Presenting at SharePoint Saturday Twin Cities about Microsoft’s eDiscovery platform found on-premise as well within Office 365. This year I have worked with several clients around both areas and found there are some sticking points that organizations need to be aware of ahead of time before implementing. You can check out the presentation here. Hope you get some good information from there. If you have any questions please post a comment!
Recently my colleagues and myself have run across situations where Microsoft Windows Server updates have been causing issues within the SharePoint environment. We have started a list of those that we have recently run across however we know that this is not a comprehensive listing, so please feel free to add comments on more that you may have found.
Typically with any of these issues the fix is as simple as uninstall and a reboot of the server. Also make sure whatever updating software you are using that you suspend these updates from being installed in the future.
KB 2844286 – Server 2008 R2 SP1 (More Details)
KB 2844285 – Server 2003 SP2 (MS has released an update More Details)
KB 2844287 – Server 2008 SP2 (More Details)
KB 2840633 – Server 2012 (More Details)
I will update this list when we find more or if Microsoft actually fixes these fixes!
Recently I had the opportunity to speak at the MN Project Users Group about using SharePoint 2013 for Project Management. Within the 2013 realm there are multiple options for Project Management depending upon what your overall needs are.
Ultimately during this and a previous version of the presentation I heard organizations are looking for different types of solutions for different types of projects. Light weight and low cost solutions for small and medium projects and more robust solutions for enterprise level projects. Personally what I have seen as utilizing SharePoint out of the box features (2007 to 2013 versions) works for those smaller and medium size projects. And those large projects that need a lot of oversight, visibility, time tracking, etc. you would want to use a product like Project Server 2013.
Now I am not a Project Server guru, but I do understand the capability of needing to roll-up projects for visibility. I also know that in the past Project Server has been a little clunky. However from what I saw from the co-presenter for this session made me become more of a believer of the product.
Here is the SlideShare for this event. Hope you enjoy it! MPUG SharePoint 2013 and Project Management
Last week, I had an opportunity to dive into SharePoint 2013 and the Search Query Rules for a presentation I did at TechFuse. Part of that presentation was talking about Search Query Rules. This feature in SharePoint 2013 replaces Keywords and Best Bets found in 2007 and 2010. This feature allows for organizations to target specific content based on the keywords and synonyms that are search on. This can be used for a variety of different scenarios including (for the intranet) targeted company information such as benefits enrollment. One of the best features is the ability to set a review and publishing start and end dates.
Most of the features are the same as in previous versions of SharePoint with exception to the visual best bet. In SharePoint 2010 if you had FAST installed there is a feature called visual best bet which allows you to point to an image or page stored within SharePoint. This was pretty straight forward. In SharePoint 2013 they now have a checkbox where you check to “Render the URL as a banner instead of as a hyperlink”. This replaces the Visual Best Bet.
By checking that box if your page is a web page you will receive the following associated to your best bet.
Upon looking at the item SharePoint is embedding the promoted item banner as an iFrame in the search results with a fixed width of 500 pixels x 150 pixels. That does not render well and is a problem in my opinion. Based on this information if you were to use an image and create a secondary promoted item you would have to crop that image and get it to be just right.
Another innovation within SharePoint 2013 is something called Image Renditions. SharePoint allows any image that is added into the environment and has a content type of an image the ability to render different versions. For example:
Out of the box options for Image Renditions include:
- Display Template Pictures 3 Lines: 100 x 100 pixels
- Display Template Video: 120 x 60 pixels
- Display Template Picture on Top: 304 x 100 pixels
- Display Template Large Picture: 468 x 220 pixels
Also, when you are in Image Renditions for a specific image you have the capability of adjusting the picture to focus on a specific part of the image.
Based on this new feature we can have some fun with Promoted Items and Image Renditions.
- Create a new Image Rendition by going to Settings > Site Settings > Look and Feel section > Image Renditions
- Click on Add new item just above the existing Image Renditions
- Give a name such as “Promoted Result” and give a Width of 500 and Height of 150 and Save
- Navigate to a Media Library within the site collection and add an image
- After upload hover over the image and click on the More ellipses (. . . ) to access the image menu
- Choose Edit Renditions
- Adjust the focus of the image by finding the new Promoted Result image rendition and click on “Click to change”
- Once completed then copy the URL, which now includes RenditionID syntax “http://~CorporateHero.jpg?RenditionID=5”
- Go into Search Query Result found in Site Settings > Site Collection Administration > Search Query Rules and use the copied URL
Once completed you should see the results immediately when searching.
Personally I love the Image Renditions feature and plan on using it for other day to day activities within SharePoint 2013. Enjoy!
<Update June 4, 2013>
Keep in mind when working with SharePoint there seems to always be a catch. The catch here is that publishing features need to be enabled for image renditions to work. You will also need to enable Blob Caching in order for the feature to be available. Here is a post by Tony Phillips that describes that process: http://www.tonyishere.co.uk/?p=349.
As with any new release there is an associated learning curve for anybody within the industry. In the past, Microsoft would rely solely on Microsoft Learning Centers to help get the information out. For SharePoint 2013 they are starting to do more. Recently multiple Learning Roadmaps for SharePoint 2013 were released to help IT Professionals understand what has changed with the platform. These Learning Roadmaps are broken down into:
- Authentication in SharePoint 2013
- Upgrade for SharePoint 2013
- Virtualize SharePoint 2013
- Windows PowerShell for SharePoint 2013
Within each of these Learning Roadmaps Microsoft breaks the information down into: Prerequisite information, 100 through 300 Level information, Ongoing Learning and other resources. A very handy tool for gaining knowledge on the SharePoint 2013 platform.
SharePoint 2013 Learning Roadmaps
Additionally it should be noted that the SharePoint 2013 certification path has changed, and in my opinion, for the better. My colleague Brian Caauwe wrote a post last October detailing the new and upgrade certifications for SharePoint 2013 within a post of SharePoint 2013 IT Pro Certifications. In essence for an IT Pro to be certified with SharePoint 2013 they will need to have their MCSA for Windows Server 2012. That is correct, you will need to understand the underlying server platform along with the SharePoint 2013 platform to become fully certified!
Luckily if you already have your SharePoint 2010 MCITP then it is a single exam (70-417 Upgrading Your Skills to MCSA Windows Server 2012) that you will need to worry about.
With all that said, I believe all of us will be putting in some time and studying to get ready for this within the coming year. Good luck to all going after your certifications.
Thank you for an incredible year. I appreciate all the great comments and information you shared with me in 2012 and I hope to continue on with more of this information in 2013.
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One of the major improvements I had heard about prior to the SPC2012 was some of the advancements with the User Profile. So I was really anticipating this session.
Shei Adenouga started off with some information about issues with User Profile synchronization in the past and how these have been dealt with in SharePoint 2013. Examples of this improved performance include:
- Synchronization steps: a typical sync within SharePoint 2010 there are three different provisioning steps. This has been reduced for 2013.
- Importing of a BCS connection is now done in batches.
- Adding indexes to certain user properties to eliminate the need for full table scans.
- Cleaned up historical data: most organizations experienced this over time that the historical back data would make the synchronization slower. This was primarily because Forefront Identity Manager (FIM) would retain error and informational data. In SP2013 the data is automatically removed after 7 days.
Overall the performance of using FIM with SharePoint 2013 has dramatically increased to the tune of around 300,000 users can be synchronized within 7 hours. The interesting thing that I found out was that Microsoft did not just keep those improvements for the the newer version of SharePoint. These have become available for SharePoint 2010 in the June 2012 Cumulative Updates.
There has also been some interesting changes around the User Profile database. SharePoint 2013 includes many more social features which are attributed to the individual user. All of User Profile Social Data information is now being kept within the individual users My Sites. The improved social feeds are now coming from the My Site content databases.
One of the most significant changes is something that was not a new addition but bringing back a feature from SharePoint 2007. Within SharePoint 2010 we only had the capability of setting up a synchronization by using FIM. There were many times we did not necessarily need that much horse power and wanted to do a simple connection to AD. AD Import Mode was brought back to SharePoint 2013 which really helps smaller organizations with a more lightweight method for AD importing. The tool now has the capability for selecting a specific OU to import users into SharePoint. The Farm administrator also has the capability of adding an LDAP filter to help narrow the scope. This can be used with an AD Forest with multiple domains, however you would have to create a connection per domain.
It is possible to switch between AD Import Mode to FIM integrated, however understand that some of the limitations with AD Import Mode will cause issues. Some of the limitations include:
- Custom Property Mappings – simple data types, strings, and integers
- Can only work with AD, no LDAP directories or Novell
- Synchronization is only one way
The last thing the Sheyi talked about was a new SharePoint Connector for organizations that have deployed Forefront Identity Manager 2010 R2. FIM 2010 R2 allows an organization to consolidate their identity information and management on one server thus allowing Microsoft applications to tap into this information for an overall better experience of self-service identity management. This is a great tool for larger organizations who need to use this application for self-service password resets, creating and administering security policies.
I am pretty happy to hear about some of this advancements with the User Profile service. I am definitely looking forward to hearing from my clients as to what this means to them.