Archive for January 2009

List Web Part for Dynamics CRM Deployment Scenarios

January 30, 2009

Nice little post on the CRM blog today from Kamal Sharma on List Web Part Deployment Scenarios for those who use or are interested in using CRM and SharePoint. http://blogs.msdn.com/crm/archive/2009/01/29/list-web-part-for-microsoft-dynamics-crm-4-0-deployment-scenarios.aspx

This stuff is helpful especially if your experiencing issues because it helps troubleshoot and explains some items in a pretty easy to digest manner.

For reference or more reading on the List Web Part for Dynamics CRM see the CRM blog or a couple of my other posts:

  1. List Web Part for Dynamics CRM 4 – http://sharepointkb.wordpress.com/2008/12/18/list-web-part-for-dynamics-crm-4/
  2. Trust for Delegation and the List Web Part for Dynamics CRM – http://sharepointkb.wordpress.com/2009/01/15/trust-for-delegation-and-the-list-web-part-for-dynamics/
  3. List Web Part for Dynamics CRM Connections – http://sharepointkb.wordpress.com/2009/01/20/list-web-part-for-dynamics-crm-connections/

Big thank you to the CRM community and CRM team for providing us with some helpful advice and explanations, hope to see more coming soon,
Richard Harbridge

SharePoint Developers: SPDisposeCheck Release

January 30, 2009

This is probably redundant as pretty much everyone has blogged about it but just in case you don’t already know: SPDisposeCheck was released (hot and necessary for all dev’s as far as I am concerned).

But don’t take my word for it just check the blogging communities absolute joy on the totally sweet release:

  1. SharePoint Blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/sharepoint/archive/2009/01/29/spdisposecheck-released.aspx
  2. Paul Andrew: http://blogs.msdn.com/pandrew/archive/2009/01/29/spdisposecheck-v1-3-1-is-released.aspx
  3. Jan Tielens: http://weblogs.asp.net/jan/archive/2009/01/30/essential-sharepoint-developer-tool-spdisposecheck.aspx
  4. Andrew Connell: http://www.andrewconnell.com/blog/archive/2009/01/29/SPDisposeCheck–This-should-be-in-EVERY-SharePoint-developers-toolbox.aspx
  5. Gary Lapointe: http://stsadm.blogspot.com/2009/01/spdisposecheck-released.html

Hope you all give it a try and it helps save you time or enhance your development,
Richard Harbridge

P.S – When a friend calls you up around 11pm and says: “do you want to go tobogganing at midnight with a bunch of friends”, and you work at 6am the next day it is a wonderful idea to agree to go and have the time of your life. Also making pizza’s at a closed pizzeria at 3am in the morning is a great way to warm yourself up and apparently enjoy the unique experience of a pizza dough fight.

Visio and Site Template for Workflow

January 28, 2009

Stephen has posted a site template and visio diagram that goes with the wonderful 14 screen casts that outline a pretty well rounded scenario for starting workflow development (with SharePoint Designer). Again if you are new to workflow, or SharePoint Designer I would highly recommend viewing these screencasts. (Screencast can be found here: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepointdesigner/HA102564171033.aspx)

The Visio also provides a perfect example of how complex a simple approval workflow actually is when drawn out with a bit of detail. Even if you are experienced with Designer and Workflows I recommend viewing the Visio file to make sure you see a good example of the detail necessary (personally recommended) for documenting a workflow.

Read the Announcement: http://blogs.msdn.com/sharepointdesigner/archive/2009/01/27/visio-diagram-and-site-template-from-office-online-workflow-videos.aspx

Or Download the Diagram and Site Template (http://blogs.msdn.com/sharepointdesigner/attachment/9378075.ashx)

I have already posted about how terrific I think the screencasts are for those who are starting out (http://sharepointkb.wordpress.com/2008/08/25/new-to-workflows-document-reviewapproval-example/) and figured I should also reference the new announcement on the SharePoint Designer blog for anyone interested or starting out with Workflows.

Hope this helps,
Richard Harbridge

More on PerformancePoint Announcement (SharePoint + PerformancePoint Services)

January 27, 2009

Earlier I mentioned changes to Microsoft PerformancePoint and SharePoint (http://sharepointkb.wordpress.com/2009/01/23/performancepoint-server-to-become-performancepoint-services-for-sharepoint-vnext/)

A few days ago I received notification of cancellation on PerformancePoint courses I was taking as well, so I figured for anyone with questions I recommend watching this video announcement from Microsoft about the change: http://download.microsoft.com/download/A/E/E/AEEE26CB-1536-4EC9-809E-536F6E49A1BB/Guy_Weismantel_BI_Announcement_MBR.wmv

It’s pretty simple and I won’t reiterate it here, but again I do think consolodation of BI services with SharePoint is great news. It needs to be easy to use, implement, and understand and reducing the complexity (of many products, and license schemas) will greatly improve adoption and integration of BI in our daily lives.

This impacts many of us, and will impact more in the future, but I think while it complicates the current situation for myself and others who have invested time and energy in the current 07 server product, I do believe that energy and time will help us get a leg up in the months to come.

Hope this helps,
Richard Harbridge

Toronto SharePoint Camp Review (5 Stars)

January 26, 2009

What a fun weekend. Saturday’s SharePoint Camp was wonderful. I can’t describe how exciting it is to see such knowledgable and friendly speakers talk about different ways of using SharePoint better.

I was lucky enough to attend a few sessions which were just terrific. Here’s my day more or less at SharePoint Camp 2009.

I arrived in the ridiculously cold morning (seriously my face pretty much froze off in my short walk from the car to the building) and was met in the lobby area by very friendly people. Graham Marko (from the Metro Toronto .Net User Group) helped me feel welcome and later in between sessions told me all about the other usergroups in the GTA area. Thank you Graham! For those of you wondering these are the ones that were on the back of a nice little business card that was available at the conference.

  1. Metro Toronto .NET (Downtown) – http://www.MetroTorontoUG.com
  2. Toronto Visual Basic (North York) – http://www.tvbug.com
  3. Toronto.NET (Mississauga) – http://www.TorontoUG.net
  4. East of Toronto.NET (Whitby) – http://eastoftoronto.netusergroup.org
  5. Canada’s Technology Triangle (Kitchener) – http://www.cttdnug.org
  6. North of Toronto.NET (Barrie) – http://www.northoftoronto.net
  7. Toronto SharePoint (Downtown) – http://www.tspug.com
  8. Toronto XNA Developer – http://www.xnaToronto.com
  9. Toronto BizTalk – http://www.btug.biz
  10. Toronto SQL Server – http://www.tsql.ca
  11. IT Professionals Community (GTA) – http://www.itprotoronto.ca
  12. Waterloo-Wellington IT Pro (Waterloo) – http://www.wwitpro.com

Next I excitedly sat down and listened to a very happy and energetic Eli Robillard discuss the day, and all the exciting things that were packed into it and awaiting hundreds of us. There were quite a few presentations going on that day, but I had to choose to see only a few. It was a difficult choice but I was very pleased and satisfied by each of the sessions I went to.

Ruven Gotz did a terrific presentation on Mind-Mapping and how to do it with relatively low cost tools in an effective manner. It was extremely interesting and I highly recommend reading about it on his blog: http://spinsiders.com/ruveng/2008/11/11/mindmanager-version-8-released-today/ or asking him about it sometime. I can’t imagine how much time I will no doubt begin to save using the ideas and software he has outlined in his session. Thank you Ruven! :)

Reza Alirezaei did a great presentation on SQL Reporting Services 2008 Integration with SharePoint that taught me a ton about how to configure and troubleshoot SQL Reporting and SharePoint. He also made me laugh a few times and continued to provide the friendly energy that seemed to be all over the Conference. It was just terrific. If your interested in learning more I highly recommend his blog (http://blogs.devhorizon.com/reza) which is jam packed with all sorts of terrific information. You can see him at Techdays as well if your traveling and interested.

During lunch and throughout the entire day I continued to meet intelligent and interesting individuals who had a passion for technology. As a group we all got to ask many questions to the MVPs and presenters of the day, and even got to select a topic for one of the presentations at the end of the day. This was a great idea, and makes me wonder if leaving a small time slot open at the end of that day for everyone to vote on and attend might be a good idea to always do at any camp/conference. Just a thought.

Nadeem Mitha did a phenomenal job of talking about MOSS Search, and powerful ways to improve it from it’s default out of the box configuration to something that provides users with a much richer and more effective experience. He even did another talk at the end of the day (the one we voted on) which he is presenting again soon (More here: http://home.infusionblogs.com/nmitha/archive/2007/04/03/toronto-code-camp-session-follow-up-rapid-web-application-development-using-windows-sharepoint-services-3-0.aspx). I even learned something I didn’t know about a “u” parameter that can be used with search! (Scope without scopes :)) Faceted Search can be found and downloaded here: http://www.codeplex.com/FacetedSearch

Jim Schwartz and Boyan Tsolov showed how they have managed to stretch InfoPath and SharePoint beyond the typical limits. I cannot describe how exciting it was to see Jim and Boyan actually reproduce many of the methods they used to implement a highly successful InfoPath project in front of us all, with full explanations and helpful suggestions. You can find the material here: http://www.imason.com/blogs/jim_schwartz/archive/2009/01/25/advanced-infopath-development-with-sharepoint.aspx and I highly recommend giving it a review. If everyone at imason is as friendly and intelligent as these two guys then I expect to see them be pretty darned successful and am rather envious.

I couldn’t let the entire day be about me. So I attended Tim Knechtel‘s presentation on K2’s BlackPoint software to see if it could be applied to some automation we are working on at my work (http://www.compugen.com). Wowzers. I have seen quite a bit on Nintex Workflow, and have been very pleased with what I have seen, but am pretty impressed by what I saw from K2 on Saturday as well. It will be a difficult and exciting choice determining what workflow solution we might go with in the future. Great informative presentation Tim!

Then came the bajillion prizes from the wonderful sponsors of our SharePoint camp day and more fun discussions with great people.

If you didn’t go this year, then go next year and go to some of the user group meetings near you. I know I will be doing that a heck of a lot more now. What a great weekend, and great SharePoint and .NET community we have in the GTA. I hope all you other people who aren’t near by are envious, because we have some amazing talent and friendly people here.

Oh and keep in mind that the content from the SharePoint Camp has been uploaded in the SharePoint Camp’s site here: http://www.torontosharepointcamp.com/Presentations/Forms/AllItems.aspx (If you don’t see something it will be uploaded soon. Several Session Presenters have already uploaded their content.) I know I will be reviewing all the wonderful sessions I didn’t get the chance to see on Saturday.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend,
Richard Harbridge

Modifying XSN Files (InfoPath)

January 24, 2009

So the other morning apparently one of my ‘eval’ functions in an InfoPath form I was working on caused an infinite loop (my best guess: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/867436). This causes the InfoPath form to crash and then error out everytime you try and open it afterwards.

When working in SharePoint you could restore to the previous version and redo the work (without the infinite loop, or whatever caused your error and inability to use/modify the form) if you had it stored in SharePoint, but my last save was hours ago. So I decided I would extract the XSN, modify what I think the offending expression function was (eval statements) in a specific view and then put it all back together again. That way I could avoid redoing work.

First of all you CAN save a form template’s form file’s to a folder, modify them, and combine them again into an XSN using InfoPath. However you MUST be able to open the form in design mode. Doing this is pretty simple just follow the directions at the bottom of this Microsoft article: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/infopath/HA011559631033.aspx

In my circumstance I could not even open the form in design mode as it would error out. In case anyone else runs into this I am hoping this helps them.

First off an XSN file is just a container (CAB file) of many other files. So even without InfoPath this should be easy.

  1. In order to modify these files you can just rename the .XSN file to .CAB and then extract its contents using WinRAR. You could also use renaming the .XSN file to .CAB I would be able to extract it’s contents to a folder on my local drive. (I used WinRAR for this, you could use many other programs and alternatives (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/176810).)
  2. I then modified my file and saved it. (Removing the evil eval loop.)
  3. I then created a Directive file so that I could use it to make a CAB. (This allows me to add many items to a cab rather than doing it individually.)To do this I just created a simple .txt file and populated it similar to the following:
    ;************************************************************
    ; MSDN Sample Source Code MakeCAB Directive File
    ;************************************************************

    .OPTION EXPLICIT

    .Set CabinetNameTemplate=ReCreated.XSN

    ;*****************************************************************
    ; Change DiskDirectoryTemplate to where you want the CAB/XSN saved.
    ;*****************************************************************

    .set DiskDirectoryTemplate=”C:\InfoPath XSN”
    .Set Cabinet=on
    .Set Compress=on

    ;*************************************************
    ; List Every File You Want Added To The CAB (XSN)
    ;*************************************************

    “C:\Users\rharbrid\Desktop\OpportunityProfile – Copy\Example.xsd”
    “C:\Users\rharbrid\Desktop\OpportunityProfile – Copy\manifest.xsf”
    “C:\Users\rharbrid\Desktop\OpportunityProfile – Copy\sampledata.xml”
    “C:\Users\rharbrid\Desktop\OpportunityProfile – Copy\Template.xml”
    “C:\Users\rharbrid\Desktop\OpportunityProfile – Copy\upgrade.xsl”
    “C:\Users\rharbrid\Desktop\OpportunityProfile – Copy\view1.xsl”

    ;*****************
    ; End Of The File
    ;*****************

  4. Next you run the makecab command with the directive files. Example: “makecab /f DirectiveForXSN.txt”The MakeCab.exe file should exist in the Windows\System32 folder. If it doesn’t for any reason you can download the CAB SDK from Microsoft located here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/310618 and for information on the tools located in it see this article here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/198038

And that’s it. You should now have a corrected and functioning XSN, and resolved the error that caused InfoPath to crash each time it opened the form in design mode.

Hope this helps someone out there,
Richard Harbridge

Toronto SharePoint Camp (FREE) This Saturday

January 23, 2009

Anyone who is in the GTA area is hopefully excited about the FREE Toronto SharePoint Camp this Saturday.

If you are new to SharePoint come out and learn all about it, if you want to meet some cool SharePoint people come out and network, if you want to come out and trade witty banter with me, come out and do so!

ALL WALK IN ATTENDEES ARE WELCOME. It’s from 8am – 6pm. This is a wonderful opportunity for businesses, individuals, and tech guys like us to share our experiences and knowledge freely with one another. If you are going and want to meet up for a “SharePint” or to network feel free to leave me a comment or email at harb rich@ hotmail.com (without the spaces).

For more information: http://www.torontosharepointcamp.com/Pages/Default.aspx (including session details, or the schedule)

Hope to see you there,
Richard Harbridge

PerformancePoint Server to become PerformancePoint Services for SharePoint vNext

January 23, 2009

So as many of you know I have been really getting into PerformancePoint over the past while and it’s uses and integration with SharePoint. It’s been exciting so far, and with the new SP3 updates (slated mid-calendar year 2009) on the way for PerformancePoint it will only get better.

There has been alot of interest and speculation about what features and functionality might be available in the next version of SharePoint and Office 14 including how they integrate and interact with other Microsoft products (and lots of whispers of NDA’s for those of us who may or may not have played with the next version of SharePoint – Can’t tell you anything specific other than it’s freaking exciting and awesome… seriously) but one thing that has been confirmed and that I can tell you is that PerformancePoint Server will become PerformancePoint Services in the next version of SharePoint and the product as a stand alone system will be supported, but will most likely not be pursued independantly from the SharePoint related Services stack, sort of like how InfoPath Form Services, and Excel Web Services sit in SharePoint.

This is good news, as it decreases the total cost of ownership for customers and simplifies quite a bit.

So if you want a headstart on the next v of SharePoint start taking a look at PerformancePoint Server to understand what business value it provides and how much of it works. They even have a certification which I mentioned before: http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exams/70-556.mspx

Read more on Microsoft’s Business Intelligence solutions here: http://www.microsoft.com/bi/ and on PerformancePoint Server here: http://www.microsoft.com/business/performancepoint/default.aspx.

Looking forward to the future of SharePoint,
Richard Harbridge

Add Some “Sex Appeal” with Silverlight and JQuery

January 23, 2009

Most of you are hopefully aware of Jan’s “SmartTools” for SharePoint on codeplex: http://www.codeplex.com/smarttools/. However just in case you aren’t I highly recommend taking a look at them. Recently Jan uploaded new versions of these tools (http://weblogs.asp.net/jan/archive/2009/01/22/new-release-of-the-smarttools-for-sharepoint-project.aspx), and I have personally used some to spread ideas or awareness of what silverlight/jquery can do in SharePoint (along with a few tweaks of my own).

One thing that’s really nice about the silverlight chart controls (as an example) is how they can generate ‘sex appeal’ for that presentation or proposal you are working on. It’s one thing to see functionality, and potential, but when you see cool charts, graphs, and interactive elements it normally generates alot of good excitement, and since Jan’s done most of the work to give you some examples (thanks Jan ;)) you just need to install, do a bit of configuration and voila, you have some cool content features that you can actually use right away.

There are plenty of other great silverlight and jquery projects and extensions for SharePoint out there as well.

Some Other Silverlight posts or projects I recommend taking a gander at:

  1. http://www.codeplex.com/SL4SP (Silverlight Blueprint for SharePoint)
  2. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/dd148643.aspx (Great article on using Silverlight WebPart’s and an exaple media player one.)
  3. http://www.triplewood.com/triplewood/html/SharePoint2007.aspx (SharePoint Silverlight Browser)

Some Other jQuery posts or projects I recommend taking a gander at:

  1. http://www.endusersharepoint.com/?p=1110 (Good intro and real solution for a SharePoint Issue using jQuery)
  2. http://httpcode.com/blogs/PermaLink,guid,c26d2d3f-f389-44d7-bd8f-2fae5c8a1415.aspx (Example of how to use it for a ‘select all’ functionality.
  3. http://www.codeplex.com/ShUIE (Inject JS and CSS fragments based on context of page.)

If you haven’t played with Silverlight or jQuery yet then hopefully this will help motivate you, or help you understand some ways it can be used (with minimal effort),
Richard Harbridge

How to Customize SharePoint Alerts

January 20, 2009

So I have been looking for a workaround for something related to alerts and stumbled across this wonderful article on how to create customized alert notifications, and/or customized alert emails for SharePoint.

http://blogs.msdn.com/sharepointdeveloperdocs/archive/2007/12/07/customizing-alert-notifications-and-alert-templates-in-windows-sharepoint-services-3-0.aspx

If you have ever wanted to customize the alerts SharePoint sends out then this bad boy is probably the place to look (since I haven’t seen anything better).

To give a high level summary of what the article explains:

  1. How to customize the timer interval for alerts (immediate alerts are sent out after a delay determined by the timer interval).
  2. How to customize the alert templates (Each list type pretty much has one).
  3. How to customize the alert email.
  4. How to create your own alert template (instead of customizing one).

Hope this helps someone working with Alerts,
Richard Harbridge


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