SharePoint Dragons

Nikander & Margriet on SharePoint

Monthly Archives: May 2012

SharePlus: Shattering Ambitions of Aspiring Vendors

Most customers and SharePoint consultants share a vision, or dream if you will, of a SharePoint work environment that can be accessed anywhere, anytime, anyhow. Lately, we’ve actually met several people (completely separate from each other) that walked around with plans of creating some sort of IPad or smart phone support for SharePoint. It seems that Infragistics SharePlus will be shattering those ambitions. It also seems that SharePlus provides a missing piece of the “anywhere, anytime, anyhow” puzzle and may just well prove to be strategically important to Microsoft as well.

What does SharePlus do?

Finally, we’ll have a good answer when our customers are asking us about a way to access SharePoint from their iPads, iPhones, Mac desktops, BlackBerry Playbooks (BlackPads), Android phones, and soon, Windows phone support will be added. SharePlus will allow you to acess SharePoint 2007, SharePoint 2010, BPOS, and Office 365. It offers a range of authentication methods, inlcuding Windows authentication, Forms authentication, HTTPS SSL and client certificates, ISA server, and MS ForeFront Authentication. Infragistics offers three versions:

  • Lite, this version is free and is primarily intended for reading documents and list items.
  • Pro, this version (at the time of writing) costs $19,99 and offers a full-blown content and document experience AND offers offline support.
  • Enterprise, the price of this version depends on the situation and amount of users. This version is meant for in house deployment within a company, and therefore offers features such as rebranding and custom on demand features.

Yes, but what does it do?

We’re listing some of the appealing features (ignoring version differences here, contact Infragistics about that):

  • It makes reading Office and PDF documents easy.
  • It has Message File support. You can open mail files (.msg and .eml) and reply to message’s recipients, forward messages, and browse attachments.
  • It allows you to navigate sites, lists, list items, and list item metadata.
  • It allows you to search within a list.
  • It offers a drag n drop UI for sorting and grouping.
  • It allows you to manage your calendar, contacts, and tasks.
  • It has offline support for lists.
  • It adds an additional level of security for your client device (such as encryption for data that is locally stored).
  • For iPad2 and iPhone: support for capturing and uploading audio and video recordings.
  • WiFi sharing.
  • Search bonuses such as searching within a user profile or within a list.

Where can I find more info about it?

For sure, SharePlus is an interesting product that has caught our attention. If you feel the same way, the home of SharePlus is http://www.shareplusapp.com/.

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Improving the SharePoint dev experience

We were looking for this: good articles about extending nodes in the SharePoint Server Explorer ( http://www.chakkaradeep.com/post/SharePoint-2010-Extending-a-SharePoint-Node-in-Server-Explorer.aspx ) and extending the SharePoint tools in VS.NET ( http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee256693%28VS.100%29.aspx ).

More SharePoint Best Practices

We did considerable work on the TN Wiki SharePoint 2010 Best Practices page. Most notably, added both a new Farm and Tools section. Check it out at: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/8666.sharepoint-2010-best-practices-en-us.aspx

PowerShell and WMI

In our professional career, we’ve written/co-authored/contributed 10+ IT books, were technical reviewers of dozens of IT books, and have read 100s of them. We thought it would be nice to occasionally discuss some of the books we’ve seen as technical reviewers…

The book PowerShell and WMI (a collection of Windows management facilities) teaches how to use the combination by example. The book contains 150 examples (all ready to use scripts) that simplify day-to-day management tasks and demonstrate best practices. The scripts discuss tasks related to system hardware and configuration, disk systems, registry and file system administration, services and processes, printers, network adapters, IIS, server configuration, users and security, logs, jobs, and performance, and administering Hyper-V. It’s written by Richard Siddaway, a PowerShell MVP.

If you’re looking for a book about the topic of WMI and PowerShell, there really isn’t much competition. If you’re interested, check out: http://www.amazon.com/PowerShell-WMI-Richard-Siddaway/dp/1617290114/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1338196403&sr=8-1

SFWR v1.2

The SharePoint Flavored Weblog Reader is a tool that analyzes the IIS log files of your SharePoint farm and builds text based reports about it that can be used for troubleshooting or to gain insight into the use of your farm. v1.2 has just been released, containing the following updates:

The following reports no longer treat the user names as case sensitive:

– Requests/User

– Requests/User/Month

– Requests/User/Week

– Unique Visitors

SFWR can be downloaded here: http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/The-SharePoint-Flavored-5b03f323

Maxer and Beads

We were looking for an apt metaphor to describe the need for the Maxer for SharePoint 2010 tool. At first, we were inclined to use the Big Bang theory as a metaphor to describe the common problem within a SharePoint farm in that it is ever expanding. However, the universe is a scary thing and thinking about it is too. So, we switched to another metaphor: a jar of beads. Beads are a lot nicer, they’re not scary, beautiful to look at, and you can create wondrous things with them. Don’t believe us? Check out these:

Tibetan Beads - Button Beads / Glimmering Golden Amethyst Beads - Cloudy Appearance / Lavender Purple Wood Beads - Classic Abacus / Tasteful Coffee Colours Nut Beads - Natural Coconut Shell
Bracelet Watch - Light Blue / Rhinestones Beaded Bracelets - Faceted Green / Pink Pearls Evil Eye Beads - Flecked Yellow Pieces / Eerie Red

Please note: All pictures were taken from either Google search (search term “beads”), or, with permission, from beads.

Now, imagine your SharePoint farm is like a jar of beads. You can create beautiful things using these beads, but you can also try to stuff too much beads into the jar, in which case bad things will happen. There are SharePoint capacity planning guidelines you can follow to prevent the jar from breaking, but just like a jar of beads can be hard to count, it can be difficult to determine if, how, and where you are crossing capacity boundaries within a SharePoint environment. That’s where Maxer for SharePoint 2010 enters the stage…

Maxer for SharePoint 2010 is a command line tool that checks for capacity planning limits as described per the Planning section of the TechNet Wiki SharePoint 2010 Best Practices overview page at http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/8666.sharepoint-2010-best-practices-en-us.aspx.

The Maxer zip file can be extracted on a server of the SharePoint farm. To execute it, all you need to do is type maxer at the command line. It will then start analyzing your entire SharePoint farm (so make sure the user account executing the tool is extremely powerful, otherwise the analysis will fail) and create a text file called overviews.txt in the same directory as Maxer. Depending on the size of your farm, this may (or may not) take a long time and can be a CPU intensive operation, so be careful to plan this off hours when doing this in a production environment.

Since this is the first version, a limited set of 10 features is included. Also, error handling is quite rudimentary. Community feedback will decide the future direction of Maxer for SharePoint 2010.

The v1.0 feature set contains the following capacity limit checks:

  • A single web application can only have 250,000 site collections.
  • A single web application can only have 300 content databases.
  • A single content database can only have 2000 site collections.
  • A single site collection can only have 2 million users.
  • A single user can only be a member of 5000 groups.
  • A single site collection can only have 10,000 SharePoint groups.
  • A single SharePoint security group can only have 5000 AD principles/users.
  • A single site collection can only have 250,000 sites and subsites.
  • A single web site can only have 2000 sub web sites.
  • A single list can only have 30,000,000 items.

The top feature request that will be implemented next is to have the option to specify whether a full blown report should be generated or only a report of capacity violations. Currently, Maxer only supports the full blown report.

Maxer for SharePoint 2010 can be downloaded at http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Maxer-for-SharePoint-2010-8cd0f26f.

Another Ninja blog post

Another one of Margriet’s Ninja blog posts: http://blogs.technet.com/b/wikininjas/archive/2012/05/22/synergy-in-social-computing.aspx , it’s about synergy in social computing.

Word to PDF using Word Services

We enjoyed this article http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff181518.aspx which explains how to convert Word documents to PDF using Word Services.

Remove SharePoint

This Wiki page describes how to remove SharePoint: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/11177.sharepoint-2010-best-practices-removing-sharepoint-from-servers.aspx

The steps are as follows:

1. Log in to each of the SharePoint servers in the farm

2. Run the SharePoint Configuration Wizard on each of the Web Front End servers and unjoin them from the farm. Provided no Web Apps were built outside of SharePoint’s control, they should be automatically deprovisioned along with the web sites.

3. Run the SharePoint Configuration Wizard on the App server, and choose to remove it as the last server in the farm.

4. Go into SQL Management Studio and remove the Configuration, Content, and Service Application Databases.

5. Rejoin servers and recreate the farm to your new specifications.

The datasheet view is greyed out and the Open With Explorer button is gone too

What’s the matter when the datasheet view of a list is greyed out? And what’s up with the missing Explorer button? This is totally unrelated to the fact whether Office was installed or not and which version. It is related to two things:

  • The currently used browser needs to be MSIE.
  • It needs to be the 64 bit version.

SharePoint uses JavaScript to check this, and if you don’t meet these prerequisites, you won’t see the datasheet view or Open with Explorer button.