Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Is SharePoint a true Document Management System (DMS)? Rumor explored.

In my 10+ years working with SharePoint I've heard 3 individuals declare that SharePoint isn't "a true Document Management system".  When questioned about this they bring up instances of poorly architected solution issues or performance limitations as the justification.  I too have experienced poor performance, bugs, limitations, and have inherited poorly architected SharePoint solutions; but my tendency is to address the underlying issues or engineer proper solutions rather than discounting the software out-of-hand.  This leads me to believe that there are some outdated primary sources for this rumor that were introduced outside of these users' own experiences.  This article will look into some of these sources, listing their bias.  I will also post some refuting articles.

Disclaimer: Obviously my bias is towards SharePoint as I am very familiar with its capabilities and have used it to implement more than 40 document management solutions with each one exceeding its unique requirements

Sources of Rumor (SharePoint is not a DMS)
  • eFileCabinet - SharePoint competitor (2010)
  • ContentVerse - SharePoint competitor (2014)
  • Fishbowl Solutions - Oracle WebCenter SharePoint Connector provider (2012?)
    • Has a good overview of the history of SharePoint issues pre-2010 but is mostly propaganda for keeping WebCenter and using their connector instead of migrating everything to SharePoint
  • Reva Solutions - Alfresco (SharePoint Competitor) ISV (2015)
  • DocFinity - SharePoint competitor
  • Lexmark's In Context - Perceptive Software (SharePoint Competitor - now Lexmark) interview  (2011)
Refutations of Rumor (SharePoint is a DMS)
Conclusion

SharePoint (2007 or later) is a bonafide Document Management System with its own unique advantages and disadvantages.  The rumors appear to have been initiated by competing vendors as marketing propaganda from sources with limited knowledge of SharePoint's capabilities or from early reviewers who balked at the new technology and its use of third-party vendors for imaging and other advanced functionality.  It's fair to mention that SharePoint 2007 (pre-2010) was missing some of the more enterprise scale features of a DMS, but even those features were not mandatory to consider that version a "true DMS" as typically defined unless third-party products were excluded from use.

The closest you can get to the original rumor while maintaining the truth is that "SharePoint is not just a true Document Management System." Even the term "Document Management System" is outdated along with the term "File Management System (FMS)"  "Enterprise Content Management System" (ECM, ECMS, or CMS) is now the preferred moniker to describe systems that do more than just manage files and documents.  SharePoint, being one of the most widely used ECMs, benefits from the fact that it also takes on collaboration, intranets, extranets, (WCM) web content management, workflow, insights, enterprise search, and more.  It does so while maintaining one of the largest ISV (partner) communities of any ECMS, including most of the other ECM vendors who are struggling to maintain their relevance by integrating with SharePoint and Office 365.

Note: The meaning of "true DMS" is subjective, therefore if you define a "true DMS" to include a specific limitation (ex: Must be able to render historical versions in search without exposing the versioned documents in a library or folder), then you can justify your claim.  Just realize that anyone else can do the same to your preferred system (ex: Must provide secure co-authoring capabilities in a web-based note-taking client on MS, iOS, and Android mobile devices).

Feedback?

Please contribute comments below listing specific features that your favorite CMS has which SharePoint may not.  I will do my best to provide feedback on its support within SharePoint.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Restricted Edit Event Receiver - SharePoint 2013

Scenario
  • You need to restrict edits to a document library based on the current value of a field.
  • Full trust farm solution for SharePoint 2013 scoped to Web.
Solution
  • I created a configurable event receiver that will restrict edits (metadata and content) based on the value in one of the document's metadata columns.
  • Additional feature: Delay implementation of the restriction for a number of seconds from Created Date to allow for additional automated processes to update new documents.
  • Additional feature: Exclude a document from the restriction based on a regular expression using its  filename.
  • Additional feature: Automatically populate the Title field (or other text field) based on another choice or text field.
  • Open-Source code is available here:  RestrictedSave ZIP
    • Feel free to modify and use this code.  You may not resell it or a modified version of it as part of a packaged solution without my permission.
  • Disclaimer:  This will only prevent edits that trigger the item updating event receiver.  Some programmatic and 3rd party API calls made using bulk edit operations, workflow actions, or other event receivers may bypass the event receiver.  In addition, this code is not hardened for high security scenarios and is only meant as a first line defense against unwanted typical user edits.
Installation
  • Download the RestrictedSave WSP file and deploy to your farm.
  • Enable the Restricted Save feature on your sub-site.
    • Feature Description:
      Configured via the RestrictedSave list. If this site does not have one, a RestrictedSave list will be added. Document libraries named in the RestrictedSave list will not save a file if the user is unauthorized and the assigned column contains a certain value. If no required permission is specified, then the field can only be edited if the restricted column's value is changed. Multiple document libraries, columns, or values may be configured but must exist in this subsite. Optional New File Delay and Regular Expression Exclusion may be configured as well. Will also set the document title and/or filename based on a choice field by using the 'Title Choice Field' columns.
  • Configure the RestrictedSave list that was added to the site according to your needs.
Example

  • A standard configuration of the RestrictedSave list to restrict edits on a document library named "RestrictDeleteTest" when the "LOBType" column is set to "Choice 1".

  • The resultant error displayed on a document's edit properties form in the "RestrictDeleteTest" library when a filename modification is attempted.


  • Error Message in clear text
UNABLE TO SAVE! -- When column "LOBType" is set to "Choice 1" the item is locked and cannot be updated. -- Please work from a new copy or change the column value.





RestrictedSave List Configurable Fields
  • Instructions are provided in-line on the form.
  • Add one line for each restriction.  All lines will be parsed for each document edited in the sub-site.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


And again in text format for search-engines, visually impaired, and copy/paste:

Document Library Name *


Column Name


Column Value


Required Permission To Edit

   

New Item Delay Seconds


Title Exclusion Regex


Title Choice Field Name


Title Choice Target

   

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Hacking the Datasheet View / Quick Edit in SharePoint 2013 to display in an IFrame

Scenario
  • I created a document library list view in datasheet (quick edit) mode for display in a custom popup dialog in a SharePoint 2013 Visual Studio project "application page".
    • This grid was used to make last minute changes to metadata values of selected items before continuing an existing process in a larger solution.
  • I needed to display the list view using an IFrame pointing to a URL filtering the values by IDs.
  • This was a large list exceeding the list view threshold
  • I needed to hide all chrome, navigation, ribbon, and other elements surrounding the list view web part.
  • I needed to call a JavaScript function outside the list view page from a button on the list view page.
  • Note that I couldn't figure out how to convert the application page into a web part page which is why the list view web part is included via an IFrame rather than embedded directly into the page, however the same issues would apply except without the need for a hidden button or the chrome trimming.
  • An alternative to using the list view web part in datasheet mode would be to use a datagrid control and manage the CRUD programatically, but this would be harder to maintain if the SharePoint schema changed down the line and would require much more coding to implement correctly.
Issues
  • In Datasheet view the last record edited (or possibly the only record) will only save if you select another record (which you can't even do if there's only one record). This was an issue for 2 reasons:
    • There was a custom button in the app that when clicked would continue the process without saving the record that was just edited.
    • The stop editing functionality which would normally be used to save the last record resulted in a list view threshold error dialog due to a bug in the datagrid / Quick Edit mode when in a folder or using filter parameters and using the "Stop editing this list" link because it forwards to a standard view without the filter or folder.
Resolution
  • Implementing the IFrame: A bug in Visual Studio .Net 4.5 framework IFrame web control requires the control to be instantiated manually in the code behind rather than automatically in the designer code file
protected global::System.Web.UI.HtmlControls.HtmlGenericControl iframe1;
  • The IFrame was added to the application page like so:
 <iframe name="iframe1" id="iframe1" ClientIDMode="Static" runat="server" height="400" width="400" seamless" />
  • The IFrame was instantiated dynamically using server side code that set the filter parameters in the query string like so (itemids are in a semicolon delimited format):
iframe1.Attributes["Src"] = "/sites/SiteName/LibraryName/Forms/DatasheetViewName.aspx?IsDlg=1&FilterName=ID&FilterMultiValue=" + itemids;
  • I hid a button (id = btnCopy style:display = none) on the application page which ran the application code and added the following JavaScript function to the application page so that it could be called from the list view page from within the IFrame.  Note the timed delay here as I'll explain this later.
<script type="text/javascript">
    function triggerBtnCopyClick() {
        setTimeout(function () { document.getElementById('btnCopy').click(); }, 1200);   
    }
    
    ....  existing code used by the application page that handled the btnCopy click event.
</script>
  • I added a script editor web part to the Datasheet List View page and configured it to remove the chrome elements still remaining after IsDlg=1 did its work.  Note that your class names may be different based on the WPQ number (find using your browser's developer tools).
    <style>
    #s4-ribbonrow{display: none;}
    #Hero-WPQ2{display: none;}
    #CSRListViewControlDivWPQ2{display:none;}
    </style>
    • Finally, I added the button and code to call the parent page's triggerBtnCopyClick code.  You will need to find the GUID of your list view web part (webpartid) and plug it into the code.
      This is the part that involved hacking the datasheet view by finding the function calls the "Stop editing this list" button used to save the final changes and reusing them in my own code.  The downside to this is that the grid needs to be refreshed afterwards and takes a second to finish processing so I added a 1200ms delay into the triggerBtnCopyClick function above that processes the code after the save.
    <input type="button" id="SaveEdits" value="Save and Process" onclick="var gridInitInfo = g_SPGridInitInfo[('{WebPartID GUID HERE}')]; var ganttControl = window[gridInitInfo.controllerId]; var ganttControl = window[gridInitInfo.controllerId]; ganttControl.TryDispose(function(dlgReturnValue) {window.location.reload(false);}); this.style.display = 'none'; window.parent.triggerBtnCopyClick(); return false" />



    Wednesday, June 1, 2016

    SharePoint End Date on Workday using a Holiday List

    Scenario
    • Typical scenario where you need to add a certain number of days to a start date and set the due date to a working day (Ex: service window).  Note that this is not "number of working days".  It is "the next working day after X days".
    • You can easily adapt this code to provide the last working day before X days.
    • The working day must bypass weekends and holidays.
    • You have a Holidays list in SharePoint that you can query.
      • The Holidays list uses the out of the box "Holiday" list content type.
        • Note: In code, the "Holiday" "Date" field's internal name is "V4HolidayDate"
    • You need to add some code to an event receiver or custom workflow action to get this date.
    Solution
    • This was coded for SharePoint 2013 but should work for other versions

           protected void MAIN_FUNCTION()  
           {  
             DateTime startdate = Convert.ToDateTime(START_DATE_VALUE).Date;  
             DateTime finaldate = startdate.AddDays(Convert.ToInt16(FINAL_DATE_VALUE));  
             SPList holidayLibrary = web.GetList("/Lists/Holidays");  
             Int16 CurrentHolidayIndex = 0;  
      
             SPQuery query = new SPQuery();  
             query.Query = string.Concat(  
                     "<Where><And><Geq>",  
                      "<FieldRef Name='V4HolidayDate'/>",  
                      "<Value Type='DateTime'>", SPUtility.CreateISO8601DateTimeFromSystemDateTime(finaldate) , "</Value>",  
                     "</Geq><Leq>",  
                      "<FieldRef Name='V4HolidayDate'/>",  
                      "<Value Type='DateTime'>", SPUtility.CreateISO8601DateTimeFromSystemDateTime(finaldate.AddDays(14)), "</Value>",  
                     "</Leq></And></Where>",  
                     "<OrderBy>",  
                      "<FieldRef Name='Date' Ascending='FALSE' />",  
                     "</OrderBy>");  
             query.ViewFields = "<FieldRef Name='V4HolidayDate' />";  
             query.ViewFieldsOnly = true;  
             //Limited to 14 days of continuous holidays  
        
             while (IsWeekend(finaldate) || IsHoliday(finaldate, holidays, ref CurrentHolidayIndex))  
             {  
               finaldate = finaldate.AddDays(1);  
             }  
             OUTPUT_FIELD_VALUE = finaldate.ToShortDateString();  
           }  
      
           bool IsWeekend(DateTime date)  
           {  
             if (date.DayOfWeek == DayOfWeek.Saturday || date.DayOfWeek == DayOfWeek.Sunday) return true;  
             return false;  
           }  
      
           bool IsHoliday(DateTime date, SPListItemCollection holidays, ref Int16 holidayIndex)  
           {  
             for (; holidayIndex < holidays.Count; holidayIndex++)  
             {  
               DateTime holiday = Convert.ToDateTime(holidays[holidayIndex]["V4HolidayDate"]);  
               if (date == holiday) return true;  
               if (holiday > date) break; //stop checking once we pass the current date  
             }  
             return false;  
           }  
      

    Tuesday, November 3, 2015

    SharePoint Saturday, Sacramento, 11/7/2015

    My Presentation
    Conference Link

    Wednesday, August 12, 2015

    SharePoint ParameterBinding the DateTime Control

    Scenario
    • You have a custom form providing values to an XsltListViewWebPart or similar List View Web Part that supports ParameterBinding.
    • You need to provide a date picker control and would like to use the standard SharePoint control.  You only need the date, not time.
    • You are using SharePoint Designer and may not have access to code blocks or other server side code.
    • You are using the ParameterBinding in a CAML Query or similar.
    Issue
    • The SharePoint date picker control is easy enough to add directly to a SharePoint aspx page, but accessing the values from the Form or Control ParameterBindings are not straightforward.
    Resolution
    • Add JQuery and JQuery formatDateTime libraries to the page you are working on if they're not already included in your master page.
      • Example where you have downloaded the jquery and formatDateTime files to the root Style Library:
        <script language="javascript" type="text/javascript" src="/Style%20Library/Scripts/jquery-1.11.3.min.js"></script>
        <script language="javascript" type="text/javascript" src="/Style%20Library/Scripts/jquery.formatDateTime.min.js"></script>
    • Add the DateTime control followed by a standard TextBox element with the Same ID + "Value". 
      • This extra TextBox control will be used to pass the value to the ParameterBinding and should be hidden.  You should specify the date you wish to use when a blank is entered (be sure to change both).  The OnValueChangeClientScript property is used to call the JavaScript function you will add next.
      • Example:
        <SharePoint:DateTimeControl runat=server id="publishDateStart" OnValueChangeClientScript="spDateChanged('publishDateStart', '1901-01-01');" DateOnly="True"></SharePoint:DateTimeControl>
        <asp:textbox id="publishDateStartValue" runat="server" style="display: none;">1901-01-01</asp:textbox>
    • Add the following JavaScript code.  This converts the DateTime control's date format to the format required by your XSLT CAML query and stores it in your hidden textbox.  It also swaps in a date for a blank.
      •  Code:
        <script type="text/javascript">
        function spDateChanged(id, blankdate) {
        var datetimeID = '"_' + id + '_' + id + 'Date"';
        var dateSelected = $('[id$=' + datetimeID + ']:first');
        var dateSelectedValue = $('[id$="' + id + 'Value"]:first');
        if (dateSelected[0].value == "")
        {
        dateSelectedValue[0].value = blankdate
        }
        else
        {
        dateSelectedValue[0].value = $.formatDateTime('yy-mm-dd', new Date(dateSelected[0].value));
        }
        }
        </script>
        
    • Set your ParameterBinding element to the TextBox Control's ID
      • Example:
        <parameterbinding defaultvalue="" location="Control(publishDateStartValue)" name="AdoptedFrom"></parameterbinding> 
    • Note that this example does not include the time elements since it was not needed in my use case and would add in some extra complexity to the function above.  This was written for a 2010 SharePoint Server.
    • Also note that typed in entries need to be in the "m/d/yyyy" format.  Example: 1/1/2015
      •  
         

    Wednesday, May 13, 2015

    SharePoint Saturday, Silicon Valley, 5/30/2015

    My Presentation
    Conference Link

    Monday, May 4, 2015

    My MS Ignite 2015

    Day 1 - Monday
    • Keynote (~23,000 attendees)
      • SharePoint 2016 release not mentioned in the keynote!
      • No mention of the SharePoint brand even though several new Office 365 SharePoint features were demoed
        • Does this mean MS is splitting off the SharePoint brand into its cloud use-cases: Office 365, Sites, OneDrive, Search, Delve, etc.?
          • Will SharePoint end up being rebranded as "Office 365 On-Prem"?
        • Or possibly an indicator of a lack-luster SharePoint 2016 release?
      • Best newly demoed SharePoint/Outlook feature is the new email integration with attach file links integrated into Azure groups and SharePoint security
      • Best Windows 10 demos were the Cortana Power BI demo and the facial recognition login demo
      • Other stuff:
        • Skye for Business, Threat Analytics, Ops Management Suite, Azure Stack On-Premises, Windows Update changes, and the Surface Hub
    • Evolution of SharePoint: Overview and Roadmap (over-capacity including overflow room)
      • SharePoint 2016 = Office 365 On Premises
        • Basically most of what is already on or is coming to Office 365 SharePoint will now be made available on premises
      • Deployment wizard will allow deployment by Role
        • WFE, App, Search, etc.
      • Delve will be made available to SharePoint 2013 on-prem (soon?) 
    Day 2 - Tuesday
    • Power BI
      • Live Dashboards
        • Drill into data
        • Ad-hoc BI
      • Power BI Designer (client app)
        • Preview release version
      • On-Prem Data Sources
        • Scheduled Refresh or Analysis Services Live Query
      • API for data pushes / live monitoring
        • Demoed mobile phone accelerometer data live reporting
          • App used API to send data directly to dashboard
    • Transforming your SharePoint Full Trust Code to the Office App Model
      • Branding
        • Why brand collab sites?
        • Leverage Office 365 Themes
        • SharePoint Themes
        • CDM instead of Site Assets to avoid caching/blob cache issues
        • Use alternate CSS and javascript instead of modifying master pages when possible
      • Provisioning
        • App/add-ins
        • Scripting
        • PnP Provisioning Engine
          • Security
          • Fields
          • TermGroups
          • Lists
          • Pages
          • Files
          • ComposedLook
          • Apply-SPOProvisioningTemplate
            • Will provision new items only, no updates
      • Sandboxed Solutions
        • Still deprecated, should continue to n bb  work in 2016
      • Script parts
        • Embedded javascript (node/jquery)
      • Office 365 App Model
        • Mail, contacts, lists, libraries, and other Office 365 features
        • Standalone apps interface for ez app launch
    Day 3 - Wednesday
    • NanoServer
      • Preview bits available
      • No UI at all
      • Remote Powershell and Managemen Console support
        • Limited cmdlet support, no local workflows
      • Clustering and HyperV supported
      • Fast boot, minimal services running
      • Graphical remote management web based tool demoed
        • Works on all versions of Windows server
        • Process Manager
        • PowerShell window
        • System Settings
        • Device Manager
        • Event Viewer
      • ServerCore will be renamed to Server
      • Full Server/Server with a GUI will be renamed to Client
        • Not allowed in containers
      • Visual studio server apps targeted to either Server or Nano, not Client
      • Nano is simply a subset of Server, full compatibility for all features that are in both
        • You select features and drivers at deployment
      • Demo of Chef deployment to Nano with Ruby, Python, and C# components
      • More videos on channel 9
      • Reduces attack surface and maintenance requirements
        • Fewer services, memory usage, patches, reboots
        • .4GB footprint compared to 4.84GB
      • No MSI support
        • Nano Server installer in the works
    • CRM Online and Office 365: What's New
      • Integration Points
        • Outlook/Exchange
          • Email folder mapping of metadata
          • Create entities from email
        • Excel
        • Power BI
        • OneNote
        • Office 365
          • Groups integration
        • OneDrive
        • SharePoint
        • Yammer
        • Skype
        • Skype for Business
    • Office 365 Groups -Eric Zenz
      • Office 365 Group = SharePoint Site Collection
      • Outlook and Office App integrations
      • Groups include
        • Files
        • Group Notebook
        • Shared with us feed
        • Recycle Bin
        • Pages
      • Delve provides insights into groups
      • Future planned feature: Link groups to existing SharePoint sites
      • Discovery works across group mail and group viles
      • Coming in 2015
        • Guests membership
        • Dynamic membership
        • Data Leakage Prevention (DLP)
        • Quota management
        • Soft-delete
      • Graph REST endpoint
    • Line of Business Dev on Dynamics CRM (small room)
      • Dynamics CRM
        • Line of business and Customer Engagement
        • Solution development
          • Relationship
          • Process
          • Interaction
          • LOB
        • Giving campaign demo
          • Theme
          • Personalized
          • Navigation
          • Office 365 Integration
          • Configurable
          • Social and Collaborative
          • Mobile Ready
          • Customizable Search
          • Secured
          • Analytical
      • Build, Integrate, Manage
    Day 4 - Thursday
    • Best Practices for Design and Performance in SharePoint Online
      • Branding Impact
        • Low Impact
        • High Impact
      • Responsive Web Design
        • Limited support for some common collaboration site features
          • Ex: Gantt charts
      • Composed Looks (Themes)
      • Design Manager
        • Converts HMTL to Masterpage automatically
      • Custom Branding
        • Use a starter masterpage
        • Layout with html css and imagers
        • Add SP Controls
      • Performance considerations
        • Image sizes
        • SharePoint Online caching less reliable due to number of servers
        • Demo of custom rollup nav delaying page load
      • Custom Masterpages will continue to be supported
        • Make sure to stay up to date with MS improvements
    • Deploying Yammer
      • Levi Strauss+
      • Yammer Embed
      • My Feed
      • Group Feeds
      • Liking
      • Sharing
      • Following
    Day 5 - Friday
    • BCS to SQL hybrid
      • OData service on-prem exposes SQL data
    • Search hybrid
      • Search center on-prem or online
    • Security
      • AD sync
      • DirSync server
        • Claims from User Profile Sync Service
        • Config steps
          • Add on prem domain to tenant
          • Activate DirSync in your tenant
          • Update DNS records
          • Run DirSync wizard and start sync
          • Check users and groups in Tenant Admin
          • Activate and License users
        • Validate synchronization
          • DirSync Troubleshooter App
      • Azure AD Proxy on-prem manages ACS (Access Control Services) Trust
      • ADFS + ADFS Proxy for single sign-on
      • Configuring S2S
        • Replace STS Cert on all farms
        • Install S Sign in assistant and azure PowerShell
        • Register on-prem STS as Service Principle in 0365
        • Add SPN for on-prem domain
        • Register 0365 app principal as trusted provider
        • Set the auth realm on prem
      • Validate User Profile Service App
      • Search Validation
        • Result Source
          • ECB menu, click test source
        • Query builder
          • From Query Rules
        • Investigation
          • Partitioned search service or proxy not supported in hybrid
            • Fix: IgnoreTenatization
          • 400, 401, 403, 500 errors
      • BCS Validation

    Thursday, April 9, 2015

    SharePoint Migration and Administration Notification Tool

    Scenario
    • You are performing an administrative change at the SharePoint site level or for all sub-sites starting at a particular location
      • Examples
        • Migration
        • Retention, Archival or Deletion
        • Redesign
        • User Acceptance Testing (UAT)
        • Upgrade
        • Restructure
        • Merge
    • You need to convey the administrative status to all users on the site
      • Likely as part of your SharePoint administrative communications plan
      Issue
      • There is no simple or easy out of the box way to accomplish this
      • We don't want to manually replicate notifications on each sub-site, modify the master pages, or configure content roll-ups on each site
      Solution
      • I developed the SharePoint Migration Notification Tool specifically for this purpose
        • Download SharePointMigrationNotification.wsp for deployment at the Site Collection level on a SharePoint on-premises farm
        • Add and Install the WSP file you downloaded
        • Enable the site collection feature named "Migration Notification" on each site collection
        • Add a list to the root site for each site collection.  Select the "Migration Notification URLs" list template (found under Blank & Custom list types)
          • You can name this whatever you like, but you should only have 1 of these lists at the site collection root because the tool uses the first one it finds
      • Here are some examples of the default notifications you can configure
        • You can also add your own custom notification messages

      • Here is the list configured at the Site Collection root level that defines your notifications
        • The new/edit item forms describe what should be entered in each field

      • Notification Tool Feature List
        • Site Collection Deployed full trust solution (Currently designed for SharePoint 2010+)
        • Client object model exclusively used for notification processing in order to support future releases on the SharePoint 2013 app model and Office 365 environments
        • Drop down selection of common notification scenarios
        • Migration notification list definition
          • Must be added to the root site collection
        • Configurable notification text with wiki-like syntax for inserting hyperlinks or a date from the Migration Notification List
          • More Info URL
          • New URL
          • Migration Date
        • SharePoint client object model property bag caching to reduce server load and increase performance
        • Supports the standard notification color selections
        • Include all sub-sites (notification can be overridden at the child site level)
        • New / test site URL replacement including the full path to the current page/form
        • Notification disable flag
        • Automatic population of the title field from the New Site URL wiki when sent to a ".../NewForm.aspx?source=..."  page (Using "New URL Set Title" syntax)
        • Permission based notification visibility (security trimming)
        • Notification dismissal option (cookie based)
          • 1 day dismissal duration
        • Automatically delete sites from the migration notification list by selecting Auto Delete or Auto Recycle in the Old Site Status field
          • This capability is enabled through a separate Site Collection feature and requires the user to have permissions to delete the site
          • This feature is especially useful for retention policies that require you to post a notice of deletion before deleting the site.
          • If you use Auto Delete instead of Auto Recycle, you should backup the site first if there is any possibility of needing a restore
      • Contact me for SharePoint Farm Upgrade or Migration services, to request a customized version of this solution, or to provide SharePoint Solution Architecture services
      Releases
      • Release 1.3.2.0 (2013 only): 11/7/2015
        • Fixed a bug when removing an existing Migration Notification List and adding another with a different name.
      • Release 1.3.1.0: 7/6/2015
        • SharePoint 2013 list view fix
        • 3 digit year date format fix (115 fixed to be 2015)
      • Release 1.3.0.0: 5/29/2015
        • SharePoint 2013 version created
      • Release 1.3.0.0: 5/27/2015
        • New Features
          • Auto Delete Old Site feature added
            • New feature activates migration notification list event receiver keying off a new field type "Old Site Status"
          • Refactored to use ScriptLink and _layouts JavaScript code file to enable browser based code caching
      • Release 1.2.1.0: 5/15/2015
        • Bug Fixes
          • Redirect URL now works when browsing folders within a list/library
            • These links now redirect to the Document Library root folder
        • New Features
          • Notification dismissal option (cookie based)
            • 1 day dismissal duration
      • Release 1.2.0.0: 5/13/2015
        • Bug Fixes
          • URLs with spaces and special characters now work correctly
            • You will need to make sure to unencode the URLs when entering them in the list.  The title field description now reflects this requirement.
          • Redirect URLs with special characters will now be encoded correctly
        • Added Features
          • Permission based notification visibility (security trimming)
      Backlog
      • Develop an Office 365 app version
      • Add parameter for dismissal duration length

      Tuesday, March 10, 2015

      CRM and xRM vs SharePoint: Business Solution Architecture

      Scenario
      • You are tasked with developing an enterprise application or business process solution using a stable platform tool
      • You have MS SharePoint / Office 365 and MS Dynamics CRM options available and need to decide which to use
      SharePoint / Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM and xRM Comparison
      • SharePoint and Office 365 is a(n)
        • Customizable and flexible business solution platform
          • Content-centric
        • Content/document management and versioning system (CMS/DMS)
        • Enterprise search engine
        • Workflow system (WWF/Azure Workflow)
        • Alert engine
        • Extension for MS Office client apps and MS OfficeWeb Apps (OWA)
        • Web site development and web content management tool (WCM)
        • Publishing tool
        • Personalizable web interface
        • Social platform
        • Cloud capable, multi-tenant framework
        • MS Access web database platform
        • MS Project platform
        • MS Team Foundation Studio site platform
        • MS Dynamics CRM document repository
      • Dynamics CRM (xRM) is a(n)
        • Customizable CRM line of business system
          • For Sales and Marketing departments
        • Entity management platform
          • Ex: Accounts, contacts, orders, cases and opportunities
          • May be configured for case management solutions such as health and human services, benefits administration, legal cases, grant management, etc.
        • Query tool
        • Workflow engine (WWF)
        • Analytics tool
        • Extension for MS Outlook, Excel, and Word
        • Custom business solution platform
          • Email and conversation-centric applications
            • Customer service, tech support, employee relations, outreach, campaigning, contracts, etc.
      Summary

      MS Dynamics CRM is designed as a customer relationship management system and the platform has native relational design at its heart.  It can be adapted to many conversational and relationship based business processes.  The primary problem with CRM, is that it lacks the popularity of SharePoint and Office 365 due to reduced feature set and increased cost and is therefore less likely to be available as a platform to most business developers and end users.  This makes finding third party solutions, developers, community forums, and experienced users difficult or costly.  Dynamics CRM as a line of business app has many competing products that make the base feature set less important when choosing a solutions platform.  These include those from MS partners built directly on SharePoint such as BPA Solutions CRM, SP CRM Template, and SP Marketplace CRM.

      The capabilities of SharePoint and Office 365 currently outweigh those of Dynamics CRM for general purpose custom business solutions.  This is especially true when business solutions incorporate enterprise search, documents and content management, publishing and approval, personalization, collaboration, or public web content.   SharePoint with a typical set of third party add-ins provides the best long term, affordable, and flexible solution architecture.  Microsoft has embraced SharePoint as an application platform within most of its divisions, Dynamics being the outlier.  SharePoint/Office 365 is also the fastest growing product within Microsoft due to its rapid adoption globally.  Finally, SharePoint has many more third party solution providers and COTS line of business systems than Dynamics CRM.

      For highly relational and performance based web applications it is better to develop a user interface in SharePoint (app model or web parts) with a SQL DBA developed backend or MS Access Web Database rather than develop a solution using the Dynamics CRM drag drop interface or native SharePoint lists/libraries.  This will remain the case until Dynamics CRM catches up to SharePoint/Office 365 in functionality, SharePoint integrates a better relational/back end framework, or another company develops a better web application platform.


      Microsoft Corporate Strategy and Product Roadmap Commentary

      Ideal Objective: SharePoint = Microsoft's Web Operating System

      SharePoint must be the single web based application platform for all Microsoft's business solutions.  MS Dynamics CRM has not been ported to the SharePoint platform for the main reason that customizable relational models are not embraced within SharePoint.  Every attempt by the SharePoint product team to incorporate true relational database (RDBMS) integrity, performance, and design into the product have met with limited success.  External lists and lookups are feature deprived and difficult to configure. Access web databases are siloed from other SharePoint features and sites.  Native lookup fields lack basic features and have limited relational support. Database synchronization to or from lists is non-existent.  Many third party vendors have stepped up to fill these gaps, but that leaves Microsoft without the capabilities for internal development utilizing these missing features.  For now, we are stuck in that period where the Dynamics CRM platform is not yet obsolete, but SharePoint (without third party add-ins) is not ready for the port.

      If Microsoft is to succeed in its primary focus towards enterprise software, then these product teams need to work together to bolster SharePoint's feature set as a solutions development platform and then port the Dynamics business solutions onto the improved platform.  This would allow the Dynamics teams to contribute to the design of the SharePoint platform while also removing the CRM team's burden of having to re-invent the wheel regarding the existing and continually improving SharePoint feature set.  Examples of these shared functionality opportunities include: workflow engine, search engine, forms engine, list engine, authorization, authentication, UI, admin consoles, deployment methods, device support, mobile applications, OneDrive for Business synchronization, web services, application object model, BI, content management, metadata, analytics services, patches, upgrades, and MS Office integration.  Microsoft has taken the first steps with incorporating the MS Access team into SharePoint forms and Access web database design, but the SharePoint team also needs the real world requirements and feedback from the Dynamics teams to ensure the future success of both products.

      Nearly 10 years ago, at the last SharePoint Conference he keynoted, I asked Bill Gates if SharePoint would get true relational design functionality.  His answer was that they were working on some of these features (which turned out to be External Lists and Lookup RI) but he still insisted on using SQL RDBMS for highly relational solutions.  This answer was inadequate and shortsighted.  It is now time for Microsoft to step up and take advantage of the monumental opportunity to combine relational design into the worlds most prevalent and feature rich Web OS, SharePoint (aka Office 365).

      Sources and Other Resources

      MS Ignite 2015 Update
      While attending MS Ignite 2015, I used the opportunity to talk with product leads and managers on both Dynamics CRM and SharePoint/Office 365 to find out how this is going down within Microsoft.  Both teams admit that there is very little collaboration between the Dynamics and SharePoint teams and there is a lack of direction from the executive level.  This issue flows from the Microsoft organizational structure and requires executive action or an internal grass roots effort to remediate.  If Microsoft wants to establish itself as the king of business solutions, then we need these teams (Dynamics, SharePoint/Office 365, and MS Access) to combine their platforms and stop wasting time reinventing the wheel.

      One prime example of waste was brought up in the CRM line of business development session.  Since the CRM team does not collaborate with the SharePoint team, they are developing their own separate enterprise search engine rather than utilizing the highly efficient FAST search engine the SharePoint/Office 365 team bought for $1.2 Billion.

      Thursday, September 25, 2014

      Office 365 E1-4 Subscription Fail - Now Fixed by Microsoft!

      Scenario
      • You created an account under the Enterprise plans (E1, E2, E3, or E4)
      • You don't have more than 300 users and would like to change to the Office 365 small or midsize business plans (Small Business, Small Business Premium, Midsize Business)
      Issue
      • As of 10/4/2014 Microsoft now supports this.  Thank you Microsoft! :) 
        • I have redacted the complaint below.

      • Microsoft is scalping its clients by not providing an option to downgrade these accounts
      • Their recommendation is to delete your old account and then create a new account, then migrate all your emails, sites, and apps to the new account!
        • This is a ridiculous requirement that will result in tens of hours of configuration and system downtime
        • This may also result in data loss if not done correctly
      Resolution
      • Downgrading the account must be done by adding the new subscription, reassigning licenses, and then cancelling the old subscription.
        • Note: Just ignore the your data will be deleted warnings.  As long as a user has valid licenses assigned, they will not lose their data.

      • If creating a new Office 365 account NEVER create an E1 plan unless you are immediately surpassing the 300 user limit
      • Please open tickets with MS to support automated conversion from your Enterprise plan to Small Business plan
      • Also petition MS to provide a billing discount solution to the enterprise plans to make up for their incompetence

      Tuesday, August 5, 2014

      AutoSpInstaller Notes

      Scenario
      • Using AutoSpInstaller to run a multi-server farm install.
      Issues
      • When provisiong the User Profile Service the second window pops up and immediately closes, then the main window eventually hits a Timed Out error
        • This was caused by the Farm account being unable to run PowerShell commands on the app server despite being configured correctly as local admin and having the log on locally permission
          • When running any command  as the farm account, the following error is displayed: "The term 'Get-ChildItem' is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script, ...."
            • 'Get-ChildItem' here could be any PowerShell command
        • This anomaly only occurred on the app server in the farm and only with the farm account, but unfortunately, the User Profile Service must be configured as the farm account.
        • The solution ended up being that the PSModulePath environment variable had been removed for the farm account.  We re-added and it ran fine.

      Tuesday, June 3, 2014

      Office 365, SharePoint, and OneNote Slides

      I enjoyed speaking at SharePoint Saturday 2014.  Here is the link to my presentation.

      One item I forgot to mention is how to create a new OneNote notebook if OWA is not installed and you do not get the default Notebook for the team site.  The correct way to do this is to create a new Notebook from OneNote and then save it to your SharePoint document library.

      Wednesday, May 21, 2014

      SharePoint 2013 Virtual Development Environment Installation Guide - Part 1

      SharePoint 2010 dev server deployment guide can be found here

      Scenario
      Prerequisites
        • Your workstation must be running a 64bit processor with Hardware Virtualization enabled
        • You must have enough memory (6 GB), disk space (60 GB), and processor power (2 cores) to run the VM and hold all snapshots.  Disk space will need to grow as you add content.
          • I highly recommend running this VM from a solid state drive (SSD) for optimum performance.  Disk speed is the greatest limiter for performance and if your RAM is limited, then the SSD swap file will help compensate.
        • You must have access to and appropriate licensing for above products
          • ex: MSDN Subscription
        • You must have time (about 8 hours) to install everything.
          • Hints:
            • Look for "Wait" for good break points
            • Snapshots can be used to create other virtual machines or to test minimally installed environments
            • Hyper-V, VirtualBox and VMWare specific settings will be called out
      How To
      • Download the Software Listed Above - Wait
      • Enable Windows 8 Hyper-V, install VMWare, or install VirtualBox and the Extension Pack
      • Hyper-V: Enable a Shared/NAT virtual switch
        • ICS can only be set up from one network card at a time in Windows 8 so if you have a laptop and switch between WiFi and Ethernet you will need to change the ICS if you need the VM to access the internet
      • Create a new virtual machine named "sp2013"
        • Hyper-V: Generation 2 option
        • 6144 GB RAM (not dynamic)
        • Network: Use a Shared/NAT connection
        • 125GB dynamically expanding boot hard disk
          • You will likely use 45GB of this without any content
        • Increase the processors: 2-8 range
        • Mount the Windows Server 2012 R2 ISO
        • VirtualBox: Enable RDP support
      • Start the sp2013 virtual machine and boot from DVD
        • Hyper-V: Hold down a key to boot to DVD
          • Don't wait till the prompt to "Press a Key" or you will get this error: "Boot Failed. EFI SCSI Device."
      • The Windows Server 2012 R2 installer should begin
        • Select Windows Server 2012 Standard (Server with a GUI)
        • Select Custom (new install)
        • Short Wait
      • Set a new administrator password
        • pass@word1
      • Install VM guest tools (none for Hyper-V)
        • VirtualBox: VirtualBox Guest Additions
          • Auto Reboot
        • VMWare: VMWare Tools
      • Configure Server Manager: Local Server properties
        • Rename the server to sp2013 (Both the name and the computer description)
          • Note: If you forget this step, you will have a randomly named server.
            I have included instructions for aliasing and configuring a randomly named server
          • Restart later (so we can shut down instead)
        • Enable Remote Desktop
        • Disable IE Enhanced Security Configuration
      • Shut down and take a Snapshot named "Windows Install" then boot the machine
      • Server Manager Dashboard: Add Roles
        • Server Roles
          • Active Directory Domain Services
            • Add features and Include management tools
          • Application Server
          • DNS Server
            • Add features and Include management tools
            • Ignore Static IP warning
          • Web Server (IIS)
            • Add features and Include management tools
        • Features
          • ASP.NET 4.5 (under .NET Framework 4.5)
          • Telnet Client
            • SMTP connectivity troubleshooting tool
          • User Interfaces and Infrastructure
            • Desktop Experience
              • Also adds Ink and Handwriting Services
        • Application Server / Role Services
          • Web Server (IIS) Support
            • Add features and Include management tools
        • Allow auto-restarts then Install
        • Short Wait
        • Click "Promote this server to a domain controller"
          • Select "Add a new forest"
          • Root domain name: sp.local
          • Next
          • Forest and Domain functional level: Windows Server 2012 R2
          • Password: pass@word1
          • Continue pressing Next until Install
            • Short Wait for NetBIOS domain name to be recognized and for Prerequisite check
            • Ignore the 3 warnings
          • Install
          • Short Wait
          • Accept reboot prompt
          • Log back in as Administrator
      • Server Manager Dashboard: Add Roles
        • Features
          • ASP.NET 3.5 Features
          • Before installing specify the following alternate path
            • D:\sources\sxs  (where D: is the Windows Server DVD drive)
      • Verify Internet connectivity by opening Internet Explorer and browse to Bing
      • Disable SmartScreen Notifications from the Action Center
      • Windows Update: Turn on auto updates
        • Install Updates and Wait
        • Reboot when prompted
        • Some errors in windows update may occur as they are installed and the server is rebooted. Here are some solutions:
          • Several updates fail and require reboots
            • Open System Configuration (msconfig)
            • Check Selective startup
              • Uncheck Load Startup items
            • OK
            • Restart when prompted
          • Hyper-V: Security Update for Windows Server 2012 R2 (KB2920189) Failed 800F0922
            • Only occurs on Gen 2 Hyper-V with Secure Boot
            • Temporarily disable Secure Boot in the VM settings while installing the update
      • Open Active Directory Administrative Center (Pin to desktop and Start menu)
        • Administrator account
          • Account / Password Options: Password never expires
          • Organization / Email: administrator@sp.local
        • Create a user in the Users OU
          • Full Name: User
          • User SamAccount: sp\user
          • pass: same as Administrator password
          • Account / Password Options: Password never expires
          • Organization / Email: user@sp.local
        • Add User to the Users group
        • Create a user in the Managed Service Accounts OU
          • Full Name: spservice
          • User SamAccount: sp\spservice
          • pass: same as Administrator password
          • Account / Password Options: Password never expires
      • Open Group Policy Management console
        • sp.local / Domains / sp.local / Domain Controllers / Default Domain Controllers Policy
        • Right click and Edit
          • Policies / Windows Settings / Security Settings / Local Policies / User Rights Assignment
          • Edit Allow log on locally
            • Add the Users group
      • Stop and Disable the following Services
        • DFS Namespace
        • DFS Replication
      • Shut down, snapshot "DC and IIS", and start virtual machine
      • Mount the SQL Server ISO to the VM DVD drive
      • Start SQL Server Setup 
        • Install Stand-alone
        • Use MS Updates
        • Ignore DC and Firewall warnings
        • All Features with Defaults
        • Continue
        • Server Configuration / Service Accounts
          • Use the same account for all SQL Server services
            • specify the sp\spservice account and password created above
        • Continue
        • Analysis Services Configuration
          • Account Provisioning
            • Add Current User
        • Reporting Services Configuration
          • Install only for both
        • Distributed Replay Controller
          • Add Current User
        • Continue then Wait
      • Shut down, snapshot "SQL Server", and start virtual machine
      • Open SQL Server Configuration Manager
        • SQL Server Network Configuration
          • Protocols for MSSQLSERVER
            • Enable Named Pipes
      • Restart the SQL Server (MSSQLSERVER) service
      • If your server is randomly named - not sp2013
        • DNS Manager
          • Forward Lookup Zones
            • sp.local
              • Add a new alias
                • Name: sp2013
                • FQDN: Browse to splocal\servername
                  • servername will be a randomly generated value
      • Mount the SharePoint Server 2013 iso
      • Start the Prerequisites installer
        • Run D:\Splash.hta (open with MS HTML Application Host)
        • Short Wait
        • Finish to restart
      • Start the SharePoint Install
        • Enter your Enterprise license key
        • Wait
        • Run the Configuration Wizard
        • Create a new server farm
        • Configuration Database
          • Server: sp2013
          • Name: SharePoint_Config
          • Username: sp\spservice
          • Password: same as above
        • Farm Security Settings
          • Passphrase: same as admin password above
        • Central Admin Web App
          • Port: 8000
          • Auth: NTLM
        • Wait
        • Finish
      • IE will open to the central administration website.
        • Join the experience program (or don't)
        • Start the wizard and configure as follows
      • Central Admin Initial Farm Configuration Wizard steps
        • Use existing managed account: sp\spservice
        • All items should be checked except for Lotus Notes
        • Next
        • Wait
        • Create Root Site Collection
          • Title: SP2013
          • URL: /
          • Experience version: 2013
          • Template: Collaboration \ Team Site
          • OK
            • If you encounter a  error, skip to the next step (AAM config) then delete the running timer job, restart IIS, and re-run the wizard from Central Admin
          • Finish
        • Open central admin (http://sp2013:8000) and add the following Alternate Access Mapping (AAM) internal URLs
      • Set the browser home page to http://sp2013
      • Configure Search from Central Admin
        • Central Admin \ Manage service applications \ Search Service Application (first one)
          • Content Sources
            • Local SharePoint Sites
              • Incremental every 30 minutes (or other value here based on needs)
                • Recommend disabling incremental crawls for performance
              • Note: Continuous crawls will require more resources on VM startup
            • Start a full Crawl
      • Open http://sp2013 in IE
        • Add sp\administrator to the sp2013 Members group
        • Add sp\user to the sp2013 Visitors group
        • Validate that the following workset
          • Any workflow
          • Search scopes
          • My Sites and User Profile
      • Performance Tuning
        • Run the following PowerShell scripts (in SharePoint 2013 Management Shell)
          • Set-SPEnterpriseSearchService -PerformanceLevel Reduced
        • Disable the following system services unless/until needed
          • SQL Server Analysis Services (MSSQLSERVER)
            • From Automatic to Disabled
          • SQL Server Reporting Services (MSSQLSERVER)
            • From Automatic to Disabled
          • Optional (if you do not need SharePoint search and want to reduce memory footprint)
            • Remove the incremental crawl scheduled earlier
        • More tips from Andrew Schwenker
      • Shut down, snapshot "SharePoint Configured", and restart
      Optional Configurations

      Monday, April 7, 2014

      Remove Site Collection and Reclaim Database Disk Space

      Scenario
      • You need to remove a large site collection from your content database.
      • SharePoint 2010 or higher
      Resolution
      • Use PowerShell after hours to remove the site collection:
         
        Remove-SPSite –Identity http://sitename
         
      • If you are on 2010 SP1 or later and if you used Central Admin or the SharePoint UI instead of the above PowerShell command or if you specified the -GradualDelete flag, then you must use PowerShell to remove the site collection from the recycle bin and then run the "Gradual Site Delete" timer job (or wait overnight for scheduled job), otherwise skip this step: 

        Get-SPDeletedSite -webapplication http://sitename | Remove-SPDeletedSite
         
      • Wait a few minutes for the database size to finish reducing (monitor via SQL Management Studio)
         
        Perform a FULL database backup on the content database (this will truncate the log files)
         
      • Then shrink the database via SQL command in SQL Management Studio:
         
        DBCC SHRINKDATABASE ('database_name' ,5 , NOTRUNCATE)
         
      • Then reorganize the indices (this should run automatically every day, but you can kick it off manually now):
         
        Run the following from Central Admin Health Analyzer (/Lists/HealthRules/AllItems.aspx) using Run Now:
         
        Databases used by SharePoint have fragmented indices

      Wednesday, March 19, 2014

      Xbox One Headset Adapter – Sharkoon Xtatic Pro Headset Fix

      Note: This has nothing to do with SharePoint or Solutions Architecture. :)

      The problem with the new Xbox One Headset Adapter is that it simply does not work with a standard TRRS 4-pole (3 ring) 3.5mm male to male cable or standard 3.5mm stereo auxiliary cable.

      Working example:
      2014-03-18 20.49.52

      4-pole TRRS Does not work - Xbox audio feeds back into the microphone:
      2014-03-18 20.29.57
       

      Does not work (at all) or with stereo 3.5mm:
      2014-03-18 20.34.05

      FIX:

      Using the Xbox 360 cable (with modifications) that came with the Sharkoon Xtatic Pro and the new 2.5mm adapter together, we get a working cable.
      2014-03-18 20.30.312014-03-18 20.30.54 2014-03-18 20.35.57

      Unscrew the 2 screws using the small Phillips head screwdriver.
      2014-03-18 20.39.16 2014-03-18 20.39.42

      Lift up on the plastic wings and then pull back.
      2014-03-18 20.41.31 2014-03-18 20.41.53 

      I had already clipped the tabs off in the above pictures but you don’t need to do this.  Instead you just cut off the entire wing as pictured here.
       2014-03-18 20.44.05

      Post surgery:
      2014-03-18 20.44.48

      Now just wrap it with a small piece of electrical tape.
      2014-03-18 20.46.44-1

      Now plug it into the 2.5mm adapter that came with the Xbox One headset adapter and all should work.  However you may want to turn down the adapter game volume so you only get voice through the adapter and not game audio, since you get that through the optical surround sound adapter.  Also note that this is mono, not stereo so you could alternatively modify a TRRS 4-pole cable to provide that stereo headset sound you’ll never use.