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  • Feb.02.2013

    ​SharePoint Saturday Montreal was a great event on February 2, 2013.  You can go to the event page at www.sharepointsaturday.org/montreal to see all about it.  Serge Tremblay, Nicolas Georgeault. Alain Lord, Philippe Ouellet, and Benjamin Niaulin did a fantastic job organizing.  Not only was the venue ideal, the Wi-Fi solid, and the speakers delivering both English and French sessions, but they even had Montreal's famous Schwartz's Deli serving Montreal smoked meat sandwiches for lunch - awesome.

    I gave two talks at the event.  The first was my Extranets in SharePoint, and the second was Upgrading and Migrating to SharePoint 2013.  Links to the presentations can be found below.

    Sessions were only 45 minutes long, and there was a lot of material to pack in.  Particularly for the upgrade talk, I didn't get into any of the special upgrade considerations like My Sites, User Profiles, or Search.  I promise to start blogging more frequently again, and expand on these topics shortly.

     

  • Dec.04.2012

    On December 4th I ​delivered a Webinar on Extranets in SharePoint 2013, and also spoke to the licensing changes that will really change the game for both Extranets and public web sites. For on-premise installations, Microsoft is eliminating the For Internet Sites license requirement, bringing the licensing costs down significantly. Likewise in the cloud, Microsoft now provides up to 10,000 external user accounts for Extranets in Office 365, with no additional subscription fees.

    More details about the webinar as well as links to the presentation and video can be found below

    Presentation - Extranets in SharePoint 2013
    Video - Extranets in SharePoint 2013

  • Dec.01.2012

    ​SharePoint Saturday Ottawa on December 1st was a great day packed with sessions, and as expected, the focus and buzz was all on SharePoint 2013. You can find full coverage of the day's events at http://www.sharepointsaturday.org/ottawa/

    Envision IT was a sponsor at the event, and I delivered 2 presentations on Extranets in SharePoint 2013 and Rich Media Support in SharePoint 2013.  You can view presentations and videos of my sessions on the event page here:

    SharePoint Saturday Ottawa

     

     

  • Nov.29.2012

    On November 29th I delivered a Webcast on SharePoint 2010 for Internet Sites (FIS) on Windows Azure with Stephen Giles,​ Partner Technology Advisor of Microsoft Canada. Envision IT is now an Azure Circle Partner, and we see Cloud solutions as an affordable way for organizations to stay connected and flexible while increasing productivity and growing their business.

    SharePoint 2010 FIS on  Azure enables you to

    • Rapidly deploy and host your business websites on a secure, scalable cloud infrastructure
    • Rapidly deploy the infrastructure for a partner extranet site
    • Rapidly deploy the infrastructure for a customer internet site using Windows Azure virtual machines

    With SharePoint FIS on Windows Azure you can scale as your website traffic grows and pay only for what you use.

    In this session we discussed how SharePoint FIS on Windows Azure helps reduce your time-to-market with new websites, provide a full extensible platform for both internal and external websites, and only pay for what you need.

    We also showcased the consultation and deployment options available for you from Envision IT. 

    You can view the presentation at the link below

    SharePoint FIS on Azure

  • Oct.23.2012

    ​On October 23rd I delivered a Webinar on Extranets in SharePoint 2010 and 2013.

    As more organizations recognize than an Extranet is a vital part of their web strategy, business partners are finding ways to dramatically improve on Extranet performance, functionality and user experience.

    Microsoft SharePoint delivers a secure platform that allows a tailored approach towards achieving business goals with an Extranet. A SharePoint Extranet can support the following objectives:

    • Build an online community
    • Allow interaction between organization and customers, partners, vendors, and volunteers
    • Reduce supply chain inefficiencies
    • Offer customer self-service strategies
    • Share business resources with partners

    In this webinar, we demonstrated the latest technology enhancements and customizations for Extranet Portals that ensure organizations achieve their goals. We showcased how our clients are using SharePoint to transform their businesses, lower costs and maximize growth potential in a variety of scenarios:

    We also discussed the various ways to extend SharePoint outside your organization.  We compared and contrasted the following technical solutions, and outlined where each is appropriate:

    You can view the presentation and video from the links below:

    Presentation - Extranets in SharePoint 2010 and 2013
    Video - Extranets in SharePoint 2010 and 2013

  • Sep.27.2012

    ​On September 27th I delivered a seminar at Microsoft with a simultaneous live webinar on Web Content Management in SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013.

    We explored what's new for SharePoint 2013, particularly as it applies to Web Content Management and upgrading to the new platform from SharePoint 2010. Some of the exciting features demonstrated were:

    • Design Manager - Build and manage your branding with any web design tool
    • Channels - Tailor your content to the device or browser
    • Managed Navigation
    • Customizing search with HTML display templates
    • The new Content Search Web Part
    • Image Renditions - Manage your web-friendly images through the browser
    • Cross-Site Publishing - Share your content between Intranet and public web site
    • SEO and Analytics Enhancements
    • Improved content author user experience

    We also looked into enhancing the experience in both 2010 and 2013 with our Digital Marketing Suite, Microsoft’s exciting announcements around Azure Media Services and SharePoint on Azure, and how you upgrade your 2010 publishing sites to SharePoint 2013.

    You can view the presentations and videos from the link below:

    Web Content Management in SharePoint 2010 and 2013

  • Aug.13.2012

    ​It's been a while since I've posted, and now I have a backlog of SharePoint 2013 content that I'd like to get posted out there, so I need to find the time.  I've been playing with the beta since early this year, but now that it is public, it's time to start talking about it.

    I figured the best place to start would be two of my favourite topics: Upgrading and Web Content Management (WCM).  What better place to start on that than on my blog site itself, which is hosted on SharePoint 2010.

    Being a WCM fan, when it came time to move my blog site to SharePoint 2010, I decided not to use the blog template, but rather base it off the full WCM publishing site template.  This gave me much better control over the branding and user experience, but it required some extra work to pull it all together.  Some of it I never did get fully completed, so I'll have to get back to that too.  I have custom web parts for the archive and tag cloud sections that I need to deploy, as well as ideas around the anonymous commenting and CAPTCHA requirements for a public blog.  I'll save that for another day, but hopefully soon.

    ...
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  • Aug.13.2012

    ​If you have a look at the TechNet SharePoint 2013 Preview articles, you'll see that Microsoft has done a great job of documenting a lot of the cool new features in 2013.  The first paragraph briefly describes an improvement to the Word cut and paste experience for content authors.  I can't say enough how important I see that being, so I've devoted a full post just to that topic at SharePoint 2013 Word Cut and Paste.

    Naturally I was keen to try the feature out, so one of the first things I did was open my new 2013 blog site (which still looked like 2010), and paste some rich text in from Word.  Boy was I disappointed to see that it didn't work.  What I didn't realize is that I had to complete the site collection upgrade to be able to see the new feature (yes 2010 mode really does work like 2010).

    It was now time to try the Site Collection Upgrade.  Much like in 2010, in the Site Collection Administration section of Site Settings, there is a Site collection upgrade option.  Running this goes through the site collection upgrade, and another log file is generated.  I still had missing features for some of our products that I hadn't tested the upgrade on yet, but otherwise the upgrade went well.

    Again like 2010, the resulting site worked but looked all wrong, for the same reasons.  The upgrade had changed the master page reference to a new v15.master page, that didn't have any of my custom branding on it.  It was time to figure out Design Masters, which are the new way of doing master pages in 2013.

    ...
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  • Aug.13.2012

    ​It's time to start getting my Fall speaking schedule in place, and my first talks to get booked are on upgrading a SharePoint 2010 publishing site to SharePoint 2013, along with an overview of the changes and new features in Web Content Management (WCM) in SharePoint 2013.

    The first part of the talk will be a discussion of the process for upgrading a site to 2013, as well as a live demo of that process using this blog site.  The main steps I'll be following are:

    1. Building the 2013 farm (briefly, this is a whole topic on its own)
    2. Attaching a backup of the 2010 content database to 2013
    3. Performing the Site Collection Upgrade
    4. Updating the branding with the new Design Manager

    The second half of the talk will be a walk-through of some of the cool new features in 2013 from a WCM perspective.  These include:

    • Branding changes with Design Manager
    • Much improved Word cut and paste
    • Video content types
    • Image renditions (automatically generated resized versions of images for different purposes, such as web friendly, thumbnail, or full fidelity for download)
    • Content search web parts versus content query web parts
    • Catalog-enabled libraries and lists versus reusable content
    • Friendly URLs
    • Design channels for different devices

     You can come see this talk at the following venues:

     I repeated the same talk in person at Microsoft Canada and as a webinar the following week.  Presentations and recordings are available at www.envisionit.com/products/events/Pages/Seminar-2012-09-27-Web-Content-Management-in-SharePoint-2010-and-2013.aspx.

  • Jun.25.2012

    ​This is a problem that has been plaguing me for years.  When you access a SharePoint site with a fully qualified domain name (FQDN) such as https://sharepoint.envisionit.com, you get repeatedly prompted for credentials.  A FQDN has periods in the name, as in the URL above.  Since we do a lot of work with Extranets, we typically use SSL (secure https sites) and FQDNs on our sites, since they will be accessed externally as well as internally.

    The first fix is in the browser itself.  In order to have the browser pass your logged on credentials to the server, it needs to be in the Intranet zone.  FQDNs are automatically considered to be Internet sites by the browser.  To change this do the following:

    1. From the browser Tools menu, select Internet Options
    2.  Go to the Security tab
    3. Select Local intranet
    4. Click Sites
    5. Click Advanced
    6. Add the FQDN to the Websites list

    The above was the easy part, and applies to the browser.  However if your applications use WebDav, you still get prompted for credentials, even if you are already logged in with the correct credentials.  This will cause you grief with all the Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, InfoPath), opening a library in Explorer (so you can move files around easily), and many other situations.

    Our Systems Administrator and resident guru Wes found the appropriate changes needed to support this.  Basically you'll need to add a registry entry to each client computer, after which you should not be repeatedly prompted for credentials.

    1. From the Start-Run menu run RegEdit
    2. Navigate to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\services\WebClient\Parameters path
    3. Right-click Parameters and create a New Multi-String Value
    4. Name it AuthForwardServerList
    5. Enter one or more FQDNs that you want the rule to apply to

    Note that you can also enter wildcards such as *.envisionit.com, for both the Intranet zone browser settings and the WebDav support.

    Of course the ideal way to do both of these is by adding a Group Policy Preferences to your AD (which is what Wes did).

  • Jun.14.2012

    ​On June 14th I delivered a seminar at Microsoft on Creating Dynamic Web Sites with SharePoint Web Content Management.

    Microsoft SharePoint is a powerful platform for creating rich internet web sites that put you ahead of your competition. Many organizations are already familiar with SharePoint’s collaboration capabilities; in this seminar we demonstrated how you can leverage SharePoint Web Content Management capabilities to:

    • Allow business users to easily maintain content
    • Create dynamic sites with modern creative designs and branding
    • Keep customers engaged with social media
    • Create rich content including video and images
    • Customize your site to specific visitors
    • Provide a rich interactive user experience
    • Manage content from multiple sources
    • Decrease costs by leveraging SharePoint for your Internet, Extranet, Intranet and collaboration needs
    • Ensure a broader reach with sites that offer multilingual support, cross-browser and mobile functionality and W3C accessibility
    • Learn about search engine optimization and web analytics

    Showcasing some of the client sites Envision IT has built, we demonstrated WCM key features in SharePoint, some SEO optimization techniques and best practices, and use of Social Media. You can view the presentation by clicking the link below:

    Presentation - Create Dynamic Web Sites with SharePoint Web Content Management

  • Jun.11.2012

    ​Last week we wrapped up a very successful series of webinars that ran from April through to June.  The topic was Extranets, with a focus on our Envision IT Extranet User Manager Product.  We had more than 500 people register.

    You can see the full agenda for the webinar, along with the slide deck and a full video recording of the webinar, by visiting the Envision IT Extranet Webinar page.

  • Jun.03.2012

    ​While I've performed and spoken on SharePoint 2007 to 2010 upgrades for quite some time now, recently we have become involved in a number of large migration projects for corporate clients.  One of the bigger challenges in these upgrades has been identifying the features required for the sites in 2010, and determining a strategy for supporting them.

    When we are doing 2010 upgrades, we generally recommend taking a content database attach approach to the upgrade.  I'm not a fan on in place upgrades, due to the fact that we don't know the health of the 2007 farm, and we genreally don't want to bring that legacy of potential issues with us through the upgrade.  One of the main reasons for doing the upgrade (aside from getting to 2010) is to get a clean, well-built, and well-documented 2010 environment to work in, which means a fresh build.

    To determine the features needed, we will often do a the following PowerShell command to test the upgrade.

    Test-SPContentDatabase -name dbName -webapplication siteUrl

    This will generate the same upgrade error log as actually attaching the content database, and we can review that to determine the missing features.  When we are ready to actually attach the databse, we can do that with the following:

     Mount-SPContentDatabase -name dbName -webapplication siteUrl

    To review the errors and warnings from a number of content database attaches, do the following:

    1. Go to the C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\LOGS folder
    2. Copy the relevant Upgrade...-error.log files to an empty temp folder
    3. Use Visual Studio or SQL Management Studio to do a Find in Files of [ERROR] or [WARNING], and find all files.  This will give you an output of all the error or warning lines in all the error logs

    Once we have tested or performed the upgrade, the challenge is determining the features needed.  The upgrade error log simply reports the missing feature IDs, not what they actually are.  To determine the features themselves, we use one of two techniques.

    The first technique involves accessing the 2007 production farm.  We perform these steps:

    1. Go to the C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\TEMPLATE\FEATURES folder
    2. Use Visual Studio or SQL Management Studio to do a Find in Files of the desired feature ID
    3. Use the folder name to identify the feature name

    An alternative technique involves having a repository of all the WSP solution files used on the production farm.  With those perform the following:

    1. Copy the WSP files to a temp location
    2. Open a command prompt to that location
    3. Run rename *.wsp *.cab to rename all the WSP files to CAB files
    4. Open each CAB file and extract the contents to a sub-folder of the same name
    5. Use Visual Studio or SQL Management Studio to do a Find in Files of the desired feature ID
    6. Use the folder name to identify the feature name

     

  • Apr.19.2012

    ​On April 19th I delivered a seminar over at Microsoft on the topic of SharePoint Extranets.

    As more organizations recognize that an Extranet is a vital part of their web strategy, business partners are finding ways to dramatically improve on Extranet performance, functionality and user experience.

    Microsoft SharePoint delivers a secure platform that allows a tailored approach towards achieving business goals with an Extranet. A SharePoint Extranet can support the following objectives:

    • Build an online community
    • Allow interaction between organization and customers, partners, vendors, and volunteers Reduce supply chain inefficiencies
    • Offer customer self-service strategies
    • Share business resources with partners

    In this seminar, we demonstrated the latest technology enhancements and customizations for Extranet Portals that ensure organizations achieve their goals. We showed examples of how our clients are using SharePoint to transform their businesses, lower costs and maximize growth potential in a variety of scenarios:

    As part of the session, we discussed the various ways to extend SharePoint 2010 outside your organization.  We will compare and contrast the following technical solutions, and outline where each is appropriate:

    You can view the presentation by clicking on the following link:

    Presentation - Designing your SharePoint Extranet to work for you

  • Mar.20.2012

    ​This week I had the pleasure of attending Convergence 2012 in Houston, Texas, the big event for the Microsoft Dynamics Community. On Tuesday I delivered 2 sessions on Trends in Digital Marketing: How Microsoft SharePoint Powers the Internet, together with Geoffrey Edge of Microsoft and Didier Oliver.

    My session focused on the work Envision IT has done with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, developing a public web site with members Extranet. I demonstrated how the solution integrates Dynamics CRM into their public site to expose details from their database on their Clubs and key contacts, while feeding back information from registered donors and members through the Extranet to the database.

    Key learnings included:

    • A real life customer web experience using Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Commerce Server, and SharePoint
    • Digital marketing trends
    • SharePoint internet capabilities and Microsoft Dynamics CRM integration

    You can click the links below for more information:

    Presentation - Trends in Digital Marketing-How SharePoint Powers the Internet
    Learn more about the solution Envision IT developed for Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada

  • Feb.15.2012

    ​SharePoint has become mission critical, complex, and wide-ranging in most enterprises. How do we apply the best practices of ALM in this environment? In this session I cover the following:

    • System Center Virtual Machine Manager and AutoSPInstall to quickly provision dev, test, and production farms by leveraging HyperV
    • Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server to manage an Agile Scrum team
    • Build servers and automated testing to create a continuous integration environment
    • Moving code and content in both directions through a dev/test/prod lifecycle
    • How to capture as much of the SharePoint configuration in components that can be deployed, rather than manual steps

    The goal is to build a change management process that merges the content authored in production with the code written in development effectively. 

    ​Key Learnings

    • How to create an environment to support your SharePoint Development and QA teams
    • Agile and continuous integration in a SharePoint environment
    • The value of automated testing
    • Demonstration
    • Provisioning of test environments through SCVMM
    • Live automated build and test scenario

    The Application Lifecycle Management for SharePoint in the Enterprise deck is available for download. 

     

     

     

    Details on session dates can be found at www.envisionit.com/Training/Pages/Seminar-2012-02-Application-Lifecycle-Management-for-SharePoint-in-the-Enterprise.aspx.

     

  • Feb.13.2012

    Having a SharePoint publishing site render well on a mobile device doesn't happen automatically.  SharePoint tries to optimize the experience on a mobile device, but this is really of benefit only to collaboration sites and a hindrance to publishing sites.

    ​In my previous Mobile SharePoint public sites post I described using the browserCaps option in the web.config.  This is actually not the best approach, and is no longer supported.  The current supported method is:

    1. Go to the web application folder on the web front end(s)
    2. Go into the App_Browsers folder
    3. Open the compat.browser in Notepad
    4. For each device that you want to turn the mobile experience off for, change the isMobileDevice to false

    Typically I set the isMobileDevice value to false for all the sites.  I don't see the value of the mobile experience in this scenario, as it really isn't designed for publishing sites.

  • Nov.15.2011

    Day One of TechDays 2011 in Vancouver is done now too, and both my sessions went very well.  Damir from Microsoft will be making the recorded sessions available, which I'll re-post as soon as we get them.  For those of you in the Montreal area, I will also be delivering this talk at that TechDays, on Nov 29-30. 

    TechDays 2011 - CLB379 - SharePoint 2010 Extranets and Authentication

    As promised I'm providing a lot of the content I showed.  This includes a new Excel worksheets for planning out SharePoint FBA and ADFS implementations that actually generates the required web.config entries and PowerShell script needed to complete the installation.  Check them out here:

    TechDays 2011 - CLB376 - Upgrading and Migrating to SharePoint 2010, On-Premise and in the Cloud

    Here's the TechDays 2011 - CLB376 - Upgrading and Migrating to SharePoint 2010, On-Premise and in the Cloud presentation.

    ...
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  • Oct.26.2011

    Day One of TechDays 2011 in Toronto is wrapped, and my session on SharePoint Extranets went very well. Good feedback from the audience at the Congress Centre.

    Damir from Microsoft will be making the recorded sessions available, which I'll re-post as soon as we get them. In the meantime, here's the TechDays 2011 - CLB379 - SharePoint 2010 Extranets and Authentication presentation.

    More importantly for many, as promised I'm also including a copy of the LAB SQL FBA Configuration Checklist Excel that I demonstrated in the session. It helps organize the implementation of forms-based authentication in SharePoint 2010.

    For those of you in the Vancouver and Montreal areas, I will also be delivering this talk at those TechDays, on November 15-16, and 29-30, respectively.

    ...
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  • Oct.26.2011

    Day One of TechDays 2011 in Toronto is wrapped, and my session on Upgrading to SharePoint 2010 went very well. Good feedback from the audience at the Congress Centre.

    Damir from Microsoft will be making the recorded sessions available, which I'll re-post as soon as we get them. In the meantime, here's the TechDays 2011 - CLB376 - Upgrading and Migrating to SharePoint 2010, On-Premise and in the Cloud presentation.

    For those of you in the Vancouver and Montreal areas, I will also be delivering this talk at those TechDays, on November 15-16, and 29-30, respectively.

    ...
    [Read More]
  • Oct.21.2011

    I've attended all of the SharePoint Conferences over the years, but this year's conference in Anaheim was special on two fronts.  It was a first time for us to be exhibiting on the show floor as we launched out the new brand on our products side of the business, and I was speaking for the first time at the conference.

    I've spoken at numerous other events and confierences before, but SharePoint Conference was by far the biggest.  7,400 attendees from around the world is a big number, even if they are running up to 14 different tracks at the same time.  For the session the room was big, as was the crowd.

    I had the pleasure of co-presenting with Brad Freels, who is a Senior Collaboration Technology Specialist with Microsoft US.  The title of our talk was "With SharePoint Your Extranet is Easy".  Brad took the front part of the talk to walk through the different types of Extranets and the decision points related to their complexity, and presented a roadmap for determining what is involved in implementing an Extranet.  I then took over and focused on how you provision Extranet users, and walked through a case study of our Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada project.

    A copy of the presentation is available for viewing at SPC251 - With SharePoint Your Extranet is Easy.

    ...
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  • Oct.13.2011

    We've been doing a fair bit of research lately on how better to deal with sessions on a forms-based authentication site.  By default SharePoint creates a fixed 10 hour session using a permanent cookie that persists beyond the browser session.  This means that even if you close all your browser windows and re-open it, you session is persisted and you are still logged in.  The only way to logout is to explicitly do so.

    While session persistence has some benefits, particularly around single sign-on and Office integration (you don't need to re-athenticate as you launch Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. from SharePoint), it has some drawbacks from a security perspective.  If your Extranet is more about providing a secure web experience than Office integration, you probably don't want the persistent session.  Thankfully there is an easy solution to the session persistence, in the form of a number of PowerShell  commands we'll get to in a minute.

    The other part of the problem is the 10 hour session.  Again this is convenient, but not neccessarily best practice for all secure Extranets.  You can shorten the session, but what we found was that it didn't slide.  What this means is if you shorten it to 10 minutes, at 10 minutes your session will expire and you'll be force to re-authenticate, even if you were constantly using the site throughout those 10 minutes.  What we wanted was for the session to expire after 10 minutes of inactivity.

    ...
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  • Oct.13.2011

    I'm sure many people have already installed SP1, but I thouoght it would be a good idea to put the file locations and steps down in one place, if only for our staff and customers to be able to refer to.  Bear in mind that these steps are for simple installations, typically with just a single web front end and a separate SQL Server.

    As with any update, this should be tested prior to applying to a production system.  These updates cannot be backed out, and they update not only the binaries on the disk, but also the structue and content of the content databases themselves.

    ...
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  • Sep.20.2011

    It's been a while since I've posted. It hasn't been for lack of things to write about, but rather a lack of time. Hopefully I'll be able to address that over the next while.

    I've been working on a better way to publish video content in SharePoint for some time now. Sure there is a Silverlight video player web part, but it doesn't address all the platforms that may be consuming that content. Silverlight is a great video streaming client, but it only works on PC and Mac browsers. With tablets and mobile exploding, we need to support them as well.

    I started thinking about ow best to support video, and naturally that needed to work in HTML5 support. The latest browsers for the most part all support video in HTML5, both on PC/Mac platforms and mobile/tablet. The question was how to tailor the page to the device, and also support older browsers and devices.

    I decided to support the following hierarchy of players in the page that I was designing.

    • Silverlight
    • HTML5
    • Flash
    ...
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  • Apr.16.2011

    So you've got a public-facing web site built on SharePoint 2010, and you'd like to use the surveys to poll anonymous users.  How do you go about doing that?  Well there's a number of different things you need to do.

    The first step of course is to create your survey.  Go ahead and create a new survey (typically from the View All Site Content page).  Setup your questions and defaults, and make sure everything looks good from that perspective.

    You would think that your next step is to setup permission.  Actually it isn't.  Before you can do that, you need to turn off the ViewFormPagesLockDown hidden feature that is turned on by default on publishing sites.  Now don't worry, we're not going to leave it off, as that opens a big security hole on your publishing sites.  We just need to turn it off temporarily.  To do that, run the following command on your farm.

    ...
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  • Apr.15.2011

    For those of you that didn't get a chance to get out to SharePoint Saturday in Mississauga in December, I repeated the Extranet session in a webinar today.  I've posted a PDF version of the deck.  Look for the video shortly.

    You can check out the other presentations and videos at http://bit.ly/spstoweb-assets.  For details on the webinar series go to http://www.sharepointsaturday.org/toronto/default.aspx.

  • Apr.11.2011

    As we see more and more public web sites being launched on SharePoint 2010, mobile support is becoming a hot issue on those sites.  Depending on your approach, you may want to create a simplified version of your site targeted to mobile devices, or you may just want your site to render as normal on mobile devices.

    The first approach of a targeted site I'll save for a later date.  We've done this for one of the sites we built for CAMH at www.problemgambling.ca.  If you visit the site on a mobile device, you'll see a significantly simplified site targeted to mobile.  You can still reach the full site, but the default is the mobile version.

    In the second approach you just want your site to render on mobile devices.  In both scenarios actually, SharePoint tries to outsmart you to your detriment.  It detects a mobile device, and tries to redirect you to SharePoint's mobile version.  This really only applies to lists and libraries on collaboration sites, and typically gives a 401 Unauthorized on a public site.

    ...
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  • Mar.20.2011

    I know it's long after the event, but I just got back onto the TechDays 2010 site and noticed that the videos from the Toronto sessions are available there now.  You can go to http://www.microsoft.com/canada/techdays/online/tab-2.aspx and see the session the Bill Brockbank and I delivered titled CLB372: Upgrading Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 to SharePoint Server 2010.

  • Feb.01.2011

    My first session today at SharePoint Summit went quite well, with a very engaged group.  As promised here's the presentation.

  • Dec.23.2010

    I've been meaning to post about this for some time now, so I decided there is no time like the present.  All of the tips below apply to both MOSS 2007 and SharePoint 2010.

    When you are setting up a SharePoint site, performance is often an overlooked item.  It is particularly important for public web sites, but Intranet sites an collaborative sites benefit from this as well.  We'll use our own Envision IT public web site (www.envisionit.com) as the example.  The items that we'll cover are:

     

    • Setting up the site collection object cache to improve the content query web part performance.  These web parts are used extensively in the sites
    • Enabling and configuring the cache profiles (which are off by default)
    • Turning on the disk-based BLOB cache for binary objects (images, PDFs, etc.)
    • Setting up a wake-up script to run nightly to hit the sites and cause the caches to get initialized and populated, as well as ASP.NET started up
    ...
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  • Dec.16.2010

    Last night was a packed house at the TSPUG.  As promised I've uploaded TSPUG Presentation 2010-12-15.  I'd still like to add more to it, and may even repeat the session and record it, so check back for updates.

  • Apr.19.2010

    To start with, you should probably begin with my Upgrading a MOSS 2007 WCM Site to 2010  post.

    Once the 2007 content database and site has been restored and upgraded to 2010, go to the Site Settings (e.g.  http://sharepoint2010/_layouts/settings.aspx )

    The Settings pages should have the original “2007” look to them.   To upgrade the Settings site to the new 2010 branding, you will need to located the Visual Upgrade feature.

    ...
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  • Apr.19.2010

    Last week I delivered a web content management session (including upgrading from 2007 to 2010) at the SharePoint Summit.  For a copy of the presentation deck, please refer to Upgrading from MOSS and Leveraging WCM in SharePoint 2010.pptx

    For details on the process we followed to upgrade the master page, see my Converting 2007 branding masterpages to 2010 post.

  • Mar.30.2010

    This past Friday we had a very well attended session at Microsoft Canada on BI and BCS in SharePoint 2010.  We were showing a health care client in the Microsoft Rapid Deployment Program for 2010.  Building of KPIS, scorecards, and reports in PerformancePoint was covered, as well as using BCS to read and update information in SQL.

    You can see more background on the session at Business Intelligence and Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint 2010.  A copy of the presentation can be downloaded here.

  • Mar.08.2010

    So it's official!  Stephen Elop, President of the Microsoft Business Division, will announce the launch of Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 on May 12, 2010 at 11 a.m. EST.  For more details on this go to http://sharepoint.microsoft.com/2010launch.

  • Mar.08.2010

    The second annual Toronto SharePoint Camp is coming on Saturday March 20th.  Details and registration can be found at www.torontosharepointcamp.com.  We are a Gold Sponsor, and have both myself and Joe Seguin (blog.joeseguin.ca) speaking.

    I'll be talking about Extranets in SharePoint 2007 and 2010.  Here's a copy of my abstract.

    SharePoint is a platform not only for internal sites like Intranets and external sites like public web sites, but is also a great place to connect with customers, partners, vendors, and others outside your organization.  During this session you will learn some of the decision points when setting up your Extranet in SharePoint.

    • MOSS or WSS?
    • DMZ, firewalls, Forefront and security in general
    • Where are my user accounts?  AD or SQL forms-based authentication?  How do I setup forms-based authentication?
    • How do my business users setup sites and users?
    • Can I integrate it in with my back-end systems like Microsoft CRM?

    We will use real world SharePoint 2007 and 2010 examples to illustrate.  Extranets for Cadillac Fairview, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Heart and Stroke Foundation, and Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada will be shown.

  • Feb.24.2010

    I spoke last week on web content management in 2010.  The talk gave an overview of WCM in SharePoint, and then we went through two scenarios.  The first was a live upgrade of a 2007 to 2010, followed by a new net build.

    For the upgrade we used the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario's Intranet site called Tickr.  This is a MOSS 2007 site that we launched for the HSFO last summer.  As part of Microsoft's Rapid Deployment Program, we are working with HSFO to create a 2010 version of the site (along with a net new Board of Directors portal in 2010).

    For the net new build, we are working with Samuel & Sons on building a new public web site, also as part of Microsoft's 2010 RDP program.

    I've made the PowerPoint slide deck from the presentation available as a download.  You can find it at What's New in Web Content Management in SharePoint 2010 2010-02-17.

    I promised during the session to post the details of the upgrade process, so I've created another post at Upgrading a MOSS 2007 WCM Site to 2010.

  • Feb.24.2010

    So you want to upgrade your MOSS 2007 web content management site to SharePoint 2010?  Here's my recipe of the process we've been following.  Note that this was last updated on the RC version of SharePoint 2010.

    The following are the steps that you need to go through:

    1. You need to be on MOSS 2007 first.  If you're coming from SPS 2003 or CMS 2002, there is no direct upgrade path to SP2010
    2. You need to have SP2 installed on your MOSS 2007 environment.  This is the only supported path, and SP2 includes some tools for preparing for the upgrade
    3. You can do either an in-place upgrade or a database attach.  In-place means you actually upgrade the server that is running MOSS 2007.  This doesn't give you an easy fallback position, so we're not fans of it.  Content database attach means you attach a backup of the content database to a new SP2010 farm.  Much safer
    4. First step is to run the pre-upgrade checker on your MOSS 2007 server - Stsadm –o preupgradecheck
    5. Review the log file that comes out of this, and perform any appropriate cleanup to your 2007 farm prior to performing the upgrade.  We recommend running this step periodically even if your upgrade isn't planned  for some time
    6. Prepare your new 2010 farm.  You'll need Windows Server 64-bit for both the SharePoint and SQL servers, and SQL Server needs to be 64-bit
    7. Backup your existing database through SQL Server Management Studio
    8. Restore it to the 2010 farm's SQL Server
    9. Create a new web application on the 2010 farm
    10. Delete the content DB that was provisioned with the web application
    11. Attach the content database to the web application with the command line Stsadm –o addcontentdb –url siteurl –databasename DBName
    ...
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  • Feb.10.2010

    I'll be speaking at the next TSPUG meeting on Wednesday, February 17, 2010.  My topic for this meeting is Web Content Management with SharePoint 2010. I'll be covering the following:

    • Overview of WCM in SharePoint (site columns, content types, master pages, and layouts)
    • Upgrading an existing MOSS 2007 WCM site to 2010
    • Content database attach upgrade
    • Steps involved in updating a master page to be SP2010 compliant
    • Building a net new SP2010 WCM site
    • Building the site columns, content types, and site structure
    • Creating the master page and layouts in SharePoint Designer
    • Building a custom component in Visual Studio 2010
    • Site deployment

    6:00pm – Pizza and social

    6:30pm – Introductions and Q&A

    6:50pm – Web Content Management in SharePoint 2010

    8:30pm – Prizes and closing

    To register, click here http://www.clicktoattend.com/?id=145706

  • Jan.25.2010

    I've been writing this blog for a few months now, so I figured it was time to explain a bit about how the blog site is built.

    Being a Microsoft Gold Partner focused on SharePoint, I felt we should use SharePoint for our blog sites.  Of course I quickly ran into some limitations in doing that, particularly in a public facing blog site.  Things like anonymous commenting (with anti-spam protection) and friendly URLs were important to me.

    It didn't take long to dig into the Community Kit for SharePoint: Enhanced Blog Edition to help with this.  This is a CodePlex project that can be found at http://cks.codeplex.com/wikipage?title=Enhanced%20Blog%20Edition&referringTitle=Home.

    Called CKS:EBE for short, it solves a lot of my problems.  For a good blog posting on what it is, I would recommend having a look at http://www.cmswire.com/cms/enterprise-20/blogging-with-sharepoints-enhanced-blog-edition-002482.php.

    Of course not everything worked perfectly.  At first I didn't have the CAPTCHAs running (those funny distorted letters and numbers you have to type in so a site knows you are a real person).  It didn't take too long for the blog spammers to find me, and start over-running the site with automated spam comments.

    I tried enabling the CAPTCHA, but it didn't work for me.  I eventually found http://cks.codeplex.com/Thread/View.aspx?ThreadId=23454, which explains that the CAPTCHA only works on certain themes like Wildlife.  Of course the Default I was using it didn't.  I followed the thread in the post and used SharePoint Designer to update my Default theme, and the CAPTCHA fields started showing up.  However it still didn't work in the root site (which is what I am using), so as of today I still don't have them working.  No spam comments coming in anymore, but no comments at all either.  I'll have to keep plugging at that and keep you updated.

  • Jan.25.2010

    By default when accessing a SharePoint 2010 site over https, you get the following dialog displayed warning about mixed content (the exact dialog depends on your version of IE and Windows).

    This is noted in a TechNet posting at:

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/sharepoint2010setup/thread/0e94371d-e6d7-4399-b2b6-0cf8b80167ba

    The issue is that the following script tag is being inserted by SharePoint:

    ...
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  • Nov.23.2009

    If you've read my last post at Accessing SQL 2008 Express, you'll be up to date on our upgrade plans.  We've restored the database to our new environment, and we're ready to attach it.  Before starting that there are a few caveats:

    • We still haven't gotten our production web server updated with SP2.  I know we should, and we will shortly, but in the interim I used a content database from our development server.  You need to have SP2 installed on MOSS before you can upgrade to SP2010
    • Once you've got the content database restored, you attach it with an STSADM command.  To run that successfully (see the post above for the details) you need to run the command prompt as administrator.  Failing to do that gives you a "Access denied" when you run the STSADM -o addcontentdb command

    Other than some complaints about missing features, that upgraded fine.  I wasn't ready to try installing 2007 features, so we just copied the required branding files that are normally installed by a feature (we'll do that properly later), edited the web.config to get all the controls loaded, and the site came up nicely.

    Of course we're still running in the version 3 user experience, so now the task is to update the master page to work with the new user experience.  James Brett is one of our web developers, and that's his task now.  I'll post the results of that once they become available.

  • Nov.23.2009

    So we've had SP2010 Beta 2 installed for about a week now, and it's time to get our site upgrade into it again.  We've got a seminar on web content management (WCM) in SharePoint 2010 next week, and having an upgraded version of our site and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario (HSFO) done for the presentation is a big part of it.

    So it was time to look back on my previous blog posts on upgrading to SP2010, and figure out how to do it again.  For those of you that read my SharePoint 2010 Upgrade post back in October, you'll know that I'm a big fan of the content database migration approach.

    To start with, I needed to get access to the SQL 2008 Express installation on the standalone installation that we did for Beta 2.  Now I know that we should do a full farm installation, but to start with this seemed easier.  However there are no management tools for SQL installed with SQL Express, so I had some challenges.

    ...
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  • Nov.17.2009

    I got the email from Microsoft that the Microsoft Office 2010 Beta is now available.  This is an early release for members of the Technical Preview (which we are), but I believe general availability will happen tomorrow (November 18th).

    The download wasn't too bad.  A couple of hours and I had images for SharePoint Server 2010, SharePoint Foundation 2010, Office Professional, Project, Visio, SharePoint Designer, and the Office Web Applications.

    There is no upgrade path from the Technical Preview to the public beta, so our first step was to get a new clean server setup.  I love HyperV for this kind of work.  We have a development server with quad quad-core procs, 64 Gb RAM and lots of disk.  We can spin up 25+ servers on the one box for development and testing work.  Mark Campbell from my team fired up a clean Windows Server 2008 SP2 image, got it all patched up for me, and I was set to go.

    ...
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  • Oct.29.2009

    Digital asset management is something of particular interest to me.  For those of you that aren’t aware, at Envision IT we have a number of products for image management.  You can see them at www.envisionit.com/products.  So naturally I was very interested in what was new in SP2010 for image management.

    I’ll save the image management changes with respect to web content management (WCM) for another post (there’s lots there too).  Here I want to focus on the changes to the picture library.

    For those of you that are familiar with picture libraries in MOSS 2007, you may understand that they were really second class document libraries.  Things like major/minor versions and content approvals didn’t exist in them.  Ever wonder why the Images and Site Collection Images libraries in the MOSS publishing template are not picture libraries, but rather just document libraries.  Unfortunately that means you lose the great picture library features like automatic thumbnail and web-friendly image generation, and picture metadata extraction (like image size).

    ...
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  • Oct.29.2009

    I’ve been meaning to get connected to the local SharePoint community for some time now.  I’ve heard good things about the Toronto SharePoint Users Group (TSPUG), and last night I decided to get out to a meeting.  Savash Alic from Microsoft Canada was out to give the first peaks at SharePoint 2010.  I had gotten to the SharePoint conference last week in Las Vegas so I had heard a much of the information, but there was just so much content in Vegas that there was no way you could get to it all.  Savash did a great job at hitting some of the highlights.  That is always a challenge, as SharePoint has become so big, there is no way you could remotely touch on it all in 90 minutes.

    If you’re interested in joining the community, I would encourage you to check out their site at http://www.tspug.com.  And for those of you that are in the west end and would rather not make the trek downtown, there is also a new Mississauga SharePoint User Group getting going.  I missed their inaugural meeting this past Monday, but their site is being graciously hosted by the Toronto group at http://www.tspug.com/mississauga.  I plan on getting involved there as well, as we are based in Mississauga, right across from the Microsoft Canada offices.

  • Oct.28.2009

    So I'm back from Las Vegas, and finally getting a chance to catch my breath and start looking at the upgrade of our web site to 2010.  One of the very nice features of the upgrade to 2010 is that by default the 2007 user experience is maintained.  You can then preview the site in the 2010 user experience before you commit to moving forward.  Most of the grief you are likely to experience I expect will be with custom master pages and layouts.

    Of course our public web site has a completely customized master page and custom layouts.  From Sean’s talk, it sounded like you can go back and forth at will between user experiences.  I started by previewing the user experience, but then for whatever reason I decided to the new user experience, and not have SharePoint ask me again.  Of course the master page blew up, and my site no longer worked.  The admin pages still worked, but I couldn’t switch the experience back.  Sean’s talk had mentioned an admin command to make the switch between version 3 and 4 user experience, but I couldn’t find it in my notes.  After muddling around for a while I decided to drop the content database and start over (which was not that big a deal).

    ...
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  • Oct.28.2009

    Everyone remember getting frustrated by SharePoint’s “An unexpected error has occurred” that gets displayed by default when something goes wrong in SharePoint?  Well it still happens in SP2010, but the good news is the same fix takes care of it.

    For those of you that haven’t come across the fix for this, it requires an edit to the web.config for the web application you are getting the error on.  Typically we do this on development and QA servers.  If you’re doing it in a farm, remember that you need to do the change to all front-end servers, or guarantee that you are hitting a specific web front-end.

    The web.config is found in the home directory for the web application.  This is typically c:\inetpub\wwwroot\wss\VirtualDirectories and then the folder for your web application.  To see the full errors make the following two changes.  Opening the web.config in Notepad and searching for the tags (there is only one for each) is the easiest way to do this.

    • Set: CustomErrors="Off"
    • Set: CallStack="true"

    Once you’ve done this change, you’ll see the full .NET error details and call stack for the error that occurred.

  • Oct.21.2009

    Okay, so maybe charging ahead on Beta 1 isn`t always the best idea.  I got my blog site up at blog.petercarson.ca with very little difficulty.  I pasted up a few of my posts, and things were still looking good.  We registered the DNS name, setup the rules on our ISA Server to publish it out, and voila, my blog site was live on the web.

    That’s where things went off the rails.  Our www2010.envisionit.com site is coming along nicely too, and that was published in the same way.  In both cases I wanted the sites to be available anonymously.  No sense in doing all this writing if no one can see it.  Well the www site was publishing fine, but the blog site wouldn’t stop requesting authentication.  It wasn’t the ISA Server, as the same thing was happening inside the network. 

    ...
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  • Oct.21.2009

    So I’ve attended Sean Livingston’s two upgrade sessions at the SharePoint conference today (SharePoint 2010 Upgrade Part 1: Fundamentals and SharePoint 2010 Upgrade Part 2: Advanced Scenarios) and I figure I’m ready to try upgrading a MOSS 2007 site.  What better one to start with than our public web site from www.envisionit.com.

    For those of you that don’t want to read all the sordid details, the site did upgrade quite cleanly, and is now available on http://www2010.envisionit.com/Products, running under SharePoint 2010.  It still has the old user experience, but in this case that just affects authors, and not the general public.  I’ll be working through that quite soon I’m sure.  The top level site is currently broken though, as I flipped the user experience over and I can get it back just yet.

    We need to start off with a few prerequisites here.  First and foremost there are only two versions of SharePoint you can upgrade from.  They are WSS v3 SP2 and MOSS 2007 SP2.  You have to be current on SP2, and if you’re skipping versions, you still need to migrate through 2007.  That’s fine, our site is built as a publishing site on MOSS 2007, and we’ve installed SP2, so we’re good on that side.  Next is that you have to be running 64-bit servers for BOTH SharePoint and SQL.  You can use either SQL 2005 or SQL 2008, but it has to be 64-bit.

    ...
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  • Oct.20.2009

    For those of you who have also made it down to the Microsoft SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas, you’ve no doubt been overwhelmed as well with the sheer quantity of information being presented.  With as many as 17 different sessions running at any one time (plus Hands On Labs and meetings), it can be hard to choose.  Needless to say there will be lots of reviewing of presentations after the fact once the videos are available.

    Now that the NDA wraps are off of SharePoint 2010, I’m going to start publishing the notes I’ve been keeping over the last few months since we got Beta 1 running in our lab back in the summer.  What better way to further our evaluation than to actually use it to host this blog.  Yes Microsoft strongly recommends that you wait to Beta 2 before running anything on SharePoint 2010, but I’ve always pushed the envelope.  I’ll just have to make sure I keep good archives in case anything goes wrong, and to help with the transition to Beta 2 and RTM.

Copyright ©2013 Peter Carson