EndUserSharePoint2010 – A Blast from the Past

 

In May of 2010 SharePoint 2010 was released. Although Mark felt that it was too soon for most End User’s to concern themselves with the new version, he understood that making information available was necessary. And so he formed EndUserSharePoint.com’s sister site EndUserSharePoint2010. We published content aimed at all levels of SharePoint experience.

Later that year NothingButSharePoint was formed and all of the articles from EndUserSharePoint were migrated over to the new site. Well, we recently unearthed the 2010 articles and realized that they were never moved over. So, starting Monday we’ll be publishing a few of these articles a week on NothingButSharePoint. It should be interesting to read these articles two-and-a-half years later and see if, and how, SharePoint 2010 has affected you.

Happy reading!

Reflecting back on SPC12

 

With an official announced 10,000 attendees at the SharePoint Conference 2012 in Las Vegas this year from 85 countries and over 7000 watching live on the webcast and #SPC12 hash tag trending even with extremely poor Wi-Fi access during the week…this year’s SPC12 was a major hit!

The conference was sponsored by over 200 companies and if the 250+ sessions over four days wasn’t enough the expo hall was packed the brim full of vendors ready to pitch their latest add-ons to SharePoint.

The keynote focused heavily on the cloud throughout, I do understand that Microsoft marketing team need to push the future…but a quick straw poll as we drew the winning ticket for the Ducati we gave away on the AvePoint booth on Thursday afternoon proved that a good 95% weren’t even considering it out of the 1000+ waiting to see whether they were going to win.

Cloud

The biggest push in the whole keynote in my opinion came from the announcement of 3 month "service updates" for SharePoint Online Office 365 tenants. There was no announcements of any changes to the on-premises 3 year release cycles with 2 service packs. This will obviously be the way to tempt organizations to Office 365 from on-premises which won’t be getting the new features for a LONG time after.

Microsoft wanted to make a big point by having all demonstrations on Office 365 from the Amsterdam datacenter to try and prove that geographically dispersed organizations can use one central tenancies.

The other key themes or "disruptive technologies" that Microsoft wanted you to "embrace" were "mobile", "social" and "the experience".

Mobile

SharePoint’s mobile story to date has been very poor with a micro-browser rendering system best left to the deceased Blackberry platform. Comparing SharePoint collaboration workload competitors who have a strong mobile story such as Google Docs, Alfresco and Box.net, Microsoft were really having to make a splash in this round. The announcement of a Windows Phone 8 client which I am already using with our own internal Intranet from a social perspective is great! The information around a iOS and Android equivalent is also great news, although expect not all functionality to be on those devices as per Microsoft’s mandate to encourage Windows Phone adoption. The existing Office app for Windows Phone has proved extremely handy and the SkyDrive Pro integration will be a big hit for offline collaboration scenarios and finally nails what Groove and SharePoint Workspace tried to achieve in the last 6 years.

There was a light demo of a Windows 8 RT app for SharePoint expected early next year. It will be interesting to see how the SharePoint iOS vendor apps survive which stronger plays in this space in 2013.

SharePoint Social

The third thing for the audience to embrace was SharePoint social, not to be confused with Yammer, which I’ll get to in a moment. SharePoint social was meant to make a big splash 3 years ago and had plenty of excuses around it being two early 6 years when it launched to be compared to Facebook. Even 3 years later in 2010, the social platform was weak and barely used from sharing activity social effort. Microsoft tended to lean on "Discussion Boards", "Wikis" and "blogs" as social, which sadly didn’t get touched in 2010 and haven’t again in 2013. The new social in 2013 was demonstrated around the "Communities" site template with very light badge functionality and the new "follow" capability for documents, people, tags and sites. I believe the platform has the ability to be adopted now in 2013 by organizations, but still think comparing it to true enterprise social platforms it really isn’t there yet, but it’s a start.

Experience

It was great to hear that this wave had 4 times as many people focusing on user experience, and it does really show. They talked about how Office 365 is the "largest scale enterprise cloud service in the world", I guess all vendors claim this, it would be interesting to see how this stacks up against Google’s numbers.

It is always interesting to see what Microsoft think are the biggest experience changes and no surprises to see SkyDrive Pro, Site Hub, Team site updates, Apps, Search and oddly Outlook web access being showcased…which is not SharePoint whatsoever. This highlighted to me that the lines between Exchange, SharePoint and Office are blurring and questioned the reality of a SharePoint conference next year and maybe more of an "Office 365 conference".

Yammer

There was a distinct divide in the keynote, with the Yammer team shoved awkwardly in the middle between two very strong "blue badge" Microsoft sections of the major themes and the new development model. I like the fact that their approach was different from the usual Microsoft "voice" but suspect next time we see them present they will be "neutralized".

The Microsoft team introduced the reasons for the acquisition was that Yammer are "the leaders in enterprise social" with the largest user base of 200,000 organizations in 150 countries in 24 languages and 85% fortune 500. They focused on Yammer’s "rapid innovation" pioneering new features based on user feedback and voluntary adoption watching analytical usage data to prioritize features.

The big question a lot of my enterprise customers have been asking is around the story of SharePoint social and Yammer and I was expecting it to be presented clearly. But sadly all they really announced was that Office 365 SharePoint Online customers could get Yammer Premium as part of their package and that there was already "integration" between the two. What disappointed me was that the integration has already been known as this was already in place before the acquisition.

The Yammer guys focused on distinct features to integrate were the "enterprise graph", "post to yammer" in the SharePoint ribbon, "yammer search" within SharePoint search and embedding a document reference from SharePoint in a yammer post. Near futures touted were integration with SkyDrive Pro and Office Web Apps.

Their basic roadmap discussed an "open graph", more web parts, and integration with Dynamics (which was shown at YamJam the week earlier). Deeper integration will tackle the concerns around a unified feed, tighter integration with documents and seamless identity integration. They also went on to discuss how they would hook into all of Office 365 from Skype, Lync through to Outlook and Exchange…."faster than you might expect from us". From this I would read that "SharePoint social" at best will be a little brother not focused on anymore and that Yammer will be the true enterprise social focus at Microsoft. The biggest facepalm moment of this was from discussions with various people at ask the experts is that Yammer will be "cloud-only" so for a lot of organizations out of reach.

We have been evaluating Yammer internally and to be honest have found that even it isn’t fully baked and the Windows Phone app is barely usable which is a key to the social enterprise.

There are way too many overlaps between SharePoint social and Yammer right now and although Microsoft promise a more unified story, from my experience, don’t expect it in 2013 if they can’t even talk marketing slides yet. You can follow, like, post statuses, view activity completely in isolation of each other and there is no mechanism to see both in one stream. In my opinion, this is going to confuse the hell out of end users and so the best approach I can recommend for now is to pick one and shut the other off the best you can. The easiest one to switch off is obviously going to be Yammer as it’s completely separate. Switching off SharePoint social is not a big tick box, it’s going to take a lot of custom CSS hacks and master page tweaks for sure.

Innovation

The innovation focus through the keynote and the sessions during the week were that SharePoint 2013 was “built from the cloud up” and you can see this when looking at the feature comparison between Office 365 SharePoint Online and SharePoint on-premise. And as discussed with the 3 month cadence of SharePoint Online they were “recommending you move to cloud for new experience”.

The upgrade story has got better this time round which obviously was for the benefit of them with Office 365 existing tenants and also on-premises customers. But don’t be fooled by how easy they say it is, expect the same experience as last time if you have customizations and not just a vanilla content database that can be moved to any old farm.

The main improvement from innovation aspects is the announcement of the performance improvements with “40% efficient use of bandwidth” due to “4x image compression” with one example used of the ribbon going from 400kb to 100Kb. They also quoted SQL being 50% faster due to enhanced stored procedures.

The shredded storage focus in the keynote around growth of content databases in average collaboration load being less compared to 2010 due to it storing deltas is a true fact, but if you attended mine and Dan’s session you would have also seen that with it comes a big performance hit from user experience. More details on this to come from me in the future on this and the differences between it and RBS + de-duplication technology.

I have to hand it to them from an innovation aspect on the new app-model with the ability to essentially build your app in php, perl, html5, or whatever and host it wherever and it be able to hook into SharePoint 2013 via the oAuth model if using SharePoint Online. They’re betting on the fact that existing developer ecosystems will start building integration into SharePoint, the market place is looking pretty quiet at the moment but I expect that to grow faster once SharePoint Online is in production with 2013 with all its tenants and demand starts to be driven.

Sessions

I had two sessions at SPC12, one with Dan Holme focused on IT Pro story on-premises and what’s new which received very good scores from attendees and a vendor session with Dana Simberkoff around Governance and Compliance mapped to hybrid scenarios which also received above average scores. So I was personally very happy with my week! If you were unable to attend these sessions whilst you were at the conference because you were too busy, please log into MySPC and check them out!

Chris Givens has written a great little PowerShell script to pull down all the SPC PowerPoint and MP4 files which helped me grab it all and dump it on my Surface RT to watch on my many flights during my travels! Learning heaps already and encourage you to do the same as pretty sure you didn’t get to 250 odd sessions at the event itself with 8 running at once most times of the day! Note you need a MySPC login with access to sessions to get this content.

What wasn’t answered all week

For me, other than what I’ve already discussed around Yammer, some things I came away with that weren’t answered in a public forum were the release cadence for SharePoint on-premise…if our bleeding edge cloud friends get shiny new things every 3 months…when can us on-premise guys get them? In general there seemed to be a lack of theme around on-premise, and my discussions with a lot of people though out the week was that it was disappointing due to that fact.

Success!

Keynotes are always a tricky thing, especially with a room loaded with press, MVPs, office 365 customers and on-premise customers. I think overall it was a great keynote and tip my hat to those involved for a job well done. As for the conference, it astounds me how smoothly the week ran, the unfortunate Wi-Fi issues were out of their control and I spoke to a few that were seriously doing EVERYTHING they could to rectify it.

2012-11-29-ReflectingSPC12-01.jpg

I had a great week, although extremely busy representing AvePoint and my community commitments and didn’t get to spend as much time as I would have liked with good friends in the community. I did however get to have a few minutes one on one with Jon Bon Jovi before the SPC12 attendee party started, Jon is a huge hero of mine and I’ve seen him over 10 times and been backstage once before but unfortunately didn’t get to talk to him. So getting a chance to chat to him made my week to be honest!

SPC12: Day 4 – Summary of Reducing Organizational Risk Through Effective Information Management

 

Editor’s note: Contributor Frederik Leksell is a Consultant for Accigo AB. Follow him @LetsTalkGov

Paul Olenick, presenting.

Okay, so this is the last day of SPC12. Some of us were at the Axceller party the day before, which was a very good party!

But now we will focus on the session at hand. Paul is talking some about how risk management can lead to wellness and success.

Agenda:

  • Define it
  • Apply it
  • Wrap it up

Information Management

It comes in, it comes out, it grows, and it rests. We want to do something with it: React, Proact (iv), Find, Safe Keep, Rely. We are not just talking about documents, but also people and other context.

The IT View is: Policy, Metadata, and Search.

Paul is now describing what all of these are. It seems a little naive as most people in this room already know what it is. Information management is not a list of features Paul says, yes that is correct. It’s more about reaction to data or how to get data reacted on.

  • React, Tools: Metadata
  • Proact (iv) Tools: Policy, Metadata, and Search
  • Find Tools: Search, Metadata
  • Safe Keep Tools: Policy, Metadata
  • Rely Tools: Metadata

Obvious stuff

  • Audits: Legal, Financial
  • Compliance: HIPPA, Affordable care act
  • Data security, Permissions, e-mail, print

Not so obvious stuff

  • Ineffectiveness.
  • Fundability.
  • Incorrect processes.
  • Inability to react.
  • Frustrated information workers.
  • Lack of transparency.
  • Loss of IP.
  • Productivity leak.
  • Loss of revenue.

Some of this probably applies to most organizations; it’s a good point as to what happens without IM.

Hidden Risks

Can’t: React, Proact (iv), Find, Safe Keep, Rely tec… Paul didn’t speak much more about this. Instead we went to a demo.

eDiscovery can make snapshots of lots of data from a search query. It can be used when you have a legal audit. SharePoint has this out of the box. It’s a very good feature in fact, I like this and it really gives business value if you have structured data.

With the auditing policy on you can create reports on document changes etc. Paul didn’t talk much more about this, just explained how much he helped companies save money with this.

Now it starts to get a bit more technical, let’s see if Paul can keep it a business track.

Example 2: Inability to visualize data

Data outside SharePoint in silos that are related but they could not be connected…By using search crawling they made a unique record that could help FAST search to crawl different file servers and relate data.

Hmmm, don’t know if this is correct since I don’t have the technical skills in this area.

Points that you need, a Foundation

  • Focus and define high-level business value
  • Everything should have a specific outcome
  • Know your audience
  • Find consensus and build form there. (Org buy-in)
  • Identify and quantify risk
  • Identify and quantify opportunities
  • Determine project scope
  • Build your buy-in

His point here is don’t talk to the CIO, talk to the business. It’s very good that he tells everyone that, it’s a big plus!

Conceptual, not technical

  • Fear of impending business.
  • Fear of automation. This is something I have felt as well, also when talking about integrations.
  • Resistance from end-users.
  • Getting into the weeds.
  • Failure to gain consensus.
  • Understand how to quantify risks.

Wrap it up

  • Stay business focused.
  • Focus on opportunity and revenue.
  • Metadata is the fuel that drives automation and search, surfacing info.
  • Challenges will be organizational, not technical.

Some very good point here!

Now I need to get to the next session, so no more about this right now. I will create an article, later on, filling in all the gaps.

Reusability as a SharePoint guiding principle


You may also be interested in: O’Reilly – SharePoint 2010 at Work


 

Editor’s note: Contributor Nancy Skaggs is a SharePoint consultant based in Columbus, OH and has worked with SharePoint since 2008. Follow her @Nanskatoon

There are very few instances where you will interact with SharePoint and NOT find yourself in a position to benefit from re-used content in one form or another. From site columns to site templates, “one-off” content creation has practically no place in a well-planned SharePoint environment. SharePoint wants you to leverage that which has already been created, which is why so many features and tools exist that facilitate this behavior.

Create for re-use

The more you can standardize aspects of your SharePoint site, the better off you are. The more users your site has, the greater this need. Every time you create with re-use in mind, you save time and effort down the road for everyone (even though you may not see instant return on your investment). You also increase consistency, improve adoption rates, boost search results and build integration.

This is important to remember when you’re tempted to just throw another choice column into a default document library or list… instead, stop and consider whether that column should really be a site column. Wouldn’t it be better to place that column in a location where everyone could benefit from it? And while we’re on the subject, why not go ahead and save that library as a template, so no one has to recreate it from scratch? If you thought it was worth creating, chances are someone else will too.

I feel so strongly about this that I will go so far as to say, “If you create something in SharePoint without first thoughtfully evaluating it for re-use (or incorporation into an already-existing content element), you’re doing it wrong.” That evaluation should become second nature and be part of every creation process.

Obstacles to adoption

Unfortunately, today’s throwaway culture doesn’t offer a lot of support for this mindset. Neither does a fast-paced work environment where planning often takes a back seat to demands for fast results. Wise users (and wiser managers) see beyond the immediate and acknowledge the value of taking time to lay a foundation for the future. To consistently ignore this practice negates the value SharePoint brings to the enterprise and squanders the investment made in its implementation. Over time, these are the sites that will produce the least benefit, generate the most headaches and be soonest abandoned.

Another obstacle is SharePoint itself. Nothing forces you to follow best practices. In fact it’s easier to produce a one-off, non-reusable content element now than ever before. Left to their own devices, user behavior will find the path of least resistance. This supports even more strongly the need for training among those users whose site permissions allow them to create content elements. Standards surrounding WHY these best practices are to be followed will set the stage for effective content deployment. Drive home the benefits and value reaped by the business when you sow and grow the seeds of planning and reusability. Set yourself up for success.

Analogy

The graphic below shows a high-level illustration of how this “building block” reusability model works in terms of designing a site template. Think of site columns like bricks; think of content types like walls. Lists and libraries are like buildings; site templates are like cities. When it’s time to build a new site (city), do you want to go all the way back to the brickmaking process every single time? No way! Just create from the saved site template, which is preconfigured to already give you the standard, default setup you need. All the wiring, plumbing (infrastructure) will already be in place. The signage will all look the same. The users will feel “at home.” If you need to, you can then modify it to suit any specific needs of the site’s users.

2012-11-27-ReusabilityGuidingPrinciple-01.jpg

OR- think of automakers, mass-producing the base model car, then adding options when/if customers want them. If they had to make every car from the ground up for every buyer, they’d put themselves out of business in a matter of days. The base model ensures that all the cars operate the same way; they have the same safety features and functions. When you drive one, you know what to expect. The base options are consistent and standard across the model line. This is efficiency- reusability- in action.

OR- think of decorating a cake for a party. The foundation- the cake- is produced by following a set series of steps where designated ingredients are combined according to a prepared plan (the recipe). The decorations are specified according to the occasion. If the cake is complete, any decorations can be applied on top to suit the purpose of the event. If a new cake is required, just follow the recipe and make a new one, then decorate it. Even faster- use a box mix! That provides even more consistency in appearance and flavor. But what if there were no box mixes? What if there were no recipes? How long would it take to produce that cake now? See the value in application of reusable elements?

Think before you create and plan for re-use. Does that make sense?

SharePoint Emulators now live!!!

 

It’s great to see that the Visual Studio team has launched the SharePoint Emulators add-on for Visual Studio 2012 that works with SharePoint 2010 server-side .NET object model. I was lucky enough to get an early glimpse of this stuff when I was in Redmond for the Build conference and am really impressed with what they’ve managed to do.

Joshua Weber does a great job of explaining the benefits of this for Unit Testing SharePoint server-side .NET code in SharePoint 2010. To date it’s involved a lot of PEX/Moles or TypeMock Isolator type approaches. This approach in my opinion is a lot cleaner and a lot more extensible for your own projects.

The good news is that it’s available right now via a NuGet package so download it and give it a whirl. Yes it’s only available in Visual Studio Ultimate, which I think will hurt some development teams who don’t have this.

The framework leverages the Fakes (no not Thakes2012-11-27-Emulator-01.png) aspects of the Visual Studio 2012 suite and .NET Framework. Essentially they’ve coded an implementation of some of the major Microsoft.SharePoint.* dll’s and whatever is missing you can, in fact, actually extend yourself. The team is encouraging the community to help build out the missing shims to help with adoption of this tool.

There was a Build session on this which is available to download also here http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Build/2012/3-015

Love to hear feedback from community on this one. I for one will be evaluating this in our internal testing here at AvePoint against our existing unit testing approaches.

How To: Display Files in a SharePoint Library That Were Created Between a Specific Date Range


You may also be interested in: SharePoint Apps by Cybozu


 

Editor’s note: Contributor Dean Virag is a Technical Trainer for ASCD. Follow him @techtrainerdean

Author’s Note: Below is a how-to article that I wrote for a lawyer in NYC. He needed to find all documents in a document library that were created between two dates and then move them out of SharePoint and back into a networked file share.

So, he first contacted a prominent SharePoint consulting company there in NYC who said that the problem could only be handled through custom code. Then, after reading one of my posts on EUSP, he contacted me. I was able to solve his problem in about 10 minutes – using nothing but out-of-the-box functionality. It took more time for me to create this how-to article than it did to come up with the solution.

So the first part of this article is about creating a view that displays documents that were created between two different dates. The second part covers the same thing, only using Windows Explorer (in Windows 7) instead of SP.

He followed the second part and was able to get the files out of SharePoint that he needed. In the end, I did not charge him for my time (about an hour total) and I saved him from wasting thousands of dollars on a custom solution when one was not necessary.

The Problem:

Finding and aggregating files stored in folders in a document library can be a nightmare, especially when you are talking about thousands of files. The problem grows when you throw in the need to display only files that were created between two dates.

But, do not fear good SharePoint citizen! There is an easy solution to your problem, one that requires no coding and can be accomplished in a short amount of time – and here it is.

Solution 1: Display Files in a SharePoint Library View.

  1. Go to your document library.
  2. Click the Library Tools à Library tab.
  3. 2012-11-26-FilterOnDateRange-01.png

  4. Click the Create View.
  5. 2012-11-26-FilterOnDateRange-02.png

  6. Click Standard View.
  7. 2012-11-26-FilterOnDateRange-03.png

  8. Give your view a name.
  9. 2012-11-26-FilterOnDateRange-04.png

  10. Select the columns that you want to include in the view. Make sure that Created is checked. Note: Created is the date that the document was added into SharePoint.
  11. 2012-11-26-FilterOnDateRange-05.png

  12. Optional: Select a value or values to sort your view results. For example, you could choose to sort by created date displayed in descending order. The documents created most recently would be displayed at the top of the list.
  13. Add the date range to filter the results.
    1. In the Filter group, click the Show items only when the following is true option.
    2. 2012-11-26-FilterOnDateRange-06.png

    3. Select to show files where Created is greater than or equal to your desired start date. In this case we want to show all files created after September 11, 2011.
    4. 2012-11-26-FilterOnDateRange-07.png

    5. Select and.
    6. 2012-11-26-FilterOnDateRange-08.png

    7. Select to show the files where Created is less than or equal to [Today].
      Note: [Today] is a dynamic variable that will automatically use the current date.
    8. 2012-11-26-FilterOnDateRange-09.png

    9. In the Folders group, select to Show all items without folders.
    10. 2012-11-26-FilterOnDateRange-10.png

    11. In the Item Limit group, increase the Number of items to display. In this example, the view will return the documents in batches of 100 files.
    12. 2012-11-26-FilterOnDateRange-11.png

    13. Click OK to save and display your view.
    14. 2012-11-26-FilterOnDateRange-12.png

    15. A flat list of files that were created between a range of dated will be displayed in the view. However, SharePoint does not make it easy to do things like copy or move multiple files. For that, we need to use Windows Explorer!

Solution #2: Filter and Display the Files Using Windows Explorer

  1. Go to your document library.
  2. Click the Library Tools -> Library tab.
  3. 2012-11-26-FilterOnDateRange-13.png

  4. Click the Open With Explorer button to display the contents of the document library in Microsoft Windows Explorer.
  5. 2012-11-26-FilterOnDateRange-14.png

  6. Right-Click in the column header section of Windows Explorer, and select Date Created. That will add the Date Created column to Windows Explorer.
  7. 2012-11-26-FilterOnDateRange-15.png

  8. Roll your cursor over the Date Created column header and click the down triangle that appears.
  9. 2012-11-26-FilterOnDateRange-16.png

  10. A calendar will appear under the down triangle. Click the left triangle to navigate back to the month/year that you want to start filtering the files.
  11. 2012-11-26-FilterOnDateRange-17.png

  12. Once you have reached the desired month/year. Click the exact date that to begin filtering your documents and drag your cursor down to the bottom of the calendar without releasing the mouse click. Continue to move the cursor down to go into the next most recent month. Be careful, the selector moves fast! You might have to try it a couple of times to get the hang of it.

  13. 2012-11-26-FilterOnDateRange-18a.png

    2012-11-26-FilterOnDateRange-18b.png

    Click on Sept 11, 2012….

    And drag downward to select into October. Stop on the desired date.

  14. The files that were created between the selected date range will be automatically displayed, but in their folders. To view all the files outside of their folders, click the Search again in: Subfolders.
  15. 2012-11-26-FilterOnDateRange-19.png

  16. The display will update to show all the folders at the top of the list and all the documents below the folders.

    Note: A Folder column will automatically be added to show which folder each document came from.

  17. 2012-11-26-FilterOnDateRange-20.png

  18. You can now select all the files and copy them into a new location outside of SharePoint, such as a directory on your C drive, or a network shared drive.
  19. Repeat this process in all libraries where you want to filter files by date range.
  20. Paste all the desired files into the same folder.

2012-11-26-FilterOnDateRange-21.pngCongratulations, you have successfully filtered files based on a date range in both a SharePoint Document Library and Windows Explorer.

Pluralsight.com From a SharePoint Developer’s Perspective

 

Editor’s note: Contributor Stephan Onisick is a programmer developing SharePoint applications for Phacil. Follow him @StephanOnisick

For the last four years, I have worked as a SharePoint Developer. During this time, I relentlessly sought sites, articles, blogs, courses, code snippets, projects, and videos for relevant information. The first source of information for SharePoint has always been Google. (With SharePoint you need all the help you can get!! God bless you Google!)

Recently, I published an article outlining sources of free information on both YouTube and surprisingly enough, Microsoft: Free YouTube and Microsoft Videos – SharePoint Pro: By Admins, Devs, Industry Observers Blog.

With all this free information available on the internet, why would anyone want to pay for information?

I’m glad you asked! (My, aren’t we perceptive?)

The answer stems from a human need for a more structured framework for exploring a given technology or discipline: people need mental pegs and hooks to hang bits and pieces of knowledge. These serve as references or compasses.

Good courses, good instructors, and good books provide solid reference points to understand a given topic. They are also something we can come back to—since we never grasp a subject and all its implications in entirety. Exercises and labs help to strengthen fragile concepts into something more robust: something we can play with and build on. This fosters a level of success in a technology or discipline and creates a framework to add more knowledge.

Using books and video courses with exercises, labs and a curriculum help me to organize my own thoughts and actualize some of the information which is presented. I’m not even opposed to paying for an occasional online or classroom course with an instructor to shore up some loose ends and field questions. (A luxury to be sure.)

There are many good educational sights on the web. The one that I have actively investigated in the last two years are: Pluralsight.com, LearnDevNow.com and Safari Online. Being a working stiff with a finite amount of funds and time, these are the ones I have explored that I can evaluate meaningfully. Why not start with the best: Pluralsight.com

(No this is not a paid commercial—I wish it were—have you priced root canals lately—I’m on 14—got to stop at 28 right?—Please God!!.)

PluralSight.com

Last year, I explored a free ASP.net Course that Pluralsight offered on the web and I was hooked. The course had excellent video content, a good lab, and an excellent instructor. I couldn’t wait to apply part of my company’s educational benefit/allowance.

2012-11-26-Pluralsight-01.png

Fortunately for me, my employer’s plan covered the “Annual Plus” subscription of $499 which adds the labs, demos, and assessments.

2012-11-26-Pluralsight-02.png

What I have enjoyed are professional courses taught by elite instructors, many of whom are Microsoft MVP’s or prominent authors: Fritz Onion, Sahil Malik, Robert Cain, Dan Wahlin, David Chappell, John Pappa, Kate Gregory, Rob Windsor, Scott Allen. (This is only a partial listing of instructors for the courses I have taken.)

The “Plus” subscription adds exercise files (labs and demos), plus assessments (before and after—not yet available on all courses-but on many), certificates and offline viewing.

The following is a print-out of some of the assessments:

2012-11-26-Pluralsight-03.png

But wait there’s more: Pluralsight just added Critical Path Training to its contributors making it arguably the best offering of SharePoint Courses on the net. With Critical Path Training, the top contributors to SharePoint Education (best of the best): Ted Pattison and Andrew Connell join an already stellar line-up of instructors.

With Critical Path Training, Pluralsight hit critical mass in SharePoint 2007, 2010 and 2013.

2012-11-26-Pluralsight-04.png

The following shows the current offering of 48 SharePoint Courses with the addition of Critical Path Training:

Course

Instructor

Level

Date Added

PowerPivot for SharePoint 2010 – System Setup

Robert Cain

Beginner

25 Apr 2011

SharePoint 2007 Developer Ramp-Up – Part 1

David Mann

Beginner

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2007 Features and Solutions by Example

Dan Wahlin

Beginner

12 Nov 2009

SharePoint 2007 Fundamentals for Developers

Onion , Malik

Beginner

29 Jun 2010

SharePoint 2007 Tutorial for Site Administrators

Janis Hall

Beginner

24 Mar 2010

SharePoint 2010 Branding for Web Designers Fundamentals

Ted Pattison

Beginner

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 Developer Ramp-Up – Part 1

Pattison , Connell

Beginner

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 Document/Meeting Workspaces for End Users

Wendy Henry

Beginner

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 Fundamentals

Rob Windsor

Beginner

21 Feb 2011

SharePoint 2010 Introduction for End Users

Wendy Henry

Beginner

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 Lists & Libraries for End Users

Wendy Henry

Beginner

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 Managing Sites & Site Collections

Wendy Henry

Beginner

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 No-Code Customizations for Power Users

Andrew Connell

Beginner

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 Personalizing SharePoint for End Users

Wendy Henry

Beginner

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 Social Networking for End Users

Wendy Henry

Beginner

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2007 Developer Ramp-Up – Part 2

David Mann

Intermediate

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2007 Developer Ramp-Up – Part 3

David Mann

Intermediate

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2007 Developer Ramp-Up – Part 4

David Mann

Intermediate

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2007 Developer Ramp-Up – Part 5

David Mann

Intermediate

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2007 Developer Ramp-Up – Part 6

David Mann

Intermediate

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2007 Developer Ramp-Up – Part 7

David Mann

Intermediate

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2007 Developer Ramp-Up – Part 8

David Mann

Intermediate

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2007 Services Client Programming

Sahil Malik

Intermediate

5 Jul 2010

SharePoint 2007: Business Services

Sahil Malik , et al.

Intermediate

20 Jul 2010

SharePoint 2010 Administrator Ramp-Up – Part 1

Ted Pattison

Intermediate

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 Administrator Ramp-Up – Part 2

Ted Pattison

Intermediate

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 Administrator Ramp-Up – Part 3

Ted Pattison

Intermediate

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 Administrator Ramp-Up – Part 4

Ted Pattison

Intermediate

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 Administrator Ramp-Up – Part 5

Ted Pattison

Intermediate

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 Administrator Ramp-Up – Part 6

Ted Pattison

Intermediate

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 Administrator Ramp-Up – Part 7

Ted Pattison

Intermediate

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 Administrator Ramp-Up – Part 8

Ted Pattison

Intermediate

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 Advanced Branding for Web Designers

Ted Pattison

Intermediate

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 Basics

Sahil Malik

Intermediate

27 Aug 2010

SharePoint 2010 Branding a WCM Site for Web Designers

Ted Pattison

Intermediate

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 Developer Ramp-Up – Part 2

Connell , Pattison

Intermediate

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 Developer Ramp-Up – Part 3

Connell , Pattison

Intermediate

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 Developer Ramp-Up – Part 4

Andrew Connell

Intermediate

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 Developer Ramp-Up – Part 5

Andrew Connell

Intermediate

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 Developer Ramp-Up – Part 6

Connell , Pattison

Intermediate

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 Development

Sahil Malik

Intermediate

24 Sep 2010

SharePoint 2010 Lists and Libraries for Developers

Rob Windsor

Intermediate

18 Jul 2011

SharePoint 2010 Master Pages for Web Designers

Ted Pattison

Intermediate

13 Sep 2012

SharePoint 2010 Security

Sahil Malik

Intermediate

5 Oct 2011

SharePoint 2010 Web Part Development

Rob Windsor

Intermediate

6 Aug 2012

SharePoint Development with the Client Side Object Model (CSOM) and REST API

Windsor , Malik

Intermediate

24 Sep 2010

SharePoint 2010 Security Part 2

Sahil Malik

Advanced

8 May 2012

But wait there’s more: For you MSDN Folks: Pluralsight has a deal with MSDN subscribers for a free Pluralsight Starter subscription (Not the full Monty—but definitely not decaf.).

Also Pluralsight has a 10-day trial subscription details of which can be found on their support page: Pluralsight Support and Feedback.

Also check out the free offering at the following link: Free Courses | the pluralsight blog.

2012-11-26-Pluralsight-05.png

So many courses—so little time—well maybe I can give up work. (Just kidding boss! The check comes in handy feeding the wife and shih tzu!—nums aren’t cheap—priced dental chews lately!)

So what could be better?

(Yes SharePoint Grasshopper, it is not all it could be or even will be.) Just start with the lack-luster site layouts: they are cumbersome and laborious. Although, Pluralsight offers a lot of jQuery courses, they haven’t spiffed (70’s and 80’s die hard) up the interface with awesome (90’s) jQuery UI. Of course, I can endure any interface for great videos and labs.

Before Critical Path Training got added to their arsenal in September, I felt their SharePoint offering needed some beefing up in the areas of SharePoint Administration, SharePoint Designer and SharePoint Branding. This has been rectified in spades with the addition of Critical Path Training.

Only three more things are on my wish list (for now):

  1. The first involves having printable course material—reading from the screen gets old at night. (Forgive me Rain Forests! Please include in my transgressions the number of copies I’ve printed to revise this article.)
  2. The second would be advanced coverage of SharePoint PowerShell for both developers and admins. Critical Path Training added a SharePoint PowerShell Course but the course has training wheels. Not a bad course for a beginner—but not quite at the Don Jones/Gary LaPointe power user or administrator level.
  3. The third would be a SharePoint jQuery Course. This would feature specific exercises in jQuery, CSS, HTML5 and Branding at the level of Heather Solomon and Dustin Miller Courses – The SharePoint Experience.

But overall Three thumbs-up for the site—or two thumbs and a paw (I have an opinionated Shih tzu -eleven pounds of solid will-power).

2012-11-26-Pluralsight-06.png

Summary

When I die, my lovely wife will have to shut off a computer, tablet, iPod or close a book. I love learning. Just drop me in a random profession and I get interested—this one happens to be SharePoint so be it. Even though the only way to make SharePoint fly is by FedEx or UPS—I’m intrigued by its innards and rely on online materials to supplement what I understand.

From my vantage point, Pluralsight.com is the best deal and long-term bargain for the serious SharePoint Developer. For those with less budget and not otherwise subsidized, the basic offering on LearnDevNow.com should suffice (I hope to cover them in a later article.). Safari Online, not an education bargain in this author’s opinion.

Happy SharePointing

What’s in a SharePoint Site? Understand the Basics Webinar

 

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

As a follow to Mark Miller’s article on the Evolution of Community in SharePoint I decided to organize a free Webinar to cover the basics of SharePoint. I realized through my travels in various SharePoint events like SharePoint Saturdays and large Conferences that many are just beginning with SharePoint. We have been working with SharePoint for so long that we tend to forget that some are not yet so comfortable with “site columns” or “content types”.

As a first step I would like to set up a Webinar on Wednesday December 5th 2012 at 1:30pm as a first in a series of Webinars on NothingButSharePoint to cover some of the basics of SharePoint geared to End Users and Power Users.

2012-11-26-Webinar-01.png

The Webinar (Dec 5th)

What’s in a SharePoint Site? Understand the basics. Filled with demos alongside the presentation.

What’s in the box? How do you use it and why? In this webinar, we will go over the objects that make up a SharePoint Site. When starting in SharePoint, we often don’t realize the importance of our architecture. Should you create a Site per Project or a page per Project?

Overview
A quick overview of SharePoint as seen from the top. A focus on what a Site Collection is from the perspective of a Power User.

SharePoint Sites
What’s a SharePoint Site and what are the differences between each “Templates”. In this section we will demystify what a site actually is. A big part of understanding SharePoint is understanding the terminology associated and used with it.

Lists and Libraries
We will then cover lists and libraries in a SharePoint site. We will cover the differences between each templates as well as some of the “I wish I knew that before” options available.

Columns and Site Columns
Have you ever heard of a Site Column before in SharePoint? If the answer is no or you are not really using them, then you should definitely attend this webinar and see the advantages it offers.

Content Types
A brief introduction to Content Types to understand what they are but this is a webinar on its’ own. We will cover this in detail as a follow up in early 2013.

Web Parts
Here we will go over some of the popular Web Parts used in SharePoint. We will of course start by explaining what they are and how to apply basic configurations.

Pages
What’s the difference between a Wiki Page, a Web Part Page and a Publishing Page? Understand how pages are used and when to use them in SharePoint.

Register quickly

Although I do not believe it will be an issue, I can only host 250 attendees for this Webinar.

Registration Link: http://sharepoint-site-structure-basics.eventbrite.com/

Feel free to get in touch with me on Twitter @bniaulin for any questions.

Update: SharePoint Online 2010 – Twitter Web Part


You may also be interested in: The SharePoint Shepherd’s Guide for End Users from SharePoint Shepherd


 

Editor’s note: Contributor Jasper Oosterveld is a SharePoint Consultant at Wortell. Follow him @SharePTJasper

A while ago I wrote an article about adding a Twitter web part to your SharePoint Online 2010 site. I tried the instructions at a customer site but failed. I have no idea if they still work. I’ve got a new solution from Maarten Juurlink. Let’s take a look!

Create a new HTML file with the following code:


<script charset="utf-8" src="https://widgets.twimg.com/j/2/widget.js"></script>
<script>
new TWTR.Widget({
  version: 2,
  type: 'search',
  search: '@<UserName> OR #<HashTag>',
  interval: 10000,
  title: '',
  subject: '',
  width: 'auto',
  height: 300,
  theme: {
    shell: {
      background: '#ffffff',
      color: '#ffffff'
    },
    tweets: {
      background: '#ffffff',
      color: '#444444',
      links: '#1985b5'
    }
  },
  features: {
    scrollbar: true,
    loop: false,
    live: true,
    behavior: 'all'
  }
}).render().start();</script>

The only thing you have to do is configure the following:

‘@<UserName> OR #<HashTag>’

Use the @ or the #.

Save the HTML and upload to a document library. Use a Content Editor Web Part to refer to the location of the HTML file:

2012-11-16-2010TwitterUpdate-01.png

This did the trick for me.