Archive for April 2009

User Unable to Create Page (User has Full Control)

April 30, 2009

Ran into an odd little issue this morning where my users in a publishing site could not create new pages. The reason they couldn’t create a new page turned out to be because they did not have read rights on the masterpage gallery.

The symptoms are basically access denied pages when any user with full control or design rights chooses to create a page in a publishing site. When they create the page they get the typical “Error: Access Denied” page and can either sign in as another user or request access.

Hope this helps save someone a bit of time troubleshooting this specific issue in the future,
Richard Harbridge

Advertisements

Institutions vs Collaboration

April 28, 2009

A friend of mine brought this TED presentation to my attention today and it is amazing. I highly recommend watching this if you have ever been involved in SharePoint or any sort of new technology.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/clay_shirky_on_institutions_versus_collaboration.html

This may actually be the best description/articulation of what is going on in the world right now.

Hope you enjoy as much as I did,
Richard Harbridge

Oh and P.S – Service Pack 2 is now available for download. I have installed it successfully (without issue) on one of our development machines (SP1 with infrastructure update).

My First Podcast: SharePoint Start and Learn

April 17, 2009

Download SharePoint Start and Learn: http://zb0xhg.bay.livefilestore.com/y1pqw03yuxsNsbJZ7uSflfDXsMoxCKdi2Nuj03h0zqkC2WUNAUmJ4sAtPChBgSIDATCnGQxpB8ohBOcbRjjwGj9DRBvc-N2_o8O/01-%20SharePoint%20Start%20and%20Learn.mp3?download

I just finished my first podcast which is 13 minutes or so on how to go about learning SharePoint if you are starting out. This has no specific target audience and can benefit consultants learning SharePoint, end users, developers, it directors etc.

Please let me know if you have any ideas on how I can improve. This is my first one and I don’t really have any experience with this stuff so any advice is welcome.

I have quite a few ideas of other podcasts I plan on doing in the future so expect to see some more in the coming weeks.

Hope this helps someone out there,
Richard Harbridge

(P.S – I have a terrible cold so apologies for how bad it sounds :P)

Mind Map of Resume? IBIS Map of Cover Letter? Do it.

April 16, 2009

Want to drastically improve your chances at nailing that new or better job? Try some of these self proclaimed totally awesome ideas. Don’t think you have to stop using the old fashioned resume and cover letter. Just attach these to the existing ones you use for extra effect. 🙂

Mind Map Your Resume – Diagram Who You Are

Create a Mind Map of yourself, and your ‘resume’. This makes you stand out, and it allows people to digest information about you as a person in a creative and sometimes faster more efficient manner.

Here is an example of my mind map resume: http://www.mindmeister.com/18885811 – Just expand and collapse nodes. (I know it’s messy and overlaps, but it gets the point across. The one you print out is the complete and sexy looking map, so that’s the one that matters.)

richard_harbridge
(If the above link shows a login prompt, you can click browse and find it (Richard Harbridge, or 18885811) or you can just look at this image to get an idea of how to start.)

Just print one off and add it to your resume as a last extra page. You wouldn’t believe how much impact that alone can have at making you stand out and getting you the interview and job opportunity.

IBIS Map Your Cover Letter – Explain How You Benefit The Business

This is only one way of helping you get a job. For those of you who have done IBIS mapping (or Dialogue mapping) you can use this as well. Apply for a job with an IBIS diagram with a starting question of “Why should you hire me?” and go from there.

If you think about it that’s what a cover letter really does at its core. Explain why you are better than anyone else for the position. Here is a really fast example I whipped up.

whoshouldyouhire

Yes I know it’s biased and not an accurate IBIS map, but if done correctly (heck even unbiased) you can show why you are so awesome. (It’s meant to be funny, in reality I would probably articulate real unbiased reasons why I am a good fit for the role etc as ideas and real unbiased reasons why anyone else may not be as good a choice.)

To learn more about IBIS mapping just do a google search there is a wealth of great content out there, or if your a SharePoint person you should read over Paul Culmsee’s great posts on the topic at http://www.cleverworkarounds.com/

Why Should You Try These?

We are in an economic recession. This means that when job postings are created companies get more response not less, and it’s harder and harder for organizations to sift through the applicants to find the one that fits the job best. Standing out and being noticed is the first step to getting them to read your resume a bit better.

Let’s face it, old fashioned boring cover letters and resumes are still used, but if there’s a newer way of doing something and you take the time and energy to do it well, you can beat everyone else out there to the best opportunity of your life. Benefiting both you and the organization you are applying to.

Hope this helps,
Richard Harbridge

SharePoint Not Always “The Answer”

April 15, 2009

Dun dun dunnnn.

As the post title suggests I want to talk briefly about a mentality that I am starting to see pop up everywhere and I want to hopefully illustrate that while SharePoint is totally “sexy awesome” it is not always the best choice for solving an issue.

Anyone who has worked with SharePoint or any technology for that matter for a long enough time understands that it is easy to get into the mentality of ‘thinking SharePoint’. That is the mentality that we immediately take many proposed projects, requirements and solutions and begin mapping them to SharePoint. For those who have done BVPS, or understand the Microsoft Stack they will begin ‘thinking Microsoft’. In my whole hearted opinion ‘thinking Microsoft’ is okay any day of the week. (If you have linux, apple, or other non Microsoft talent/infrastructure then thinking with those technology options also makes sense. For the purposes of this article I am going to assume you are pro Microsoft or have significant investment/talent in Microsoft technology. If not feel free to provide me information in the comments as I am open to alternative suggestions and products.)

What I don’t think is okay is when you start thinking too limited in that giant scope that is Microsoft’s technology offering and begin thinking only in one subset of that technology. In this case SharePoint.

Some examples of other powerful technology offerings from Microsoft are:

  1. Microsoft Dynamics AX
  2. Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  3. Microsoft Dynamics GP
  4. Microsoft Dynamics NAV
  5. Microsoft Dynamics SL
  6. BizTalk Server
  7. Commerce Server
  8. Communications Server
  9. Exchange Server
  10. Identity Lifecycle Manager (ILM)
  11. Forms Server (if using WSS)
  12. Project Server
  13. Groove Server
  14. System Center (Configuration Manager, Operations Manager, Mobile Device Manager, Essentials)
  15. Internet Security and Acceleration Server (ISA)
  16. MapPoint
  17. Microsoft Office (Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Project, Word, Publisher, Outlook, InfoPath, OneNote, Groove, Communicator, Visio)
  18. Performance Point Services (just in case you haven’t looked into PerformancePoint Server)
  19. Search Server (if using WSS)

Couldn’t think of any others off the top of my head here, but you get the point. There is alot out there and you should at least be aware of what each of these ‘do’ or what typical issues they ‘solve’ by reading about them. Almost every one of these can be used with SharePoint and many have integrated webparts and other components which add tons of value to your SharePoint deployment.

If somehow I still haven’t convinced you to check out the other products out there I am going to try and give an example of what I mean when I say ‘thinking SharePoint’ instead of ‘thinking Microsoft’.

New set of requirements pop up, and a solution is conceptualized at a very very high level and someone says “Let’s put it in SharePoint”. You of course being a SharePoint Technologist (Dev, Admin, BA, User etc) say to yourself, yes we can do this in SharePoint and begin breaking down the requirements and mapping a potential solution. (Obviously more analysis, communication etc necessary but this oversimplification gets the concept across.)

Now imagine that high level solution sounds like it relates heavily to the Sales Process and deals with concepts identified and resolved by Microsoft Dynamics CRM. If this is the case then before you go into SharePoint mode you should go into comparison/evaluation mode. Where you take what you know (and most likely clarify/identify more) and evaluate what makes the most sense. In this case building the solution in SharePoint, or implementing the solution using another Microsoft product/service.

In many cases the above example will still be done in SharePoint based on requirements and known information. (Some examples of why it might make sense to use SharePoint always exist such as maybe it’s not a long term solution but a quick fix, maybe it doesn’t need the complexity CRM brings to the table, perhaps you have no talent/infrastructure in house available to support CRM and after evaluating the cost it just doesn’t make sense based on the expected return/value etc etc.)

The important thing is that we were aware that the other technology option existed, we evaluated it, and we also probably will plan for it in some capacity when architecting the solution. SharePoint “can” do anything you want and solve any problem you come up with, but sometimes another technology exists which solves the problems in a more comprehensive, scalable, and cost effective way.

I am hoping at this point you will take a bit of time if you haven’t and read over (from a high level) what the other Microsoft products are. Everyone knows about Microsoft Office (Excel, PowerPoint, Word, etc) but many people don’t fully understand the other Microsoft products which work well with SharePoint. Find out more about them all here: http://www.ms-gearup.com/etoolkit/#-1 (index is a good place to start) or do a google search and read up about them. You might be surprised by the other existing technologies and how robust they can be.

Hope this helps,
Richard Harbridge

SharePoint 2007/WSS SP2 for April 28th

April 15, 2009

Don’t worry I won’t go into all the details. The original announcement is located here: http://blogs.technet.com/mu/archive/2009/04/14/service-pack-2-for-2007-microsoft-office-system-due-april-28th.aspx all the interesting details can be found in the above post as well.

Suffice to say lots of important updates (which we all love). Don’t forget that many of the fixes for known issues can be found in the latest cumulative update for SharePoint Server. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/961756 (Pretty sure February was the last one, and Microsoft shut down December’s due to lots of issues after installation. (Feb from what I hear has no issues))

For those of you who remember end of April was the next scheduled cumulative update, but I am fairly confident this will just be rolled into the service pack.

Personal Items of Note:

  1. In SP2 – Nice little STSADM command to help determine prep status for SharePoint 2010. If you haven’t already begun planning for this consider it carefully now. Think of the talks about 64 bit support and other items of interest and evaluate your current environment. In most organizations I have worked with it takes months to get new hardware and upgrade projects underway so why not try and start some wheels rolling now?
  2. Microsoft will release more information closer to the release date on exactly what issues are resolved in this Service Pack but the last cumulative update and the high level items they outline here are a good indication of what you can expect.
  3. When it does release please for the love of god backup and then test it on development environments, QA environments and eventually on production. Don’t jump right to production. This ensures A) you don’t begin dealing with unexpected issues in ‘panic mode’, B) provides some time for any potential issues to be documented by the community and Microsoft, C) if there is an issue you can back out of it and plan/identify what happened and how to best deal with it.

Looking forward to some wonderful fixes,
Richard Harbridge

Customize Look And Feel With Calculated Columns

April 14, 2009

Ever wanted to ‘Color Code’ a SharePoint calendar? Or have certain list items display differently then other list items based on their column values?

One of those things that every user needs is the ability to customize the look and feel of many SharePoint elements, and sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to wait for a SharePoint team, developers, or architects to work out a long term solution.

Sometimes you just need a quick and dirty way of doing something as a one off to illustrate a point or to deal with a situation while you work out the full solution.

My favorite ways of dealing with most of these things is the use of codeplex projects, jQuery, javascript, content editor webparts, and SharePoint Designer which I post pretty often about. It’s quick, normally easy to reverse, and can often be managed by a business user.

Another personal favorite of mine is a method that (to my knowledge) Christophe came up with using calculated columns, some conditions, simple HTML and a bit of JavaScript. All of which turns into completely customized (look and feel) views of lists. (Read his original article here: http://pathtosharepoint.wordpress.com/2008/09/01/using-calculated-columns-to-write-html/)

The concept is simple:
Using SharePoint calculated columns create conditional statements that display different HTML based on the value of the column. Then (because of how it is rendered) use JavaScript to transform the rendered content to it’s equivalent HTML.

The power of this is that it can apply to a great many different scenarios. Take for example one of the common requirements of ‘color coding’ a calendar. In Christopher’s post last november he cleverly illustrates exactly how you could do this with relatively little effort: http://pathtosharepoint.wordpress.com/2008/11/15/sharepoint-calendars-color-coding-hover-effects-etc/

image

This is a simple and effective way to deal with many look and feel issues quickly and easily. If used with a bit of direction this can really help users understand, consume, and review information much more quickly.

image

(Above image from another example of how it can be used: http://pathtosharepoint.wordpress.com/2008/09/01/apply-color-coding-to-your-sharepoint-lists/)

Update: Adorable little calculated column builder (based on what I describe in this post) – http://www.pathtosharepoint.com/HTMLcc/default.aspx. Could save you a bit of time.

Hopefully with a glance at some of these you can begin to see the usefulness and power such a method can provide for your SharePoint deployment, I know I use it fairly often and I am sure you will too,
Richard Harbridge