Archive for November 2008

SharePoint “Offerings” By Microsoft

November 27, 2008

One of the simplest questions people ask is what SharePoint offerings does Microsoft supply? It’s a simple question but often very hard to find a good answer to that question (that is easy to understand for non technical people).

The naming conventions can be confusing on their own: WSS, MOSS, SharePoint. WSS 3.0 of course is Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and is a service supplied free by Microsoft. MOSS actually stands for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server and often is followed by 2007 (2003 being the older version).

So okay, you understand the terminology/naming, but where does SharePoint Online fit into this? Or the other similar offerings by Microsoft such as live small business, or live workspace? A recent post on the SharePoint End Users Blog: summarized these “offerings” perfectly in my opinion. See details from that post following (they have broken it down into 4 types):

Mini-SharePoint (Free)

Office Live Workspace

Office Live Workspace, believe it or not, is built on SharePoint but highly customized and simplified for the end user. The idea is simple – create a workspace (which is like a folder), add files to it, then share it with others. Create and share Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, pictures, notes, and custom lists with anyone you want. Or use it to share files between work and home, which is a lot easier than emailing files back and forth.

Personal Note: I love using this with friends and for personal stuff. I have my resumes, and different personal documents online in a workspace so that if I ever need any of these I can just login and print/use these documents as needed.

Find out more at
Small-SharePoint (Pretty Much Free)

Office Live Small Business

Office Live Small Business is also built on SharePoint but highly customized with Web features, Web applications, and Web site tools. It includes a Web site, multiple email accounts, and Web applications ideal for the small business with up to 10 employees. The Web site features allow you to create a site without knowing a thing about HTML, Web design, or Web creation software. Use the included Web applications to manage and communicate with employees and customers. For simple file sharing, use the Office Live Workspace included with your account.

Personal Note: If you haven’t checked this out yet, do so immediately. It’s awesome. I have helped get many of my friends small businesses up and running using this. It’s simple, easy, and best of all QUICK. If you just need a web presence and don’t have alot of technical know how, or coding experience this is what I would recommend as a starting point.

Find out more at
Medium-SharePoint (Low Cost for Subscriptions (per user))

SharePoint Online

SharePoint Online, along with Exchange Online, Communications Online, and Live Meeting make up the new Microsoft Online Services. Rather than installing and maintaining SharePoint Server, SQL Server, Exchange Server, and other server software in your office, just sign up for this business hosting solution and let Microsoft do the heavy IT lifting for you. The service can handle up to 500 individual PC users. Just launch a Web browser, and you have immediate access to your entire business environment.

I would highly recommend this service to any small business that has outgrown Office Live Small Business but is too small to manage a SharePoint deployment.

Personal Note: SharePoint Online is available in standard and ‘deskless worker’. The SharePoint Online ‘deskless worker’ includes portal, team sites and search, but is read only. The standard contains the collaborative capabilities. This isn’t WSS, this is a regular MOSS (publishing etc) with a few items of functionality unavailable. On this same note they have a BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) which has SharePoin, Office Communications, Exchange etc. If you want many of the other Microsoft solution sets.

Find out more at
Large-SharePoint (Well worth the cost!)

Office SharePoint Server box

SharePoint Server (Windows SharePoint Services and Office SharePoint Server). Last but not least, we have the actual SharePoint software in the box. For the large and enterprise organizations looking to deploy a completely customized and integrated content management solution across the organization, this is what you need. With SharePoint running on your corporate servers, you have complete control over your corporate Intranet, Extranet, and Internet presence, and you can build on the existing collaboration tools, managed business processes, and integration with Microsoft Office client applications.

This is what I use at work every day to communicate with colleagues, collaborate on projects, find critical business data, and actively monitor projects in my department and other departments.

Personal Note: This also technically offers more functionality than the online subscriptions would, but it is important to note that you need dedicated IT staff to run this successfully (in my honest opinion).

Find out more at

Anyways, I figured this was worth re-iterating and referencing the great blog post by the end user SharePoint guys.

Love what they do,
Richard Harbridge

Microsoft Sales Toolkit Online Only (and Enhanced)

November 26, 2008

For those of you who don’t know about this I mentioned the Gear Up Toolkit for Microsoft Products (SharePoint included) awhile back and again when I was discussion SharePoint presentation material because I love this material and think it really helps anyone in Consulting, Administrative (to know what else is out there), and Sales.

One of the big factors for buying Microsoft is because you normally have more than one Microsoft product, service, or offering. So these toolkits are invaluable. Normally Microsoft sends them out every few months (I have a stack of them) which you can imagine takes tons of paper (it’s full colour) and isn’t as effective as an online solution. If you want the mobility, just download the oneNote or PDF version of the book there’s no need to bring the toolkit with you to a client’s site anymore.

Not only is Microsoft moving away from printing these (as of December 1st) but they are also improving the online experience with the toolkit! New features like the ability to use keyword search, links, copy and paste (another reason these are great resources for building presentations or emails), and so on.

Terrific news for the environment (go green tech!) and for all of us who use these toolkits!

Take a look around here:

Don’t forget to keep in mind that SharePoint is even nicer looking to clients when they can see how it works with other Microsoft Technology, or when they can begin moving everything over to the same platform. So understanding the Microsoft stack can really help you not only land sales, but keep and extend client relationships.

Hope this helps someone,
Richard Harbridge

Locking Down SharePoint Designer

November 26, 2008

Ever want to lock down SharePoint designer? Or just better understand how permissions and policies in SharePoint effect what a user can do with SharePoint Designer? I know I have.

The SharePoint Designer team released a new blog post on just that and it’s chalked full of useful information. I highly recommend reading this if you are an administrator, consultant, or are involved in SharePoint deployments. Planning for security, communication and who has access to what using specific tools is very important for any SharePoint deployment, and often SharePoint Designer is forgotten until the client (or organization) begins using it.

Hope this helps someone,
Richard Harbridge

Another terrific SharePoint Pod Show (SharePoint 14, Office 14)

November 25, 2008

If you are interesting in finding out from a high level, short, sweet and well articulated by Arpan Shah I highly recommend giving this podcast a listen. Two things I learned that I didn’t know? SharePoint 14 (or the next version) will only work on 64 bit, and that the SharePoint Masters get reviewed by a board to become architects (now I understand how people become SharePoint Master Architects much better).

It’s one of those things I know I love doing while working away at things, listening to the pod casts this team releases regularly makes some of my mornings very enjoyable.

Hope you enjoy it and get something out of it,
Richard Harbridge

What is Single Sign On in SharePoint? (Non Technical)

November 25, 2008

Today I was surprised that I couldn’t easily find a google article that just explained SSO in SharePoint in a simple easy to understand way (for non technical people).

Single Sign On in SharePoint is a Service. It is really just something that holds credentials (login’s/passwords) for different applications. These other applications can be CRM systems, ERP systems, whatever. It does not automatically integrate or pass through credentials to these systems. This may sound obvious to some people, but it’s important to point out because this is what I always hear people think it does.

What it really does is allows developers and administrators to connect other systems in webpart code and  as an example an administrator could use it in the BDC application definition xml’s authentication for connecting to say a SQL database. It is wonderful in that it gives a great starting point and service for configuration and development to pull data from other systems into SharePoint (typically).

Think of it as another tool in that integration toolset that SharePoint provides.

Looking for technical information such as how to configure it? Read here:

Got it configured and want to use it in webpart code or in some other capacity? Start here:

Example/Walkthrough for implementing pluggable SSO provider:

I hope this helps clarify SSO for someone out there,
Richard Harbridge

SharePoint Reviews Website!

November 21, 2008

Read this on Joel’s blog this morning, but still worth noting again: (Much better articulated than my quick post here.)


The idea is perfect and definitely something we need. I always get different friends asking me what ISV has the best solution for this or that, and never an easy answer. A place that is INDEPENDANT and reviews/rates SharePoint products? Wonderful. Not to mention its a pain in the butt finding these products, now they should be in one place (if those 2000+ SharePoint ISV’s catch on, which they should).

Excel Services Compatibility Checker

November 20, 2008

Answered a post in the forums today and realized I had never blogged about this. There is a beta of an excel services compatibility checker available here:

This is a great tool that can help you pin point why your excel file may not work with excel services. (The error message is pretty generalized.)

If you want to know what is supported and not supported in Excel Services simply read over this Microsoft article:

Hope this helps someone,
Richard Harbridge

Download SharePoint Library as a Zip File Feature

November 19, 2008

Back in October I saw this but just had the chance last night to test it out. Very cool little feature on Codeplex that allows you to zip an entire SharePoint library.


Codeplex Site:

Go community content and features,
Richard Harbridge

Improve SharePoint Website Performance (Easily)

November 19, 2008

Terrific ideas were passed around a short time ago which I should post here.

The first is a terrific post by ‘the kid’ to remove the ‘init.js’ and ‘control.css’ from a site unless you are updating it. This greatly reduces the download size of a SharePoint website. Terrific for dial up users or improving site performance.

The second thing I love? IIS Compression. There are lots of posts on this but I am going to use Andrew Connell’s for a reference as it is well written/explained:

Awesome stuff, and I can’t wait to see SharePoint web sites out there becoming faster and easier for those dialup users, and well, everyone else.

Hope you like it as much as I did,
Richard Harbridge

SharePoint Tools (Free!)

November 19, 2008

Today someone asked me for the tools I use when developing or working with SharePoint, or which I would recommend. I thought I posted about this way back, but realized that I haven’t yet. These are primarily development tools and I wouldn’t necessarily ‘recommend’ ever using them on a production box, but yes, in the past I have used some of them on a production environment. (All FREE)

  1. SharePoint 2007 SDK – Sasmples, Help, How To Articles, BDC Tool, etc
  2. WSS 3.0 SDK – Samples, Help, How To Articles, and more
  3. Reflector – Every developer who works with .Net should have this. It used to be Lutz, but now the redgate reflector is king of the town.
  4. SharePoint Manager 2007 – Incredibly useful diagnostic tool and for assistance with planning.
  5. STSDev – Terrific tool to help in building out small/large projects quickly.
  6. Visual Studio Extensions for SharePoint
    The first one would be Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Tools: Visual Studio 2005 Extensions –
    The second one would be Visual Studio 2005 extensions for .NET Framework 3.0 (Windows Workflow Foundation) –
  7. WSPBuilder – Terrific for creating quick WSP files.
  8. Solution Installer – Wonderful tool that is a must to help improve deployment management.
  9. U2U CAML Builder – Windows Client Version is my best friend. Saves so much time.
  10. Application Pool Manager – Spence created a terrific tool that sits in your task bar to help speed up recycling and other useful options.
  11. Registry Hack for “Right Click” Add Solution – Spence also made a great tool that makes it easier to add solutions that I always use.
  12. Log Viewer (makes reading through the logs on a dev box MUCH nicer)
  13. SharePoint Debugger – This is a really simple one from Ted that quickly (by a feature) allows you to turn the custom errors on and off in the web config. This is something we all do, I just like this for reducing the chance of someone messing up the web config. 🙂

Hope this helps someone improve their development or SharePoint experience,
Richard Harbridge