Out Of The Box Sharepoint (?)

June 27, 2012

Content Type Hub in Sharepoint 2010 and SharePoint Online / Office 365

Filed under: Office365, Sharepoint — Peter Kruisman @ 10:19 am

It is not possible to manage in one location content types in Sharepoint 2007. In this version a content type can only be managed and consumed in the sitecollection in which the type is created. In Sharepoint 2010 a content type can be created and managed in the content type hub, a dedicated sitecollection by your choice. Basically the hub feature must be activated in this site, content types created and their settings used to publish ( re- or unpublish ) it.  All other site collections in the farm are subscribed to the Metadata Service Application service from the hub, and can consume its content types. Because the actual publishing depends on a timer job it can take some time before these content types are shown in other sitecollections than the content type hub site.

In Sharepoint Online/ Office 365 microsoft has assigned a sitecollection for you that serves as the content type hub. (/sites/contentTypeHub).

More reading on content type hub from Chakkaradeep Chandran


May 14, 2012

SLK and Sharepoint VNext

Filed under: Education, Learning Kit, Office365, Sharepoint — Peter Kruisman @ 2:49 pm

Richard Willis, coordinator of the Sharepoint Learning Kit (SLK) gives a glimps of a possible feature in the next version of sharepoint, the  use of educational content and the similarities with SLK and possible use in Sharepoint online (Office365)  http://blog.salamandersoft.co.uk/index.php/2012/02/sharepoint-vnext-to-include-education-component/

Richard doesn’t see a future for SLK in Office365. For me, an Office365 E3 user, familiar with its implemenation of Sharepoint and roadmap it seems logical. If you have the use of Office365 Sharepoint, you are just a tennant: no access to the actual plumbing and heating of the building. Yes I know  there is a sandbox but it can handle only a scaled down set of the complete object model. Need more then you must have a High Level Design that Microsoft accepts, probably a third party that builds it and it must pass some test and MS to deploy it. SLK uses a dedicated database and therefore cannot run from the sandbox. For now I’m not favoring Office365 over an on-premise Sharepoint use: above all because there is no Office 365 Sharepoint Store where I can rent some additional solutions(webparts), limited search, limited webservices etc etc. See also http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=18128
If we want to make the use of Office365 Sharepoint comparable to an on-premise experience then the vendors you have now, Axceler Bamboo etc have to port their solutions to Office365. For this their High Level Designs are yet to be signed off by Microsoft to get it available for use in Office365? Or is this already done and must we wait for the Office365 Sharepoint Webstore, with the educational content solution as one of the first to rent?  Richard doesn’t see a future for SLK in Sharepoint online and there wil probably no High Level Design for it.  It’s survival is then the use in the free, on-premise WSS/ Foundation versions of Sharepoint.

Educational content is a much needed but should also be an out off the box/ to rent feature in Sharepoint. The SLK is a great effort but seemed to me to much of a hassle to get it running, for example not being able/ advised to use AD groups.  I cannot wait to see the possible out off the box/ to rent feature from Microsoft in action but I expect this can take 1 -3 years.

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 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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