2007-05-30

SharePoint 2007 now a complete document AND records management solution!?

From CMS Wire we can read: "Following through on a commitment made last November, Microsoft has announced that their darling SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS) product has just received the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) 5015.2 records management certification."

This may be important to many companies in here in Norway as well. Why?

  • SharePoint 2007 (with the add-on module) has been proven to comply with a standard that I think set the compliance level for other non-US standards. But I'm not a specialist in this area :-)
  • You may now get a way with a single (more or less out-of-the-box) solution for; document management, records management, human-2-human workflow, CMS/Publishing and collaboration, tightly integrated with Microsoft Office 2007
  • Complete plattform for creating high availability inter/intra/extra solutions
  • Application development plattform - bring the essentsial pieces of your business application to the people: the functions they need, the right channel (Office, Web, Mobile, etc) when they need it

For the Norwegian public sector there is a question or issue around the NOARK standard(s) and NARK compliance, but I'm not sure how big of an issues this really is. I hope that someone can address this. Then we have EU regulations, ...

Yes, you have to be a bit pro Microsoft, but you GET a lot even if the license (SharePoint + SQL Server + Office 2007) cost is a bit "rude" :-( . But think about what you get: A GREAT COLLABORATION PLATFORM - built for the future (a life long marriage with Bill Gates and friends :-)).

2007-05-22

Global navigation on My Sites

Standard My Site navigation has only two menu entries: My Home and My Profile. This is usually not enough, and you may want to supply the My Sites with a global menu similar to the rest of your intranet, special menu entries, etc, etc. This can be done in several different ways:

  1. Add extra menu entries between My Home and My Profile by accessing "Personalization site links" on the Shared Services admin page. Absolutely the quickest way. Mirjam pin pointed me to this one - thanx!
  2. Add Delegate Control with an ASP Menu control with a Site Map Provider of your choice; plain XML feed, standard SharePoint Site Map providers - there are several (look in your web config file), ...
  3. Combine them...
Others??

Displaying the same web parts on different pages

EPiServer has a concept of "dynamic properties" that can be used to display certain elements on multiple pages - complete tree of pages - without having to add the same element (web parts, user controls, text) to each and every page. This is not something (at least I've not found it yet) that is a part of SharePoint. Change the properties or content of these common web parts and they should all be propagated to each and every page in the web site (or sub areas of sites).

How can do similar things out-of-the box in SharePoint?

1) Add a "locked" web part zone (set the LockLayout property on the web part zone to true) to the page layout


  • (+) Makes it possible for the site owner to add web parts that cannot be changes by a user
  • (+) Can be used to set banners on each page in the site from a single point
  • (-) SharePoint Designer is the tool to use - cannot be changed from SharePoint directly
  • (-) The same zone and web parts must be added (and later changed) on mutiple page layouts
  • (-) Changes to the Page Layout after a page has been published WILL NOT affect the published page

2) Add the web parts directly to the Page Layout - outside of a web part zone

(+) Makes it possible for the site owner to add web parts that cannot be changes by a user
(+) Can be used to set banners on each page in the site from a single point
(+) Changes will affect all the published with this page layout - Great!!
(-) SharePoint Designer is the tool to use - cannot be changed from SharePoint directly
(-) The same zone and web parts must be added (and later changed) on mutiple page layouts

3) Add web parts directly to the Master Page itself is the most generic way

(+) Makes it possible for the site owner to add web parts that cannot be changes by a user
(+) Can be used to set banners on each page in the site from a single point
(+) Changes will affect all the published pages - Great!!
(-) SharePoint Designer is the tool to use - cannot be changed from SharePoint directly

4) Code a "dynamic properties" feature. How? Don't now yet :-) Ideas?

  • Use "Resuable content"? No, can only be used with html elements, but it may be the first step in the right direction. See theKid's article on reusable content.
  • Picking up and displaying the content of another sharepoint page initialized with the web parts? Yes..., may be a possible solution, but issues concering the use of iframes, masterpages, formating and layout.
  • ...

What I would like in a "perfect solution":

  1. A page where I can define and configure my web parts ("dynamic properties")
  2. A page where I can set in which part of the site/web structure the web parts should be displayed
  3. A clever way of coding and telling that this zone/area is to be filled with my "common" web parts/"dynamic properties"
  4. The solution must also be performant

Any ideas from anybody "out there" on how to solve this challange would be highly appreciated!

2007-05-13

Great tool for shareing your Desktop with co-workers

Microsoft has released a Beta 1 of the their new Shared View application. Download and install it (Click here) on your PC (and let your co-workers do the same), start a new session, pass out invitations either through e-mail or Messanger, and you can share your desktop.

Why?
- Running demos
- Provide on line help
- and so on

2007-05-10

Document Libraries functionality overview

Working with SharePoint document libraries.

Security on different levels (break the security inheritance):
  • Library
  • Folder
  • Item
  • Security inherited from library -> Folder -> Item
  • Break the security on any level - when needed

Setting permissions:

  • Per user
  • Per Activi Directory groups

Upload or adding documents

  • New Document command from SharePoint - the prefered way
  • Upload a single or multiple documents
  • Save a document directly from an Office 2007 application directly into the list
  • Use Windows Explorer to maintain the documents in the lists - started e.g. from the Explorer View
  • E-mail enabling document libraries and mail document straight into the document library

Best practies for opening document from a library:

  • Right-click the document in the list an select Edit the document ... (Office 2003)
  • In office 2007 the user will be prompted to open the document in readonly or edit mode
  • Select Alerts to be notified when a document is added, changed, etc.
  • Using the RSS view and subscribe to i in either IE 7.0 or Outlook 2007 (or any other RSS reader)

Check-in/out and versioning

  • Enable minor and major versions
  • Turn on/off check in/out
  • Set who will be able to se minor/draft versions
  • Version history is available
  • Rollback to older versions
  • Decide on minor or major version when checking in a document from Office 2007
  • From Office 2003 the publishing of a major version has to be done from the Document Library
  • People with only view rights will only see the major versions of a document

Content approval

  • Approvers have higher rights than editors
  • Approver rights is a part of the Design group in SharePoint
  • Draft -> Pending -> Approved

Three state workflow

  • New library
  • A Choice field must be added to the libray that has three different values
  • Add the three state worflow to the document library
  • Enter the task details for each of the first two states
  • A workflow column wil be added to the list and a part of the default view
  • A task list will be added to the site automatically

Managing content in the libraries

  • Folders are not recommended in every case. Consider meta data in some cases, but in others Folders is still the way to do it. So far I haven't been able to use the Content by Query web part fo filter out documents in specific folders eiter. I've had to write my own web part for this. But if anybody else have a solution please let me know.
  • Use custom columns/fields/properties to add meta data to the list
  • Users will be prompted to fill in custom fields when the document is saved/created
  • Office 2007 will have dcoument properties panel where these properties can be set
  • Use filtering and sorting on views to filter and order documents that you want to see

Advanced

  • Export the library to Excel and look at the meta data (status, types, etc).
  • Custom templates
  • Multiple content types in a document library
  • Sending document links to other libraries

2007-05-04

Setting which web parts should show up in 'suggested web parts for zone' - WebPartZone properties

The WebPartZone class has som properties that can be used to controll the appereance of it, what can be done to the web parts that it contains, define which web parts to put in the suggested web part area, etc.

  1. To define which Quick Add Group to use when picking "Suggested Web Parts for 'MyZone'" add this property to your zone in your Page Layout: QuickAdd-GroupNames="MyGroup"
  2. To exclude lists and views from the dialog for adding web parts add this property to your Page Layout zone: QuickAdd-ShowListsAndLibraries="false"

2007-05-03

Setting up EpiServer in a trusted domain scenario

The following scenario had to be solved:

Scenario:
  • Users from domain A and a subset of users (S) from domain B shall be able to access a common EPiServer based intranet solution.
  • Other useres (O) in domain B is not to be granted access.
  • Users already logged on either of the domains should not need to enter their credentsials one more time when accessing the intranett.
  • The intranett should also be accesible from the internet, but then going through an ISA server to enhance the security.
Solution:
  • Place EPiServer in a new resource domain C where both domain A and be are trusted.
  • The ISA server only allows users (S) from domain B to access the intranet.
  • Users (O) are not given access to the intranet.
  • Two (IIS 6.0 on a Windows 2003 server) web applications are set up (needing two EPiServer licenses): one with forms authentication (for users comming from the internet), and one with Windows Authentication for users alreade logged on to either of the domains.
  • Both applications accessing the same SQL Server 2005 database. Anononymous access is turned off.
Checklist for setting up the solution(s):
  • Ensure that both DomainA\Domain Users and DomainB\Domain useres have access to read the aspx files. If they don't they will not be able to access the site.
  • Ensure that the editor and the administrator groups in BOTH domains are added to the web.config file to give them access to the /edit and /admin interfaces.
  • Ensure that Windows Authentication really is set
  • Ensure that resource domain (IP- or domain address) is added to the intranet zone in internet explorer (Read more...)

2007-05-02

SharePoint 2007: Regulatory compliance, Web 2.0 and Office Integration

Microsoft has released three different whitepapers recently that are very helpfull in explaining the possibillities and limitations of SharePoint 2007. They addresses a lot of the questions that may or will come up when trying to match SharePoint with customer requirements: