Solving Enterprise Search challenges with SP 2010 (SPC392)

Matthew McDermott started off this session with the question: “if metadata is invisible, how do you get it into the search index?”. He then showed us where metadata resided in Word documents (kinda obvious) but also where metadata was in photo’s en acrobat files. A nifty tool to view metadata is IFilterview from http://ifiltershopcom (should be freely available soon).

Matthew then showed us some great ideas and techniques for spicing up the search result pages. There were some fantastic looking images galleries, based on search. Also, a very clever constructed video gallery. Continue reading

Leveraging Project 2010 with Office 365 for Project Management success Starting (SPC242)

The second day of the SharePoint Conference 2011, I decided to attend the session, given by Dux Raymond Sy about Project 2010 and Office365.

Dux is a gifted speaker, so the session got off to a great start. Right off the bat, Dux made an excellent point about the need for a PMIS when running a project.

Every project needs a PMIS to manage:

  • Communication
  • Expectations
  • Planning

If you don’t get this right, you’ll end up in a situation like this:

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SPC11: Planning and managing sandboxed solutions (SPC376)

Almost right away, Maurice Prather announced that his session was for IT PRO’s. Now, I’m not an IT PRO kinda guy, but I decided to stay anyway. And I’m glad I did.

Maurice started talking about the SPUSERCODESERVICE. Right away, I was surprised to discover that the Sandbox Service is by default configured to 1 worker process and 1 connection per process. So only 1 user at a time can use a sandboxed solution. Not very usefull…
So, if you’re not aware of this default configuration, and start using sandboxed solutions on your production environment, you’ll get errors in no time at all.

You can look at the configuration in Powershell:

$sandbox = [microsoft.sharepoint.administration.spusercodeservice]::local
$sandbox.tiers

If you haven’t modified the sandbox configuration yet, you will see:
ResourceMaxValue = 2147483647 (resource points)
MaximumWorkerProcess = 1
MaximumConnectionsPerProcess = 1

And then it got even more interesting.

By default, there’s only one tier for the SPUSERCODESERVICE. A tier in this context can be configured to behave in a certain way, depending on the configured values.

So, what you want to do is configure several tiers that control the way sandboxed solutions are controlled.
Based on the metrics and behaviour of the sandbox solution, SharePoint will decide in which tier the solution will be run.

Maurice gave a great example where he configured 3 tiers:

Tier 1: Good solutions
ResourceMaxValue = .05 (resource points)
MaximumWorkerProcess = 2
MaximumConnectionsPerProcess = 10
This tier will be used for ‘good’ solutions that use few resources. 10 users will be able to use this concurrently.

Tier 2: Iffy solutions
ResourceMaxValue = .25 (resource points)
MaximumWorkerProcess = 4
MaximumConnectionsPerProcess = 5
This tier will be used for ‘iffy’ solutions. we will give it some more worker processes and 5 users will be able to use this concurrently.

Tier 3: Bad solutions
ResourceMaxValue = 2147483647 (resource points)
MaximumWorkerProcess = 5
MaximumConnectionsPerProcess = 1
This tier will be used for ‘bad’ solutions. we will give it more worker processes and only 1 user will be able to use this.

When a ‘bad’ solution is run, only 1 user is permitted to use it. When the process is killed by SharePoint, only 1 user suffers.
When a ‘good’ solution is run, 10 users are permitted to use it. The change that this solution will be killed it a lot less, because SharePoint knows by the metrics of the solution that it is a ‘good’ solution.

Good stuff in this session. I have got a much better understanding of how we can configure SharePoint to get our sandbox environment much more stable and responsive. Gladd I stayed the course!

SPC11: Document are boring. Document solutions are not! (spc340)

John Peltonen started off the first session I attended on the first day of the SharePoint Conference. He was pleasantly surprised so many people turned up to a session with the title “Documents are boring” 🙂

The sessions main goal was to show how you can streamline processes with documents.
Nowadays, we work inside ‘document factories’. We create a lot of documents. Documents that consist of thoughts, specific fields, standard text like disclaimers, etc.
Our goal is to make working with these documents more efficient.

John’s showed us 3 scenario’s:

1. A simple scenario with a document library containing contracts.
When creating a new contract, several fields can be edited through the Document Information Panel or just straight in the document text. Nice to see there’s a 2-way binding.
But even editing a column in the document library (edit properties) propagates the changed value back into the document. Simple but very powerful!

2. Complex scenario for co-authoring
This scenario demonstrated co-authoring in a Word document, but with a twist.
Instead of two people authoring, it combined co-authoring between a user and SharePoint.
John created a quick part in Word that a user could insert into a Word document. This quick part contains content controls.
When a user edits the quick part and saves the document, a event receiver is triggered, goes out and creates a task.
When the task gets updated, this is reflected back into the document. Again, very powerful.

3. Nice demo with REST services and Excel
John demonstrated how to use REST services to extract charts from Excel documents in a document library and saving them as pictures in a picture library for further use.

Payoff:
We have to use creative document solutions so we can:
– save money for the organization
– make processes easier  for the organization

Personal note:
The content of the session wasn’t quite new at the technical level.
But it is good to realize: with the SharePoint technology available today, how creative are you to streamline the document processes?
Document solutions aren’t about technology (anymore), they’re about creativity.

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Crosspost from SharePointEduTech

 

SharePoint stores dates in UTC time

I was playing around with Search Based solutions in SharePoint 2010, inspired by the presentation of Scot Hillier (here). I really see a lot of potential for Search-Based solutions. Why bother with custom code, mucking around with timerjobs and such, trying to scrape together information from lists, sites and sitecollections, if you have all that information at your disposal in the search database?

So, to try my hand at a Search-Based solution, I thought I’d make a My Tasks webpart. A lot of customers would like to have a webpart that shows all tasks assigned to them, without them having to look through every site they are a member of.

Building the webpart wasn’t so difficult, but when I deployed the webpart, I was puzzled by the result. The webpart showed the three tasks I expected. What I didn’t expect were the deadlines (due date field).

Please note the deadline of the first task: 20-09-2011 (dutch date format: dd-mm-yyyy)

I was sure I entered the due date 21-09-2011, right??
Let me check the task…

What the …!?
Why is search (KeywordQuery) returning an incorrect date?
And this turned out to be the case for all date fields.

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Alea iacta est…

It took me a long, looooong evening to decide what sessions I want to attend. And at midnight I ended up with 42 sessions in my MySPC agenda. Aaargh!
It took me another couple of hours to end up with 1 session for each timeslot. But I finally made it. Yea! 🙂

Kudos for the Microsoft conference team for offering such a great variety of interesting topics!

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Internet Explorer 64-bit doesn’t play nice with SharePoint 2010

A couple of days ago, I got a phone call by a customer, saying they had problems opening certain Excel files in SharePoint 2010 for a specific user and document library.
Excel documents with the XLS extension got opened in Excel without a problem. Opening XLSX documents however generated an error in the browser.

I logged on to their server and took a look at the specific document library. When the customer selected a Excel document with a XLSX extension, SharePoint tried to open the Excel document in Office Web Apps, the ‘online’ version of the Office suite. And he got a “Unable to process the request” error.

 

 

 

 

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SharePoint Conference 2011

 

 

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from our business unit director that I could visit the 2011 SharePoint Conference in Anaheim, Ca.   Yeaaaaah!

You can image I am very excited about this opportunity, given to me by Rubicon, to go to THE conference, dealing with all things SharePoint.
I’m looking forward to a SharePoint 2010 filled week, visiting great sessions by leaders, geeks and MVP’s in SharePoint.

Some of the session topics I would love to see are about workflows, Infopath and best practices in SharePoint. Also, some jQuery cool features would be very nice 🙂 .

Anyway, if you are attending the SharePoint Conference 2011 and would like to meet at the conference center for a SharePint, a meeting of minds, or just coffee, please feel free to contact me. I would love to hear from fellow (dutch) SharePoint enthusiasts!

Issue with SharePoint Dutch Help content

Today, I was struggling with a SharePoint intranet, trying to get the Help working.

Starting from a standard English SharePoint Server installation, we installed Dutch, German and French. The intranet is running at a dutch customer, so all sites are created by default in dutch. Employees, working at offices abroad, can change the display language to their preferred language (English, German or French).

As a SharePoint consultant, I never tested the Help button (). Why should I? 😉
So that’s why the users found out the Help button couldn’t show the Help content. Why?!

 

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Using calculated column to display SharePoint calendar

Displaying a SharePoint calendar in your intranet/internet site is quite easy. You just add the calendar web part to the page and voilà!

Now, for the most columns in the calendar, this works just fine. To display a Yes for an All Day Event is an option. You don’t like it? Just remove the column from the view. But if you want to use and display All Day Events, the result can be annoying. Check this out:

See that begin and end time of the all day event? It start at 0:00 and ends at 23:59. Now that is pretty ugly to show to your website visitors, isn’t it?

So, what can you do?

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