John can be described as a creative, proactive and quality orientated Security Cleared, ITIL 3 Certified Management and IT Professional. He is a veteran MVP and a former Microsoft MSDN “Regional Director” which demonstrates a respected technical background. He is co-author of several books including “Professional Microsoft .NET Windows Forms”, “Professional .NET for Java Developers Using C#”, “Professional JSP” and “Beginning JSP Web Development”. John is an enthusiastic, technically diverse, well informed and forward thinking IT specialist with a very credible market reputation.
The following article is a great blow-by-blow overview of several key areas relating to SharePoint 2010, providing solid grounds on which develop your knowledge of the solution.
There is a new must have book coming out soon called “The SharePoint 2010 Handbook”. Its about as close as you can get to the real world delivery of a SharePoint 2010 platform and covers topics that many other books are dedicated to covering yet in a very succinct way.
The book ensures that the information you will most likely need is there to help you understand what aspects of SharePoint are important, without leading you down into the technical depths of areas you would be better placed to seek from a dedicated book about that subject.
The chapters have been composed by some of the worlds leading authorities on SharePoint 2010 and you will certainly recognise many of the authors names. What is refreshing is that the editors sought out some entirely new authors who have contributed their recent experiences from a newcomer’s perspective.
The chapters have been carefully selected and complied from real world experiences drawn from the most demanding and successful implementations of SharePoint to date. Some of the chapters are modified from sessions that have been delivered at some of the worlds leading SharePoint conferences and have been chosen because they were such successful conference sessions and transposed well to a book chapter.
I’ll cover each chapter here with a brief synopsis, and in no specific order given the book is yet to be published. Keeps your eyes open for information on this, the chapter contents really are quite unique and will be equally useful to IT Pro and Dev audiences alike, both new and experienced.
The Art Of SharePoint Success
Microsoft SharePoint products and technologies have been in the market for ten years the fourth version, SharePoint 2010, was released in November 2009. There is no doubt that SharePoint is a phenomenal success: It is Microsoft’s fastest selling server based product ever and has generated approaching two billion dollars in sales revenue for Microsoft. The only other Microsoft Server products to generate this level of revenue are SQL Server and Exchange Server, and SharePoint has reached this milestone more quickly than the others.
There have been over one hundred million SharePoint licenses have been sold worldwide and I.T. industry analysts such as Forrester Research and Gartner rank SharePoint as a leader in a number of different technology markets including Search, Enterprise Content Management, Social Computing, Collaboration, Information Access and Horizontal Portals.
SharePoint will be at the heart of Microsoft’s information worker strategy for many years to come. Yet despite its market success many organisations seem to struggle to realise the full value from investments in SharePoint products and technologies. In 2010 AIIM survey found that forty seven percent of organisations that have deployed SharePoint use it primarily as a file share. In May 2011 research commissioned by Fujitsu shows that SharePoint is the most common collaboration tool used by UK businesses, Ninety two per cent of Enterprise organisations using collaboration technology use SharePoint. But the research also shows that on average only sixty percent of SharePoint sites are considered active, and forty percent of IT managers don’t believe that the collaboration platform is driving cost savings.
This chapter first explores the challenges facing organisations investing in SharePoint based initiatives, and then presents a framework for success consisting of four elements; Governance, Strategy, Transition, and Architecture. Governance relates to defining the accountability for the ensuring a return on the investment in SharePoint. Strategy discusses how SharePoint relates to organisational objectives. Transition considers the challenges of organisational change and user adoption and Architecture relates to the way that SharePoint is deployed to the business as a set of distinct but inter-related services.
Governance relates to the process and plans used to define expectations, grant power, and verify performance. SharePoint Governance describes the specific plans and procedures for managing your SharePoint environment.
SharePoint’s widespread adoption, broad capabilities, ease of use, and multiple deployment and hosting options have made it easy for anyone to get started using SharePoint. It’s this same flexibility that can also make SharePoint difficult to effectively manage. In order to optimize the use and growth of SharePoint, your SharePoint Governance Plan should be used to define expectations, grant and restrict rights, as well as maintain and verify usage and performance.
Due to vast differences in SharePoint environments, a SharePoint Governance Plan should be adapted to your specific environment, regardless of how simple or complex your environment is. This chapter will serve as a guidebook outlining processes for the administration, maintenance, and support of your SharePoint solution.
There are three primary goals of this chapter: To provide a recommended structure for a SharePoint Governing Board responsible for governing and supporting the SharePoint solution. To provide recommended governing policies and procedures of the SharePoint environment within three distinct areas (IT Governance, Application Governance, and Information Governance) and to provide a recommended user adoption and training strategy for the people using and maintaining SharePoint.
Structuring a SharePoint 2010 Practice
SharePoint 2010 is simply put, nothing like SharePoint 2007! It is vastly more scalable, significantly more complex, and hugely appealing as an information management hub. A consequence of the successful re-architecture of the product to such a strategic hub product and the core of the Microsoft tools strategy is that programmes and projects, and consequently employers and recruiters need to think carefully about the new range of planning roles and skill sets required to satisfy a successful end to end delivery of SharePoint 2010. This chapter will show the reader how (and equally as important why) to correctly structure a SharePoint Practice or programme of delivery to plan for internal career progression and assist with staff retention and to identify and exploit the correct roles to staff modern demanding SharePoint 2010 delivery programmes.
SharePoint Security and Authentication Notes
SharePoint 2010 provides different options for authentication of users as well as authentication to external line-of-business systems. During the design and implementation of a SharePoint 2010 solution, the chosen authentication method could impact or restrict the availability of some SharePoint functionality and the options for interacting with external systems.
This chapter will discuss the different options and architectural considerations for user authentication and for authenticating to external systems. It will cover classic mode authentication and claims based authentication. It will cover NTLM, Kerberos, Clear Text Authentication, Forms Based Authentication and Trusted Claims Providers, the Claims to Windows Token Service and the Secure Store Service Application. It will also give a brief overview of options for exposing
SharePoint 2010 sites securely across the Internet, such as using Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway, and the implications of doing this and how to ensure the security of business data exposed using SharePoint.
The chapter will provide information on configuring and troubleshooting the authentication options such as Kerberos, Clear Text and Forms Based Authentication, the differences between the SharePoint 2010 FBA implementation and ASP.Net forms authentication and the implications for interoperability between SharePoint and ASP.net applications. It will also provide information on the limitations of certain functionality (such as search based alerts and the people picker) for Forms Based Authentication and Trusted Claims providers.
SharePoint User Adoption
There is a common misconception that merely installing SharePoint makes for a successful implementation. It is how the people in the company effectively adopt the solution that is the true measure of success. Have you asked yourself how you will get people to use the solution?
Anyone can cope when there is only one table booked in a restaurant; but what happens when you are booked to capacity with a waiting list – are you geared to cope with that demand? What if you get no bookings at all? Could you explain to your investors why no-one is visiting?
SharePoint user adoption is about how to get to a full house, how to be prepared for the rush, and how to manage it once it happens. People will not magically adopt SharePoint, there are measures you need to put into place to ensure that happens. If this is done correctly, you will have a very high adoption rate and consequently good return on investment for the capital outlay of the infrastructure.
This chapter will cover what you need to do in order to achieve that.
Social Networking and SharePoint
The word ‘Social’ has become a very popular term over the last couple of years. Everyone is familiar with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. These so-called Social sites attract (hundreds) millions of visitors per day! So how does this translate to SharePoint 2010? What Social features are available? Social features were also available (albeit limitedly) in the previous version Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS 2007).
The main feature was the My Site. This site is a personal page for every user within a SharePoint Intranet portal. The user was able to provide valuable information for colleagues, such as a mobile number, e-mail address, manager or skills. Other users were able to use the MOSS 2007 search engine to find a colleague with the skill ‘Writing marketing material’, for example. By using these features, users were able to connect and share information with each other.
This has been improved in SharePoint 2010 and loads of new features are now available. This chapter describes these features, and how they can improve the collaboration within your organisation. Talking points covered include My Sites, Tags and Notes, Ratings and Social Search. Most importantly, the author addresses how they are all connected and what advantages they provide for companies.
Business Intelligence Solutions with SharePoint 2010
In this chapter we will explore the variety of tools available in SharePoint 2010 to provide business intelligence to your business users. We will examine the pros and cons of each tool along the way, and look at a couple of methods of building a powerful dashboard from the items we construct.
Creating dashboards and drill downs using Business Connectivity Services, SharePoint Designer, Filter Web Parts and Reporting Technologies.
This chapter covers the creation of dashboards and drill downs utilising SharePoint Designer 2010, Business Connectivity Services, Secure Store Service, Business Data Catalog Permissions & Actions. It demonstrates Filtering Web Parts & Connections to List Web Parts and explores Excel Services.
The chapter will be a guide to using SharePoint Designer 2010 to connect to SQL Server data sources with External Content Types. It will discuss the rationale for using the Secure Store Service and the Business Data Catalog.
It does this by utilising a real world Customer Information Portal scenario for a Products & Service Company. The company has a requirement to bring together information from various disparate systems within the network to aid a number of departments.
Branding for beginners
This chapter looks at the considerations you need to make as a SharePoint Brander in a small business environment where you may be the only SharePoint “expert” in your organisation. We will take an example and go from OOTB to a custom design with little effort.
Configuring the Search Refinement Panel
The Search Refinement Panel is one of the most powerful, yet misunderstood, Web Parts in SharePoint 2010. Appearing on every search results page this Web Part can be easily customized to provide tremendous business value from small to large enterprises.
Exploring different options for implementing customisations
An important decision to make while planning the implementation of any SharePoint solution is how exactly it should be created. Two commonly used options are leveraging the out of the box available functionality through customization in the browser and development of solutions using custom code.
Considering all these possibilities, when evaluating the correct course to take for a solution implementation, organizations need to take into account the pros and cons of the different approaches, and weigh them against each other.
This chapter will compare these approaches with each other and describe the capabilities, as well as the benefits and the drawbacks of each approach, allowing a decision maker to better understand which method is useful in which situation and choose the best option.
SharePoint Test Environment
Test environments for most IT professionals are a no-brainer — major system changes should be tested once, twice, even three times to provide the best possible experience to end users with little to no interruption in service. Recent virtualization technologies have made this easier than ever; one only needs to spin-up a new instance of a virtual machine and off they go with an entire SharePoint environment at their disposal.
SharePoint administrators will painfully learn, however, that this testing model doesn’t adapt well to the componentized structure underlying a well-built SharePoint system. This chapter will make the case for building and maintaining a fully-scaled test environment that is architecturally similar to an organization’s production environment.
It will support this recommendation with lessons learned from the authors personal experience administering a small SharePoint farm. This case can be argued further to include more than one test environment. If an organization chooses to develop solutions for SharePoint they should consider building in one environment, certifying the build in another test environment, and then implementing the solution in the production environment.
Using one or more fully-scaled test environments is the only way to understand the implications of a major system change. They also provide a mechanism for rehearsing these system changes. With such a tool at their disposal, SharePoint administrators can maintain and administer their systems with confidence.
InfoPath 2010 – What’s new?
This chapter is dedicated to exploring the capabilities of InfoPath 2010. What can InfoPath can do for you? What are the key improvements to InfoPath 2010 and the impact on form design and development.
InfoPath 2010 has interesting license implications and this deserves some attention. The chapter also discusses key concept and building blocks of InfoPath Forms (such as rules, data connection, design template and data validation) using scenario based solution. The chapter also demonstrates how to write c# code for control and form events.
InfoPath is an agile/rapid design tool for creating forms. InfoPath is intricately linked with SharePoint so it would be ideal if you know the basics of SharePoint 2010. This chapter will give you a solid foundation for people new to SharePoint and will allow more advanced users to see what is new in InfoPath 2010.
The chapter ends by discussing potential issues and what users might be expecting from Microsoft for the next release.
SharePoint Server-based Data Storage and Data Access
This chapter guides readers through the basic storage and data access options available in SharePoint 2010 application development projects. The matching of application business requirements with the appropriate storage and data access technique is vital for achieving a successful project.
SharePoint 2010 Automated Code Deployment
During the past several years SharePoint has quickly become one of the leading collaboration technologies. Businesses today are taking the SharePoint framework from the development labs into mission critical production environments which require application high availability. This chapter will describe methods and concepts which will ensure you will be able to build and deploy custom code into Intranet and/or Internet facing production farm(s) using Visual Studio 2010, Team Foundation Server 2010, and SharePoint 2010. Further, a description of the concepts and tools necessary to ensure code consistency throughout the development lifecycle will be included.
SharePoint Internet facing sites often have additional requirements, network bottlenecks, and limited downtime constraints which make deploying code from the development arena through QA/staging, and finally into production SharePoint farms more restrictive. The new capabilities provided in Visual Studio 2010, Team Foundation Server 2010, and SharePoint 2010 make this process much easier than before.
This chapter will provide examples for all flavours of deployments (timerjobs, page layouts, webparts, etc.) so you don’t have to learn as you go! You’ll get an in-depth look at how these tools can help you successfully deploy code into production SharePoint 2010 farms.
SharePoint Workspace 2010 – extending the SharePoint collaboration platform
SharePoint Workspace 2010 (SPW 2010) offers a multiple-featured and versatile collaboration platform – sharing folders (like Dropbox), ‘offline’ & mobile SharePoint client that can sync back to the central SharePoint servers and peer-to-peer collaborative (Groove) workspaces without centralized servers (like Napster).
This chapter will explore the features of SPW 2010 – the ‘Swiss-Army’ of collaboration platform, how it integrates to SharePoint servers and how applications are built and used productively for collaboration. The chapter will illustrate some examples how SPW can be used in business scenarios and how it was used in other situations –Katrina & Tsunami disaster relief efforts.
SharePoint Workspace has several application building capabilities – Web Services, tool add-ins, InfoPath Forms and integrating with SharePoint Server using Business Connectivity Services (BCS). All these can enrich the SharePoint collaborative platform data with mobile and external applications.
Useful SharePoint Links