples and case studies. Nevertheless, if requires a little knowledge of what is BPM and is definitely not a technical book (I knew this before reading it, but it is more for clarification as most of the posts I do on this blog are technical). In addition, there are a lot of diagrams that help to understand the concepts explained throughout the book.

Thursday, 10 June 2010 23:31:36 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Book Review
# Saturday, 05 June 2010
The first part of this article focused on how to create a taxonomy with SharePoint 2010. This one goes a bit beyond and describes how to use the defined taxonomy
Saturday, 05 June 2010 19:14:11 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SharePoint
# Thursday, 13 May 2010

The 8th of May, Microsoft released a set of two Information Worker Demonstration Virtual Machines with the 2010 wave of Office products. It includes the following software :

  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • SQL Server 2008 R2
  • Office Communication Server 2007 R2
  • Visual Studio 2010
  • SharePoint Server 2010 Enterprise Edition
  • Office Web Applications
  • FAST Search for SharePoint 2010
  • Project Server 2010
  • Office Professional Plus 2010
  • Visio 2010
  • Project 2010
  • Office Communicator 2007 R2

To download and for the instructions, it is here : http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=751fa0d1-356c-4002-9c60-d539896c66ce&displaylang=en

Thursday, 13 May 2010 22:49:53 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SharePoint
# Thursday, 06 May 2010

Microsoft revealed couple of weeks ago a new service called docs.com.

This service offers the possibility to share Office 2010 documents and integrate directly them in Facebook. In other words, it will add a new tab in your Facebook profile, named Docs, where you will have all your published documents.

It will be possible to either upload Office 2010 documents, or to use the web version of Office 2010 to create your documents and publish them, except that it will not allow concurrent edition of the files, like in the Office Web Apps of SharePoint 2010.

The question I have in mind then is : what about Skydrive ? I have a Skydrive account which enables me to share documents in my Microsoft Live ecosystem, so what brings docs.com that is not in Skydrive ? How will Microsoft position this new product ?

Currently, the product is still in Beta and I am sure that new amazing features will be added in the next weeks or months that will help the users answering the questions....

Thursday, 06 May 2010 10:03:46 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
web
# Tuesday, 04 May 2010

Designing a SharePoint 2010 workflow in Visio 2010 is just great. You can put the shapes on the design surface, draw the transitions, and it is really interesting for people that need visualization of their workflows. Unfortunately, this is where it stops. Because there is no direct link between Visio and SharePoint (meaning that no information from SharePoint comes to Visio), it is not possible to set the conditions or roles or users to the shapes. In other words, you can put a decision shape, but you cannot set the condition itself.

This is why the Visio file has to be exported into a .vwi (Visio Workflow Interchange) and then imported into SharePoint Designer 2010. After that, you have to set the conditions and all the parameters to the different shapes that are part of the workflow. Ok, so far, so good. But, how can I take my workflow and import it somewhere else ? How could I reuse the workflow with the parameters ?

When you export a workflow from SPD, you cannot import it, even if it is not in the same site. The message specifies that “This workflow cannot be imported because it was created in SharePoint Designer for a different site, or the original workflow has been moved or deleted. To move a workflow between sites, use Save as Template (.wsp file) instead of a Visio workflow drawing.

I tried to see what is inside a .vwi file to check what was different between the original .vwi file and the one exported by SPD. To do this, it is possible to rename the .vwi file into .zip and to look inside the compressed folder. The main difference is that an additional file has been generated, named “workflow.xoml.rules” "workflow.xoml.wfconfig.xml". Deleting this file will make this file importable again and, surprisingly, all the settings that were set in the SPD are still there.

Ok, I did it several times, in the same environment (AD), but I can imagine that it is not a “supported” way to move workflows, knowing that exporting a .wsp and deploying it is the recommended way…

Tuesday, 04 May 2010 09:49:52 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [1] -
SharePoint
# Thursday, 22 April 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome on stage Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 !!!

Since today, both products are available for MSDN subscribers, earlier than I expected to say the truth. At the time I am writing this post, I already started the download :-)

Thursday, 22 April 2010 22:49:25 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SharePoint
# Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Friday last week, the SharePoint Team announced a major milestone in the SharePoint 2010 release process. One day after the TechDays in Geneva, Microsoft has frozen the code of Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010, meaning that it gives a go to release the software to the vendors.

Shortly, the bits should be available on MSDN (probably by the end of this week), but the official launch will take place the 12th of May.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010 08:32:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SharePoint
# Friday, 09 April 2010

Because I had to move my virtual machines to VMWare to enable the 64-bits guest operating systems to be installed (for SharePoint 2010), I encountered a very weird problem.

When using the NATed network, the guest OS was able to connect the Internet, but then, I had a separate network on my LAN and it was not very convenient. That is the reason why I switched them to "Bridge" on one of my NIC. The guest OS was receiving an IP address from the DHCP, was able to access the local resources (router, shared printers, etc) but impossible to go on the web.

When pinging an internet server, I received a "host unreachable" message and I tried things like "route print", setting a fixed IP, nothing solved the issue. And googling was not that successful as many people had more or less the same issues and their resolution did not help me.

In a final try, I launched a nslookup for www.google.com and got a "DNS request timed out", which was strange as the guest DNS settings were exactly the same as my Windows 7 host OS. That popped something in my mind and tried to ping google and then browse google using its IP address directly and......it worked !

The problem was then the name resolution that was not done for the guest OS. I was then able to refine my search on the web and found this : http://communities.vmware.com/message/1472066 . At the end of the thread, the solution was there "...it turned out that ShrewSoft VPN client was interfering with VMWare...". As I have Shrew VPN installed, I checked the status of this service : started.

The final word is that I stopped the "ShrewSoft DNS Proxy Deamon" and everything was working like a charm, at least on the VMWare machines side.

Friday, 09 April 2010 12:34:33 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Technical
# Wednesday, 07 April 2010

Today, I had a problem I never had before with SharePoint 2010, being with the Beta or even the RC.

My Managed Metadata Server was running and a proxy created. To that proxy, I connected a site and everything seemed to work correctly. Until I created a site column of type Managed Metadata. In the place where normally you can select the term store to use for the column, there was a message saying "The required feature is not enabled for this column type", which was quite strange as I checked several times and all the needed features were activated.

As most of the times, my friend google :-) helped me. I found this post, not that new so it means that it is a know problem, not only on the RC.

Basically, according to this post, you have to activate a feature that has the ID 73EF14B1-13A9-416B-A9B5-ECECA2B0604C. But this feature is not present in the feature list from the user interface, so you have to run the stsadm command for your site.

This solved the problem, but I really wonder why it happened only this time....

Wednesday, 07 April 2010 21:10:31 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #    Comments [2] -
SharePoint
# Wednesday, 24 March 2010
The 17th Swiss SharePoint Club meeting took place yesterday the 24th of March at the HEIG-Vd. 5 sessions were in the agenda : Customer experience at Cotecna : Intranet Setup with SharePoint 2007 Product Overview by Ventek International : Enterprise Search with FAST ESP Sharepoint 2010 Technology Overview by McNext : Migration path(es) from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010 Customer experience at HEIG-Vd : SharePoint Online, Master thesis initiatives – SharePoint Competency Center Product Overview by SQLi : SharePoint workflows with Nintex
Wednesday, 24 March 2010 10:01:59 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SharePoint
# Tuesday, 16 March 2010
This first article of a series of 3 blog post demonstrates how to use the term store of SharePoint 2010. It will address the following points : Administration of term store Creating a term group Creating a term set Synonyms Terms Management
Tuesday, 16 March 2010 00:00:57 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SharePoint | Technical
# Sunday, 07 March 2010

The next Swiss SharePoint Club event will take place at the HEIG-Vd in Yverdon.

In the agenda, some customer experience at Cotecna, a presentation of the FAST ESP SharePoint 2010 and also a presentation on the migration from SP2007 to SP2010.

The complete agenda is available on the club sps web site.

Sunday, 07 March 2010 20:05:06 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SharePoint

The launch date is known, it is going to be the 12th of May at 11am EST that Stephen Elop, from the Microsoft Business Division, will announce the launch of the 2010 version Office and SharePoint suite : http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/businessproductivity/proof/pages/2010-launch-events.aspx#fbid=D25IVliERtZ

So, 66 remaining days to wait....

Sunday, 07 March 2010 18:33:21 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SharePoint
# Saturday, 20 February 2010

After my Wifi access problem, earlier in the day, I faced another little problem when I wanted to save a document from Office Word 2010 into a SharePoint 2010 document library :

 (click for a larger view)

Apparently, this is not an error displayed only in this situation and it seems occuring independantly from the Office version or even the SharePoint version. In fact, it is also related to the way Windows Server 2008 R2 works locally. Remember, I am using my server as a workstation.

The only thing that has to be done is to add the "Desktop Experience" feature and it will work well.

Notice also that before installing this feature, I was also unable to create a "New Document" from a document library, the template was simply not downloaded to the Office client. This also has been fixed by the "Desktop Experience" feature

Saturday, 20 February 2010 18:15:18 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SharePoint | Technical

When I started, few days ago, to prepare a demo about SharePoint 2010 metadata management, I would not have thought it would be that difficult to setup just the machine.

To be able to take the demo with me, I installed a laptop with Windows Server 2008 R2 and the necessary stuff and problems occured when I came nomad with it, using the wireless. Something that is not really rocket science, after all. The problem was that it was completely unable to connect any wireless network

What has to be known, nevertheless, is that on a Windows Server 2008 server box freshly installed, almost nothing is installed. Therefore, to enable to discovery and then to connect on an available WiFi, you have to add the "Wireless LAN Service" feature as it is showed in the picture below :

 (Click the picture for a larger view)

So, after few minutes of installation, I was finally able to connect on the net.

Saturday, 20 February 2010 18:05:32 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SharePoint | Technical
# Thursday, 11 February 2010

4 new certifications about SharePoint 2010 will come in June this year, completing the Microsoft offer and to align the cursus and certification path with the release of SP 2010.

Two of them will be for IT Professionals and related to the configuration and administration of the solution :

TS - Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Configuring

PRO - SharePoint 2010, Administrator

The two others will be for the developers :

TS - Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Application Development

PRO - Designing and Developing Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Applications

Thursday, 11 February 2010 20:13:35 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SharePoint | Technical
# Thursday, 04 February 2010

An introduction training is available on the Office Beta web site about the new SharePoint 2010 user interface. During the course, you will go have an look at the ribbon, how to work with lists and document libraries and also how to edit and create pages and sites.

The course is free and available here : http://officebeta.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint-server-help/overview-RZ101806469.aspx?lc=en-us&section=1

Thursday, 04 February 2010 08:23:28 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SharePoint | Technical
# Sunday, 31 January 2010

For those people that want to evaluate and try Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010, Microsoft released last week the 2010 Information Worker Demonstration Virtual Machine.

It seems to be ready for Hyper-V and it encompasses in fact two virtual machines :

1.- A domain controller server with SQL Server 2008, Visual Studio 2010 and the Office Suite 2010

2.- A joined Windows Server 2008

As everything has a price, the download weight 13.5GB :-)

Sunday, 31 January 2010 08:12:12 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SharePoint | Technical
# Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Google has recently announced a new project : a new system programming language named "Go". Here is a little summary of what this language is.
Wednesday, 27 January 2010 15:24:29 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Programming | Technical
# Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Title : Essential SharePoint 2007 - Delivering High-Impact Collaboration

Authors : Scott Jamison, Mauro Cardarelli, Susan Hanley

Summary :
Deploying SharePoint and leaving it to the users and not monitoring it is the best way for failure. This is known and true also for non-SharePoint projects. But what really lacks with SharePoint is how to demonstrate the management what could bring SharePoint in an organization and how to improve the SharePoint infrastructure during its life. In other words, when deploying SharePoint, governance is one of the important keys to success.
This books not only describes the SharePoint functionalities but also gives some guidance to better know your organization and how to solve its collaboration problems and is the first SharePoint book I read that is talking about "information architecture". It describes the different 2003 to 2007 migration options, what are the possible backup, restore and disaster recovery scenarios. Then it goes through Records Management, workflows, Search and finally Business Intelligence, providing plenty of step-by-step examples and screenshots

Onthe other side, I had the chance to attend the SharePoint Conference 2009 in Las Vegas session of Scott and Susan that was very interesting and a source of inspiration to make a SharePoint deployment a success not only from a provider point of view, but also a success for the users.

Review :
This book is not for developer or technical people, but more for people that need to sell SharePoint as a collaboration platform. For me, it is not for end-users as well. We can feel that the book is not relying only on the functional expertise of SharePoint but also on the way information workers are working with IT and their habits. Excellent examples can be taken to put in front the business value or the benefits of the platform. Finally, I think this book is a good starter for talking about SharePoint governance.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010 07:44:27 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Book Review | SharePoint
# Saturday, 16 January 2010

Title : SharePoint 2007 User's Guide: Learning Microsoft's Collaboration and Productivity Platform

Author : Seth Bates, Tony Smith

Summary :
This book described the different functionality of SharePoint 2007 from a users and power users point of view. Therefore, this book is not technical and is not showing any code.
First, the notion of sites, lists and document libraries are described with a lot of screenshots. Then, the book is going through workflows, policies and the different way of page personalization, finishing by two case studies or solutions solving document management and project collaboration in few steps.

Review :
Definitely, this book is not for techies or advanced users. Nevertheless, as the book is really user oriented, you can learn some functionalities that are less exposed or used but nevertheless very useful. It means that if people know already SharePoint or working with the product on a daily basis, it can be read quickly.
The two solutions presented at the end of the book are very good examples of how to address typical collaboration problems quickly and providing a high value without going into an expensive development project.

Saturday, 16 January 2010 16:35:29 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Book Review | SharePoint | Technical
# Tuesday, 05 January 2010

The next meeting of the Swiss SharePoint Club will take place in Basel. The topics will be around workflows and projects management.

For more information and registration, it is here : http://clubsps.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, 05 January 2010 18:20:19 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] -
SharePoint

Title : Foundations of BizTalk Server 2006

Author : Daniel Woolston

Summary :
BizTalk Server 2006 was until last year, the latest version of the middleware product from Microsoft. Since, the new version, BizTalk Server 2009, has been released. Despite BizTalk Server 2006 is not the first or second version of the product, it really needs documentation on how to use and develop on this platform as it is absolutely difficult or impossible to start on such product like this.
The book is structured around the different component or pieces of BizTalk : Messaging, Schemas, Maps, Ports, Orchestrations. It covers all the aspects of the product even tackling the application deployment.
It is full of useful screenshots and the explanations are clear enough even if you don't have the software at hand.

Review :
Working with BizTalk since couple of years, I found the book quite basic. Ok, the title contains "Foundations", so don't expect advanced explanation but rather take it as a first look at BizTalk. A good example is to read it before an intermediate or advanced training. At the end, it gives an excellent overview of what can be done and how can specific problems can be solved with BizTalk Server 2006. Another good point is that it is not a big pad to read and can be absorbed in a week-end :-)

Tuesday, 05 January 2010 17:59:14 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #    Comments [0] -
Book Review | Programming | Technical
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The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.

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