SharePoint, Security, and Compliance – Part 6: Personally Identifiable Information (PII)


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Editor’s note: Contributor Mike Fleck is Co-founder of CipherPoint Software, Inc. Follow him @mfleckca

2012-03-09-SPSecurityCompliance-Intro-01.png In this installment of the SharePoint, Security and Compliance series, we’ll look at the topic of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and SharePoint. PII is fundamental to security compliance for IT systems. We’ll answer these common questions relating to PII and SharePoint:

What is PII?

What regulations impact the creation, storage, and use of PII?

Do I have PII in my SharePoint sites, and if so, how did it get there, and what do I need to do about it?

What are the impacts to my organization of having PII in SharePoint sites?

Personally identifiable information is information about individuals that uniquely identifies a person, and is generally defined as including these data elements:

It may also include these elements, which, although not specific to a person, may be combined with other personal information to identify an individual.

  • First or last name, if common
  • Country, state, or city of residence
  • Age, especially if non-specific
  • Gender or race
  • Name of the school they attend or workplace
  • Grades, salary, or job position
  • Criminal record

Numerous regulations in various industries regulate the collection and protection of PII. These include Gramm Leach Bliley (US financial services), PCI DSS in credit card/retail, and HIPAA/HITECH (US healthcare). Over forty-five states in the US have enacted some form of data breach law, and internationally, data privacy laws and regulations exist in the EU, Japan, Canada, and elsewhere. Requirements vary, but all of these laws and regulations seek to require security protections for consumer PII, and in many cases they require organizations experiencing security breaches to notify affected individuals and in some cases to make public disclosures. With the cost for security breaches averaging ~$6M in the past few years, it is obviously better (and more cost effective) to protect PII rather than experience a breach, and suffer the direct costs and brand damage associated with recovery.

SharePoint makes it easy for users to share and store information of all sorts. This convenience is a double-edged sword when it comes to sensitive, confidential, or regulated data. Users can easily pull PII out of your organizations systems of record, analyze the data, save it in spreadsheets or documents, and store/share them in SharePoint. How do you know if you have PII in your SharePoint sites? The answer seems simple- you need to look for it! Scan your SharePoint sites regularly looking for PII data patterns. A free SharePoint content scan utility is available here. With it, you can perform scans of files in your SharePoint sites and find PII including credit card data, customer financial information, social security numbers, and other data patterns associated with PII.

Let’s assume you’ve scanned your SharePoint sites, and found files containing PII. What do you need to do about it? The answer depends on what sort of PII, whether it is in SharePoint be design or by accident, and how much control you can apply through policy to your SharePoint user’s behavior. Some organizations that we run across simply write policy telling users to not store PII on SharePoint. The old cold war adage “trust but verify” can (and should in most organizations) be applied to using security policy to try and control user behavior regarding storage of sensitive and regulated content in SharePoint. Even if you’ve written security policy governing the storage of PII in SharePoint, it’s a good idea to occasionally scan your sites and determine whether reality matches your policy.

NIST publishes a guide on dealing with PII that is worth reviewing, Guide to Protecting the Confidentiality of Personally Identifiable Information (SP 800-122).

Among their recommendations are advice on minimizing the use, collection, and retention of PII. In terms of recommended security controls for protecting PII, NIST calls out many of the security controls from SP 800-53, including the following:

  • access enforcement
  • separation of duties
  • least privilege
  • limiting remote access
  • protecting information at rest through the use of encryption

If your SharePoint use case calls for the platform to collect, process, and store PII, then you should carefully design the security controls for your SharePoint site (along the lines suggested by NIST) to securely accommodate this information.

In our next article, we’ll focus on connecting the dots between security and compliance for SharePoint.

Mike Fleck

Connecting a WCF Service to an InfoPath Form


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Editor’s note: Contributor Kathryn Bartlett is a member of the Gig Werks team.

When you are connecting a WCF Service to an InfoPath form and happen to come across the following error:

2012-04-30-WCFService-01.png

To resolve this, you need to do the following two steps:

1. Enable cross-domain access for InfoPath Forms

2. Store the data connection in a UDC file on your SharePoint site.

Enabling Cross-Domain Access

Go to “General Application Settings” in Central Administration and click on “Configure InfoPath Forms Services”.

2012-04-30-WCFService-02.png

Check “Allow cross-domain data access for user form templates that use connection settings in a data connection file”

2012-04-30-WCFService-03.png

Hit OK.

Storing the Data Connection in a UDC File

First, create a Data Connection Library on your SharePoint site.

Copy the URL of this library up to, but not including, the /Forms/AllItems.aspx.

In Infopath, go to your Data Connections, and select your WCF Data Connection. Click “Convert to Connection File…”

2012-04-30-WCFService-04.png

Enter the URL to your data connection library and append ‘/’ followed by a file name of your choice with extension udcx. Leave the Connection link type as the default and hit OK.

2012-04-30-WCFService-05.png

Now go to your data connection library, select the “Approve/Reject” option from the dropdown of your file, and select “Approve”.

Publish your form and it should open with no problem.

This article was originally posted on Gig Werks blog The SharePoint Blog.net.

Brand SharePoint: Search Refiners


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Editor’s note: Contributor Benjamin Niaulin is a SharePoint Specialist at Groupe GSoft Inc. Follow him @bniaulin

The more I explored the Search Center CSS, I realized that the page is actually a table. Last time, when we talked about branding the search results, I didn’t really notice because I was inside a cell of that table the whole time. Today I want to show you how to Brand the Refinement Panel of the Search Center.

Beautiful Out of the Box

2012-06-27-SearchRefinement-01.png

Let’s get started

Of course the best way to start this is to identify the different containers and their hierarchies. Because, as you know, CSS applies from top to bottom. If you are not sure or CSS is not so fresh in your mind, check out one of my first Branding posts “Learn to Brand from the Start”.

The Refinement Panel is a Web Part, which means it can be dragged and dropped anywhere on the page. It’s therefore important for us to apply our CSS only on the Refinement Panel itself.

The largest container around the Refinement Panel is a div with the CSS .srch-WPBody and .ms-searchref-main. These are two separate CSS classes, the .srch-WPBody applies to all Search WebParts whereas the .ms-searchref-main applies only to the Refinement Panel.

I tried my flashy backgrounds to see if I am right.



2012-06-27-SearchRefinement-02.png

Now that I found the largest container around the Refinement Panel, let’s look at what’s inside!

2012-06-27-SearchRefinement-03.png

The categories names have their own separate DIV. Then we have a UL (Unordered List) that groups all refiners together as individual LI (List Items)

Recap of containers and CSS

Refinement Panel:
DIV with .ms-searchref-main

Category Name:
DIV with .ms-searchref-categoryname

Filters or Refiners:
UL with .ms-searchref-filters

Individual filters (Not currently Selected):
LI with .ms-searchref-filter and .ms-searchref-unselected

Individual filters (Currently Selected):
LI with .ms-searchref-filter and .ms-searchref-selected

The Hyperlinks inside the LI:
a
with .ms-searchref-filterlink

**I forgot one, which I noticed only at the end of my tests, the “Show More…” link!
.ms-searchref-more

Re-Experiencing the Refinement Panel

We now have all the necessary information to brand that Panel. I decided to go with a similar look to my Global Navigation in my final article of that series.

First, the background color:



2012-06-27-SearchRefinement-04.png

Then the Categories:



2012-06-27-SearchRefinement-05.png

The filter links (color and hover effect):



2012-06-27-SearchRefinement-06.png

Finally, the selected filter:



2012-06-27-SearchRefinement-07.png

The “Show More Link” that appears when too many filters are available.



2012-06-27-SearchRefinement-08.png

I know, what about that blue arrow… right? It’s an image unfortunately so we can’t change it’s color with just CSS. We can however, hide it. I used a little hack with CSS to add “…” after the link. Just for show.



2012-06-27-SearchRefinement-09.png

Powerful right? I am starting to LOVE CSS more and more…

2012-06-27-SearchRefinement-10.png

Code inside my Content Editor Web Part’s HTML Source Editor:



Look at the previous article on Branding Search Results and see if you can’t use the same design on what we did.

Brand SharePoint Series:

SharePoint Document Navigator by Ben Tedder


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Editor’s note: Contributor Chris Howell is an independent contractor. Follow him @enigmaticit

Yesterday, I came across a post by Ben Tedder: http://www.bentedder.com/freebie-sharepoint-document-navigator-1-0-built-wjquery-mobile-and-spservices/ outlining a solution that he has developed and made available on Codeplex.

The solution is currently free and is built using:

  • SPServices
  • jQuery Mobile
  • OOTB SharePoint 2010 features

This solution can be used to present the content of a Document Library on a mobile device.

The solution can be downloaded from Codeplex here: http://spdocumentnavigator.codeplex.com/

2012-06-27-SPDocNavigator-01.png
Document Navigator

Installation is straightforward after downloading the solution. Create a new document library called “Mobile” and copy the contents of the zip file into the new library:

2012-06-27-SPDocNavigator-02.png
Contents of Mobile Document Library

I have a number of test documents within the Shared Documents library:

2012-06-27-SPDocNavigator-03.png
Contents of Document Library

On the mobile device, navigate to the “documents.aspx” page within the Mobile library that you copied the solution files to. You are then presented with a great mobile view of the document library contents. This view also includes a feature to search and refine the contents of the library:

2012-06-27-SPDocNavigator-04.png
Mobile Document Library on iPad

Tapping on one of the items, you are taken to the properties of the item and can tap to download the content:

2012-06-27-SPDocNavigator-05.png
Document Details on iPad

This work looks very promising and I look forward to seeing it being extended by Ben and others.

Finding Duplicate Documents in SharePoint 2010


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Editor’s note: Contributor Riccardo Emanuele is founder and chairman of ImageFast Ltd. Follow him @rearcardoor

SharePoint warns you if you are about to save a duplicate of a document and it does this by matching the filename. This only applies when you are saving your new document to the same location in SharePoint where the original exists.

  • If you save Document1 to Folder A, SharePoint will warn you if you then try to save Document1 again to Folder A.
  • If you save Document1 to Folder A, SharePoint will not warn you if you then try to save Document1 to Folder B.

The example used above could equally apply to Document Libraries and Document Sets as well as to Folders. For most organisations this is not a problem and is considered to be a minor risk compared to the effort of reporting on and controlling duplicate detection. This is not common to SharePoint either as most ECM products allow the same document to be saved in different locations.

Duplicates can be detected using a simple PowerShell script that looks for documents across a site that have the same name. There are scripts that check for duplicate content by calculating an MD5 hash of the file contents but I have found this does not work for Office documents, which might have different metadata applied to each copy of the document. The following link contains a great script for comparing using the MD5 approach:

http://blog.pointbeyond.com/2011/08/24/finding-duplicate-documents-in-sharepoint-using-powershell/

The script at the bottom of this article perfroms a comparison by document name.

To use this script, run the PowerShell console “powershell_ise.exe”. Copy and paste the below code into the console window and save it as a file with a .ps1 extension e.g. DuplicateByNameCheck.ps1. You will need to edit the last line of the file to point to the site that you want to check – see image below.

2012-06-25-DuplicateDocs-01.jpg

On running the script you will get an output window showing the duplicates, clicking on the Filename column header will group files with the same name

2012-06-25-DuplicateDocs-02.jpg

Duplicate By Name Code



Properly hiding the ContentPlaceHolder TitleInTitleArea on your SharePoint 2010 Master Page


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Editor’s note: Contributor Heather Waterman is a SharePoint branding expert and the Director of Synteractive Studio for Synteractive. Follow her @hwaterman

Here is another gotcha for your custom SharePoint 2010 master page. When you are creating your custom master page, you most likely will want to move some ContentPlaceHolders into an ASP:Panel with the visibility set to hidden.

The TitleInTitleArea place holder should stay in the master page and not within a hidden panel. Why? When this is removed and you edit a team site page/wiki page then you will receive an error “you must specify a value for this required field”.

2012-06-24-ProperlyHiding-01.png

If I am not going to use this in my custom master page I add a div tag around the ContentPlaceHolder using a hidden class.


<div class="hidden">
<asp:ContentPlaceHolder id="PlaceHolderPageTitleInTitleArea" runat="server" />
</div>
CSS: .hidden { display: none;}

Thanks for reading!

Hack SharePoint Master Pages: Part 6 – HTML5 and CSS3


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Editor’s note: Contributor Marc-André Bilodeau Lamontagne is a .NET developer at Group GSoft. Follow him @forumma

It’s already part 6 of the series, Hack SharePoint Master pages. We learned first what a master page is, how it works in SharePoint and how to include CSS files. After that, we took a look at the major areas of a SharePoint 2010 team site interface. Finally, we started playing with HTML code. We moved the search area and added a footer to the page. In this article, we will learn how to use HTML5/CSS3 in SharePoint and see some examples of what we can do with this.

What we need to change

First of all, Randy Drisgill wrote a nice blog post about testing the HTML5 in SharePoint 2010. He explained, really well, what you have to change for your master page to support HTML5 and CSS3. In this article I will show you a little more of what you can do with this and what the limitations are.

There are two modifications needed on your master page to be able to use HTML5 and CSS3 tag. First you will need to change the “doctype” of your page. This is just before the <html> tag in your master page. If you are using a copy of the v4.master for this example, you will need to do this modification:

Line to change (Line 8 and 9 in the out-of-the-box v4.master):


<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN"
"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd">

Changes to this:


<!DOCTYPE HTML>

By default, SharePoint forces the browser in Internet Explorer 8 compatibility mode, even if you are using IE9. HTML5 and CSS3 are only supported in IE9 and up so we need to tell SharePoint to display in IE9. For this you need to find the “meta” tag with the “http-equiv” set to “X-UA-Compatible”. You will need to change the “content” property, from “IE=8” to “IE=9”.

Line to change (Line 12 in the out-of-the-box v4.master):


<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=8"/>

Changes to this:


<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=9"/>

After these two changes, you can now use HTML5 and CSS3 tag.

Example of what you can do with HTML5 and CSS3

CSS3 and HTML5 are pretty new and not all browsers are compatible with all tags. But in most cases, when a tag isn’t supported by your browser, you will still be able to use the site. Although, you won’t have the nice feature of CSS3. For example, we will add a rounded corner to the search box. If you are using a browser that doesn’t support the CSS3 tag, the corner will not be rounded, but the search box will be 100% functional. You can use this site to see which browsers the tag you want to use is compatible with: http://caniuse.com/

The best way to try it out is to create a new .CSS file and put the code in it. You can return to part 2 of this series to review how to do this. In the following example, I’ll give you the code to achieve the modification. If you want to try customizing the interface by yourself, you will need to find which class to override. There are two possibilities. The easiest one is to use the CSS Chart by Heather Solomon. In this chart you can find every CSS class used by every SharePoint control. The second possibility is to use the development tool included in all major browsers. On Google Chrome, you can right-click on the control that you want to edit and select “Inspect Element”. The development tool will appear in the bottom of your screen and you will be able to find which CSS styles are applied to this control.

The first modification we are going to do is to round the corner of the search area. To do this we have 2 classes to edit. We need to round the bottom left and the top left corner of the textbox and the top right and bottom right corner of the search button. Here is the CSS code you need to add to your CSS file to round the corner:


.s4-search input {
	border-top-left-radius: 10px;
	border-bottom-left-radius: 10px;
}
.srch-gosearchimg {
	border-top-right-radius: 10px;
	border-bottom-right-radius: 10px;
}

2012-06-25-HackMasterPages-Part06-01.png

The next modification I decided to do is on the quick launch. I decided to round the corner and add a box shadow. You need to edit the class of the quick launch and you also need to move a little bit of the content section to add space for the shadow. This is the code you need to add to your CSS file:


.s4-ca {
	margin-left: 165px;
}
body #s4-leftpanel-content {
	border-radius: 10px;
	box-shadow: 8px 8px 5px #888;
}

2012-06-25-HackMasterPages-Part06-02.png

With CSS3 you can add a shadow to the text. The only problem with this tag is that it is not recognized by Internet Explorer. It will be on Internet Explorer 10, but according to caniuse.com, the tag is supported by all other major browsers. I added shadows to the page title in the header section. This is the code:


.ms-WikiPageNameEditor-Display {
	color: black; 
	text-shadow: gray 0.5em 0.3em 0.2em
}

2012-06-25-HackMasterPages-Part06-03.png

A really nice feature that is very easy to implement is to change the color of the selected text in your page. With only 2 CSS lines of code, you can make a big difference in the look and feel of your site. This is the code to add to change the color of your selected text on your page:


::selection{
	background:#C1EEFB; 
	color:#000
}

2012-06-25-HackMasterPages-Part06-04.png

The last thing I decided to change, in this article, is the blue section in the header. I decided to change the background color to the new gradient feature of CSS3. I also rounded corners to improve the look. Note again that the gradient is not supported by Internet Explorer 9 and older. In this case, the header will just be blue.


.ms-cui-topBar2 {
	background-color: #1a82f7; 
	background-image: -webkit-gradient(linear, 0% 0%, 0% 100%, from(#1a82f7), to(#000000));
	background-image: -webkit-linear-gradient(top, #1a82f7, #000000); 
	background-image: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #1a82f7, #000000);
	background-image: -ms-linear-gradient(top, #1a82f7, #000000);
	background-image: -o-linear-gradient(top, #1a82f7, #000000);
}

.ms-cui-tt-s > .ms-cui-tt-a {
	border-top-right-radius: 10px;
	border-top-left-radius: 10px;
}

2012-06-25-HackMasterPages-Part06-05.png

There are some easy modifications you can do with CSS3 to improve your SharePoint site. I didn’t really talk about HTML5 tags because you will use those more in the content page than in the master page. But there are a lot of things you can do with HTML5 in your content page. That will be the subject for a future article.

Here is a screenshot of the end result of all of the work. I haven’t changed every control on the page yet we can already see a nice difference in the interface.With some inspiration and imagination you can change everything and have something really different from the default page.

2012-06-25-HackMasterPages-Part06-06.png

In this article we saw that it is possible to make really nice things with CSS3 and HTML5, but you must always keep in mind that not all browsers are compatible. It is possible to make a nice site with these technologies and make it work with the older browser. Various tools exist to help you build a site compatible in new and older browsers. The most popular is probably modernizr.com. If you want to use a lot of CSS3 and HTML5 in your site, I strongly recommend using this tool.

SharePoint 2010 Site Templating Using Only C# – Part 2: List View and Web Parts


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Editor’s note: Contributor Philip Stathis is a SharePoint developer at Gig Werks. Follow him @philipstathis

The most visible part of a site template is the web parts in the homepage and the list views.

The methods described below will come in handy if you are looking to:

  • Add Web Parts to a page programmatically
  • Create views for lists programmatically
  • Modify list views in an existing site
  • Modify views used in Web Parts in an aspx page

Changing views in SPLists and Libraries

The requirement to add a column that displays the content type of the document is pretty common in templates. This can be done in 2 steps. First make sure content types are enabled, then clone the default view and add the new column.



Adding a standard List web part

The simplest case would be to add a web part that will just show you the default view for that list:



Nice and simple, just crack open a SPLimitedWebPartManager like so:



…and select the title for the list you need.

Using an Xslt list view web part to be shown a defined view for the list

The following method will hook onto a site and it will add a web part to the default.aspx page (which is usually the homepage, but you can alter to suit your needs). It uses the method presented above to ensure that the view exists and if not it creates it. The desired outcome is:

2012-06-22-SiteTemplating-Part02-01.png

The method that makes this happen is:



Checking whether a web part exists

Pretty self-explanatory process, if you add a web part it will get added if it already exists and will keep duplicating. Here’s a good method to tell whether the web part exists:



Destructive way of checking whether a web part exists

In cases where you are called to update existing web part you might need to resort to deletion. This is how to do this as cleanly:



This method is called in one of the methods above and it does remove the web part before re-adding it.

I want to see the xml of the web part in my site

This method is useful when you simply want to return an XmlReader element to fully describe your target web part. See below for a case where this method comes in handy.



As you can see in the code we have to do some querying to get to the right spot. But all webparts are stored there and with the display name we can examine the xml for all of them.

Putting it all together

The following code will show you how to put all those elements together to fully customize an aspx page:



It is completely up to your implementation style if you want to split this process up into more pieces or not. This one method can be run and will turn a blank aspx page into a home page fit for a team site!

I Didn’t Know You Could Do That With SharePoint


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Editor’s note: Contributor Wendy Neal is a SharePoint 2010 Developer/Architect for GreatAmerica Leasing Corp. Follow her @SharePointWendy.  Wendy was also a participant in the most recent #EUSPGames.

2012-06-22-DidntKnow-01.png"I Didn’t Know You Could Do That With SharePoint" is the name of a class I teach to our SharePoint power users at my company. The goal of this class is to demonstrate some advanced solutions that they can implement on their team sites, without having to write any code. We cover eight advanced topics in just an hour, so the "training" is very demo intensive. It covers more of the what than the how. The how will be addressed in future hands-on training sessions for each topic.

The following topics are what I cover in the initial training. As I schedule and put on the advanced deep-dive training sessions, I will write an article about each and link to them.

  • Reusable content using the Content Editor Web Part – I explain how to place the same content on multiple pages using the Content Link property in the web part edit pane
  • Easy Tabs – I demonstrate how users can add a tabbed interface to any web part or wiki page using Easy Tabs (Easy Tabs is part of the SharePoint User Toolkit written by Christophe Humbert).
  • Adding CSS to your Site – I explain the different methods for adding CSS to your site and demonstrate a couple cool effects just by adding CSS.
  • Conditional formatting on lists – I show an example of how one team added row color highlighting based on a status value.
  • Utilizing lookup lists – I explain the differences between lookup columns and choice fields, and in what circumstances you may want to use each.
  • Query string filtering with the Content Query Web Part – I show how you can add a query string filter to dynamically filter data using the CQWP.
  • Content types – I present a very high-level overview of what content types are and how they may be useful. This deep-dive session may end up being multiple sessions.
  • Parent/child list relationships – I show how you can create a child list and how to hook those lists together for a better user experience.

I know what you’re thinking. First of all, you’re not supposed to call your SharePoint sites "SharePoint". And secondly, you’re not supposed to highlight SharePoint’s features to your users; rather you should find out what their pain points are and solve that pain. They’ll be so ecstatic that they’ll tell someone else and pretty soon people will be knocking down your door because they want a solution to alleviate their pain.

About calling it SharePoint… Well for my company that cat has already been let out of the bag. Someone got ahold of the fact that we now have SharePoint and it went viral. We’re actually trying to correct people and tell them to refer to their team sites as "the HR team site" instead of "the HR SharePoint site" for example. I don’t think we want to completely hide the fact that their sites are built in SharePoint though, because we want our users to build their own solutions and if they don’t know what platform it’s on, how can they search the great SharePoint community for help?

As far as highlighting features, the topics I’ve chosen just happen to be solutions that we’ve implemented on either our Extranet, Intranet, or other team/collaboration sites. All the solutions have indeed solved a particular business need and/or made users more productive. Therefore I assert that I’m simply sharing the knowledge gained from implementing those solutions and hopefully it will start a spark that will lead to our power users dreaming up their own solutions. Right now they can’t even imagine what’s possible because our SharePoint implementation is so new to them and they really don’t know what the out-of-the-box capabilities are.

It’s also a way to gauge the interest level for each topic so that I can prepare and prioritize the hands-on training sessions. At the beginning of this class I pass around a half sheet of paper with a checklist of all the topics, and a priority ranking box (1=high; 3=low). They simply check the topics they want to learn more about and assign a ranking. I collect these at the end of class and will use them to prioritize and schedule the upcoming sessions. I could give them a link to a SharePoint survey, however I want to get ALL responses back and this way I guarantee to get them as soon as class is over.

2012-06-22-DidntKnow-02.png

I’ve also created an internal Showcase site that I use to create the solutions that I will be giving demos and training on. It’s still a work in progress but when complete all the links on the home page will click through to a detailed view of how to implement the solution along with screen shots, supporting files and links, etc. I’m thinking of using document sets to accomplish this, because I haven’t used them that much and would love to learn, and later "showcase" it off on my site!

2012-06-22-DidntKnow-03.png

I’ll also likely be adding a second "I Didn’t Know…" class that demonstrates even more features of SharePoint, because there were other things I wanted to show but didn’t have time. I can add those topics to my Showcase site as well, so I want to make it really easy to add topics and supporting information going forward.

I’ve made the slide deck available on SlideShare and I would love it if you could check it out and let me know what you think. As mentioned earlier, the training is very demo intensive, but I’ve added screenshots to the slides for the benefit of those who don’t have a chance to attend the session live or for later reference. So don’t let the number of slides scare you! The majority of them are just screenshots. If I get time I may even create this demo in webinar format, and if so I’ll post it here as well.

Are you giving any similar types of SharePoint training to your company or clients? What additional topics are you covering?

This article was originally posted on Wendy’s blog SharePointWendy.

SharePoint Fest Denver In Its Third Year


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Editor’s note: Contributor Bonnie J. Surma is a SharePoint community evangelist, sponsor manager for NothingButSharePoint.com, advertising and services for SharePointJoel.com, SharePoint end user support consultant for TCSC, Midlothian, Virginia. Follow her @sharepointmom.

SharePoint enthusiasts are heading to Denver this weekend to attend SharePoint Fest Denver, which begins on Monday, June 25. This year has brought some great SharePoint conferences around the globe, and this one will be just as spectacular.

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We all know Denver as “the mile-high city,” but did you know that Denver was one of the few cities in history not built on a road, a railroad or a river? Would you believe that the very first few flakes of gold were found there in 1858? I love trivia and finding out the “whys” about a place or event, so I caught up with David Wilhelm, SharePointFest Event Chairperson, to ask him a few questions.

What makes the SharePointFest conferences different from other conferences?

“From day one, we have had the focus of trying to learn from what other SharePoint conferences have done well, as well as, struggled with. Starting SharePoint Fest three years ago, we were able to have had a few years to learn from the value of two particular types of SharePoint conferences within the community—partner-driven technical conferences and SharePoint Saturdays. Both of these particular SharePoint conference venues have tremendous value to attendees and to the SharePoint partner community at large; however, each was distinctly different in terms of community perception, audience makeup, scope/scale, and technical content. We have sought to bring together the best of each of these types of SharePoint events over the past three years to achieve the conferences we now see in Denver and Chicago for 2012! We offer attendees the opportunity to learn from some of the best and brightest SharePoint minds in the world while also bringing to them the vast world of 3rd party products and services supporting SharePoint all in one event! We have worked and are continuing to work towards building the healthiest mix of some of the top SharePoint community speakers (MVPs, MCMs), Microsoft executives, and 3rd party technical talent available anywhere in the US. We feel this mix creates the best opportunity for our attendees to be exposed to as many contexts of SharePoint expertise as possible in a three-day format. We also provide both attendees and event sponsors the best opportunity to fully engage throughout our events through our commitment to integrating the 3rd party exhibit areas directly into our event space for a fully immersed environment throughout our events. Everywhere you turn there is SharePoint and an attention to detail and quality that you will not find in other SharePoint events!”

How do you decide the speakers and sessions?

“Our focus has been on providing as healthy a mix of speakers from the three areas mentioned above. We also strive to provide the largest and healthiest mix of technical content available in a conference format. I personally have spent countless hours in person, on the phone, and via email in getting to know as many of the SharePoint community’s top minds personally in the hopes of gleaning as much perspective as possible as to what our attendees will derive the most value from at our events. Through these interactions over the course of the past few years the content/agenda for our events has become a very organic process where the top speakers, the top subject matter, and the top 3rd party partners come together to create the experience that has become SharePoint Fest. I don’t assume to have all of the answers on how best to achieve this, but I am committed to allowing our events to evolve and be driven by the collective insights of the many facets that make up the SharePoint ecosystem.”

What are the top three reasons someone should attend?

“Attendees will find one of the largest and healthiest mixes of technical SharePoint training in a condensed three-day conference format available anywhere in the world!

Attendees will have the opportunity to learn from, meet, and network with one of the most diverse gatherings of SharePoint talent anywhere! Attendees will be able to shorten their timeframes in researching, vetting, and getting to personally understand the vast and diverse ecosystem of 3rd-party SharePoint products and services!”

Why and when was SharePointFest created and what has been its success?

“SharePoint Fest was created in 2010, with 2012 being our 3rd year of events. It was created out of the vision of trying to combine the immense value that both partner-driven and SharePoint Saturdays present to attendees into one diverse conference. I believe our success thus far in accomplishing this vision with an unwavering commitment to providing a high quality experience for everyone involved is and will always be the at the root of our successes.”

In what city did it begin?

“SharePoint Fest began in Denver in 2010 and expanded in 2011 to include Dallas and Chicago. Moving forward we are hopeful to expand our brand into limited additional markets in need of the type of experience we provide.”

What would you like folks to know about your conference?

“Above everything else mentioned already…probably just that I and we are always committed to evolving along with the SharePoint ecosystem, as well as, the successes and failings of our and other like events around the world to provide events that leave attendees walking away saying “I can’t wait to come back next year!’”

Do you accept walk-in registrations?

“Yes, we do; however, in hopes of ensuring all attendees the best experience possible with food, drink, swag, etc. we do ask attendees to do their best to register in advance and offer many discount opportunities leading up to each event.”

If you’ve not registered and want to visit a beautiful city and learn more about SharePoint, register today at http://www.sharepointfest.com/Denver/. The event has tracks and sessions for everyone at every level and role of SharePoint. Follow the conference on Twitter #SPFestDenver2012.

SharePoint leaders are waiting to meet you and encourage you in your SharePoint journey. Thanks to David and his team for providing this conference to the SharePoint community. To find out more about SharePoint Fest Conferences, visit http://www.sharepointfest.com.