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Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011–Day 1

SPC-2011sThe first day started with the big keynote with all of the about 7500 attendees! That’s a lot of people lovin’ some SharePoint in one place! Well, let me back up. On my way into the convention center for breakfast before the keynote, I noticed there was all this noise outside. Turns out a software vendor and SharePoint competitor called Huddle had hired a marching band to play a few tunes right outside the conference and march through. In my opinion, quite childish. Anyway, on the good stuff …

Walked into the keynote speech, and was entertained by the sweet sounds of DJ Keenan Kameleon. He’s a Senior Product Manager with the SharePoint Team at Microsoft. I’m told you can listen to his music mix from the keynote online here. Jared Spataro, Senior Director of SharePoint Product Management was up first, and gave some updates on some numbers. Can you say 62 million licenses sold of SharePoint with 125 million users? The overall theme for the conference is Productivity Delivered, which celebrates all the excellent work and solutions that customers and partners have developed on the platform. I won’t bore you with all the details, but you can read more on the MS SharePoint Team blog.

Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011–The Pre-Game Show

Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011Wow, the time is finally here for the Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2011! What an exciting time this is for SharePoint. The product celebrated it’s 10 year anniversary recently, and it has come a long way! The latest release SharePoint 2010 is really a game changer and is continuously expanding it’s presence and impact in the industry. This conference celebrates the product in a way that is just amazing. There are so many people from all over the world coming together for a single purpose – to share knowledge.

This year’s conference takes place in sunny Anaheim, California at the Anaheim Convention Center. Every hotel in a 15 mile area is SOLD OUT! Ok some of that is probably Disneyland. After checking in to my hotel and getting settled, I walked across the street to the convention center to check things out. I got registered and checked out the venue. This place is huge, three floors of SharePoint goodness! There are lots of great-looking sessions, and I narrowed down the ones I want to attend.

Published Content Type Column Order Fixed in August 2011 CU

SharePoint 2010 has many new and very useful features, one of them being new functionality with content types via the Managed Metadata service application. It allows you to specify a content type hub, a central location for managing content types. You can then publish those content types to subscribing site collections. This opens up a lot of flexibility to manage content consistently.

Recently I ran into a scenario where I had configured content types in the hub site, and set the column order and published the content types. After awhile I had made changes to the root content type column order and re-published those changes. I found that the settings for the columns were updated (hidden, required, etc.) but the changed order did NOT update. This is fairly significant to users of a document management system as you don’t want your optional “Enterprise Keywords” field showing first with a required important required column at the bottom. Oh the humanity!

What To Do When the SharePoint ‘What’s New’ Web Part Isn’t Available

Group Work Lists site featureIt’s well documented that the What’s New web part can be very helpful in showing recent information about content in a list or document library. It’s also well documented that to be able to add this web part in SharePoint 2010, you have to activate the site feature “Group Work Lists”. But what happens when you go to Site Actions –> Site Settings, click Manage Site Features and activate the feature, but the web part is still missing from the available web parts list?

Creating a Weekly Team Status Report in SharePoint 2010 Using Wikis

SharePoint 2010 Weekly Team Status

Everyone has meetings they have to attend on a frequent basis, and we all want to get through them as quickly as possible (so we can get back to our game of angry birds). We need to have a quick and easy way for team members to provide an update on their assigned duties, as well as a streamlined method of reviewing them during the meeting. Since we’re lucky that our company has invested in SharePoint, let’s use it! This method I believe provides a very quick and easy way to accomplish your goals for capturing the information without using complicated add-ons or any other heavy lifting.

This is the final result. Cool huh? Nothing fancy, but it does the job (sometimes simpler is better). This is driven by a wiki page library, where every team member gets their own wiki page. You could just have one wiki page and sections where everyone just updates their text, but then you would have multiple people trying to edit that one page 15 minutes before the meeting, and get frustrated with all the merge conflict warnings. If everyone gets their own page, no conflict warnings. Let’s see how it’s done so everyone is happy.


 

Improvements in SharePoint 2010 Service Pack 1

Some of you may have heard by now that service pack 1 for Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 products has been released. There have been some blog posts out there that talk about the improvements in SP1 and major reasons why SP1 is actually a good thing! What I wanted to do here is look at some improvements that perhaps have been overlooked. First let’s get the basics out of the way so you can see the big picture like everyone else. Here’s a list of recent blogs on the subject:

All About SharePoint 2010 ULS Logging

I use SharePoint’s ULS logs almost daily when supporting and administering SharePoint (2007 and 2010 for that matter).  Let’s look at what it is, and how it can help you troubleshoot issues in SharePoint 2010.

What is this “ULS Logging”?

Like most (but not all) features in SharePoint 2010, logging did get an upgrade from 3.0 / 2007.  First of all, what is ULS?  It stands for Unified Logging Service (ULS).  It is the engine that handles creating a detailed trace output of all of the events that occur in SharePoint.  It is dependent on the Windows service “SharePoint 2010 Tracing”.  By default, SharePoint creates these log files in the file system in the “14 hive”:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\LOGS

These log files are written by SharePoint in real-time and contain information regarding event logging per its configuration in Central Administration. 

Resolve an TCP 10061 Error with the SharePoint 2010 User Profile Service

I went to go run a manual sync of the User Profile Service in SharePoint, and was unable to get to the Service Application.  After reviewing the ULS logs, I found this error:

UserProfileConfigManager.StartSynchronizationForOneManagementAgent: Unexpected exception: System.ServiceModel.EndpointNotFoundException: Could not connect to http:///ResourceManagementService/MEX. TCP error code 10061: No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it IP address:port. ---> System.Net.WebException: Unable to connect to the remote server ---> System.Net.Sockets.SocketException: No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it IP address:port.

Luckily this error has an easy fix.  This error occurred because one of the two ForeFront Identity Manager services that the User Profile Service depends on wasn’t started.  Go into Services.msc and check to ensure both services are started:

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You should be able to start the service without an issue and this should allow you to connect to the User Profile Service again. 

How to Remove a User from a SharePoint 2010 Site Collection

I was troubleshooting a recent issue with the User Profile Service, where I would make a change to a user account in Active Directory (like a spelling correction).  The Profile Sync would occur and I would verify that the correct spelling was in the profile.  However, the change did not replicate to the site collection like it was supposed to.  This normally happens via a SharePoint timer job named User Profile to SharePoint Full Synchronization.  It’s described function is:

“Synchronizes user information from the user profile application to SharePoint users and synchronizes site memberships from SharePoint to the user profile application”

Well for whatever reason, it wasn’t doing that.  To correct the issue, there can be a couple fixes:

  1. Make a change to one of the fields via Central Administration like Title.  Save this change, then re-open the profile and set it back to what it’s supposed to be.  This will sometimes force the sync to run properly.
  2. Remove the user from the site collection and re-add them

SharePoint Tip: Use Claims Authentication for Your 2010 Multi-Tenant Web Application

I had setup a test environment to test out and play with the new hosting functionality of SharePoint, also called multi-tenancy.  When you create your main web application that will be used to house the tenants, you have the option to have it use Claims Based or Classic Mode authentication. 

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Resolve Search Crawl Error When Using Self-Signed SSL Certificate with SharePoint 2010

While configuring a SharePoint farm for a client the other day, I came across a simple but problematic error with search.  We had requested a full SSL certificate for the farm, but I was a self-signed certificate so I could work with the site.  After configuring search content sources and I kicked off a full crawl, I got this error in the crawl log:

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“The secure socks layer (SSL) certificate sent by the server was invalid and this item will not be crawled.”

Wells that’s a bummer.  Luckily there’s an easy fix.  What you need to do is configure search to “Ignore SSL certificate name warnings” via Central Administration.  TechNet has the documented steps.  After making this change and running a full crawl, voilà!

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Success!  Of course you should get an official SSL certificate, but sometimes you get by with what you have. 

Manage Dynamics CRM 2011 with PowerShell!

powershell_icon_thumb6_thumbWith the recent highly anticipated release of CRM 2011, you now have the ability to manage some parts of Dynamics CRM 2011 with PowerShell!  Ok not entirely, but it is a great start from Microsoft to providing the incredible flexibility of PowerShell to Dynamics CRM.  More specifically, you are able to script deployment management tasks only.  For the time being, you can only run PowerShell with CRM on-premise, NOT CRM Online.  Currently the functionality of PowerShell for CRM 2011 is limited, so this mostly would pertain to eithers with a large organization, or companies that do CRM hosting through SPLA agreements.  With these new PowerShell cmdlets, you are able to do things like:

  • Create/Remove Deployment Administrators
  • Create/Import CRM Organizations
  • Review and configure CRM Organization settings

“An error has occurred” When Changing a Dynamics CRM User’s Business Unit

Recently while working on a client engagement, we needed to move users around to different business units in Dynamics CRM 4.0.  No problem right?  Well we very quickly determined things weren’t going to go smoothly.  When we attempted to change a user’s business unit, it would sit for 30 seconds and throw the lovely unhelpful generic message “An error has occurred”.  Gotta love Microsoft developer’s strong attention to error messages.  A lot of users have apparently run into this with no real good resolution.  We were able to find the true cause (at least in our case), so I wanted to share it to hopefully help others struggling with this.

How to Format in PowerShell Webcast Available

For everyone starting to learn PowerShell, it’s hard to know where to start.  Thomas Lee (author of his blog Under the Stairs and a PowerShell MVP) worked with the great folks at PowerShell.com and Idera to put on a very useful and pertinent webcast on how to format PowerShell output.  It’s one in a series called PowerShell Power Hour.  Think about it, every command in PowerShell you run outputs data.  Wouldn’t you like to know how to get it to display like what you want? 

What’s the different in Format-List and Format-Table?  What’s a hash table?  Can we format currency?  He shows you!  This is not for someone who’s never used PowerShell before, but for those who are learning commands, getting some output, and need some tuning.  You can access the webcast at PowerShell.com’s site after registering for free.  It’s also available at Idera’s site as well.

If you need more of a getting started tutorial, check out the first webcast in the series “Getting Started with Windows PowerShell” by Tobias Welner (PowerShell MVP) here.  If you’re looking for more focused PowerShell information for SharePoint 2010, Joel Oleson wrote a great post on this topic.

Administrator’s Crash Course in PowerShell 2.0 E-Book

While doing some testing and research with PowerShell the other day, I came across a great free 4-part Crash Course e-book from Don Jones on PowerShell v2.0.  You can find it here.  You will need to create an account on the site, but it’s free.  Check it out!

Changes Not Saved to SharePoint 2010 "Activities I am Following" Edit Profile Page

Recently, one of my colleagues came to me with an issue he was having with SharePoint.  After making sure it wasn't friendly "user error", I determined this to actually be a bug in SharePoint 2010 RTM.  Here's the issue:

On your SharePoint 2010 RTM farm, go to your My Site Profile page, and edit it.  You are able to change the "Activities I am following" once, and save.  But when you do it again, save and double-check, the change was not saved.  What gives?! 

“The list cannot be displayed in datasheet view” Error on SharePoint 2010

I recently came across this and wanted to be sure everyone is aware of this limitation.  With the new release of Office 2010 including 64-bit support, there has been some confusion about which version to install.  Microsoft has been clear in their recommendation:

  1. Install the 32-bit version for most needs to maintain ActiveX control compatibility and other tools
  2. Install the 64-bit version if you use Excel spreadsheets 2 GB in size 

For whatever reason, say you installed Office 2010 64-bit on your machine, and you happily go to your shiny SharePoint 2010 site (or WSS/MOSS), open up a list, and hit Datasheet View.  To your surprise, you see this:

The list cannot be displayed in Datasheet view

Don't Use Spaces When Naming Things in SharePoint

You know who you are out there.  We've all done it, because it’s such an easy thing to fall into.  You're just happy as a clam with your shiny new SharePoint site, and you're all ready to create some content.  First up, a document library.  We love our shared documents, right?  Well, how many times after awhile do you find yourself emailing links to files like:

http://intranet/Shared%20Documents/June%20Assessment/Rev2%20Standard%20Quote%20for%20client.xls

Final Word on the Fab 40 Templates for SharePoint 2010

So we’ve all been waiting, and waiting, and waiting to hear from Microsoft about the fate of the “fab 40” templates for SharePoint 2010.  Well, they finally have made a decision.  You’re not going to like it.  Read the full details

The bottom line from the article:

Microsoft is not releasing new versions of these templates for SharePoint 2010 Products.

Quick Tip for Uploading Multiple Files to SharePoint 2010 Picture Library

SharePoint 2010 is great at many things, and one of the new integrations with Office 2010 is with uploading multiple pictures to a picture library using the Office Picture Manager. 

Say you you’ve got a bunch of logos you want to get into your new fancy 2010 picture library.  You would click Upload –> Upload Multiple Pictures right?

SharePoint 2010 Upload Multiple Files

How to Re-Create Default Security Groups in Multi-Tenant SharePoint 2010 Environment

If you’ve been dabbling in SharePoint 2010's new hosting (multi-tenant) environment and been creating host-named site collections, you have may noticed that the default SharePoint security groups typically created by default are not there in the root web.  These include:

Members

Owners

Visitors

These are created by the SharePoint API, and apparently isn’t called properly when host-named site collections are created through PowerShell in a multi-tenant environment.  This ONLY happens in a multi-tenant environment.  Even if you create the host-named site collections through PowerShell in a non-hosted environment, the first time you visit the site, you might be prompted to choose the site template and to create the default security groups.

So how do we get them back without creating them manually?  Read on...

Enabling Adobe PDF in SharePoint 2010

Adobe PDF Icon 50x50This morning I had the task of getting PDF indexing to work in search on our new SharePoint 2010 installations.  There are various existing blogs out there, so I thought I would combine what I used into one place.

The majority of the steps to get this working are documented here at Nick Gratten’s SharePoint blog.

You will also need the adobe PDF small icon.  The best place is to get directly from adobe here.  Download the 17x17 small icon.

If you are copying the files from another UNC file server (say from your 2007 server) onto Server 2008 (or R2), Explorer might block the files to protect you from yourself.  Right click the file, click properties, and make sure you don’t have the option to unblock.  If you do, click Unblock. 

There have been discussions around if this works on SharePoint 2010 Foundation.  While officially I’ve seen where it’s said it is not supported, there are apparently workarounds. 

SharePoint 2010 Granular Restores

I wanted to take a minute and talk about a really cool new feature of SharePoint 2010 relating to backups – Granular Restores.  While doing some test migrations from MOSS 2007 to SharePoint 2010, we needed to choose the best method to selectively move data from an old site to a new site. 

In SharePoint 2010, you have the ability to restore content (down to the list level) from an unattached SQL database.  How cool is that!  Here’s the new Backup and Restore options in Central Admin:

SharePoint 2010 Granular Restores

Best Practice: Should SharePoint Replace Your File Servers?

One of SharePoint’s popular features is Document Management, which leads many organizations to migrate their data from files shares or their Document Management System over to SharePoint.  Is this best practice?  Let’s not be hasty, and look at the various things to consider on both sides of the coin.

Closing vs. Deleting a Web Part from a SharePoint Page

I was reminded today about the difference of removing vs. deleting a web part from a site page today.  There’s already a great blog on the subject and it can be found here

The quick and dirty is that when you either choose to “close” on a web part or click the “X” in edit view, this does NOT remove it from the page, it only hides it.  There is a Closed Web Parts gallery where this closed web part gets placed, and if there are enough closed web parts, it can significantly decrease your pages load time, as it still loads the closed web parts. 

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SharePoint Upgrade Checklist

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