Saturday, November 29, 2008

SharePoint WCM - Quick start guide

If you walk through the next links you will be up and running with SharePoint WCM development in a couple of hours:

You might also want to check my blog series about WCM:

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Shift Happens

I just stumbled upon another YouTube video (based on the original Did you know video) about the change we will be facing - this time in Dutch - Shift Happens.

The message is quite clear - change is omnipresent and it's pace will only accelerate. This message is very powerfull but still lots of organizations don't seem to grasp it's impact. This is my favourite quote out of the vid:

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

Albert Einstein

The original Did you know video was based upon a presentation given by Karl Fisch. There's another update called -  Did you know 2.0. For some more background take a look at 

PS The music on the original Did you know video was taken from The last of the Mohicans soundtrack - great movie.

Related posts:

Thursday, November 20, 2008

December 8th - BIWUG on SharePoint, Silverlight and e-ID

We are ready to restart BIWUG so expect a number of planned sessions in the coming months. We start off by organizing another BIWUG meeting on December 8th:

18:00-18:30 - Registration and welcome

18:30-18:45 - Introduction

18:45-19u45 - Silverlight and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007

Microsoft recently released Silverlight 2.0 - it's latest version of the framework to build Rich Internet Applications. This session will start off with looking at how Silverlight works and how you can use it as a developer. In the second part we will explore some examples of how you can integrate SharePoint and Silverlight.

Speakers: Gill Cleeren ( and Joris Poelmans ( )

19:45-20:00 - Break

20:00 -21:00 - Integrating e-ID and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007

More than ever, applications will use eID for securing online transactions, spreading and obtaining information and for the signing of documents. eID will be available for every Belgian citizen in 2009.

In our presentation we will talk about:

  • What is eID? What are the business benefits?
  • What are the pitfalls of eID implementations?
  • How can we integrate eID with SharePoint in an efficient way?

Speakers: Michiel Scharpé and Benny Glassée

Event location:

Microsoft België
Corporate Village
Da Vincilaan 3
1935 Zaventem

Win Free versions of Visual Studio 2008

We will give away a number of free versions of Visual Studio 2008 to the attendees of this BIWUG event.

Register for this event

SharePoint - it's all about making the right choices and decisions - Part I

The key to a succesfull SharePoint implementation is making the right choices. Not only about choosing which functionality to implement first - see Leveraging the SharePoint platform - what capabilities to start with - but also about making the right choices when you try to extend the platform. This blog series will focus on making the correct customization/design choices.

Let's explore one of the choices you have when looking at workflows in SharePoint.

SharePoint Designer for workflows vs Visual Studio Workflow Extensions

One of the most telling statements about this you can find on the SharePoint blog -  "SPD is geared toward the Web Designer/Business admin.  It's easy to learn, and you don't have to write any code.  You can put together a lot of workflows with just sequence of actions and conditions."

One of the limitations of SharePoint Designer for workflow development is the fact that you need to design your workflows directly on your production server. There is no "easy way" to export a SharePoint workflow from your development environment and deploy it later on your production environment. If you want to do this you are up for some ugly hacking of the XOML code.

If you build your workflows using Visual Studio - you can quite easily build a SharePoint solution package containing the workflow and pass it from test to acceptance and finally to production.

You might also want to take a look at Workflow Development Tools Comparison

Related links:

Next up in this blog series - creating one or more multiple site collections.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Guidance about InfoPath Forms Services

InfoPath Forms Services is like one of those hidden gems in SharePoint Server 2007 (SharePoint Server 2007 Enterprise Edition only). It still is a little rough on the edges but if you know it's limitations and take a look at some good documentation it will get you going quite quickly. Great  place to start is the blog series on the InfoPath blog - these guys have been busy during the summer season - some nice reads  for those long winter nights:

Some other interesting stuff out there:

SharePoint Guidance and best practices

If you are an architect who is new to SharePoint development - you should start of by looking at the latest updated version of SharePoint guidance - SharePoint Guidance - Patterns & Practices [MSDN]. Definitely take a look at  SharePoint Guidance on Codeplex and download SharePoint guidance for November 2008.

This guidance helps architects and developers build SharePoint intranet applications. A reference implementation (RI) demonstrates solutions to common architectural, development and lifecycle management challenges.

This guidance discusses the following:

  • Architectural decisions about patterns, feature factoring and packaging.
  • Design tradeoffs for common decisions many developers encounter.
  • Implementation examples demonstrated in the RI and in the QuickStarts.
  • How to design for testability, create unit tests, and run continuous integration.
  • Set up of development, build, test, staging, and production environments.
  • Managing the application life cycle including upgrade.
  • Team-based intranet application development.

The following areas are not discussed in this version of the guidance:
  • Content-oriented sites that use Web content management
  • Internet and enterprise-scale SharePoint applications
  • Multilingual SharePoint applications
  • Scale or security testing of SharePoint applications

Next step -  Best Practices Resource Center for SharePoint Center 2007 :

To avoid common pitfalls and keep your Office SharePoint Server 2007 environment available and performing well, follow these best practices based on real-world experience from Microsoft Consulting Services and the product team.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

SharePoint Accessibility

About a year ago the Accessibility Kit for SharePoint was announced but lately some new options became available to built an accessible website on SharePoint. One of them is the Alternative Rendering Framework (ARF) for SharePoint. Another option is the Barriere-frei kit for SharePoint (BKS).

BKS was developed according to the Access for All (AA+) guidelines and will help to make the Internet more accessible. For example BKS helps to annotate pictures with a meaningful description, which can easily be accessed. Screenreaders use the html-<header> tags to figure out the structure of a page. If there is a WebPartZone is place on a page this structure is broken by static <header>-tags produced by the WebPartZone. The BKS includes an alternative to the WebPartZone.

The already existing Accessiblity Kit for Sharepoint (AKS) targets to solve the problems described above. The BKS has other technical approaches,offers more flexibility and better performance.

Related resources:

Monday, November 17, 2008

Talking about Microsoft Master Data Management or Bulldog

Master Data Management (MDM) comprises a set of processes and tools that consistently defines and manages the non-transactional data entities of an organization (also called reference data). MDM has the objective of providing processes for collecting, aggregating, matching, consolidating, quality-assuring, persisting and distributing such data throughout an organization to ensure consistency and control in the ongoing maintenance and application use of this information. (Source: Wikipedia MDM)

In june 2007 Microsoft announced the acquistion of Stratature -  a major player in the MDM market. Stratature MDM products +EDM will be rebranded and currently has the codename Bulldog.

Appararently MDM will be part of  the SharePoint vNext platform if you look at the new MDM section on  - If you want to know where all this is heading, take a look at the Microsoft's MDM Roadmap.

It is quite strange though - if you look at Kirk Haseldens blog post - Surprise! MDM Technology Preview available tomorrow (dated November 2007) - it states that a CTP should be available somewhere in Q3 2008 - but the last few months - no more news about it.

Mental Note - SharePoint and WCF

Just a reminder for myself to check out the following blogposts about the SharePoint and Windows Communication Foundation (WCF):

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Office 14 hits the web

Lot of buzz around the Office 14 webapps - basically web -based versions of Word, Excel and OneNote, using  Silverlight and Ajax. One of the things which excites me most is collaborative editing of documents, with automatic synchronisation of changes when multiple users are editing a document. For more info take a look at Channel 9 Webcast - Office 14 for the web . And for some excellent screenshots of Office 14 webapps take a look at  Microsoft Office 14 Web Applications Preview as well as Microsoft to Extend Office to the browser

So when to expect this stuff to be released? Mary Jo Foley provides some "educated guesses":

There will be a private tech preview of Office Web applications starting later this year. Those interested in participating will be able to sign up for the preview  from the Office Live Workspace site.

Microsoft officials still won’t talk about when Office 14 is due to ship. Until recently, many expected it to be released in the latter half of 2009. But I’ve been hearing recent scuttlebutt that 2010 might be a more realistic target.

PS Apparently Office 14 webapps will also offer cross-browser support  ...

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Visual Studio 2010 Tools for SharePoint

Jason Zander just announced support for SharePoint in Visual Studio 2010 at TechEd Emea. For those still working with Visual Studio 2005 - take a look at Visual Studio Extensions for WSS 1.1 (VSEWSS 1.1) - or VSEWSS 1.2 when you are using Visual Studio 2008. Some interesting features for SharePoint developers - (taken from Paul Andrew's blog)

  • Server Explorer for SharePoint viewing Lists and other artifacts in SharePoint directly inside of Visual Studio. Apparently they extended the current Server Explorer to make it SharePoint aware.

  • You can import a SharePoint WSP to create a new solution

  • Added a new web part project item and showed the Visual web part designer which loads a user control as a web part for SharePoint. Well we already had the Smartpart but is nice that finally it is provided within Visual Studio 2010 itself.

  • Showed adding an event receiver for SharePoint and using the wizard to choose the event receiver and to just create a source file with that event receiver.

  • Added an ASPX workflow initiation form to a workflow project and showed how this workflow initiation form has designer capability.
  • Showed the packaging explorer and the packaging editor which lets you structure the SharePoint features and WSP file that is created. This is one of my dislikes with the current VSEWSS tools - they are not flexible enough with regards to building your SharePoint Solution packages - therefore I uses WSPBuilder

Apparently they also added support for BDC schema editing directly into Visual Studio 2010 if you look at the available project types.

Definitely take a look SharePoint Development with Visual Studio 2010 on Channel 9 for more info.

Remark: these features are not available yet in the current download of Visual Studio 2010 CTP.

SnagIt Tip : Capturing Windows Media Player media files

I like SnagIt - it is one of the best capturing tools that you can find on the market but today I had some troubles when trying to capture images from a media file which was playing in Windows Media Player - everything time again it produced a black screen. Luckily I found the workaround on the Techsmith site - Black or blank video and image captures - I needed to disable hardware accelaration....

SharePoint Security Access Check Codeplex

A colleague of mine just pointed me to this interesting tool ...

Quickly check what objects within a Sharepoint site hierarchy a user has access to.  The Access Checker Web Part is a Windows Sharepoint Services Web Part, for use within Windows Sharepoint Services v3 and Microsoft Office Sharepoint Server 2007, that displays a tree view showing permissions on objects for a user scoped to a Site hierarchy. It also has a second mode which will show the permission inheritance of objects within a Site hierarchy.

I haven't found time to take a look at it so if you have tried it out - leave some comments....

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Guide to SharePoint workflow development

Introductory material - things you should know before opening Visual Studio :-):

Intermediate and advanced resources

Thursday, November 13, 2008

MS Project 2007 Visual Reports

Cool new feature in MS Project 2007 - Visual Reports

Visual Reports is a new feature in Project Standard and Professional that allows you to report on your project’s data in Excel using PivotTables and PivotCharts, and in Visio using a new feature called PivotDiagrams (think fancy WBS charts). Using Visual Reports you can now easily create eye-catching reports that are also informative off data from your project using formats that are familiar to your target audience. To help get you started we are shipping Excel and Visio templates. You can also create your own templates that you can share out to others to provide a consistency across everyone’s reports.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

SPLongOperation and Threadabortexception

SPLongOperation allows you to show the nice SharePoint spinner page when you have code in a SharePoint application page which runs for quite a while  (See for example Compiling SharePoint 2007 audiences using the SharePoint object model (C# code sample) ). Unfortunately there is not a lot of documentation about it the use of it out there. So when I stumbled upon a ThreadAbortException when trying to create a new SharePoint site in my application page. Apparently the only way around it was adding an empty Catch block... Maybe this is because internally SPLongOperation uses Response.End internally (See ) but I'm not sure. Can anyone confirm that this is the way to go?

string sRedirectUrl = "http://moss";

using (SPLongOperation operation = new SPLongOperation(this.Page))

using (SPSite sitecollection = new SPSite("http://moss"))
using (SPWeb toplevelsite = sitecollection.OpenWeb())
toplevelsite.AllowUnsafeUpdates = true;

using (SPWeb newsite = toplevelsite.Webs.Add("demo", "demo", "",

Convert.ToUInt32(1043), "STS#0", false, false))
//TODO Add some extra stuff in here ...
sRedirectUrl = newsite.Url;

catch (ThreadAbortException tex) { }
catch (Exception ex)