Out Of The Box Sharepoint (?)

May 31, 2011

Infopath-fields and custom list-columns

Filed under: Infopath, Sharepoint — Peter Kruisman @ 3:25 pm

We use infopath forms in organizational processes.  One of such is part of a Sharepoint workflow. The data gathered by the workflow tasks is added to the form library.

In red the columns that are populated by the tasks

The requirement is that printing this form the additional tasks data has to be included. For this I copied the form layout and fields to a newly added form print view. In this view I added the additional fields that represents the data gathered by the tasks. After defining a data connection that includes all list columns and checking the checkbox “Include Data for the Active Form only” I matched the newly added infopath fields with the corresponding list columns.
Testing this the fields where not populated with the data. I stumbled across this posting about white spaces in the forms file name causing a failed data connection with non infopath list columns. This was not the case with our list names. Although testing this using the concat() field formula with a combination of  infopath and non-infopath listcolumns,  

In the red boxes the non-infopath list columns
The meeting title is the forms name

non-infopath fields are indeed empty if spaces were used in the forms file name:

Using a file name without spaces:

Now all referenced fields produce data.

The bonus of this test is that I discovered that using a formula solved my problem: I have now gathered non infopath data into my form.
For this to work make sure that the formula includes an infopath form field. If it only includes non-infopath fields it doesn’t gather the data.
My solution is to add a hidden empty dummy field to the infopath form and reference this in the formula, for example:
concat(@id; dummy) <- @id is the item id (non-infopath) dummy is the hidden empty infopath field.


May 26, 2011

Managed Metadata Column Issues

Filed under: Sharepoint — Peter Kruisman @ 10:30 am

Today I encountered issues with a Sharepoint2010 metadata column. When I tried to change it to a multi value column:

Go to list settings,  index columns and remove the column from the index. 

You can get this error when trying to delete the metadata column in Sharepoint 2010:

This error relates to the navigation settings for the list. De-associate it with the metadata navigation settings of the list:

May 24, 2011

Metadata and/ or folders

Filed under: Sharepoint — Peter Kruisman @ 1:39 pm

Chris Poteet posted a video that demonstrate the use of metadata and folders in Sharepoint 2010 
It is instigated by the discussion in his blog about the Folder-less Sharepoint Paradigm. This discussion is very enlightening because of the various use cases of using metadata/ or folders. Its a culture change!
I share with  Paul Culmsee the concerns about the application centric users, they have not the benefit of the added metadata because of the absence of Sharepoint list columns. Here a related posting about the explorer functionalities in Sharepoint 2010. 
As Chris demonstrate in his video you can use folders that delegate its metadata to the documents within. Still the drawback in using folders is that there will be many cases that documents are placed in more than one folder. In my opinion folder centric taxonomies are not able to prevent this. Using multi value metadata columns prevents this need for duplicates (and the struggle to manage these).

Sharepoint 2007 versus Sharepoint 2010 metadata

Filed under: Education, Sharepoint — Peter Kruisman @ 12:13 pm

We have in Sharepoint 2007 custom lists that are used as simple drop boxes. In this list we have a lookup field that serves as metadata for the uploaded assignment.

These custom lists are completely out the box, no event receiver. The teacher is warned about unwanted input (student has scored his own assignment) using a calculated column. There are views in place that presents uploaded assignment to the appropriate teacher. Students can only view the assignments  they own. These users can subsequently filter the shown assignments using the column filters

In the above case there are more than 70 assignments from three related courses to choose from. It is presented as one long dropdown list.
In Sharepoint 2010 this dropdown list can be replaced with a managed metadata column (which can be available throughout the farm..).

Using the metadata column the uploaded assignments can be filtered like in 2007 but it’s now hierarchical.

New is the list navigation using the managed metadata (terms set)  and/ or keywords (column) filter. These are only accessible in the quick launch column (left site column) of the list (if configured in the  list settings). It is therefore not available for filtering on a page. This could be handy with multiple lists that share the same terms set.

An other advantage is that administrators can configure that the tagging application allows new terms/ or suggestions via email and delegation of the management of the term set.

Here a summary of  the scale and  structure of term sets and actions within the term store management tool.

Deprecate or delete terms?

When deprecating a term the term can be used for filtering. It is not longer available for tagging new content.
Obviously a deleted term CANNOT be used for filtering. In de above case users cannot filter for assignments that have deleted tags.

May 23, 2011

Unless you know why you want to implement it – Informal learning payoffs in real life

Filed under: Education — Peter Kruisman @ 9:14 am

One year ago Microsoft launched SharePoint 2010. It is described by Microsoft as  “the biggest release we’ve ever done of SharePoint”. Especially the social networking capabilities and opportunities to build “ a collaborative learning community using the latest technologies” are mentioned.

Greg Weiss blogs about the effort involved to make social learning with the use of Sharepoint2010 possible. In the user confined Sharepoint environment, with users already using www social networking tools and the aforementioned corporate effort (= investment)  there is need for a rock solid business case. This article by Clark Quinn has in my opinion a short list of payoffs that can be of assistance to make such a case.

Will Richardson wrote in 2006 “Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and other powerful tools for the classroom” which has also to the point payoffs and use cases.

May 18, 2011

From Alois Senefelder to Bill Gates

Filed under: Sharepoint — Peter Kruisman @ 8:15 pm

Early on in my live I developed a more than average interest in graphic expressions.  I’ve explored it from typography to (stone) lithography invented by Alois Senefelder. Professionally it culminated in teaching art (drawing) and owning a small lithographic atelier.  Mid ’90 I became aware of  javascript and the netscape browser and shifted my attention to ICT.  Since 2004 I am involved in the administration and  implementation of Sharepoint by a school organization in the Netherlands. In the near future this will be Sharepoint2010 with 30.000+ users.
Maybe by now readers of this posting may think “What the.. has this to do with Out Of The Box Sharepoint”. Maybe this question is relevant for most of my postings? 
In the past when I was printing an edition of lithographs all the preliminary work had to be excellent to make this edition printing a success and motivating experience. During this edition printing monitoring the prints and condition of the drawing on the stone, inks and rollers can reveal that minor adjustments are needed. An experienced printer does such adjustments on the fly.  The same principle applies to getting Sharepoint up and running. The tool box, media and most goals is different not so the need for the motivated experienced craftsmen – women. This motivation is frequently challenged by Sharepoint when administrative actions reveals flaws in the software or need overly complex actions.  Can an experienced Sharepoint administrator on the fly make the needed adjustments like the experienced printer? 
 Today stone lithography only exist as a medium for artistic expression.  Contemporary lithography utilizes other media and technologies and is almost always present in paper based mass communication. It does a great job in presenting photographs and other non electronic media like drawings and stone lithographs…. A Jack of all trades,  master of none? Well this depends on your expertise, goals and financial means. A lithographic reproduction of a George Bellows River Front stone lithograph cost about 0,5% of the original.  Assuming that you have the means to buy an original not as an investment it is very probably you want to relate with the artistic expression and craftsmanship needed to capture this in lithographic crayon on stone and its transfer to certain paper. Maybe not your cup of tea but very recognizable for a few others. 
In my opinion is Sharepoint a similar Jack of all trades.  It is presented as a swiss army knife for all IT challenges. Only when you have a very explicit need it weaknesses are exposed. Similar to examine closely the reproduction you have just bought of the River Front. While doing this you want to eliminate the distracting shine of the paper.  If you contact me for a solution I will advice you to alter the viewing distance 🙂  😦 .
Out Off The Box Sharepoint provides a proof off concept which can be satisfying for some. It becomes a challenge to satisfy explicit needs like  “The cost of  text messages per sitecollection” and “Infopath Content Type Syndication” and ……

Is Sharepoint like modern lithography a trade-off? 
Are dedicated IT solutions providing a better (manageable)  job?  
Does the trade-off outweight the effort to wire and maintain dedicated solutions into a coherent infrastructure?

More limitations or overly complex OOTB functions :
User Profile Service
Excell services
Content type syndication
So we need a bunch of extra stuff
( read also my postings about the SMS service,  Visual Studio 2010 and sharepoint templates )

I’ve sold the contents of my lithographic atelier in 2001 and continued lithographing in the Graphic Atelier Kampen 

Instant Messaging in Sharepoint 2010

Filed under: Sharepoint — Peter Kruisman @ 6:53 pm

A high level review of Out of the Box IM solutions for Sharepoint 2010 by Chris Riley:

Search: Host headers – FQDN – Loopback address

Filed under: Sharepoint — Peter Kruisman @ 7:28 am

My Sharepoint2010 search content sources consist of multiple web application that share port 80 . Each of them has a hostheader: webapp-name.domain.suffix.
Only the content source with the fully qualified domain webapp-name (FQDN) was indexed the others errored out: event ID 14 “The start address [address] cannot be crawled”, “Access is denied” .  The content source with the FQDN is the local loopback address. This kb  http://support.microsoft.com/kb/896861  “Authentication fails if the FQDN or the custom host header that you use does not match the local computer name” suggest to resolve this issue to disable the loopback in the registry. After I applied this all my content sources are indexed.

May 16, 2011

FIM and User Profile Synchronization Services

Filed under: Sharepoint — Peter Kruisman @ 10:33 am

There are many postings about the struggle to synchronize profiles with the scaled down Forefront Identity Manager in Sharepoint 2010. I also struggled when I stopped the service and tried to start it again which failed. There is an overload of blogs and articles with possible causes, none of these solved my problem. Ultimately I deleted the profile and synchronization services. I configured them from scratch using Central Administration. Starting  the synchronization service failed again (after a long wait). After this the FIM services are disabled and there is no error in the event viewer.

Manually starting
 these services resulted twice in a  FIMsynchronizeServices ID 6324 error. The first because it tried to bind to the sync db that Sharepoint deleted when I deleted the service. I resolved this in changing the database name in the registry (FIMService > DatabaseName) After a restart the error was the same but now when binding to the new database. To solve this I added the Farmaccount to the local admin group (restarted the server). Starting the Synchronization services in Central Administration after this was successful and I removed the farm account from the local administration (again). As a test I restarted the server and examined the Synchronization Services which was up and running..
I conclude from this that when you get this page

in all cases – you also have to temporary add the farmaccount to the local administration group.

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