Posts Tagged ‘BPOS’

SharePoint Online – Customization – Part 2

March 11th, 2009 by Tobias Zimmergren

Author: Tobias Zimmergren


I previously wrote an Introduction to SharePoint Online which was highly appreciated, so now I’m doing a quick follow-up on how you can easily customize the appearance of your SharePoint Online site.

Since we today can’t really do any customizations using .wsp packages or deploying custom code on the standard services, we’ll have to use the SharePoint Designer to do our customizations.

I will show you a quick-intro on how you can get started with customization of your sites in SharePoint Online.


If you want to be able to follow along with this article yourself, please make sure that you’ve fulfilled the requirements below:

  • SharePoint Online Site Collection
    • This will work with any OOB installation you’ve got as well though
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer
  • You’ve got some custom Master Page lying around
    • If not, grab the WSS 3.0 Example Master Pages from Microsoft here
  • Single Sign-in application installed
    • You can download the Single Sign-in application from your Microsoft Online Services Admin portal

Preparing for customization with SharePoint Designer

You should install the Single Sign-in application, and log in to your account, before proceeding past this point. The application looks like this, and you should see something like the following once logged in:

Once logged in, you should have the icon down in your system tray, and don’t need to worry about it anymore – you’re always logged in (the blue square-ish icon, compare to the image’s titlebar-icon above):

This is what your site basically looks like from scratch

Out of the box, our default.master looks like this (I’ve made it squeeze into the frame here):

SharePoint Designer – here we come

Now that we’re always logged in, and don’t need to worry about providing credentials all the time, let’s proceed with SharePoint Designer.

Open SharePoint Designer, open your Site to edit, get a move on
  • In an ordinary fashion, open SharePoint Designer and open your site:
    • File – Open Site
    • URL of the Site Collection
    • Let’s roll!

This is what it might look like when you open your SPOL site using SPD

Customize the Site Collection

There’s a few options you’ve got when you want to customize the Site Collection from here.
One option is of course to create new and/or modify existing Master Pages in the Site Collection – which is our task for the day. We are going to modify the default.master so it will match our corporate branding, and in order to do that you can follow along with the following steps.

Note: I’m not digging down into the css/master pages right now, if you want more information on how that works – I urge you to check out for great resources on branding.

Note 2: I’m using the WSS 3.0 Example Master pages for this.

Step 1 – Import all the required resources

  • File – Import
  • Choose the "File" option
  • Click "Add Folder"
    • Select the folder where your _catalogs files reside
    • Repeat this for all resources you need (styles, images, what-not)
  • Repeat the aforementioned step for every new set of resources you want to import.

As a result, you may now have a bunch of .master files, a bunch of new images and a set of styles hooked up with your Site Collection. No beef there:

Example of importing folders into your Site Collection using SharePoint Designer

Step 2 – Validate the resources

Make sure the new files are in the right place in your Site Collection structure

  • _catalogs
    • masterpage
      • awesome1.master
      • awesome2.master
      • awesome3.master
  • images
    • CompanyNamedFolder
      • zimmergrenHeader.png
      • zimmergrenLikesSharePointOnline.png
    • imageFile1.gif
    • imageFile2.png
  • styles
    • CorporateNamedFolder
      • zimmerCustomCSS.css
      • tozitAwesomeCSS.css
    • styleFile1.css
    • styleFile2.css

Step 3 – Modify the default.master and apply our corporate branding

To make this quick’n'easy, we’re going to use the completely ready master pages from the example package I mentioned earlier.

  • Open any of the new .master pages
    • Copy the entire content
  • Open the default.master page
    • Replace the entire content with the one in your clipboard
  • Save
  • Smile and cross your fingers (not really needed, but it’s more fun this way..)

The default.master has now been customized, and the all-too-familiar information icon appears right next to the file, telling us that it’s customized from the definition. From there, we can of course always right click and choose "Reset to Site Definition" in order to revert any and all changes we’ve done.

Step 3 – Alternative approach (Recommended if you don’t want to mess with the original)

If you don’t want to replace the contents of the default.master, you can of course simply cut to the chase by clicking one of your other .master pages and choose "Set as Default Master Page" in order for it to be set as the default master without replacing the actual default.master:

Final results

If all goes well, we should now see our "branded" master page with some new images, some custom css and a bit of a new look to it, like this:


So, in this article I showed you how you easily can alter the look and feel of your SharePoint Online site by using the Example master Pages provided from Microsoft.

I’ve been getting a lot of questions regarding weather or not it is possible to actually DO ANYTHING with your SharePoint Online installation.
The answer is: Yes. But it’s quite limited. We will discuss the limitations and more fine-grained possibilities with the Standard vs. Dedicated options another time.

Microsoft SharePoint Online Service Level Agreement (SLA)

February 20th, 2009 by Tobias Zimmergren


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:

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


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 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

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.

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.

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

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 :-)

Users – User List Administration

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.

Users – Domains Administrations

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


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.

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.

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.

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.



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

Author: Tobias Zimmergren

SharePoint Online, Standard – How do we develop and customize?

Today Microsoft released the whitepaper called “SharePoint Online Standard Developer Guide Dec 2008” which is a document that will walk you through how you can get started with customizations and development on the SharePoint Online platform. (aka. the cloud)

TOC Overview

The main sections described in this document are as follows;

  • Getting Started
  • Creating SharePoint Online Sites
  • Customizing SharePoint Online Applications
  • Using a Data Form Web Part in SharePoint Online Applications
  • Using SharePoint online Web Services

Download whitepaper

You can download the whitepaper from here:

Cheers, and enjoy!