Archive for February, 2009

VSeWSS v1.3 – Feb 2009 CTP released

February 21st, 2009 by Tobias Zimmergren

As I know this is a popular tool for some of you guys reading this blog (I’ll leave my own comments on the tool unsaid for now) – you can now download the latest February CTP from the Microsoft Download site.

VSeWSS 1.3 February 2009 CTP has been released, go on and grab it here: Visual Studio 2008 Extensions for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, v1.3 – Feb 2009 CTP

Some of the highlighted features include, but are not limited to:

  • Can be installed on x64 Server OS machines running SharePoint x64. Previously only x86 Server OS could be used
  • Separate build commands for package, deploy and retract are added as Visual Studio menu items
  • WSP View improvements for consistency of deleting feature elements, merging features and adding event receivers to features
  • Command line build, package and retract commands are included enabling continuous integration and build servers. Previously command line build of SharePoint projects was very difficult
  • Refactoring support for renaming of Web Parts. Previously renaming a web part required changes in several files in the project
  • Solution Generator can now generate solutions from publishing sites. Previously only regular sites could be generated
  • Allowing partial trust BIN deployments of web parts
  • New project item template for SharePoint RootFiles items
  • Deployment will now optionally remove conflicting existing features on the development server prior to redeployment. Previously any feature name conflicts would result in an error
  • Ancillary assemblies such as for business logic can now be added to the SharePoint Solution WSP
  • Hidden features related to Site Definition projects are now shown in WSP View. They are no longer hidden
  • For advanced users a fast deploy is included to update only the compiled assembly on the SharePoint development installation
  • Deployment step logging is included
  • The List Definition from Content Type template now allows for the creation of a List Definition Event Receiver
  • The User Guide is now installed with the extensions instead of being a separate download

Note: This release is not officially supported by Microsoft (Being a CTP), so if you bump into trouble – you don’t really have any official support from Microsoft on your related issues.

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Microsoft SharePoint Online Service Level Agreement (SLA)

February 20th, 2009 by Tobias Zimmergren

Quickie!

For those of you interested in SharePoint Online, you can now find more information on the SLA on the following link which Microsoft Download released yesterday:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=069df92a-4f58-45e3-bbf8-93ed6bcb61d1&displaylang=en&tm#filelist

Microsoft Online Services Release Notes

February 16th, 2009 by Tobias Zimmergren

A new set of Release Notes for Microsoft Online Services were released yesterday. For those of you interested in the Microsoft Online Services, you should check it out.

Below are some good links touching the Microsoft Online Services.

Microsoft Online Release Notes
Download here

Microsoft Online Services Single Sign-on application
Download here

Microsoft SharePoint Online Standard Developer Guide
Download here

Microsoft SharePoint Online Standard Service Description (Dec08)
Download here

/Z out.

SharePoint Online – A first look

February 12th, 2009 by Tobias Zimmergren

Author: Tobias Zimmergren
Blog:
http://www.zimmergren.net

Introduction

In this article I will be talking a bit about SharePoint Online, which is hosted up somewhere by the clouds. I intend to do a few articles surrounding SharePoint Online and it’s related services and what possibilities it brings to your organization.

My Swedish readers, this is for you:
You may have noticed that you can’t really access this service in Sweden just yet – this is because there haven’t been any official launch yet – if you hold your breath for a couple of weeks, you’ll see some interesting things. Psst, I hope to see many of you at TechDays 2009 in Västerås, 17-18th of March, where there will be some great news presented. </hint>

Microsoft Online Services – A brief overview

With Microsoft Online Services you can get a full suite of components to meet (some of) the needs of your organization.

Exchange Online
You’ll get full e-mail functionality from the services (read: Exchange Online) with enterprise messaging solutions that have improved security. Web-access to your mail from anywhere as well as client support as usual. Much improved control and management of the system, foremost since you don’t actually have to do any hardware and scalability configuration as you normally do.
Availability: Comes in Standard and Dedicated flavors.

SharePoint Online (hooray)
One of my favorites is that it offers fully hosted internet services (read: SharePoint Online) with full integration to desktop applications. In other words, SharePoint and Office integration and more.
With SharePoint Online you get a secure and central location to collaborate with your mates in the organization. But you know all of that already, so I’m not going to sell in SharePoint here – you’re probably already sold anyway.
Availability: Comes in Standard and Dedicated flavors.

Office Live Meeting
Run meetings over the web with Live Meeting with support for remote attendees, desktop sharing, whiteboards, speaker video, rich-media presentations, web-cam support, event- and class registration and what not. Basically you’ll get the same support as previous Live Meeting applications. I admit that this is not my specialty, so I’ll leave it at this.

Office Communications Online
Online communication services with text-based messaging. Currently only available with the Dedicated solution but will be available with the standard suite soon.
Availability: Dedicated (Standard will soon be available as well)

What do I need in order to get access to these services?

All you need to do in order to try this out, is to visit http://www.microsoft.com/online/default.mspx and go to “Free Trials”.
Note: Some services may not be available in your country or region yet – but it’s coming soon enough.

Then, you’ll need to understand that you do not require any hardware, you will not need to configure and administer the servers and put down more than your full day on those kinds of things – it’s all in the cloud, scalable by a click! Now that’s what I call a service!

SharePoint Online – Administration of the services – Overview

Now that we’ve looked briefly at an overview of these services, we’ll focus on what we know best – SharePoint. I will cover some of the administrative pages you’ll be presented with (I’ll keep it SharePoint-centric this time). I will not go deep into the details on each page in this post, but will cover more ground in the upcoming few posts on the subject. Keep your eyes open.

Global Administration

When you first login with your SharePoint Online account in order to access your administrative control panel, it will look something like depicted in the images below.

Home Administration

Overview of the administration interface
On this page you will be presented with a general overview of your incomplete tasks as an administrator, the status of the different services and also an Actions-panel to perform additional configuration
image

Information panel
The information panel on the left-hand side provides consistent tips and help for common tasks related to the page you’re currently viewing. If you’re looking at the “Users” tab, it may contain some specific tips for those tasks just as it may contain other tips if you visit another page.
image

Middle panel
The front page provides you with a panel in the middle to see the current status of the services, depicted below is the Exchange Online and SharePoint Online services. There’s also a list of tasks that should be done before going live, as well as a link to download the client SSO-application.
image

Actions panel
The Actions panel follows you along as well on a bunch of pages, providing you with alternatives for your administration – instant action.
image

Users – Overview Administration

Licensing for Services
You will be presented with an overview of your license and the current status of it. No need to do further inventory management on lost licenses, it’s all done per auto. That’s what I’ve been waiting for, no more hassle with the licensing-jungle :-)
image

Users – User List Administration

Views
Contains a set of optional views if you’ve got plenty of users, enabling you to more easily administer them by grouping/filtering your views

User management (middle and right panels)
From the middle area of this page, you can administer all of your users and get an overview of their login-status. Using the Actions panel to the right, you can add new users, edit current users and do user-related tasks in general.
image

Users – Domains Administrations

Simple enough, administer your domains. More on this in an upcoming post.
image 

Support

On this page you will find the first and initial resources for you to use if you bump into issues and problems with your account and service. You can open new service requests from this page, and see the status of current service requests that are active.
In general terms, although it’s an service that doesn’t require any manual configurations with hardware, sort of, you always have a line of support ready for your tickets if you find that something isn’t working the way it’s supposed to. If that doesn’t help, you can always escalate the matters further.
image

Service Settings – Overview

Now to the fun part. Under the Service Settings tab, you’ll find an overview of your usage of the services which you’ve purchased. In my case, I’m running SharePoint Online and Exchange Online – and I can see how much of the available storage I have used.
image

Service Settings – SharePoint Online

I’m skipping Exchange online and Live meeting, and shoots right at the target with SharePoint Online.

Basically what we see here is the first real page of our SharePoint configuration, where we can create, manage and delete site collections. Instead of Central Administration that many of you might be familiar with, this is the place you’ll need to get more familiar with to start with.
image

As this is just an overview post, I will save the details about creating and managing site collections for another post.

Site Settings

If you click on the "Site Settings" link, you’ll be presented with something you should be fairly familiar with – namely the Site Settings page of your site – in the cloud.

image

Summary

This article was nothing but an overview of the service you can use, and in the next few posts I will be talking very briefly about some of the following bullets:

  • Site Administration (Creating site collections, managing site collections)
  • Hooking up Exchange Online to use with your SharePoint Online platform
  • Customizations using SharePoint Designer

Backing up your local Subversion repositories using Live Mesh

February 5th, 2009 by Tobias Zimmergren

Author: Tobias Zimmergren
Url: http://www.zimmergren.net

Introduction

Mostly, I’m using my Server 2008 setup to manage my Subversion repositories – however, now that I’m doing some re-installations and configs with the 2008 machine, I might not want/need to use it anymore.

Anyway, the reason for this post is the fact that I found Subversion together with Live Mesh to be a cool solution for syncing your SVN repo with your Live Mesh desktop.

I’m not sure if it’s officially supported, but it was a fun idea and it seems to work thus far. At least for minor repos.

Do it!

  • Create a Live Mesh folder on your drive:
    image
     
  • Create a folder in the LiveDesktop folder, and check it out
     image
  • Now your folder, containing your Subversion repo – will sync to Live Mesh as soon as you make any updates to it:
    image

Summary

So, while this may not be the best solution for your scenario – I found it to work for the time being, without the need for an actual Subversion server being available all the time with backups etc. (You can setup a local subversion server in your VPC if you’d like – and use Live Mesh as a sync)

Note: I don’t know if this is a supported solution, and I don’t know what effect it may have on performance, long-term backups, collaboration on projects etc.
For my one-person projects I do for fun – it’s working good though.

So, don’t walk away from this post in the belief that this is the ultimate solution for handling backups and/or syncing stuff. Far from it, but at least a fun experiment.

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SharePoint Diagnostics Tool (SPDiag) – Released today

February 4th, 2009 by Tobias Zimmergren

Okay, this isn’t a “thought on development” but it’s for sure good news for the admin-guys out there..

Today Microsoft Download Center released a new tool for Administrators and monitoring-people, namely a tool called SPDiag.

Basically, I’ll let the Microsoft Download Center speak for itself;

The SharePoint Diagnostic tool (SPDiag) version 1.0, included with the latest release of the SharePoint Administration Toolkit, was created to simplify and standardize troubleshooting of SharePoint Products and Technologies, and to provide a unified view of collected data. SharePoint Products and Technologies administrators can use SPDiag to gather relevant information from a farm, display the results in a meaningful way, identify performance issues, and export the collected data and reports for analysis by Microsoft support personnel.

Documentation

The overview and documentation of the tool can be downloaded here:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=1c222804-51c7-4bb5-ae3d-89c68ad27a78&displaylang=en&tm

Download

The tool is bundled with the latest release of the SharePoint Administration Toolkit which you can search for here (depending on what version you want (x86/x64):

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/results.aspx?pocId=&freetext=SharePoint%20Administration%20Toolkit&DisplayLang=en#

Update/Edit 2009-02-05

Microsoft just released the v3.0 version of the SharePoint Administration Toolkit. Use the link above and you’ll see it in the search results.

Cheers!

Author: Tobias Zimmergren
Url:
http://www.zimmergren.net

What is VSeWSS?

VSeWSS is a plugin to Visual Studio that adds a set of functionality which may help you in your daily tasks as a SharePoint developer. The plugin comes with a basic set of templates, and a great set of functionality which I’ll try to outline here.

Overview of the main functionality

Project Templates
  • Team Site Definition
  • Blank Site Definition
  • List Definition
  • Web Parts
  • Empty project

image

 

Item Templates (which you can add to the project templates)
  • List Definition (+ from Content Type)
  • Content Type
  • Field Control
  • Web part
  • Module
  • Root File
  • Event Receiver
  • List Instance

image

SharePoint Solution Generator 1.3

A new version of the SharePoint Solution Generator is also being published along with this tool, which adds some functionality to it’s predecessor.

WSP View

WSP View is a functionality which helps you with the manifest and gives you a visual overview over the contents of the *.WSP file.

image

That being said, you don’t need to create those manual manifest.xml and .ddf files anymore (but then again, if you’re using the “sent-from-above” tool WSP Builder by my Danish MVP colleague – Carsten Keutmann – then you’re probably already free from that hassle!

Automatic deployment (on your dev-machine)

You can develop your stuff, and use the “click-once” deployment method to get your stuff hooked up on your local development environment with no hassle at all.

Bin / GAC deployment now an active choice

When you create e.g. a Web Part project, you’ll be presented with this nifty query:
image
Note: At the time of this release, the CAS permissions that are automatically presented and hooked up for your assembly are “a few standard ones” – it doens’t nessecarily mean that your application will work unless you add additional CAS statements. You’ll have to make sure of that yourself!

Basically, put all things in the bin folder if you can, and secure it with proper CAS!

Alternatives to VSeWSS

Of course, I’ll have to mention some of the alternatives to using VSeWSS as well, as all tools doesn’t fit in every mans hand.

Summary

That’s a wrap for today, just a little peak at the 1.3 version of the VSeWSS for Visual Studio 2008.

Myself, I usually do things more controlled than letting this tool manipulate and create all the stuff – but for someone beginning SharePoint development and don’t have the time and/or need to know where all the configs and files should go – give it a shot, it’ll save you tons of time!

Have a good day,

Cheers,
Z

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