SharePoint Dragons

Nikander & Margriet on SharePoint

Monthly Archives: August 2012

Putting a face on the TN Wiki community

Margriet is a regular TechNet Wiki contributor. Read more about how Wiki Ninja interviews put a face on the TN Wiki Community: http://blogs.technet.com/b/wikininjas/archive/2012/06/21/putting-a-face-on-the-tn-wiki-community.aspx.

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Wiki Statistics as a future feature?

Margriet is a regular TechNet Wiki contributor. Read more about how Margriet thinks about Wiki statistics as a future feature: http://blogs.technet.com/b/wikininjas/archive/2012/07/11/wiki-statistics-as-a-future-feature.aspx.

RBS Back Up

If you use RBS (see http://www.loisandclark.eu/Pages/blob.aspx for detailed info) and back-up and recover the SharePoint farm or content database, or use SQL Server backup and recovery, RBS data will automatically be backed up and recovered as well using the SQL FileStream provider. This won’t happen in cases where you’re using a 3rd party RBS provider. The following link contains a nice overview of what gets backed up using which method: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc261687(office.14).aspx.

Colligo Briefcase

It looks like Colligo succeeded in bridging the gap between SharePoint and iPad (or iPhone) with their product Colligo Briefcase. Colligo Briefcase (http://www.colligobriefcase.com/) is a secure solution to work with SharePoint on an iPad/iPhone or iPod. Let’s take a look at some of the features of Colligo Briefcase:

  • You can view all your SharePoint files, including Office documents, PDFs, images and emails with the appropriate icons.
  • You can edit files, lists and metadata, even while offline and sync these changes when you’re online again.
  • You can choose what you want to sync, so you can choose to sync only the documents that you need.
  • You have a Favorites option where you can add documents that you want to access very often.
  • Using the search capabilities makes it easy to find content.

Installing and configuring Colligo Briefcase is rather simple. You can find Colligo Briefcase in the App Store. After installing the tool you will find an icon on your device. Next is the configuring part, by clicking the Colligo Briefcase icon you will be able to add a SharePoint site. The basic things you have to know are: Url, Username and Password. But that shouldn’t be a problem because you’re using SharePoint all the time ;-). You can also set the sync interval (there are several choices), the storage limit (from 20 MB to Unlimited) and the lists to sync (which lists do you want to sync on your device). After configuring these settings and clicking Done Colligo will start syncing your content:

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Using Colligo Briefcase is very intuitive. On the left you will find the lists (as you’re used to have in SharePoint). By selecting a list you will get an overview of the contents of that list on the right. Okay, it is not SharePoint but it works almost the same. You have to get used to it but that will take only 30 minutes and after that you can work on your iPad in your SharePoint site.

A cool feature of Colligo Briefcase is the preview option. You can select a document library, click on a document and click Preview. You can also read the full version but a preview version is handy to know if you’ve got the right document.

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If you are looking for a product to work with on your Apple device, you should definitely take a look at Colligo Briefcase. Right now Colligo Briefcase has a special launch price of $2.99, plus it’s a universal app so you can install it on both your iPad and iPhone!

JackpotCity: iPhone app reviewed

Whenever we review a site or mobile app we feel a responsibility to provide our readers with an accurate representation of what is offered and the technical requirements involved. In the case of JackpotCity’s mobile iPhone app a word that comes to mind is seamless. The developers at JackpotCity have seamlessly integrated their online casino into a mobile version that can be downloaded as an app for a variety of smart phones, including the iPhone.

We focus on how the app performed on the iPhone and discuss the benefits offered by JackpotCity to its Apple device users. The app download is a small file that can be accessed by visiting www.jackpotcity.co.uk/mobile-casino/iphone/ and the memory space required is minimal, thus ensuring it does not slow down or clog your iPhone. The games on offer have all been developed by top online casino software developers, Microgaming and run smoothly and flawlessly when played using the app.

The JackpotCity gaming developers have taken full advantage of the features offered by the iPhone and the games can be played either in portrait or landscape mode, the touch screen integration has been carefully plotted to ensure user friendliness and the high speed processor contributes to ensuring graphics render correctly every second, taking full advantage of the hi re screen display.

The choice of games available on the iPhone app is impressive and a selection of high profile slots is available in both straight slots and progressive jackpot versions. Popular table game roulette is offered in 3 different gaming versions and blackjack is also available. There is also a selection of video poker games available as well as other casino-style entertainment. We tested all the games using the app and found that the iPhone was the perfect platform for mobile casino gaming thanks to its many state of the art features.

All the games available through the JackpotCity mobile iPhone app are available for free play and no deposits are required, however real money gaming is on offer and we tested this function to ensure it lived up to the online casino standards. The mobile iPhone app is also governed by the standards of the online casino and adheres to the eCOGRA code of conduct, ensuring all gaming is undertaken in a fair, safe and secure environment.

The mobile app offers safe and secure gaming and the banking options for deposits and payouts include major credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard, popular eWallet services and PayPal. Overall our JackpotCity mobile casino iPhone app experience was completely enjoyable ad we would recommend this service to any gamer who wants to play portable games on their iPhone.

SQL Server DMV’s In Action

This blog post is about a truly awesome book, and we’re not just saying that because we were technical reviewers of this book. This book ( http://www.amazon.com/SQL-Server-DMVs-Action-Management/dp/1935182730/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339076709&sr=8-1 ) contains tons of working samples that help you out in every day work. It also does a great job of explaining SQL DMVs. The book contains:

  • What are DMVs?
  • Index related DMVs
  • Improving query performance via DMVs
  • Operating System DMVs
  • CLR DMVs
  • Transaction related DMVs
  • Database level DMVs
  • Creating a self-healing database via DMVs
  • An additional bunch of useful scripts using DMVs

As you may have noticed: that’s a lot of DMVs!

Premier Web Citizen

Margriet is a regular TechNet Wiki contributor. Read more about Wiki and its premier web citizens: http://blogs.technet.com/b/wikininjas/archive/2012/08/12/premier-web-citizen.aspx.

Audit trail and LOGbinder SP

Nowadays, compliancy rules dictate companies to keep a track on what’s happening within their SharePoint environment. And if it’s not compliancy rules, sheer curiosity can be a sufficient driver for the need for knowledge as well. If we would get a penny for every time somebody asks a question in the SharePoint forums like: “How do I know who read document X?” (the answer being: check the audit trail), well uhm, we probably could buy us a Happy Meal or something. Whatever the reason may be, SharePoint provides the ability to introspect itself via its Audit Trail mechanism, check out http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc824909.aspx for more details. However, based on our experience, customers find the Audit Trail useful/essential, but lacking in several ways:

  • Power users find that reports are quite unreadable. And guess what? We totally agree.
  • Power users find it a disadvantage that reports are only available in the form of Excel files. Some browser based reports or the ability to export those to XML would be nice.
  • Power users find that after time passes by, it takes a long time to generate reports. Of course this is caused by the fact that the audit trail log is growing rapidly, more on that later.
  • Administrators are not sure where the audit logs are stored. When they do find out, usually they find that storing audit trail data in the SharePoint content database doesn’t make sense.
  • Administrators are not sure if and when audit log data is purged.
  • We’ve found that the rapidly growing AuditData table (the database table that houses the audit trail data), stored in the SharePoint content database, can become a management liability. Interestingly enough, a blog post ( http://blogs.msdn.com/b/subhajitc/archive/2009/05/20/tip-the-untold-story-of-audit-logs-in-sharepoint.aspx ) mentions that an average of 10,000 hits/day can lead to a monthly increase of the SharePoint content database of 15 GB.

For an important feature, these are too many drawbacks. Are these problems solvable? Of course. Are these problems solvable in a generic way at a reasonable cost? Well, in fact, that’s the reason we’re writing this blog post. We came upon the commercial tool LOGbinder SP ( http://www.logbinder.com/ ) and it solved our Audit Trail problems. Let’s take a closer look at some of the features of the LOGbinder SP tool:

  • Creates easy to read reports.
  • Allows audit trail data to be exported to other data sources, such as the Windows Event Viewer.
  • Allows you to configure audit trail settings for multiple site collections.
  • Allows you to purge the audit log automatically.
  • Leverages existing SIEM/Log Management solutions.

Tour of the Tool

Let’s conclude the blog post with a quick tour of the tool (please refer to the product documentation for a detailed overview, if interested). Installing it and configuring is easy. LOGBinder SP consists of a UI tool and runs a separate service that collects (and optionally purges) audit trail data without affecting anything in the SharePoint installation, running in lower priority mode than SharePoint services, therefore conserving server resources when they’re needed. The only drawback we’ve found is that it’s a bit hard to change the user account under which LOGbinder SP runs.

After installing LOGbinder SP, you need to configure a thing called the Input. Here, you can specify a Default Audit Policy that can be reused and defines which events should be tracked in the audit trail. Alternatively, you can define specific audit settings for a specific site collection. This is shown in the next Figure.

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After that, you’ll also need to configure Output. This basically decides where audit trail information should be redirected to (for example, the Windows Event Viewer) and what data will be included. This can be seen in the next Figure:

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There’s a Service section that allows you to configure and start the service responsible for collecting (and optionally purging) audit trail data. It’s real easy to configure, but we’ve skipped a screenshot. The LOGbinder Diagnostics Events section makes it very easy to get insight into the activities of its service:

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Finally, the most satisfying part of the tool, there’s a wide range of ootb reports available, check the following Figure:

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For example, this report provides an overview of View events:

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And here’s another one that concerns itself with document update events:

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Conclusion

The audit trail mechanism in SharePoint is without a doubt an important and powerful feature of the product. Especially when doing implementations for large companies, legal firms or legal departments, we’ve found that the lack of an adequate audit trail can be a deal breaker. However, the current version of the audit trail is lacking in some ways. This can be solved by adding custom work, but that will be costly. A far better option is the LOGbinder SP tool, which currently is our favorite way of making the audit trail feature mature and complete.

Music, Lyrics & Wiki: Pros and Cons

Margriet is a regular TechNet Wiki contributor. Read more about one of her favorite blends of Wiki articles: http://blogs.technet.com/b/wikininjas/archive/2012/06/26/music-lyrics-amp-wiki-pros-and-cons.aspx.

Slideshow web part

SharePoint Ad Rotator is a nice slideshow web part: http://spadrotator.codeplex.com/ It randomly displays images from a SharePoint library and displays images one at a time or all using a transition effect.