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...in the World of Sharepoint

30/8/2006 - Cashing webcast

For some weeks i intent to watch these webcasts offered by Microsoft Events. But where do i find my enemy Time. Time is always to fast but yesterday evening i found it. 22:30 i watched my first webcast (ec303 extending web contentmanagement features navigation, cashing and operations; presented by Dave Quick). All about the cashing principle of Sharepoint 2007.

How it's built up, what happens when a user sents a request. How is a page built up etc. And navigation. It was quite interesting i must say. And even tough i was very tired i did not fall a sleep. It was a little bit to technical for me at this time. That's why i did not remember all of it (too bad). But it was very usefull. I do understand the principle which was more than i did before watching it. I recommend watching it.

 

So i have to find my enemy again and watch it again. ...o but wait i still have 24 webcasts to go... ;)

 

 

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30/8/2006 - Building & branding websites Webcast

Just finished my 2nd webcast about building & branding websites using the Web Content Management capabilities of Office Sharepoint Server 2007 by Georg Perantatos (EC202). This webcast is the way i want a webcast to be. Some theory followed by a short demo. The contents of this Webcast were very interesting and even I could understand ;).

These are the Topics discussed:
  • Publish web pages; this was all about page rendering. The Welcome.aspx page is requested --> The pagelayout associated with the page is retrieved --> the masterpage associated with the site (search, logo, navigation) --> controls in pagelayout render content from pages field into the page (fieldcontrol)
  • Branding & chrome your website; rendered by the Master Page which is totally asp2.0. The Master Page contains navigation , logo's , searchbox , login , editing controls , css reference
  • Authoring content; creating page content en convert .docx, infopath and forms to html
  • Creating variations of sites content; different languages can be used in one site without extra work
The most important this is that a site in Sharepoint is in fact a Sharepoint library (document library, list etc) which means all features from Windows Sharepoint Services are also included. E.g. versioning

Overall a very usefull webcast and a must see for all layout experts
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30/8/2006 - MySite

My previous post about the Mysite was all about the one would use shared documents in MySite while you can collaborate on a team site for example.

Today i got the answer. There's more than working in teams and that could well be information you would share. I cannot give any examples but i can understand why.

Another discovery on MySite was about navigation. When you arrive from the homepage on your MySite there's no option in the top menu to return to your homepage. I discovered a webpart that takes care of that. That same webpart also displays every site you permitted to go. Very cool stuff. This also implies that, when you log in, your MySite is your point of entry. Your work starts here. That's a very cool approach. Very different comparing to the document management systems. Their approach is more based on information.

I just red a part from a business plan which highlighted 4 stages in the Portal world.
  1. organisation (information)
  2. user (interaction)
  3. activity (transaction)
  4. proces (transformation)
Sharepoint has in my opinion definately grown to the 4th stage in Portal world. Most document management systems stick tight on nr 2. or sometimes nr 3.  But they all had another start. Sharepoint was definately build for proces transformation and they took the document management part with them because there was no other way. Most document management systems now can't grow to transformation anymore. The companies who were patient purchasing a document management system or an intranet application are definately the winners today. No complex migrations or transformations....Just Sharepoint!!!
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30/8/2006 - Workshop Sharepoint 2007

Tomorrow i will head to my first workshop Sharepoint 2007. It's provided by Corasworks and i was explicitly told no custom coding needed for this one. I'm agog.

 

Subjects are:

  • design patterns
  • links between sites and custom roll ups
  • filters for roll-ups
  • custom lists and roll ups
  • use several webparts

I will keep you posted!

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30/8/2006 - 200 miles per hour ...still rising

I'm testing Sharepoint 2007 for a month now. I was totally without any pre- knowledge. What have i learned much in the past weeks and i still know so little. I haven't got any it experience before. So it's very hard to understand everything. Database configration, workflows, iis, server farm, Active directory etc. I'm all new to that. I guess when i'm out on my first mission some pieces fall on the right spot and with the next mission some more pieces will.

 

But for now. Where do i start. I have read many many things. Watched many many blogs. Did spent hours researching and testing. But i still know jacksquat. How do others manage to survive in this information overflow. Where did you guys begin? I'm wondering if i'm on the right track.

 

oops time's up ..gogogogo ...Sharepoint

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29/8/2006 - Navigation overview in Sharepoint

Now the site is created we face a very important issue. Navigation! How do we set up the perfect navigation. Before we'll explore it's important to know what navigation is. According to serveral Wikepedia definititions we can define navigation as follows:

 

Navigation is about moving toward a final destination or goal. It is a means to an end. It is not an end in itself. When designing web navigation it is important to include answers to these basic questions - Where am I? Where can I go? How will I get there? How can I get back to where I once was?

 

When setting up the navigation to your new Sharepoint site it's very important to keep this definition in mind because you really don't want bad user experience.

 

Sharepoint offers standard tools and functionality by default to help you create a proper navigation.

  • quick launchbar
  • top menubar
  • quick search
  • breadcrumptrail

To understand more of the navigation i will review several scenarios to determine how Sharepoint offers standard navigation. And what is expandabe and changeable according to the navigation.

 

 

Let's begin creating a new site called development under the Top Portal Site (http://f1/pages/default.aspx) and review where navigation has been provided, changed or expanded 

 

sites --> create new site

 

When creating a new site you can fill in different data. (some fields are optional other are mandatory)

  • title and description: the name of your site including decription
  • web site address: the name in the url (after http://f1/sitedirectory/..)
  • permissions: use parentsite permissions or use your own
  • navigation inheritance: specify whether you want site new site created in the top menu bar under sites
  • site categories: by default Sharepoint offers several categories
  • template selection: choose the template for your new site from three categories; collaboration, enterprise or meetings

Now the Development Site has been created.

 

From the Home Portal Site the navigation is as follows:

 

As you can see in the left quick launch bar under sites development has been automatically created. Another link has been created on the top menu bar while we have chosen yes under navigation inheritance. It's interesting to see that 2 links on the same page have been created to the same location. This appears to be a little strange while users might get lost here.

 

Now we move on to our new created Development Site

 

As you can see is the home link displayed three times. In the breadcrumbtrail you can see where you are located. In the quick launch bar on the left you can create workspaces document libraries etc. by clicking on sites --> create

 

When clicking on sites in the top menu bar you will create another Top Site. The navigation between the two looks the same but there really is a big difference. I think it's a little confusing but you'll get used to this.

 

On the development site i created a wiki site doing this:

sites --> create --> wiki

 

While creating the Wiki Sharepoint asks if you want to display the new wiki site in the quick launch bar. I did,  so the Development page navigation looks like this:

 

While i created a wiki page Sharepoint classifies this as Documents. That means when Sharepoint asks you if you want to display the link in the quick launch bar Sharepoint classifies the location by default. If you would have created a list Sharepoint classifies it under Lists and so on.

 

Now i'm creating another site and i go for a Records Repository Site.

 

sites --> create site --> records repository site

 

Let' take another look at what happens

 

 

Now we have created a new Records management site. It shows up on the top menu and on the left under sites. I guess all sites show up the same way.

 

Let's go 1 level deeper into the structure. I created another site under the development department. I chose to display this site in the top menu bar because i wondered what would happen on our Top Portal Site. Guess what? Nothing happened there. That's good news because like i said the site was created under development. What happened to the development site? Nothing at first sight but when you select view all site content. It's there:

 

Because we have chosen a team site standard quick launch functionality is displayed. A new website isn't part of that quick launch schedule so it can only be reviewed when you select view all site content. Please notice that while you are on the New Website in de quick launch menu the new website is still shown and it refers to the same page. I don't know why? 

 

 

All items displayed in the quick launch menu are items from the development site created before. Take a look at the breadcrumbstrail.

 

B.t.w. a nice feature is that when you check in your document on the left the Version changes.

 

Conclusion

This short overview tried to display some of the navigation elements Sharepoint uses by default. Some things certainly look strange first but you'll definately get used to that. To determine if standard navigation fits your goals you must always question yourself: 

Where are you? Where do you want to go? How did you get there? If these questions can simply be answered you are on the right track. I can conclude Sharepoint provides good navigation tools while some solutions can of course be argued.

 

So far for now....

 

An interesting article about navigation can be found here

 

When default Sharepoint is just not good enough for navigation you have to read this article

 

 

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28/8/2006 - SaveSiteAsTemplate

The nice feature of 2003 where you could easily save a site as a template and simply upload it is only available in the look and feel on the Top Level of a site collection. A little mistake by Microsoft.

 

Microsoft promised to fix this in the post beta 2 version but in the meantime this is an excellent option

SaveSiteAsTemplate

 

tnx Tony

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28/8/2006 - Single Sign On

I have to find out how to configure Single Sign On (SSO). But what is Single Sign On? Where to look? How one would know? What do i want to know about single sign on?

 

What is Single Sign On in MOSS 2007

The Single Sign-On Service (SSO) that ships with MOSS is an enhanced version of the credential-mapping service that ships with SharePoint Portal Server 2003. The SSO is used to map the identity of a user who has logged on to a MOSS server farm with another identity for the same user in a back-end system. For example, imagine a user named Bob has two user accounts. First, he has a Windows account in Active Directory that he uses to log on to the local network and to authenticate against the MOSS server farm. Bob also has a second user account with different credentials that needs to be used when accessing the company’s back-end SAP application.

SSO solves the problem of allowing server-side code running on behalf of Bob to seamlessly access the SAP system using his secondary account once MOSS has authenticated Bob using his primary Active Directory account. SSO accomplishes this by providing a credential-mapping database to store his SAP user name and password in an encrypted format. SSO also provides the means for custom Web Parts and other Office SharePoint Server 2007 services such as the BDC, Excel Services, and Office Forms Services to retrieve user credentials that are required when accessing various back-end systems. (http://www.gorillatraining.com/WikiPages/Portal.aspx)

 

With this new knowledge i went to newsgroups. What issues do they argue? What challenges do they face? To what do i have to pay attention?

 

I did not find much of information there. But what really helps planning the set up of SSO is this document.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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28/8/2006 - Virtual labs

Today i examined my first virtual lab; Sharepoint 2007 a technical and functional overview. It's a nice lab to do but certainly isn't very in depth. You can better find out yourself if you are an adminstrator or developer. If you are just a user, this lab is interesting. It gives you a certain overview.

 

Of course i will examine all Moss 2007 virtual labs as soon as possible.

 

 

 

 

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16/8/2006 - Sharepoints Mysite

Sharepoint has provided Sharepoint Portal Server with Mysite. But what's the exact function of the Mysite? Who are your attractors? What information will you display? Whose capable to see your information and who isn't?

 

Those are just a few questions that crossed my mind. For now i will describe the main standard options. From scratch Mysite offers you serveral means to display who you are, what you do? Why you do it? For how long? etc. For example to display who you are you can upload your picture, you can use the blog functionality to tell something about yourself or you can describe yourself in the standard way Sharepoint has provided. It's also possible to maintain your calander, memberships and tasks, look for colleagues, manage your alerts and add/ update your profile. You can even customize the layout anyway you like. Serveral subjects allow you to determine who's allowed to see you personal information. You choose from:

 

- everyone

- only me

- my manager

- my workgroup

- my colleagues

 

The first question that crosses my mind is do these users/ groups exist in Active Directory or do they exist in Sharepoint admininstration. How does Sharepoint know who is your manager? This is on my list ;)

 

Anyway all personalization is very nice. But once you have created it this won't take much of your time anymore. Here comes the interesting part. You can also create, upload, share and delete documents here. Sharepoint allows you to add webparts, create and share documents, create document libraries as well as form libraries, wiki and picture libraries and maintain lists surveys and discussion boards. But why should you? You are always part of a team in Microsoft's philosophy of the information worker so you can collaborate. The documents you create are part of a bigger goal and should be on the physical location where they should be. And not on some Mysite where, if policies are placed, nobody can see the documents unless a user itself determines the document may be read by others.

 

From my document management point of view this is not the way. I can understand everybody has to have it's own place for documents which are confidential, or overall performance documents, or criticism, or even the picture of their children. But no way project documents are allowed here. How can you manage them from here. Microsoft says document and record management are being taken care off very well while using retention etc. But does that also count for Mysite? I guess not, but i'm not sure. Mysite was provided for information workers to do things that others aren't allowed to see. To create your own look and feel of a site from which you are the owner. The owner in all aspects. You can do whatever you want whithout anyone watching.

 

Contrary for any organization which faces document management issues and use intranets, is that on one hand you want to give room for information workers to do their things with the use of a canvas. On the other hand you must restrict them you manage your overall objectives. I guess that's a choice you have to make.

 

Fundamental questions which have to be answered for optimal and continuous use of Sharepoint including Mysite with the aspect of document management and recordsmanagement according to retention are:

 

Who is responsible for what?

On what level

Who's allowed to see information?

 

These kind of questions are not going to be solved with Sharepoint but they have to be well being thought of and written down in an informtion plan. Because if you don't it may be well be that implementation of Sharepoint fails. Off course i will discuss this subject furthermore.

 

ps: i may be wrong about the Mysite retention and permissions aspect because i haven't experienced much with policies and retention yet. But the design of Mysite implifies that this will be the case.

 

Please don't hesitate and post comments or questions

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Me

Sharepoint is getting bigger and bigger and recently i noticed Microsoft is positioning this as the centre of the Universe (not yet the Master). The key to information. Rather late then never i'm starting my adventures with Sharepoint right now!!

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