Wednesday, June 30, 2010

SharePoint Foundation 2010 on SBS 2008 – the prep

image_4_53226CC9

 

So you want to install SharePoint Foundation 2010 onto SBS 2008 eh? We’ll I’m here to tell you that you need to do your prep work or else you are going to end up in a horrible mess. This post will take you through the steps you should complete prior to any upgrade. Future posts will cover the upgrade process.

 

Let’s assume that you have decided that you really want to install SharePoint Foundation 2010 on SBS 2008. The most compelling reasons are the ability to run Office Web Apps and allow document co-authoring with Office 2010. The first question to ask is whether you are planning to migrate your existing Companyweb data or start fresh? If you want to migrate your data (which the most likely option) then you are going to need to ensure that it is backed up.

 

I’d always recommend that you backup your SharePoint data a number of different ways just in case you need to roll back. So the first suggested way is to do a normal full backup or image of your system using the inbuilt SBS backup or imaging software. Ensure that you have all the SharePoint databases on that backup. By default the WSS v3 databases on SBS 2008 live in

c:\windows\sysmsi\ssee\mssql.2005\mssql\data (although they can be relocated manually or via the SBS 2008 wizards).

 

Next I’d do a command line stsadm backup via:

 

stsadm –o backup –url http://companyweb –filename drive:\directory\filename -overwrite

 

This will create a single file backup of your WSS v3 site. Why this? It is much easier in my books to create a new clean WSS v3 site somewhere (say on a virtual PC) and then restore a full WSS v3 backup using the above command. This form of backup is probably the most easily transportable there is  for WSS v3.

 

While still at the command line I’d also do:

 

stsadm –o export –url http://companyweb –filename drive:\directory\filename1 –includeusersecurity –overwrite

 

Why this extra command you ask? The difference is that the –export command allows me to import the data into an existing WSS v3 site, whereas the –backup command overwrites what is there. Thus, maybe I want to import the data to a sub area of another site for testing or maybe recovery. Like I said the more options the better in my books.

 

With that complete and still at the command type the following:

 

stsadm –o preupgradecheck

 

What that will do is run a check to see whether there are any obvious deal breakers to prevent an upgrade from WSS v3 to SharePoint Foundation 2010. That command will produce a file you can study at your leisure and see if something untoward might pop out during the upgrade process.

 

If all that looks good then you are probably ready to commence the upgrade but here’s where I’d ask you to stop and think. What is your fall back procedure? What happens if it all goes belly up and you need to roll back to the original WSS v3? What happens if you need to reinstall WSS v3? Have you ever tried that? Do you know where to find the documentation for that? I’ll tell you now that there ain’t any install wizard to get Companyweb back up and running on SBS 2008 if things go pear shaped so I strongly recommend you understand how to do a full disaster recovery of WSS v3 on SBS 2008 before you go any further.

 

With that in mind, and with you hopefully scurrying off to do some research I’ll let you know that you can’t simply upgrade WSS v3 Companyweb on SBS 2008 to Companyweb on SharePoint Foundation 2010. You will have to uninstall WSS v3 completely from SBS 2008 before attempting to install SharePoint Foundation 2010. Yep, you read that right, totally remove WSS v3 from SBS 2008.

 

Now even before you install SharePoint Foundation 2010 on SBS 2008 you are going to need to install a swag of prerequisites. Do you know what these are? Will they affect anything that is already on the server? Will they interfere with any third party apps installed on the server (like AV produces say). Hopefully, you now understand my point about making sure you have a fall back plan in case problems do arise.

 

Next consider what database version you are going to use with SharePoint Foundation 2010. By default SharePoint Foundation 2010 comes with SQL Express 2008. Great you say but remember that SQL Express 2008 has a 4GB database limit. WSS v3 came with SQL Server Embedded Edition 2005 (SSEE) which has no database limit. So if your existing Companyweb databases are greater than that, or likely to grow beyond 4GB you have some thinking to do. The easiest and cheapest option is to go with SQL Express 2008 R2 which now has a 10GB database limit and remains a free download. Maybe you want to go full SQL Server 2008 as a license is included with SBS 2008 Premium if you have it. See, not as straight forward as you think.

 

Now SharePoint Foundation 2010 is going to need to have a version of SQL Server 2008 at least to operate installed prior to the installation of SharePoint Foundation 2010. There is already SQL Server 2005 on SBS 2008 that is used for WSUS amongst other things. What conflicts might that cause? What compatibility issues might that raise? Well for starters SQL Server 2008 generally can’t be installed if SQL Server 2005 Management tools are already installed so these will have to come off before SQL Server 2008 goes on. Do you know how to do this? Have you every installed SQL Server onto a SBS 2008 server? Do you know the correct procedure for getting it working? In some cases when you go to install some versions of SQL Server 2008 onto Windows 2008 it says that it won’t work on that version of the operating system. As I have blogged here before you may need to install an SQL Server 2008 Service pack first, then SQL Server 2008 then the Service Pack again. Simple eh?

 

I hope that you can at least begin to appreciate the complexities involved in getting SharePoint Foundation 2010 on SBS 2008  operational. I agree there are plenty of benefits but in my experience there is also plenty of pain. Stayed tuned to future posts where I’ll run through the steps of actually getting SharePoint Foundation 2010 running on SBS 2008. But for now do your backups, run the upgrade check and make sure you have a recovery plan.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

CIAOPS BPOS Portal now live

image_2_6A88E91E

 

You are looking at the homepage of the new CIAOPS BPOS Portal. The portal is a SharePoint site containing everything you’ll need to know about Microsoft Business Productivity Online (BPOS). In there you’ll find links to media stories on BPOS, documents from Telstra and Microsoft, a calendar of webcasts and other BPOS events, marketing material, tutorial videos, templates, links, software download and more all in one place.

 

The best thing about the portal is that subscribers can also contribute information and have it published to the site. This means that the volume of information on the site will continue to grow as the number of subscribers grows. Combined with the ability of everything on the site to be searchable it makes finding the information you need about BPOS simple. The portal is supported and maintained by the CIAOPS as well.

 

Here’s a screen shot of some of the existing knowledge based articles.

 

image_4_6A88E91E

 

So what’s the cost? For people who already subscribe to the Windows SharePoint Operations Guide (www.wssops.com) it is a free addition. For those who aren’t the portal only costs $10 per month.

 

So how do you subscribe? You make a payment via credit card or by contacting me (director@ciaops.com) to arrange other payment methods.

 

If you are interested in Microsoft BPOS and want a central location for information then go no further than the new CIAOPS BPOS portal, you may also learn how powerful SharePoint is a collaboration tool!

Friday, June 25, 2010

ABD not ABC

One of the things that they ‘teach’ people about sales is that you need to A.B.C., that is Always Be Closing. It is the stuff of legendary sales people as these videos demonstrate:

Glengarry Glen Ross - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TROhlThs9qY

Boiler room - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIT_RMHwCEU

 

However, I believe that what a successful business or person does is A.B.D., that is Always Be Delivering.

 

I can’t tell you the number of people who I come across that are always promising this and promising that but basically never deliver. Many are serial offenders to a point now where their reputation (at least with me) is totally shot. I hate unreliable people because it means that if I need their input on something, typically their inability to deliver the goods reflects poorly on me and that I won’t stand for. I can certainly understand something happening occasionally to prevent this but when it happens constantly they leave me no option but to shy away from asking them for anything.

 

They however remain constantly ‘selling’ me on what they can offer. They constantly believe they are ‘closing’ me but I can tell you that failing to deliver just doesn’t cut it. I’ll believe your pitch once but I’m certainly unlikely to be as foolish twice if you fail to deliver.

 

Better that you concentrate on ‘delivering’ on your promises and demonstrating that you can produce the results. If I want something I don’t usually care how it gets done I just care that it gets done. I just care that what you promised is delivered. If it isn’t then I am going to be let down and disappointed. As a result of this, not only am I unlikely to believe you again I am going to tell quite a few people (by maybe writing a blog post like this).

 

Good businesses and people are all about delivering not just closing. I can assure you that the deal isn’t complete until the other party has what they asked and maybe paid for. So forget talking big about always closing, refocus on actually delivering on what you promise. That earns you a hell of a lot more respect from the people who pay your bills – the customer. It tells them that you respect them and their business enough to provide what they asked for.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

No hope

The trusty old multifunction (print, scan, fax) Hewlett Packard Officejet I had set up for someone at their home recently decided to constantly keep clicking like it was trying loading documents. After performing the standard IT verification that it was knackered (leaving it powered off for a day, pulling everything out of it and finally whacking it around a bit) it was decided a new one was in order. Since this one had performed so well for so many years I decided that I’d go with another HP.

 

Off I went to the local office supply shop and bought an Officejet 8500. The best thing about this one was that it could be networked, where the old one was USB only. Whacko, this would work well on the home network I was planning to install it on. After stuffing the printer in my car (is it just me or do these printers just seem to be getting bigger and bigger? Even an ink jet printer like this proved a struggle to get into a standard car) I returned to complete the install.

 

I hooked up the printer to an ethernet cable and installed the HP software on the workstation. After a bit of configuration (setting the IP address for a start) I managed to print. However, all did not seem right. Everything seem very slows to respond. When I tried to configure the printer I kept getting a disconnected message. The worse problem was when I tried to do a scan the whole network would lock up and I couldn’t even get to the Internet.

 

Next step was to drop into standard troubleshooting mode. Check all the cables, power off, power on but still no good. Ok next step, update all the software. To do this I had to unplug the Officejet from the network and download 220MB of updates. After I reinstalled the software things were better but it still wouldn’t scan. Damm, why is this so hard?

 

My troubleshooting continued over the next few days, after hours mind you, as I tried the other most obvious things I could think of. Then I decided to browse to the IP address of the Officejet from a machine on the network. Luckily, the Officejet has its own internal web server from which you can see all the settings. As I worked my way through all of these I suddenly came across a setting that showed IPv6 and IPv4 were on concurrently. Hmmmm… I wonder. I changed the setting to IPv4 only and voila everything seems fine now, scanning works like a dream.

 

This raises two points. Firstly, if you have purchased a HP Officejet 8500 and are having issues getting it working on a networked connection then browse to the printer IP address and select IPv4 only. Secondly, how the hell were the new owners of the Officejet ever going to figure that out? If they didn’t have access to my free labour they would have had to call someone in to have a look who would have probably done the same things I did and spent the same amount of time I did but would have charged them. After only an hour of so that charge would have been greater than the cost of the printer. Let’s say that this IT person couldn’t find the problem, this would mean these people would have been stuck with a marginally functioning printer and a big bill!

 

I’m a techie at heart and I love technology but I also appreciate how hard it is becoming for the common person to use this stuff. Honestly, wasn’t it all supposed to be getting easier? It must be so intimidating for people to buy some piece of technology and find it doesn’t work and then have to locate someone to assist.

 

I admit that these people were not running the latest operating systems, routers and so on but really isn’t that most ordinary people? If technology doesn’t help us then what good is it? Surely, it can’t be too hard to ask for technology that is actually easier to use? Surely?

Vote for me

An interesting email arrived here at the fortress of solitude. It would seem that by some unforeseen circumstance I have been:

 

“recently nominated for the SMB Power 150 by one or more of your peers.”

So to the one person out there who did nominate me (thanks Mum), I guess that I should try to a least double my votes to two by throwing up the URL where you can vote. So if you are into the SMB Power 150 then feel free to vote for me (or anyone else) here:

 

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SHP9NTH

 

So what does the top 150 get? According to the email, fame and fortune:

 

“The 150 nominees receiving the most votes will be recognized at the SMB Nation Fall Conference and in SMB PC Magazine and be profiled on a new SMB150 website.”

 

Well maybe a little fame I suppose.

 

I’ve always worked so hard to be a glorious nobody, getting onto this list would sure destroy all that hard work now wouldn’t it! 

What use is technology?

One of the big things that businesses carry on about today is how quickly they can deliver. One of of the big things that courier companies carry on about is the fact that you can use a web site to track deliveries. Let me demonstrate how all of that is absolute bollocks when it comes to improving customer service.

 

I ordered something from a web site on the weekend and received an email on Sunday night saying that it would be shipped by courier. Now one would expect that something sent my overnight courier would in fact be overnight eh? Making  a big issue of online tracking of deliveries here’s the sequence of events according to the web site:

 

image_2_27F6D12A

 

Ok, so Monday night the package is in Melbourne. No problems, I’d therefore expect to see it Tuesday right?

 

image_4_27F6D12A

 

So this look promising doesn’t it? But hang on what’s this Undelivered (Nil attempt) stuff? I haven’t seen any delivery today, there’s no card to say someone called. What the hell?

 

image_6_27F6D12A

 

Here we are on Wednesday morning. It now appears that the delivery is actually going to happen doesn’t it given the stats reads On for Delivery (in Full)?

 

image_8_27F6D12A

 

Wednesday night rolls around and still no sign of the package. The web site again shows Undelivered (Nil Attempt – whatever that means) and the package is back in the depot!

 

image_10_27F6D12A

 

Now we’re at Thursday morning and joy of joy it has been sorted for delivery! Wasn’t that supposed to be done back on Tuesday night?

 

Bottom line, I’m still sitting here with no package, chewing up my valuable time because I have to sign for the stupid thing. In the meantime the packages that were sent to me via normal snail mail arrives Tuesday morning.

 

My point here is not to sound off (but I can do that also) but how did the track and track stuff on the web site help me to understand at all what the hell was happening with my package? In reality it caused me more frustration because it seemed to indicate that it was going to be delivered. In the end, if technology doesn’t help why use it?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Australian SharePoint Conference – Day 2


The day started with a session on using Visio 2010 to create SharePoint workflows. Very interesting I must say and something that I’m going to have to spend some time investigating more. However, the highlight of the day was probably the next presentation from Neil Hadlee of Dark Blue Duck on the integration of scanning technologies and SharePoint. As Neil says, paper is still here to say but you can certainly make it easier to manage with some of the technology he demonstrated.

Finally it was time for my presentation and it was disappointing to see a low turn out. Admittedly, I didn’t really expect many people to attend given the session was based around small business and SharePoint Foundation server (not the full SharePoint Server). However, I certainly hope that those who attended got value from the session. I’ve posted the slides of the presentation up at:

http://www.slideshare.net/directorcia/running-sharepoint-on-small-business-server-pros-and-cons-100-level

where you can view and download them.

All in all I enjoyed the conference. I would have liked to have seen some stuff for SMB but I certainly understand why I didn’t. Hopefully as SharePoint and Office 2010 penetration increases and features like Office Web Apps and Office co-authoring increase there will be a bigger uptake at that end of the market. Hopefully there might be enough demand next year for me to offer a similar session. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Australian SharePoint Conference – Day 1


Well, I got myself along to the Hilton Hotel in the heart of Sydney to partake in the Australian SharePoint Conference. After the keynote the conference was divided into four tracks – Business, Tech 1, Tech 2 and Voice of the Customer. I attended at least one session from each but would have to highlight “Why you need to be more social” by Daniel McPherson.

It reinforced once again the importance of social networking and how many of these ideas have found their way into SharePoint 2010 Server (not SharePoint Foundation 2010 Server unfortunately). Daniel demonstrated a number of ways that you could modify SharePoint 2010 to include popular features from high profile networks such as www.foursquare.com. I am really disappointed that many of the inbuilt social features of SharePoint didn’t make it into SharePoint Foundation 2010 but I’m sure with a little thought something can be integrated.

So tomorrow I’m back again for the final Day on which I’m giving my Windows SharePoint and SBS presentation (just after lunch in Ballroom B if you are interested). I haven’t seen many SMB guys around but that is kinda of expected so I wonder how few people will turn up to a session on SMB? I will be very interested too see. I believe that much of the information I have to share has relevance across all SharePoint platforms, alas others may not see it that way.

I’ll post up the slide deck on http://www.slideshare.net/directorcia some time after the event so anyone can get access to it if they want. Stay tuned for another update tomorrow.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Growth vs efficiency

It seems to me that one of the biggest fallacies of modern business is the idea that you ‘have to grow’. Especially in the small business end of the spectrum, why is it that I always hear how critical (and yet difficult) it is to grow? Apparently growth magically solves everything! The bigger your business the more money you’ll make, the less time individually you’ll have to work and everything will just coast along once you get to a critical mass.

 

So the question then becomes what is that critical mass? At what point will you know that you’ve reached ‘easy street’? I’m sorry to say that in my experience not only is this a moving target but the chances of success actually decrease the bigger that your business becomes. Why? Because unless you have refined your systems beforehand you are simply building any growth on the weak structure you’ve had as a small operator. This is a recipe for disaster.

 

It would seem to me that a far more intelligent pursuit would be striving to become more efficient. In essence producing at least the same amount of output with less amount of input. When you are not able to become more efficient then, and only then, should you consider growth as an option. The problem is how many businesses do you know that are constantly looking at ways to improve their efficiency? Not many I’ll bet.

 

The smaller you are the leaner you need to be simply because you don’t have the resources. You should spend your time firstly determining what you do well. Then you should determine what you don’t do well and either outsource it or stop doing it. Sometimes it is hard to stop doing something you shouldn’t because you truly enjoy it, however if you are running a business and not a hobby then the choice is straight forward.

 

Formula 1 cars don’t achieve the speed and performance they do by adding more, they become more and more efficient. The teams invest vast amounts of time and energy looking to squeeze the tiniest improvement in performance but it is exactly this that makes the difference between outright first and the first of the losers (i.e. second). Formula 1 is a business and those who don’t perform end up on the scrap heap.

 

Ask yourself whether you are a Formula 1 car or simply a lorry trundling along with stuff overflowing the sides. Efficiency is all about doing more with less which is difficult in a consumer world where the emphasis is always to ‘buy more stuff’. That however is the reason why not everyone goes Formula 1 racing, if it was that easy, everyone would be doing it.

 

So set aside some time to do some planning on how to become more efficient. Work out where you are spending your time. Look at ways to automate and outsource. Efficiency requires constant work and fine tuning but in the end is far cheaper, faster and easier to implement than any growth strategy. Just because people ‘say’ you need to grow doesn’t necessarily make it the correct strategy. Being efficient will always yield results where growth may not. To a business person the choice between the two seems obvious to me.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Are you addicted?

A recent article in the New York Times made me wonder whether in fact it is possible to be addicted to technology. The article is well worth the read and it harps back to what I have said many times about how multitasking is a myth. Is the real issue here that people have become ‘addicted’ to technology?

Addiction actually turns out to be something rather hard to define specifically. Everybody ‘knows’ what addiction is but few can actually satisfactorily define. I like this definition from Robert West (Theory of Addiction) -

‘syndrome at the centre of which is impaired control over behaviours, and this loss of control is leading to significant harm’

Unfortunately this definition also requires us to define what may constitute ‘harm’. For this case let’s consider that we have no more precious resource than time, for once it passes it is gone forever. Thus, let us consider harm as being anything that reduces the time we have.

Let me now ask you, when was the last time you totally unplugged from technology? When did you simply turn everything off for a day or two? Most people probably shudder at the mere thought but doesn’t being unable to do so indicate a loss of control? Doesn’t it indicate an impaired control over your behaviour? In short, doesn’t that indicate addiction?

Sure, there are plenty of great things that technology provides however as I have said before, your greatest strength can also be your greatest weakness. The secret is control which when it comes to technology we seem to have less and less of. The distraction virus is a growing problem facing individuals unable to control their dependence on technology. You know these people, there the ‘gunnas’ (i.e. going to do this, going to do that) or those who are always ‘so busy’ when in reality they are living in denial because it is all just an excuse.

This lack of control is causing us to focus on the wrong priorities, it is making us overlook the important, resulting in wasted time. Thus it is causing us harm. Therefore many are addicted but sadly many probably do not even realize it.

At the end of the day it is all about results. Most people don’t care how you get the result they simply care that you get the result. Technology can certainly be used to get results faster and more efficiently but likewise it can also lead us down the path of distraction and even perhaps to addiction. As the article in the New York Times talks about, an obsession with gadgets and technology could be altering your behaviour and if you can no longer control that behaviour then it sounds to me like you may be addicted. If you don’t believe me see how long you can go without checking email.

Microsoft SMB Team down under

Thanks to a boat load of hard work from some SBS-MVP’s here in Australia the Microsoft SMB team is heading to our shores to speak with partners. An added bonus is will also be the attendance of Jeff Middleton of ‘swing’ and Sbsmigration.com fame.

 

All the details about the events, including registration can be found here. If you not only want to hear about the future of the SBS progress but also provide feedback directly to the team that makes SBS then I’d recommend you come along. I will also be a great opportunity to meet with your fellow SBS’ers.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Office Web Apps video

I’ve just uploaded a quick video that give you a brief overview of Office Web Apps running on SharePoint 2010.

Brief introduction to Microsoft Office Web Apps – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_XA7bqdTxGo

 

The video demonstrates how a Word document can be viewed and edited in a browser as well as opened in the full version of Word. Short and simply but at least you get the idea.

 

I’ll have a few more videos about Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 stuff coming soon, so stay tuned.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Backup or be devastated

Here’s a copy of an article I wrote that appears in an e-zine from MyMate (on page 13) which can be found at:

 

http://www.wanttobebigger.com/MyMate-e-zine-June-2010.html

 

In the world of technology your last line of defence is the humble back
up, yet many businesses, especially small ones, remain extremely
caviller about this critical function of a business.

Nearly every business these days depends on IT. So what happens
when IT isn't available? You have probably experienced a mild disaster
such as the internet being unavailable or a hard disk failing. The
question is, how long did that issue interrupt your business and how
much money did it cost you?

Now imagine a much bigger disaster, say your office being burnt down
or flooded. How long would it take you to get up and running again?
Most small businesses have never invested the time to consider their
disaster recovery planning – and they should – because without it there
is good chance they'll go out of business after even a minor problem.

Let's examine one simple aspect of disaster planning, backups. Most
businesses would probably say that they do backups, the problem is that
is only half of the solution. When was the last time that you actually
tested that your backups worked? You certainly don't want to find out
that your backups don't work after a disaster. So it is important that you
regularly test that you can restore from your backups. You should also
plan on doing a complete restore of all your data somewhere every 6-12
months to make sure you can get it all back.

Next consider how you would cope in a real disaster like a fire. What
plans do you have in place to keep your business operational? How long
will it take you to get up and going? How are you going to cope having to
get new IT resources like workstations, servers and printers? It really is
much better to plan for these eventualities ahead of time rather than
trying to have to manage them on top of everything else in the event of a
disaster.

Hopefully you will never have to implement your IT disaster plan but it is
important that you not only have one but that you practice its
implementation. This means that at least once a year you should
simulate an IT disaster and see how well your plan works and what may
need adjusting.

Too many businesses see their IT as simply an overhead. They fail to
realise that it is one of the most vulnerable parts of your business –
without which, you may be unable to operate.

If you value your data then you should value your backup and disaster
recovery plan, as they are going to save you. It is no good trying to
develop these in the middle of a disaster. They need to be planned,
implemented and tested beforehand, because as they say failing
to plan only means you're planning to fail.

SharePoint popularity increasing

I see and read all the time about how SharePoint uptake is increasing but I want to share with you a personal metric I have found that indicates exactly this.

 

For quite a while I’ve been posting videos on YouTube firstly under the Saturn Alliance banner and then under CIAOPS. The most popular for years has been:

 

Getting Started with Virtual PC - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSBbpPDWFUE

 

which covers the basics of getting a Virtual machine running using Microsoft Virtual PC. This week was I went through my metrics I noted that this video has now risen to highest number of views:

Linking SharePoint 2007 with Outlook 2007 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9CnBNVnBjk

 

To me this certainly indicates, in some small way perhaps, that SharePoint is indeed gaining in popularity. Further reinforcing this view came when I attended the partner launch of Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 in Sydney this week. Much of the productivity benefits of Office 2010 need to be experienced with SharePoint 2010 as the back end. It was heartening to finally see Microsoft putting SharePoint on the same plain as other Office 2010 and recommending that partners go out and start implementing it. I couldn’t agree more.

Friday, June 4, 2010

New portals from CIAOPS

Now that the June update for my Windows SharePoint Operations Guide has been released (including the first instalment of how to get SharePoint Foundation 2010 running on SBS 2008) I can now turn my attention to getting two new portals ready for release on July 1.

 

Part of the Windows SharePoint Operations Guide has always been a DVD that contained not only guides covering Windows SharePoint Services (WSS), Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) and Windows Foundation Server 2010 (WSF) but was also filled with training material, white papers, videos and more. The major problem has been that as this information grows the DVD ISO became larger and larger making it longer to upload as well as download for subscribers. Also, even though I include a searchable index of the Guide documents, it doesn’t include all the other material on the DVD.

 

To overcome both of these issues and provide even greater resources for Guide subscribers I am moving all the content to a hosted SharePoint site. This means that both subscribers and I can add information to the site and have it all readily indexed and available. Much easier.

 

Also on July 1, I plan to make available via subscription a Microsoft BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) portal. In here will be information in and around BPOS including how to get signed up as a partner, marketing and sales material, a technical knowledge base and an extensive list of BPOS links.

 

Again the idea is that subscribers can also contribute information and knowledge to the portal in order for it grow in value. I have a few people testing it now but I plan to make it available for $120 ex GST (basically $10 per month) for subscribers.

 

Having both of these as SharePoint sites also has another benefit for subscribers, it gives you real world experience with SharePoint. Firstly, subscribers can improve their knowledge of SharePoint by using the portals, secondly they can understand how SharePoint can be used as a knowledge store and finally it means I will be able to update both sites on a regular basis rather than only monthly. Using the power of SharePoint attributes, such as email alerts, subscribers will be able to know exactly when new or updated information becomes available.

 

In the longer run I plan to start using shared OneNote files to provide even greater flexibility with the information I make available. This is part of the ongoing iterations being made to try and improve the information the CIAOPS makes available.

 

As always if you want more information or have some suggestions of what should be included don’t hesitate to contact me (director@ciaops.com) as I’d love to hear. Oh yes, all existing Guide subscribers will automatically get access to my new BPOS portal for the duration of their subscription. Another great reason to sign up to the Guide.

Co-authoring documents with SharePoint 2010

image_2_560C9553

 

One of the major reasons for implementing SharePoint 2010 is that, combined with Office 2010, you can do something called co-authoring. This means that two (or more) people can be working on the same file TOGETHER! Thus, no more locked files and waiting for the other person to save and make it available.

 

As you can see in the above screen shot here I am co-authoring a Word document saved on a SharePoint 2010 Foundation server. When two people access the same file and place it in edit mode you’ll see a little people icon in the lower left of the screen indicating multiple access. If you click on that icon you’ll see a list of people currently co-authoring the document.

 

image_4_560C9553

 

If you also combine Office Communications Server you can chat or even speak with this person directly. Imagine how much better that would be than emailing a document back and forth. Also imagine how well this will work across the Internet using something like Microsoft BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) when this features becomes available soon.

 

You’ll also note that document shows the edits the other person is making live. In the above screen shot you are looking at user Robert Crane and can see that the administrator user is making changes to a paragraph. These are almost real time (depending on your connection speed to SharePoint 2010).

 

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When changes are saved to the document by others they show up marked in green like for you, so:

 

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As you save the document your changes are also committed to the document and you receive any saved updates by other users. No more attachments necessary, as the file lives on SharePoint.

 

There are plenty of features and abilities with this co-authoring of Office 2010 and SharePoint. Best of all it is available across the whole Office 2010 application range. I can tell you that in OneNote 2010 this is absolutely brilliant, making a great product even better. It actually turns out that this co-authoring concept came from what previous versions of OneNote could do with SharePoint. As I have said before, OneNote is really THE killer app for SharePoint and now it is available in every version of Office 2010 so how can you afford to ignore it?

 

If you haven’t given co-authoring, or OneNote for that matter, a try then I suggest you do.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

When SharePoint gets locked

Ok, so today you go in first thing to use SharePoint and you don’t see all the items on the menu bar even when you are correctly logged in to the site. Instead of seeing:

 

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you see:

 

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So you can’t do things like uploading files, checking and checking out, weird eh?

 

Had exactly the same issue a while back and it turns out that the whole SharePoint site was locked or more simply, put into read only mode. How did that happen? Well, each night an stsadm –o backup task was scheduled to backup the SharePoint site to a data file. Problem was that the backup terminated unexpectedly, which meant that it hadn’t reset the site to read / write after initially make it read only for the backup process. Ah ha, all makes sense now.

 

More importantly, how do you fix the issue? You go into the SharePoint Central Administration on the SharePoint server and select the Application Management tab.

 

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Select the option Site Collection quotas and locks from the SharePoint Site Management section in the top right.

 

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Make sure you have the right site collection at the top and set the site to Not locked if set to Read-only (as is the case here).

 

Now when you go back to the SharePoint site and refresh the page everything should be working as normal.

 

Took me a little while to work what was going when I came across for the very first time but now you can fix it in a manner of seconds and look like a SharePoint whiz.