Using Office 365 and SharePoint 2010 with Microsoft Office 2010 64-bit

Written by Denis Stadler on . Posted in IT Pro & PowerShell, Office 365

It all started with my wish to use SharePoint Online included in my Office 365 Subscription to manage and organize my self-employed activity. So having in mind the “Eating your own dog food” principle I designed a simple SharePoint Intranet Solution which included:

SharePoint Site Site Template Description
Home Site Team Site Contains some personal resources, useful links and the official calendar.
Finance Blank Site Contains a customer list, invoices and contracts which are related to the coresponding customer.
Templates Blank Site Contains document and presentation templates.
Documents Document Center Contains all my project archive documentation and a drop-off library for content routing.
Wiki Enterprise Wiki Contains my personal KB with articles and links which I consider to be very useful.
Search Enterprise Search Center A search center to help me find information.

When I wanted to implement a custom excel template for my Invoice content type in SharePoint online, I found out the hard way that challenges might appear if I used Microsoft Office 2010 64-bit. Rephrased: it did’t work at all. Then I discovered another interesting thing: it was not possible to switch to Datasheet View in my document library.

Basically the error message was:
– A datasheet component compatibile with Microsoft SharePoint Foundation is not installed.
– You Web browser does not support ActiveX controls.
– A component is not properly configured for 32-bit or 64-bit support.

A Simple LOB Application in SharePoint: Should I use InfoPath List Forms or the default SharePoint Forms ?

Written by Denis Stadler on . Posted in Custom Development, SharePoint 2010

Everything starts with a simple business requirement: the customer wants a simple ticketing solution. This ticketing solution ought to have the following features:

  • The information kept should be: Title, Description, Comments, Status of the Issue, Due Date, possibility to attach files.
  • The Due Date has to be at least one week from the creation date of the ticket unless the user is not member in a special team which is allowed to brake this rule.
  • The information displayed into the New, Display, Edit has to be different based on the user role. For example when adding a new ticket the Status field should always be New.
  • The is an attached approval workflow mainly based on the status of the ticket: New – Assigned – Working – Waiting for Approval – Approved – Closed.

The first step was to create a new site content type which inherits the built-in Issue content type. I created it at the Site Collection level and this way I got the possibility to use it in every sub-site of the site collection.

The second step was to create the Ticketing list based on the Issue list template and enable content types on it (from Advanced settings). Then I removed the default content type and added my content type as the default content type for this list.

The question was how to implement further. If for the process it was clear that I was going to use a SharePoint Designer Workflow, for the data views (New, Display, Edit) there was a big question: which of the two available options to choose: InfoPath List Forms or SharePoint Default List Forms.

Step-by-Step: A Simple SharePoint WCM (Web Content Management) How To Guide (from Authoring to Approval and Publishing)

Written by Denis Stadler on . Posted in Publishing Feature

The purpose of this article is to show how you can design and implement a web content management (WCM) solution based on SharePoint 2010 Publishing Feature, which should handle the entire content publishing process: authoring – review and approval on the staging environment – Publication on the live environment using a content deployment job.

About Publishing and Content Deployment

First of all I would like to point some interesting articles on  Microsoft TechNet web site:

SharePoint Topology Design

In this case I have implemented a very simple infrastructure (all the machines are connected in the same LAN):

  • Domain Controller – This server has the Active Directory, DNS and Certificate Services.
  • Exchange Server – Here I have implemented Exchange 2010, only for internal use. It is very useful to have it in order to be able to test the approval workflow within SharePoint.
  • SQL 2008 R2 Server – A standard implementation of SQL Server 2008 R2. I use this server for both SharePoint1 and SharePoint2 farms.
  • SharePoint1 – This server will be the Staging / Authoring SharePoint farm.
  • SharePoint2 – This server will be the Live SharePoint farm.

The two farms – SharePoint1 and SharePoint2 are separate farms with different service accounts event though they are sharing the same SQL Server. In a real environment if we want to use SharePoint as WCM for a web site, the SharePoint2 farm will be located in DMZ, but this is another story.

Basically we are going to use http://staging for authoring and reviewing and then deploy the content to http://live.

How To Do It

1. Implement Approval using the SharePoint Publishing Feature

In order to use the default approval we need to:

  • Create a publishing portal.
  • Use Publishing Site with Workflow site template to create new sites. By default this will be the only option available when creating a new site.

Step by Step: Setup multi language support in SharePoint 2010

Written by Denis Stadler on . Posted in Publishing Feature

Before deploying multi language support you need to download the wanted language pack for SharePoint from Microsoft web site. Check out this older post – Adding language packs to SharePoint 2010 which describes how to get and deploy the German language pack.
Then if you are not already using a Publishing site template on your site collection, you have to enable the Publishing Infrastructure. This is done in two steps:

  • at the site collection features level: click on Site Actions -> Site Settings -> Site collection features (Under Site Collection Administration) and activate SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure
  • at the site features level: click on Site Actions -> Site Settings -> Manage site features (Under Site Actions) and activate SharePoint Server Publishing

Now under Site Collection Administration you should see the Variation links.

Design (Planning) Phase of a SharePoint Project

Written by Denis Stadler on . Posted in SharePoint 2010

The first, and probably most important, component of a successful SharePoint 2010 deployment is a thorough knowledge of the target organization and its business goals. As a solution designer, we must gather key business information to ensure that our solution reflects the requirements and goals of the organization.

Gathering Business Requirements

So before gathering requirements we have to prepare. We are going to use the envisioning document to identify the main business objectives (or project scope item) of our solution. Each objective has to be discussed in detail with the particular team or stakeholder.

Before attending the meetings we have to be prepared. We need to define a clear discussion schedule (with time constraints), key questions, eventually questionnaires and any other resources that might be useful.

Then we are going to have a separate meeting with all the teams’ representatives and persons which are responsible for each business objective.
We have to keep in mind that the our focus should be on identifying the details of business requirements, and of course the benefits of using a SharePoint solution rather than asking leading questions or focusing on the technical features of the product. A business stake-holder is going to buy value and benefits for his business and not the technical features of a product.

During these meetings it is compulsory to capture minutes of meetings in order to have the raw data to produce the design document. The following are considered to be common functional requirements:

  • Common functionality mapping is to be done directly to business processes. We have to ensure that we understand not only the task, but also the scope of the task. For example, there may be a requirement to tag documents consistently across an entire organization. Alternatively, tags may need to be unique in divisions. We may have to deploy a corporate information architecture taxonomy that is augmented by divisionally specific taxonomies.
  • The administration of departmental or project Web sites may be a core requirement. This can affect options such as site permissions or self-service site creation, for example. Authentication and authorization are always important in design. You must ensure that security is easy to implement and robust.
  • Your design must identify the potential interaction between systems, including authentication options. You should also identify any reporting requirements for divisions in your organization. This may be an important element of BI, which may not be a term that anyone in the business uses.