Learn SharePoint in 230 Sessions or More

I started looking over the sessions for SharePoint Saturday - The Conference, and was just floored. As an exercise, I tried to read all the session names, and couldn’t get through the entire list. I’m putting them here so you can look and suggest various ways we can setup filters and organization to make it easier for people to find sessions they like.

What columns would you filter if you were creating the session program? Help us out!

  1. "It Depends" - The Definitive Guide to Architecting SharePoint
  2. "It Takes a Village" - The Human Cost of SharePoint
  3. "What’s in it for me?" User Adoption & Employee Engagement Strategies for Enterprise Social Computing Projects
  4. “Caching-In” for SharePoint Performance
  5. 10 Can’t Fail Techniques for Increasing SharePoint Adoption
  6. 2010 Service Applications
  7. 2010 Upgrade and Migration options
  8. 3 Key Components to Leverage SharePoint As An Enterprise Innovation Platform
  9. 6 Ways to take your SharePoint development to the Next Level
  10. 9 Ways to Become a (SharePoint) Rock Star
  11. A Noble, Logical Diagram: SharePoint & the Power of a Global Platform
  12. Access 2010 Integration with SharePoint 2010
  13. Adoption is Hard? OR Adoption is hardly ever addressed?
  14. An introduction to SharePoint 2010 Lists & Libraries
  15. Application Lifecycle Management in SharePoint 2010
  16. Application Pages are Lame! Building ASP.NET Apps for SharePoint
  17. Applied PowerShell: PowerShell for the SharePoint Server Administrator
  18. Architecting Records Management Solutions on SharePoint 2010
  19. Are you who you say you are? SharePoint Authentication and Authorization
  20. Assess Your SharePoint Maturity With The SharePoint Maturity Model
  21. Assessing Social Business Evolution And Maturity
  22. Best Practices for Managing an Effective SharePoint Team
  23. Better Together – Sharepoint and DoD 5015.2 Certified ECM technologies provide defensible Records Management and eDiscovery strategies
  24. Beyond Approval: Intro to Creating Custom Workflow Actions
  25. BI to SharePoint: What a Business Analyst/PM/IT Pro Lite Needs to Know
  26. Big Data Reality: Fueling SharePoint Growth Worldwide
  27. Boost the Performance of SharePoint Today!
  28. Branding – A beginners guide
  29. Branding SharePoint 2010 for Your Business
  30. Breaking down the SharePoint IA Silos
  31. Building a Fully Branded SharePoint Website
  32. Building a Solution Brick by Brick
  33. Building BI solutions using Performance Point Services in SharePoint 2010
  34. Building Business Solutions with InfoPath and Workflows
  35. Building Pluggable Workflow Services in SharePoint 2010
  36. Building the Perfect SharePoint Farm
  37. Business Connectivity Services - How to Architect a Safe and Secure BCS Environment
  38. Business Connectivity Services Explained by Example
  39. Claims Based Authentication in SharePoint 2010: Integrating Forms Based & NTLM Providers
  40. Client Object Model in SharePoint 2010
  41. Cloud Based SharePoint. For Real?
  42. Cloudy with a Chance of SharePoint
  43. Congratulations, You’re THE SharePoint Person in Charge
  44. Content is King - Enterprise Content Management in SharePoint 2010
  45. Controlling your SharePoint Chaos
  46. Create a Free Weather RSS Web Part Using SharePoint Designer 2010
  47. Creating a Custom Gatherer for the SharePoint Activity Feed
  48. Creating an Effective and Highly Developed Learning Gateway for Education with SharePoint 2007 and 2010
  49. Creating Custom Forms in WSS with jQuery and SPServices
  50. Creating Enterprise Class Applications in SharePoint 2010 without Writing Code
  51. Creating Simple Dashboards Using Out of the Box Web Part
  52. Customer Stories: Reaping the Benefits of Microsoft Project Management Solutions
  53. Customize your Layouts pages in SharePoint 2010
  54. Customizing forms with SharePoint Designer 2007
  55. Data Visualization made easier in SharePoint 2010
  56. Deep Dive into Feature Versioning in SharePoint 2010
  57. Design a Dashboard in a Dash
  58. Design patterns using XSL to generate web part user interfaces
  59. Developing Custom Service Applications - When, Why and How
  60. Developing for Office 365
  61. Developing on Office 365
  62. Developing Reusable Workflow Features
  63. Developing SilverLight Applications for SharePoint
  64. Dispelling the Myths behind SharePoint Deployment Planning Services
  65. Docs without Folders – Organizing Documents with Content Types & Metadata
  66. Document Sets - More than Just Folders
  67. Does Size Matter? SharePoint’s Value in a Small Company on a Shoestring Budget
  68. Driving User Adoption – How governance, training, and social networking create change in an organization
  69. ECM from a Developer’s Perspective
  70. Effective Requirements Gathering Workshops – How to organize and run them
  71. Encourage! Educate! Engage! Build Excitement and Community in the Workplace!
  72. Enforce Governance by Automating Site Provisioning
  73. Enterprise Content Management using SharePoint 2010
  74. Enterprise Ontology and Taxonomy: Beyond the $50 words
  75. Epic SharePoint Battle: HTML 5 vs SilverLight 5
  76. Exploring the Benefits of Business Connectivity Services
  77. Extending the Data View Web Part
  78. Facilitated Thinking Environments in Sharepoint 2010
  79. Feature Stapling - Add Functionality to Site Templates
  80. Federal Business Development and Opportunity Capture using SharePoint
  81. Follow the Yellow Brick Road to SharePoint Mastery
  82. From Power User to World Class SharePoint Administrator in 75 minutes Or Less!
  83. Getting the Most from User Profiles
  84. Getting the Most out of PerformancePoint Services 2010
  85. Getting the most out of SharePoint Search
  86. Governance 101
  87. How BCS Saved My Marriage
  88. How the client object model saved the day?
  89. How we built NothingButSharePoint.com on SharePoint 2010
  90. If You Build It They WILL Come - A Decade of SharePoint Adoption Best Practices
  91. If you built it, they WILL come: Best Practices for User Adoption with SharePoint Solutions
  92. Implementing Service Management (ITIL) using SharePoint
  93. Implementing SharePoint - A Project Manager’s How-To
  94. In the Trench Experiences with Sadie Van Buren’s SharePoint Maturity Model
  95. Information Architecture and Enterprise Search: Better Together
  96. Innovation @ Microsoft
  97. Integrating SharePoint 2010 and Visual Studio Lightswitch
  98. Integrating SSRS 2008R2 with SharePoint 2010
  99. Intranet Design (or Redesign)
  100. Introduction to the SharePoint 2010 Client Object Model
  101. Invent the Future by Reinventing SharePoint…NOW!
  102. Is Your SharePoint Really Healthy? What’s the Right Prescription?
  103. JPoint (jQuery + SharePoint): Hottest Buzz Ever!
  104. Just Freakin’ Work! Overcoming Hurdles and Avoiding Pain in SharePoint Custom Development
  105. Lessons Learned for SharePoint and Program Management: Planning and Implementing a PMIS for a Federal PMO
  106. Let’s Migrate!
  107. Leverage Search and Customize to your Brand within SharePoint 2010
  108. LINQ to SharePoint 2010
  109. Looking Under the Hood: How Your Metadata Strategy Impacts Everything You Do
  110. Make Your Developers Love You! (aka SharePoint 2010 ALM for Dev Managers)
  111. Making Sharepoint 2010 and Office 2010 bend to your will
  112. Making SharePoint Sites That Don’t Look Like SharePoint Sites
  113. Managed Meta Data Service – Using Term store in the real world beyond the taxonomy and tagging.
  114. Managed Metadata – The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
  115. Managed Metadata for SharePoint 2010 - How to use it, for what and when
  116. Management and Governance of Multi-Tenant SharePoint Environments
  117. Managing Electronic Records within Microsoft SharePoint 2010, including DoD 5015.2
  118. Managing Information Governance within SharePoint 2010 without alienating users
  119. Mastering SharePoint Migration Planning
  120. Metalogix Software
  121. Migrating Between a File Share and SharePoint
  122. Migrating from File Systems to SharePoint (5 step process)
  123. Migrating from MOSS 2007 to SharePoint 2010. Are you ready?
  124. Migrating to Office 365
  125. Mind to Matter: A way to model how you work in SharePoint
  126. Moving to 2010 - Real-World Business Considerations
  127. New to SharePoint: Influencer to Leadership Perspective on Getting SharePoint in Your Org
  128. Office 365 – SharePoint Online Out-of-the-(Sand)Box
  129. Office 365 Deployment Strategies
  130. Office 365, Does it Work in a Leap Year?
  131. Office Apps and SharePoint Apps – Client and Server Connected
  132. Paper is Just Another Content Type in SharePoint - Showing How SharePoint and Paper Work Together
  133. Planning and Configuring Extranets in SharePoint 2010
  134. Planning Applications/Solutions on SharePoint
  135. PowerPivot Security and Architecture: Strengths and Weaknesses
  136. Practical Approach to SharePoint Intranet Governance
  137. Practical Powershell for SharePoint
  138. Practical Tips to Increase SharePoint Adoption
  139. Real World Business Workflow with SharePoint Designer 2010
  140. Real world claims in ADFS and SharePoint 2010
  141. Real World SharePoint
  142. Records Management 2010 – What to think about?
  143. Relational Productivity Applications: SharePoint 2010 and Dynamics CRM 2011
  144. Reporting in SharePoint 2010 with TFS 2010 and SQL Reporting Services 2008 - Bringing it all together
  145. Requirements Management: From Vision to Mission to Success
  146. Saving SharePoint
  147. Scaling your SharePoint 2010 Architecture from 150 to 150,000 users
  148. Search – If a child can’t use it, you’re not doing it right
  149. Secrets of Generating Buy-In for Enterprise SharePoint Projects
  150. Securing the SharePoint Platform
  151. See Beyond The Numbers: Data Visualization and Business Intelligence in SharePoint 2010
  152. Selecting and Protecting the Right SharePoint Backup Targets
  153. Setting up Kerberos configuration in a SharePoint farm
  154. SharePoint & jQuery – What I wish I would have known when I started
  155. SharePoint 2010 – Let’s Automate This Process
  156. SharePoint 2010 and Office Web Applications
  157. SharePoint 2010 Branding Basics
  158. SharePoint 2010 Branding for the Masses
  159. SharePoint 2010 Business Intelligence Features
  160. SharePoint 2010 Extranets and Authentication: How will SharePoint 2010 connect you to your partners?
  161. SharePoint 2010 Feature and Solution Development With Visual Studio 2010
  162. SharePoint 2010 Service Pack 1 – What’s New and Should I Install It?
  163. SharePoint 2010 Web Content Management (WCM) Obstacles
  164. SharePoint Administration 101
  165. SharePoint and Evernote Integration
  166. SharePoint and Forefront UAG
  167. SharePoint and Windows Azure Development
  168. SharePoint and Workflow - What’s new in 2010
  169. SharePoint as a Business Laboratory
  170. SharePoint as an Application Development Platform
  171. SharePoint as an Enterprise Service Offering in Today’s Cloudy, Fragmented, Marketplace-Driven Environment
  172. SharePoint Branding 101
  173. SharePoint Data Security best practices
  174. SharePoint Deployment Planning Services (SDPS) how to maximize the services you already paid for
  175. SharePoint Designer Workflows - No Code Solutions
  176. SharePoint Development 101
  177. SharePoint Federation: Leveraging ADFSv2 and Claims Based Authentication to integrate with Partners as an Identity or Service Provider
  178. SharePoint for ASP.NET Developers
  179. SharePoint for DotCom Sites
  180. SharePoint for Nonprofits - Top Contributing Factors of a Successful SharePoint Deployment
  181. SharePoint Goes Public — SharePoint for Internet Sites
  182. SharePoint Governance - The Art of the Possible
  183. SharePoint Governance: Three Things Every Organization Needs to Know
  184. SharePoint IA Design 101
  185. SharePoint in a Distributed Enterprise
  186. SharePoint in the State Government Agency
  187. SharePoint Multi-Tenancy - Best Practices
  188. SharePoint Natural Disasters "Notes from the Field"
  189. SharePoint on a Diet, Developing for Mobile
  190. SharePoint Social Targeting – Getting the Right Information to the Right People
  191. SharePoint Street Smart – Delivering Content to Mobile Devices & Tablets
  192. SharePoint To Go – Taking SharePoint Beyond The Desktop
  193. SharePoint: Enabling the Business of Diplomacy
  194. SharPoint 2010 and Your DR Plan: New Capabilities, New Possibilities!
  195. So you want to implement SharePoint in your organization… What now?
  196. So You Want Your Name in Print
  197. Social Apps for SharePoint: Communities, Videos, Activity Streams, Questions and Answers, Ideation, and Badging
  198. Solving Tough Microsoft SharePoint Records Management Compliance Challenges
  199. Starting your Proposal Resource Center in SharePoint
  200. Stepping into Social Computing with SharePoint
  201. SurfRay
  202. Take your SharePoint solutions to the cloud
  203. Taming the Beast: A SharePoint Survival Guide for the Server Administrator
  204. Teaching SharePoint
  205. Ten Things You Need to Know About Office 365
  206. The Best Practices and Pain Points of Implementing SharePoint Training
  207. The Connection Between Metadata, Social Tools, and Personal Productivity
  208. The Executive Perspective: Top 7 Things You Must Consider for SharePoint 2010
  209. The Real Cost of SharePoint
  210. The SharePoint BI tools and their use: Making Sense of it All
  211. The Steps to Effective SharePoint Governance
  212. Thinking More Broadly About SharePoint
  213. Tips and Tricks for Every Phase of SharePoint Migration
  214. To BLOB or Not to BLOB? Storage Optimization Demystified
  215. Together Forever – Project Server 2010 and SharePoint 2010
  216. Top Down User Adoption: Cycle of Vision, Resistance, Whining, Babysitting and Ultimate Success
  217. Top Five SharePoint Surprises
  218. Tracking & Managing Physical Items with SharePoint
  219. Train the Trainer- Site Manager Training Workshop
  220. Twin-Soft Corporation
  221. Understanding Sandbox Solutions
  222. Understanding Your FAST Search 2010 for SharePoint Application Topology
  223. Upgrading and Migration, lessons from the trenches
  224. Users, Profiles, and MySites: Managing a Changing SharePoint User Population
  225. Using SharePoint Designer 2010 and SQL Stored Procedures to View Data
  226. Using SharePoint to Implement Knowledge Management Solutions
  227. Using SharePoint to Improve Project Delivery – Raising the Bar on PM Best Practices
  228. Utilizing COBIT Principles for the Deployment and Governance of SharePoint 2010
  229. We’ve Got SharePoint…Now What!?!?!
  230. Web Services and Service Applications – SharePoint as Middleware
  231. What You Need to Know about Office 365 and SharePoint Online
  232. What’s new is SharePoint Designer 2010
  233. Why Settle for Less? In One Fell Swoop, Learn How to Unleash the Power of SharePoint, Create a Near Immediate Win for Everyone and Drive Fanatical User Adoption
  234. Why Your SharePoint Search Sucks
  235. Wrapping Your Head Around the SharePoint Beast - What Every Beginning Developer Needs to Know
  236. Write it Down! - Documenting your SharePoint Projects
  237. Zen and the Art of SharePoint Troubleshooting

 Not much else I can say. I’ve never seen anything like this for $39. The value proposition on this conference is not to be missed.

Reserve your seat now

Productivity Tips for SharePoint Users - 10 - Reporting


2011-07-28-ProductivityTips-Part02-01.pngI recently worked on a presentation that resulted in demonstrations of the TOP 10 Productivity Tips for SharePoint Users (Number one being the highest rated). This is the second of 12 posts (including an introduction and summary). You can read the series introduction here.

Reporting was the Capability, but this could include things like KPI Dashboards, Reporting Services, Performance Point and most definitely External Lists.

The Productivity Tip was providing the Right Information, at the Right Place at the Right Time - Key Points:

  • The Right Information - aggregated, seen alongside other relevant data, so getting information from various other source systems, and displaying within the one SharePoint portal
  • The Right Place - single log on to read only (or updateable) information - without the user needing to access multiple areas to find the data they need for decision making. ALSO on line, so accessible from anywhere
  • The Right Time - refreshable on the screen, so current - no need to wait on people providing reports, or emails - it is there, when the user is ready to look at it.
  • 2011-07-28-ProductivityTips-Part02-02.png

    The Demonstration includes the use of external lists displayed in a project site, but updated from other systems - eg SQL DB, HR systems, Custom apps. We also looked at the capability of Performance Point and the decomposition tree to drill down on graphs and visual data, to see the kind of information at a granular level.

  • The CRAP (Computerised Records for Attractive People) System, by Paul Culmsee was discussed - an excellent series of 5 minute vids here for viewing - these are specifically around simple ways to integrate Reporting Systems.

Overall the Productivity gains come in quick and powerful results with a lot less investment.

SharePoint Saturday The Conference Workshop Schedule- Registration Open

I get a lot of people who tell me they can’t afford to attend conferences because their employers won’t pay for it and they don’t want to come out of pocket. Well now there’s an alternative. The SharePoint Saturday team in Washington DC are putting on a three day conference, August 11 - 13, 2011, SharePoint Saturday - The Conference. Total cost to you? $39. That’s right, I’m not missing a decimal. $39. Here are some of the 1/2 day and full day workshops you can choose from:

This is just a taste of the sessions to choose from. There are over 280 session total. I’m bringing the family for the week and hope to see you there. Please help us spread the word. You can read details about the event, and then register here.

Top 10 Tips for Success with SharePoint: #6B


Deft Design Delivers Dividends!


Part B of a two-parter that starts here at Part A.

Part B: To Brand or Not To Brand SharePoint? … Why is This The Question?

Bringing up this topic always seems to invite strong opinions for, but mainly against, however I’m feeling game today…

Before we go on, let me just take a moment to define branding, because various conversations over the years have made me aware this term can mislead and confuse business clients; or anyone, really, who doesn’t spend their lives thinking about such things.


So that single word “branding” does not just mean christening your SharePoint site with its very own name, but also and more so customising SharePoint’s user interface. Now, that innocuous little phrase can in itself conceal plenty of devilish detail. SharePoint user interface customisation can be relatively simple and low cost – displaying your own logo and banner, and maybe changing the standard fonts and colours via a SharePoint theme. But it can also be comprehensive, potentially complex and high cost – e.g. altering the look of web parts, adding tabs to a page, replacing the out of the box global navigation with custom mega-menus, creating new templates to modify the layout of page elements, adding a common footer, etc. At that end of the spectrum, it absolutely necessitates more-than-basic SharePoint Designer knowledge and skills, and CSS expertise. It might require jQuery (SharePoint Blu-tack, Paul calls this: http://www.cleverworkarounds.com/2009/02/27/jquery-sharepoint-blu-tack/ And Jeremy calls it a BandAid: http://wss.made4the.net/archive/2009/02/23/jquery-the-sharepoint-band-aid.aspx ), JavaScript skills and more. “Branding” then becomes something more akin to development. Go forth with your eyes wide open, sufficient budget, governance at the back of your mind, and I would strongly advise, call the experts in:


Back on Topic – To Brand or Not To Brand, That Is The Question…

Organisations brand to:

  • Stand out from the crowd
  • Establish their credibility
  • Deliver a message
  • Appeal to a target audience
  • Motivate, facilitate and expedite a purchase or other ‘transaction’
  • Cement the target’s loyalty and keep ’em coming back for more (aka a ‘sticky’ experience)

If you’re deploying SharePoint for your organisation’s website, you’re probably in for an extensive custom branding exercise. You’ll want a unique look and feel that encapsulates and promotes your organisation’s brand and – I’m pretty certain of myself here – you won’t be able to achieve that with the out of the box SharePoint interface, not the 2010 version and definitely not 2007. It’s not you, it’s SharePoint 2011-07-27-Top10Tips-Part06b-04.png

However, all the preceding bullet points are, to a greater or lesser extent, as true of internal systems these days as they are of public facing websites. Increasingly, in this overtly designed and packaged world we affluent Westerners enjoy, employees expect aesthetically appealing and user-friendly experiences of their company systems, as much if not more than they do of their website transactions (for example they usually – or they should – spend more of their working hours on their company Intranet or Collaboration environment than online banking or grocery shopping).

Accordingly, I think Microsoft expects you to brand SharePoint to suit, and that’s why the 2010 user interface is so bland out of the box. I approach it as a sort-of canvas, not the final artwork. Sadalit Van Buren is talking about customization generally here, but her point applies rather well to SharePoint branding:


For some visual evidence, take a look at the Step Two Designs post Make SharePoint Intranets Beautiful at http://www.steptwo.com.au/columntwo/make-sharepoint-intranets-beautiful/

Now remember I did say design, not window dressing. I don’t advocate pretty colours and font tweaking for the sake of it. I advocate thoughtful, user-centred, evidence-based design decisions that support IA and usability objectives. I believe that SharePoint branding in this context greatly encourages user engagement and facilitates user adoption.

For example:

  • If you are deploying more than one Site Collection – this is a common design decision for internal solutions built on SharePoint – then navigation out of the box between Site Collections is clunky if I’m being generous, and almost non-existent if I’m not. You really should put some branding budget and effort aside to address this.
  • Is your SharePoint implementation made up of multiple functional components, such as an authoritative Intranet, a work-in-progress collaboration environment for teams, and for projects, and maybe another for internal+external collaboration, an enterprise document management centre, a records archive, etc.? Then consider the degree to which unique colours and other visual cues help users establish their whereabouts easily and encourage them to perform the correct functions and actions in the correct place. Otherwise, to the user, your SharePoint platform might be a huge, undifferentiated homogenous environment in which they are easily lost and quickly confused.

So, How Do You Do It?

See my post on SharePoint Branding 101 with many useful links for getting started, including some to SharePoint site galleries for inspiration.

Hire an expert web designer with demonstrable skills and experience branding SharePoint. They’re an extremely rare beast, in Australia at least, so another option is to engage a SharePoint expert who is experienced in communicating with and directing web designers on SharePoint branding idiosyncrasies and insist they make beautiful music together.

See my previous post ranting against extensive customisation/development though, and do not go too far. As always, get the balance right and do worry yourself sick about long term governance. Yes more on that fun topic later.

Summing Up:

  • Don’t think of SharePoint branding as mere window dressing – done well, it aids the user experience and encourages engagement and adoption
  • Then if the question is: Do we brand our SharePoint platform? My answer is yes.

10 Things you can do today to stay up-to-date with SharePoint forever


These days people spend so much time on the internet looking for information that is valuable to them that they never take the time to do the things that would be really great for their information research. Here is a list of 10 things that you can do, today, that will keep you up to date with SharePoint forever.

Let’s get it on…

Tip #1: Get MSDN and TechNet RSS feeds in your RSS reader (10 minutes)

Depending on your job description you might be either interested in TechNet content or MSDN content. In both cases I suggest you subscribe to the RSS feed and that you keep the feeds in folders.

This way you don’t need to remember everything that comes with the feed. Just remember that you have saved the feed and search for a keyword if you need it.



I only read a few of them if they arrive… the other ones I read on demand.

Here are the RSS feeds of newly published TechNet content:

Unfortunately the MSDN library newly published content for SharePoint developers has no RSS feed. Only the SharePoint developer center has one which I think doesn’t include the updates from the MSDN library:

Tip #2: Find SharePoint blogs and get their RSS feed (1 hour)

Today there are so many bloggers it’s hard to find the ones who post content which is important to you. In order to spend less time I use the following methods to find blogs where I subscribe to the RSS feed:

  • Search for keywords like SharePoint 2010 branding
  • Usually the search for SharePoint problems takes you to blogs with solutions and other great content…
  • If you follow Twitter users they usually have a blog… just see tip #7 for more details…
  • Start with the usual “suspects”: Joel Oleson, Andrew Connell

Tip #3: Check the Microsoft Download Center (5 minutes)

There are a lot of downloads by Microsoft like white paper, SDKs, templates or applications. The Microsoft Download Center allows you to search for Microsoft downloads where you can filter and sort the results:


Unfortunately there is no RSS feed but you can check once or twice a week for new downloads. You can bookmark your search since the search query, the filter and the sorting order are stored in URL parameters.

Note: If your URL doesn’t update with the chosen filter try to sort in a different order as the filter is also applied to the URL as a parameter.

Tip #4: Get the RSS feed for MSDN Subscriber Downloads (5 minutes)

If you or your company owns an MSDN subscription you can download Microsoft software for your development based on your license:


Fortunately new subscriber downloads are offered by a RSS feed:

Tip #5: Get an account at MSDN Forums (10 minutes)

There are so many MSDN forums and even more experts answering questions regarding all products Microsoft offers (I think).

You can use your Windows Live ID to sign into the forums where you can add a forum to your list, set alerts or just watch the newest posts (SharePoint 2010 Forums).

You cannot only ask question you can also take a look at the discussions and learn from the existing members.



Tip #6: Get the RSS feed for KB articles with KBAlertz (10 minutes)

Wouldn’t it be awesome to get the newest KB articles sorted by product by an RSS feed? Well you can with KBAlertz.com. You can save the feed in folders where you can filter them by keywords:


Note: Unfortunately although the KB articles are updated the RSS feed wasn’t updated for a while. I hope this is will be repaired…

Tip #7: Get your own Twitter account and look for people to follow (1 hour)

A lot of bloggers now have Twitter accounts where they announce new blog posts or other things related to SharePoint.

My intention is to follow only people who post stuff related to my work and who doesn’t post personal stuff. Not all people post SharePoint related stuff, the things you are interested in or they post too much personal content. Just take a look at the persons tweets and you will know how often they update their stuff and what it’s about:


This is the Twitter client I use:

Get your own Twitter account:

You can follow me on Twitter:

Here are the people I like to listen to (the list isn’t complete and there are a lot more people worth following):

Note: If you don’t know whom to follow you can search Twitter for tags used by people who post SharePoint related stuff: #SP2010 or #SharePoint.

Tip #8: Let you invite to Google+ and build SharePoint circles (1 hour)

Join us at Goolgle+ since it seems to be a (the) new place where people share their content. It’s the same as Twitter so just take a look at a persons posts and you will see if it’s interesting for you or not.

If you need to find people talking about SharePoint you can take a look at the circles people have… often you find people connected because of a topic like SharePoint or just because they are friends.


Tip #9: Less is more so review your information sources (30 minutes)

Sometimes people aren’t up-to-date since they have so much information available that they can’t keep up with the flood. Review the feeds and tweets you get and remove information which you don’t need. This doesn’t mean that the content is bad. It just means that you don’t need it right now.

Another alternative is to store content in folders. If you need to find something you can use the search to filter its contents.

Tip #10: Please share this post and leave a comment (1 minute)

I’m sure this post isn’t complete… please leave a comment so I can add additional tips or share the post with the buttons at the top of the post so that someone else can make useful additions

How to allow anonymous users to comment on a SharePoint 2010 blog


We run anonymous SharePoint websites but have never setup an anonymous SharePoint blog. Fortunately those nice people at FPweb have given me a subscription to one of their SharePoint foundation plans. Now, I am a diehard WordPress blogger but I do think it is time to start using the platform that I blog about so earlier this year I started setting up my SharePoint blog which can be found at http://davecoleman.sharepointspace.com/blog/default.aspx a temporary name at the moment but give me time.

So the first post went up and luckily I was tweeted by Geraint Pugh saying that he could not comment. After much head scratching I managed to find the solution so read on for the how to-

First step from the site actions drop down choose view all site content


Click on the comments list and choose list from the ribbon

Next click on List permissions as shown below


You will then need to stop inheriting permissions for this list


Once you have broken inheritance, your view on the ribbon will change as illustrated below. You will need to click on anonymous access


Once clicked you will be presented with the dialogue box below and you will have to change the settings to allow Add Items – Add items to lists. This will enable your readers to post comments on your new shiny SharePoint Blog.


SharePoint Designer is very slow? Follow these practices to make your life easier


Many of us (rather all folks in SharePoint development2011-07-27-SPDSlow-02.png) encounter SharePoint Designer’s (SPD) slowness irrespective of the environment they are working on.

SharePoint designer is a terrific free tool (SHAREPOINT DESIGNER 2007 IS NOW FREE!) to work with SharePoint Pages. It provides a great amount of features you can use to build/edit SharePoint sites in IT-managed environments. You don’t need to be dependent on a deployment team for accessing servers and deployment of web parts. You can use the great unsung hero Data View Web Part as well as Silverlight Web Parts (will publish details in next blogs) to do almost anything without any involvement in deploying components on the servers.

But when you open SharePoint Designer and start using these features, the painful slowness of this tool makes you frustrated and you wonder about its usability. You start blaming Microsoft for this tool. Well, Microsoft is too big to answer to anyone. So instead of pondering, you can adhere to the following practices to make your life easier.

1.       Load the page in code view. It takes fewer resources and loads faster. Once code view is loaded completely, then you can switch to design/split view if need be. But try to stay in code view whenever possible.

2.       Open only necessary windows/applications on your computer. Close the mail client (a little harsh) if possible. The idea is to free up more CPU time and memory for SPDESIGN.exe (SharePoint Designer process EXE). Don’t click randomly and confuse SPD with a barrage of SOAP requests. Click once and wait for it to respond. It is like browsing the Internet or watching streamed video over a slow network. Free stuff must come with some patience.2011-07-27-SPDSlow-02.png

3.       Restart SharePoint Designer often. This will avoid the ‘out of memory’ issue. Save your work and close all designer windows before you head out for lunch.

4.        A RAM higher than 3 GB is preferable. I use SPD on two computers in the same network. One with 2 GB while the other is 4 GB. And, I can feel the difference in SPD performance.

5.       Work off SharePoint Designer if possible.  Export the page to your hard disk (File menu – Export – File). Open the files saved in your hard disk with SharePoint designer, make updates and then override the page using your browser or SharePoint Designer. Although, you may not be able to leverage features of SharePoint Designer, this trick comes in quite handy when SharePoint Designer hangs every time you try to open the page.

6.       When working with a large list in DVWP, check the checkbox under ‘Common Task Pane’ which says ‘Show with sample data”. This loads just 5 sample items instead of the complete data from data source. Also, make sure you have unchecked ‘Show data values’ at the bottom of Data Sources pane.


7.       Make sure you don’t have any closed web parts on the page. Even if you close the web parts on the page, it renders in SharePoint Designer when you load that page and contributes to more delays. Make sure, you go to theWeb Part maintenance page ([site page url]?contents=1 in the browser) and delete them.

8.       The efficient way to work with Data View Web Parts (DVWP) would be one DVWP on one page during development. For example, you are working on DVWP ‘A’ which should finally reside on a page where there are other DVWP’s already present. Don’t edit that particular page and work on DVWP ‘A’. Create a new blank web part page and complete developing the DVWP ‘A’ there. Once that is complete, export that web part using your browser and import https://nothingbutsharepoint.com/wp-content/themes/o4o206sb2smakbz7yz377r74961/files/2011/it on the final page. you can then delete dvwp ‘A’ from your development page and use that page for some other DVWP development (instead of creating another page).

9.       Turn off ‘Style Application’ or any toolbar which you are currently not using. You can turn it on again when you need them. Go to View menu2011-07-27-SPDSlow-03.pngToolbars and uncheck any toolbar option which you are not using. Uncheck ‘Quick Tag Selector’ under View menu. I normally even turn off the folder list pane. I keep just the code view pane open when I am working on a master page and page layouts. While working with Data View Web Parts, I just keep Code view (or Split view when necessary) and Data Sources panes open. 

I hope these tips help make your SharePoint Designer life a little bit easier.

Using SPContext.Current is no guarantee for great performance



It is a common best practice, while working with the SharePoint server API, to always use context objects whenever possible. Because they have been already instantiated by SharePoint itself, reusing context data doesn’t cause additional calls to the database and allows you to create good performing solutions. However, just because you use SPContext.Current in your code, doesn’t mean your solution is built properly.

An easy example of how things can go wrong

Imagine the following scenario. You have a Page Library with some Publishing Pages in it that you provisioned together with your Web Template. Every page has a column called MetaDescription. You were given the task of generating a meta description tag in the head section containing the contents of the MetaDescription column.

To include the value of the MetaDescription column as a meta tag in your page you created a custom control and added it to the head section of the page in the Master Page. The code of the custom control might resemble the following snippet:

When you refresh the page and view the HTML source, you should see the meta description tag rendered – just as expected. There is however one thing behind the scenes that isn’t working as expected.

If you take a closer look at the ULS log while loading your page you will see the following warning:


How come an additional roundtrip is being caused in spite of the fact that we are using the SPContext.Current.ListItem in our code?

Under the hood

It turns out that whenever you request a Publishing Page, SharePoint will preload the data from that page so that you can retrieve it quickly without causing extra calls to the database. In this process SharePoint uses information about the Content Type of the requested Publishing Page. The content of every column that belongs to that Content Type is being preloaded for quick retrieval.

However, if you try to load data from outside the Content Type SharePoint will need to make additional roundtrip to the database to retrieve that data. If you measure the time required to display the data that hasn’t been preloaded you can easily see how big the performance impact is.


A common reason for causing additional roundtrips to the database is when you don’t bind your custom Content Type to the List prior to creating a Publishing Page or you don’t set explicitly the Content Type while provisioning Publishing Pages declaratively. Although the page will be created, if you take a closer look at its Content Type you will see that it’s using the standard Page Content Type rather than your custom Content Type.


The Solution

To avoid additional roundtrips to the Content Database, when working with context data you should ensure that all the data is available within the Content Type of the context page and that the page is using the right Content Type. When provisioning Publishing Pages you should always ensure that the Content Type has been bound to the list. To verify that everything is working as expected you should check the ULS log regularly during the development process to make sure no additional roundtrips to the database are being caused.


Productivity Tips for SharePoint Users: Background 1/12


2011-07-26-ProductivityTips-Part01-01.pngOver the past month or so, I worked on a presentation that resulted in demonstrations of the TOP 10 Productivity Tips for SharePoint Users. I will cover this in a series of blog posts..this one as the introduction, then each of the 10 tips, and finally a summary of feedback from people who have seen it, or read this! - so this is 1/12!

The preso, was something that started with asking a good number of my SharePoint colleagues for their TOP three tips, what they believed contributed to improvement of productivity. The rules : Simple but Effective.

So a big thank you, to a huge number of people who contributed ideas, and points. I won’t list them all, although I displayed many of their photos, on the preso slides :) - it was awesome to see the collaboration from everyone towards this and the time they took to respond was most appreciated. This is what we discussed….

What are the TOP THREE things you have seen, that shows how SharePoint improves Productivity?

These can be simple – but effective ways you think users USE SharePoint most– they could be the MOST frequently used part of your intranet, internet or team site – how SharePoint revolutionizes and improves certain things you do – some cool webpart you have seen on a site, anything…what do you do in SharePoint that helps save time, work smarter, improve efficiencies…

By the way - I would welcome any more TIPS - please email me, or add comments to this blog!

I then collated all the feedback into segments, which helped derive the TOP 10 - of course there could have been more easily added, and the order would definitely change for some…but overall, the responses were similar enough in content, to build into 10, and they all pointed out similar things…

Productivity was about

  • Working together on stuff
  • Using more of what you have
  • Finding Stuff!

It was not about

  • Complex Solutions
  • Not specifically about Document Management….

I also have to reference Dr Nitin Paranjape, an Office MVP, whose preso I watched, about Office Productivity, as I really liked his term "Translating Technology into Business Benefit!" He also spoke of the huge number of icons within Office applications, and the very few that users, actually use!

The same is true of SharePoint - the interesting things here…..is it’s because they are not needed? or not Known about??? - in the majority of cases "not known about" is more likely…given lack of training or knowledge in the apps, and how they can work for you.

So the session was then broken into the 10 tips (Number one being the highest rated) - I do have to admit, I had to reorder some, to make the demo work - especially when presented to a VERY Business (sometimes not SharePoint Users) audience- but I am now using this to demo to execs and so forth, on the benefits of SharePoint in relation to how it affects productivity!

For the sessions I did at user groups recently, I asked the audience to provide feedback, on their order (of priority of the tips), their effectiveness rating of each of the tips and ALSO any new ones - I will collate and report on these in the final blog!

I also did this preso, at the Mindjet Productivity Tour in Australia - see here. I will include a section on Mindjet and SharePoint throughout these posts

Each tip will be framed up as follows:


This shows the SharePoint feature that is being demonstrated for each tip.


This is the associated tip..


And then there was a demonstration, of the specific examples related to the tip, which showed WHY it enhances productivity…which I will explain through each post…

….so keep an eye on this post, and I will tweet (@debbieireland) whenever I get around to loading the next one……

And again, any feedback appreciated!

Why You Should Upgrade To SharePoint 2010


2011-07-26-SP2007and2010-01.jpgMicrosoft SharePoint has been around since 2001 and is one of the top business collaboration resources around. However, it wasn’t until the SharePoint 2007 (known as Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 or MOSS 2007) release that businesses really started to harness the power of online collaboration. The latest SharePoint 2010 version goes even further and offers sought after services straight out of the box.

So what is actually the difference between SharePoint 2007 and 2010? Well what a difference three years makes. This post looks at the key differences between SharePoint 2007 and the latest 2010 release and why SharePoint 2010 is widely considered to be what SharePoint 2007 should have been but wasn’t!

Improving social networking capability

A lot has changed in the World since 2007 and one of the biggest is the online explosion of social networking websites. SharePoint 2010 has dramatically improved its capability in this arena with the addition of personal blogs, tagging and activity feeds within its social networking sites - MySites.

Wiki and blog integration in MOSS 2007 wasn’t great and was widely panned by experts for not being user friendly. Usability has been a key focus for SharePoint 2010 and as a result this has been dramatically improved.

Similarly, community interaction within SharePoint 2007 was pretty poor and has been given a makeover with user interfaces similar to Facebook profile pages. SharePoint 2010 has also added keyword tagging so that content can be found quicker.

SharePoint 2010 is even following in Twitters footsteps by adding micro blogging and activity feeds into the service.

Working offline

SharePoint 2010 makes up some ground on the likes of Lotus Notes with SharePoint Workspace. Workspace makes SharePoint libraries, lists and forms accessible offline. This is a huge step forward and helps to improve the productivity and efficiency of the users.

Better connection to line-of-business data

Previous versions of SharePoint have had difficulties when trying the access enterprise software systems. Microsoft has made significant improvements to integrate more business data in SharePoint 2010 by using its BCS (Business Connectivity Services) suite.

A recent Forrester report cited that the BCS helps make SharePoint 2010 the "connective tissue that bridges line-of-business systems and knowledge worker systems". The previous iteration of BCS, called BDC (Business Data Catalog), could bring only line-of-business data into SharePoint. BCS will provide both read and write access between business applications and SharePoint 2010.

Developing SharePoint Apps

Improvements to the design tool SharePoint Designer means that developers will need to deal less with coding. Tighter integration between Visual Studio and SharePoint, and built-in support for Silverlight is a great improvement on its predecessor MOSS 2007.

Sharepoint 2010 For Improved Efficiency And Improved Return On Investment

Most businesses which have upgraded to Sharepoint 2010 are finding that the productivity improvements and new developer toolsets provided for SharePoint 2010 enables faster development and greater efficiency which allows for the creation of higher quality solutions, with less defects and deployment issues. This will in turn lead to a lower overall development cost, reduced total solution cost, and provide a larger return on investment for businesses.

Justin Butcher is a marketing executive and copywriter for MSM Software, a leading UK Sharepoint consultant.