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  • Feb.12.2017

    How would you like to be able to edit branding files locally on your machine (not through Windows Explorer to SharePoint), make that your local path for TFS for proper source control, and have your changes immediately sync to SharePoint on premises or in the cloud for testing?  This is the story of how we achieved that, and how you can easily integrate that into your own development processes.

    I'll start by describing the end result, then our journey that got us there, and end with what you need to use this yourself.

    [Read More]
  • Jul.09.2016

    ​​​​I actually thought I had already written this blog post, but it turns out it never made it out of OneNote draft mode and into my blog.  It's about time I start writing again, so here's my first post in while, appropriately on warming up (SharePoint that is).

    It's a fairly long post, so I here's a summary of what we're going to cover.

    • When SharePoint recycles every night, the first person in next experiences very slow page loads
    • Setting a scheduled task to "warm-up" SharePoint after this happens dramatically improves those first page loads
    • If you have client side code calling APIs (REST or CSOM), those APIs need to be warmed up too
    • You can ​configure IIS to have SharePoint recycle at a predictable time every night, and then warm up right after that
    ​ ...
    [Read More]
  • May.06.2015

    ​Day three at Microsoft Ignite in Chicago.  Lots of sessions, and lots of parties.  Honoured to win the Best Implementation of a Governance or Security Solution for SharePoint at the Metalogix and the SharePoint Best of Breed Awards last night for Extranet User Manager and our work at the Ontario Association of Children's​ Aid Societies.  Detail in the News Release.

    As expected, no earth shattering fundamental changes for SharePoint 2016.  Microsoft has been pretty clear that their first investments are in the cloud, and then those features come back into on premise.  Web content management has been a big focus area for us, and no announcements there.  No deprecation of features there either, which is good news.  For our WCM clients on SharePoint 2010 still, I would say it is safe to upgrade to SharePoint 2013 now, as that architecture is looking fundamentally the same in SharePoint 2016.

    Three top sessions for me so far.  Decks and videos are available on Channel 9.

    [Read More]
  • Apr.11.2015

    ​​Traditionally we've published anonymous web sites on http (port 80).  This is unencrypted, and the logic is we don't want to incur the overhead of encrypting and unencrypting what is essentially public information.  This saves resources on both the server and the client browser.  Authenticated or payment sites generally use https, which is encrypted and secure.

    The reality today is that SSL encryption is no longer an expensive operation, and both the web servers and client browsers have more than enough horsepower to deal with it.  Yes you can offload the SSL encryption off the web server to improve its performance, but I don't generally see the need for that.

    There have been recent changes in the treatment of http web sites by Google. 

    [Read More]
  • Mar.30.2015

    ​It's long overdue, but I've published a major update to our Envision Shakespeare Company reference project.  The previous update was last November, and a lot has changed since then.  The full package is available for download at

    The idea of the project is the same.  It still provides for a single scripted process that will create a complete web site, with adaptive mobile design, master page and page layouts, term-store driven navigation and friendly URLs, cross-site publishing and catalogs, and lots of content.

    [Read More]
  • Mar.26.2015

    ​​We've had a number of clients recently inquire about hosting their SharePoint in the cloud, but not in Office 365.  There are a number of scenarios where this makes sense.  It could be that you are looking to host your public web site, which Office 365 no longer supports.  Or you could be looking at hosting an Extranet, and the external sharing or licensing of your external users individually doesn't make sense (look for another post from me on that topic).  Regardless of the reason, one of the first questions we get is what are the costs.  Of course that depends, hence the white paper and calculator I've created.

    [Read More]
  • Mar.01.2015

    ​CollabCon is coming next week to the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.  As well as playing host for the three days, I will be presenting two sessions and two half day workshops.  Check them all out at

    • Building a Website on SharePoint 2013
    • Collaborating with External Users
    • SharePoint Extranets Half Day Workshop
    • Web Content Management Half Day Workshop
    [Read More]
  • May.28.2014

     I am riding again in this year's Ride to Conquer Cancer June 7-8. For those not familiar with the ride, it is a 200 km ride from Toronto to Niagara Falls, split over the Saturday and Sunday. Yes there are other directions now that you can take, but I’m going to stick with the classic route that I did in 2010 and 2011. It really is an incredible experience to be out with a group of several thousand riders, all pedaling to support the work of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, one of the top 5 cancer research centres​ in the world.

    I'm dedicating this year's ride to my Dad, who lost his battle with colon cancer this past February. Help support this great cause by donating at the link below. 

    Funds raised in The Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer will support breakthrough research, exemplary teaching, and compassionate care at Princess Margaret.

    For those of you with a keen eye for bikes, you will notice that the bike to the left is my classic Rocky Mountain road bike. My son Brett has inherited it, and is now commuting 2-3 times a week to my office where he is working this summer. I’ll be running my Cervelo, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t mix it up again and add some additional miles to the front and/or back of this year’s ride for old time’s sake. 

  • May.27.2014

    ​I was speaking today on Cloud Business Apps at the SharePoint Summit in Toronto.  This was a combination of a developer and customer case study talk.  It went through the different approaches and lessons learned from three client projects:

    • SharePoint 2010 Extranet portal for Toronto Stock Exchange
      • Customized SharePoint forms on a SharePoint list
      • Integration of forms
      • JSON and Knockout implementation of an Event Calendar in SharePoint 2010
    • Self-service HR forms for Baxter Canada
      • Provider-hosted high-trust apps in an on premise SharePoint 2013
    • Case management system for the Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia
      • The journey starts with Office 365, a custom identity provider, and provider hosted apps in Azure
      • Ultimately we landed on a combination of REST APIs and Knockout non-SharePoint apps, and a number of full-trust web parts, all hosted in RackSpace

    The SharePoint Summit Cloud Business Apps deck is available for download.

  • May.08.2014

    ​Last day of the conference and my second talk is in the can.  This one was on Office 365 REST APIs.  It started with some background and history on APIs, and then dove into the Documents API for SharePoint.  We then went into the Search API, and talked about REST and Search Driven Apps.  Some customer samples were presented, and then we proceeded into the bewildering world of authentication with REST and Apps.  This included Form Digest, OAuth, High Trust (Server to Server), Office 365's new Common Consent Framework, the Graph API, rolling your own REST, JSON Web Tokens (JWT) and frameworks such as AngualrJS and KnockoutJS.

    A lot to cover, including getting right into the code and walking through how it works.  The ESPC14 TH3 Office 365 REST APIs presentation is available for download.

  • May.07.2014

    ​It's been a whirlwind trip to Barcelona for the European SharePoint Conference 2014.  It's bee a great event, very well organized and a fantastic lineup of speakers from around the world.

    I did two talks, and this was the first one.  Titled Cloud Business Apps, it a case study of Apps work we're currently doing on client projects.  The three clients highlighted are:

    • Toronto Stock Exchange
    • Baxter Canada
    • Supreme Court of Victoria

    The ESPC14 W7X Cloud Business Apps presentation is available for download.

  • Mar.26.2014
    From time to time we get asked what the best way to change the Fully Qualified Domain Name of a SharePoint site.  Typically this is because an internal only name was used, and now there is a desire to expose the site externally over SSL.  Examples would be http://server1, or http://portal.contoso.local being changed to

    While people often feel they can just change the IIS bindings for their site and update SharePoint's Alternate Access Mappings, and they're done.  The correct process, as described in, is a little different.  The basic steps are:

    1. Unextend by removing SharePoint from the IIS Web site
    2. Rextend onto a new IIS Web site with the new URL and port information
    3. Setup any required redirects from the old URL
    [Read More]
  • Mar.04.2014

    Day two of SPC 2014.  Favourite session today was the Office Video one presented by Gerald Ferry & Marc Mroz.

    Office Video is just starting Preview, which means you have to ask to try it, and it is not yet intended for production use.  General Availability timing hasn't been set yet, but I know of a number of our clients that will be pushing to get their hands on it.

    We've been looking for an easy to use video platform for several years now.  YouTube is certainly easy, but it doesn't provide much control over the experience, and it certainly isn't appropriate for internal content.  Vimeo is very nice, but it isn't integrated into SharePoint.  For those of you that know our product portfolio, Video Player is a good platform for presenting videos in SharePoint, but it doesn't provide the content author experience, which is where a lot of the challenges are.  We've been working with Azure Media Services for several years now, but while it now solves the encoding challenges of making videos available on the web, it still really lacked finesse for the content authors.

    [Read More]
  • Mar.03.2014

    It's been some time since I've posted to my blog.  That's not to say there hasn't been lots of interesting things I've been doing, but quite the opposite.  The challenge is finding the time to right about it.   With SharePoint Conference 2014 going on, this seems a good time to get back on this.

    The day started out with a bang with the main keynote being headlined by Bill Clinton.  He gave a great talk about global inequalities, how far we've come over the last 20 years, and the role that technology has played in supporting that change.  There is still much more work to be done, but it was great to hear more about what the Clinton Foundation is doing around the world.

    Jeff Teper then continued the keynote and got tactical about some of the new things coming down the pipe.  There has been a lot of buzz around InfoPath going away lately, and Jeff talked about Access in Office 365 and SQL Azure as an option for forms development.  We're expecting to hear more about this in the following days.  At one point a Monty Python themed InfoPath funeral process ("bring out your dead") came through the Exhibit Hall, so the sentiment seems that InfoPath is done.

    Jeff also talked about Apps development.  People integration support in Apps was part of this, with the Office 365 file and people APIs.  API support has been an area that the community has really been asking for, and it sounds like Microsoft is listening.  This applies not just to the Microsoft ecosystem.  Jeff also talked about the Android SDK for Office 365 available on GitHub, and similar commitments on iOS. 

    Julia White then took the stage and talked about how Yammer groups are being exposed throughout Office 365.  Group calendars can be setup in Outlook, and SharePoint sites created for the groups.  Nice to see more integration happening on the Yammer side, and I'm sure there will be more to come.  Julia then showed a quick preview of Oslo and Office Graph.  I can't wait to get my hands on this (due out second half of calendar 2014).  It understands who you work with, your calendar connections, Yammer trends, and search results to pull content together that is important to you.  Very slick looking.

    We also got a quick preview of the new Video Portal in Office 365 that is also coming later this year.  There is a full session today on this, so I should have more on this later.

    In the developer keynote, apps were the main focus.  The ability to create one app and deploy it both in SharePoint and Office apps was interesting.  Office Web Widgets available on Nuget make developing apps easier.  New controls for provide hosted apps, including a people picker control, and updates to Visual Studio were some highlights.  Apps can even be exposed in the Office Web Apps preview, which opens interesting possibilities for the search experience.

    At the end of the developer keynote, Rob and Brain demoed a vendor app from  This is a cool facility for doing live polls through SMS text messages.  The SharePoint app showed the poll results live as they came in from the audience, which was very cool.  They then wrapped up with the commitment to client libraries and controls, reaffirming the API story.

    Wrapped the day up with an external sharing talk on Office 365.  While I'm biased to where we're going with our Extranet User Manager tool (, it is good to see what Microsoft is providing on the more ad-hoc sharing of SharePoint content with external users.

  • Apr.26.2013

    ​Establishing a solid information architecture is the key to a successful SharePoint project, regardless of the type (web content management, enterprise content management, etc.).  Over the years I've learned a lot about this from my good friend and fellow MVP Ruven Gotz. 

    Ruven has done more to promote how to gather and build a solid IA from the business than anyone else in the SharePoint space.  His book Practical SharePoint 2010 Information Architecture is an excellent resource, regardless of what version of SharePoint you are using.  I also recommend checking out Ruven's blog at

    One of the tools that Ruven introduced me to that all of our Senior Consultants at Envision IT use now is MindJet's MindManager (now just called MindJet).  It is a great tool for brainstorming and information planning and organizing.  It is not focused on the presentation details of the information, but rather just capturing the ideas and the relationships between them.

    For our Envision Shakespeare Company site, we have started to flesh out the information architecture, along with some of the feature and term store ideas.  Joe did most of the work on this, and I've included both the PDF and MindJet versions of the files for you to see.

    Envision Shakespeare Company Information Architecture.pdf

    Envision Shakespeare Company Information Architecture.mmap

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Copyright ©2013 Peter Carson