Sunday, February 26, 2012

SharePoint 2010 Products: Upgrade and the Fabulous 40 Application Templates

Many of us have used the "Fabulous 40 templates" that were created for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. Some of these templates were created as site admin templates (.stp files) and some as server admin templates (.wsp files). Microsoft is not releasing new versions of these templates for SharePoint 2010 Products. Also, .stp files are deprecated and can't be used to create new sites when you upgrade to SharePoint Server 2010 or SharePoint Foundation 2010.
So, what do you do when you want to upgrade?
Sites based on these templates should upgrade, but you'll want to try out your upgrade in a test environment before you upgrade your production environment so that you can catch any potential issues. Definitely use the pre-upgrade checker to identify any issues (some people have seen problems with custom workflows or CAML-based views in the templates). However, after upgrade, you won't be able to use STP files to create new templates.
Type of templateCan I upgrade sites based on this template?Will I be able to use the template after upgrade?
Site admin (.stp file or site template)YesNo
Server admin (.wsp file or solution package)Yes*Yes*

*There are issues with a few of the .wsp files after upgrade. In particular, after upgrading, some customers are unable to create new sites based on the following templates: Absence Request and Vacation Schedule Management, Call Center, Help Desk, IT Team Workspace, Knowledge Base, and Physical Asset Tracking and Management. If you have trouble using any of these templates, you can post an issue in the SharePoint 2010 – Setup, Upgrade, Administration and Operation TechNet Forum at, or contact Microsoft Product Support.

So, what do you do if you're using an .stp file and you want to continue using it after upgrade? You can convert the .stp file to a .wsp file manually. To do this, in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 or Office SharePoint Server 2007, create a site based on the template, and then upgrade the site to 2010. Then, follow this procedure:
  1. On the Site Actions menu in the site, click Site Settings.
  2. On the Site Settings page, under Site Actions, click Save site as Template.
  3. On the Save as Template page, enter a file name and Template name and then click OK.
  4. The site template is saved as a WSP file to the Solutions Gallery for that site collection and you can create new sites based on that solution.
TechSolutions has already converted some of these templates to 2010 for you. Take a look at

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Script installations to save time and maintain consistencies

As SharePoint gets more and more complex, the use of scripted installations is essential to maintaining consistencies in your different staging environment. With the introduction and tight integration of PowerShell in SharePoint 2010, PowerShell has taken scripted installations to a whole new level. You should always use a scripted installation to not only save time, but to make sure that your installations look the same, allowing you to easily set up a new farm in case of a disaster.

There are a number of scripts out there to help you get started. The codeplex project AutoSPInstaller is a very good resource:

Friday, February 17, 2012

Awesome SharePoint-powered Sites

Great article from TopSharePoint awesome list of SharePoint-based websites that really stand out.


SharePoint : Choose Cloud or On-Premises?

Determining whether to use SharePoint Online instead of on-premises SharePoint can be complicated.Here’s a simple set of questions to help determine if SharePoint Online makes sense
Are you already using custom-coded SharePoint solutions, such as third-party tools or in-house Visual Web Parts?
Are you free from strict geographic control and accountability for your SharePoint content ?
Do you already have SharePoint engineers on staff?
Do you have a limited IT capital budget, but significant IT operating budgets?
Do you have a mature, on-premises installation of SharePoint 2010?
Do you have access to dedicated SharePoint developers?
Do you have as many or more users outside your corporate network as you do inside the firewall?
Do you need to downsize or eliminate physical servers and data centers used with SharePoint?
Do you need to migrate off a legacy installation of SharePoint 2007 or Windows SharePoint Services 3.0?
Do you need to rapidly set up a pilot or proof-of-concept SharePoint site, independent of any current usage?
Do you project growth to a very large content pool over the next year (500GB or more)?
Do you use or need to use SharePoint-hosted business intelligence solutions such as Performance Point?

Add up your scores, and see how you match up:
32: You are probably already on SharePoint Online or Office 365.    

24-31: You are a strong candidate for SharePoint Online. Study carefully and understand some of the functional tradeoffs of the platform. SharePoint Online doesn’t support the following:
  • Deployment of custom solutions that require direct access to the server, such as Visual Web Parts. It does support sandboxed solutions, however.
  • PowerPivot
  • SQL Server Reporting Service Integration
  • Business Connectivity Services (originally this was a blanket restriction, but a slipstream release in 2011 added support for access to web services-based remote data in O365 BCS).
  • FAST Search Server Integration
  • Web Analytics
  • Site collections greater than 100GB
10-23: You are somewhere in between. Understanding the platform advantages and tradeoffs is essential to figuring out your cloud strategy. Odds are good that you may use a hybrid approach in which parts of your SharePoint world remain on premises, with other aspects living on Office 365.

0-9: If SharePoint is already living in your data center, it’s probably in the right place.

Office 365 and SharePoint Online lack features relative to on-premises SharePoint, this isn't expected to be a permanent situation. If we project forward through the next release of SharePoint, we can forecast a time when the on-premises and cloud versions of SharePoint provide nearly identical functions.
What will make it really interesting comes after that – when new features start showing up in the cloud before they are bundled into the next major SharePoint on-premises release. A cloud-hosted SharePoint offering with better functions and simplified ease of operation will be a hard combination to deny for many current on-premises users.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

My Profile, Microsoft SharePoint Forum :)

Large List Throttling over 5000 items in SharePoint 2010

If you are planning to upgrade from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010 -
you might want to consider your users that have list view lookups of over 5000 items and/or data column lookups of over 8 lookup columns. In SharePoint 2007, it was recommended not to go over 2000 list items to prevent poor performance on your farm.

In SharePoint 2010 throttling is enabled by default (This is configurable however in Central Administration). Throttlng is set to not display list view lookups of 5000 items or lists that have over 8 lookup columns.

The reason for this out of the box throttle is that if you are doing a lookup in SQL on less than 5000 rows, SQL executes a row level lock. If you execute a lookup with over 5000 items SQL executes a table lock which can potential impact all your site collections in that one ContentDB.

Here is a clever a SQL script to help audit your farms for these large lists and over 8 lookup columns - so you can warn your customers if they have any lists that will be throttled after you deploy SharePoint 2010.

t3.fullurl [WEBURL],
t1.tp_title [LISTNAME],
COUNT(t1.tp_id) [ITEMCOUNT],
ISNULL(MAX(t4.lookupCount),0) [lookupCount]
FROM DBO.alllists t1
JOIN DBO.alluserdata t2 ON t2.tp_listID = t1.tp_id
JOIN DBO.webs t3 ON = t1.tp_webid
SELECT siteID,listID,COUNT(listID) [lookupCount] FROM dbo.AllLookupRelationships
GROUP BY siteID,listID HAVING COUNT(listID) >= 8
) t4 ON t4.listID = t1.tp_id
WHERE t1.tp_title != 'User Information List'
GROUP BY t1.tp_id,t3.siteid,t3.fullurl,t1.tp_title
HAVING (COUNT(t1.tp_id) >= 5000 OR MAX(t4.lookupCount)>= 8)

SharePoint 2010 Chart Web Part

To get started, first you need an Enterprise version of SharePoint 2010.  Assuming, you do have an Enterprise key, you then need to activate the SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection Features.ChartWebPartFeature

This adds the chart web part (among other things). Then edit any page and add a Chart Web Part. You can find it under Miscellaneous

When you add it to the page, it uses some dummy data and displays a simple bar chart.

At this point, you might be asking yourself “What kind of data can I bind this to?”. By clicking Data & Appearance, you will see the following screen which leads you to links to customize the appearance or bind to data.

We’ll start by going to Connect Chat To Data. Look at these great options we have to choose from.

We can connect to another web part, a list, an external content type (looks like they need to update the BDC wording they have there), and to Excel Services.

What I did is I created a new custom list to contain Sales information. I used an External Data field to allow the user to pick a product from the external content type and enter in some sales data in a field.

This is the list we are going to use on our chart. On the next step of the wizard, we are allowed to pick a list. Note that it also allows you to choose other sites in the collection as well.

The next step allows you to filter your data first if you are so inclined.

The Chart Web Part has a ton of configurable options. On this last step is where you will start seeing some of them. The main thing to set here is your X and Y fields. You can also specify something to group by as well.

Once you finish this last step, you’ll get something that looks like this.

So, what we have here is a chart bound to data coming from a database (via external content type) and a SharePoint list. Pretty cool, right? I think so. It gets better though. What if your boss doesn’t like bar charts? No problem. There are tons of chart types to choose from. Just click on Data & Appearance again and then Customize Your Chart. Look at all of these built in chart types you have.

On the next step, you can further customize the chart you choose. It has some nice pre-built color themes and you can customize the size and what not. It also gives you a live preview as you change settings.

Here is what my new chart looks like.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Forrester’s latest Wave for Enterprise Social software

Forrester has just published their latest research on Enterprise Social software systems. The Wave chart shown here indicates that Jive, IBM, NewsGator and Telligent lead the list of vendors. You can get the entire report at
In analyzing the top four leaders in the Enterprise Social Software space, Forrester says:
  • Jive SBS: “… continues to drive to establish and lead “social business” as a new software category.”
  • IBM Connections: “… continues to move fast and exploit early bets on social. The company is now actively integrating Connections with its broader portfolio — including its portal, content, and business intelligence product lines”
  • Telligent Enterprise: “… maintains a razor-sharp focus on analytics, a platform designed from the ground up for extension, and a growing and impressive stable of partners.”
  • NewsGator Social Sites 2.0: “…takes SharePoint’s social offering to higher levels through its close partnership with the software giant. “

Office 15 video demo

Saturday, February 4, 2012

What’s NEW in SharePoint 15

    Microsoft is, not surprisingly, not commenting. Anyone who is a member of the Technical Preview is, as Hough points out, under non-disclosure. So the answer is: wait and see.

Hough’s post included a thankfully short chunk of standard language: “Office 15 will help people work, collaborate, and communicate smarter and faster than ever before.”

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to recognize the trends in the market, some of which Hough indicates in his post, including mobile devices, and the blurring of public and private cloud services and on-premise servers and clients.

Social and search are clearly hot, and Microsoft has demonstrated its commitment to investing in these spaces over the years.

Microsoft always works to improve scalability and manageability, and the features of SQL Server 2012 and Windows 8 Server certainly point to significant improvements in those areas, as well as redundancy and recoverability.

You’ve got to assume these features will feed up the “stack” into SharePoint’s capabilities.
There are also rough spots and gaps in functionality in the current versions of the product, and Microsoft has proven over the years that it does recognize many of those and fills them as the products evolve.

So there’s a lot of incredible opportunity for Microsoft to hit it out of the park with Office 15. My hope is that, for the enterprise, the impact of Office 15 could be as significant and valuable as what we’re seeing with the potential of Windows 8 in the client and consumer space.
It’s going to be a very interesting ride, and I look forward to reporting developments to you as Microsoft releases information.

WHEN will Office 15 release?

The Technical Preview milestone means that select customers can access the products now, or very soon. These customers typically have a tight support relationship with Microsoft during the preview.
While most customers will work with the product in non-production environments, my experience has been that some push the envelope and the limits of “bleeding edge.” Either way, when something goes wrong, Microsoft works to understand the problem, to support the customer, and to gain in-the-field experience with customer usage and product performance, to improve the product before releasing it as a public beta.

The Office 14 technical preview launched in July of 2009 and the public beta was announced at the SharePoint Conference and made available in November of 2009. That’s approximately four months of technical preview.
If I were a marketing wiz at Microsoft, I’d look at the calendar and spot TechEd North America and Europe in June—four months away—as a great place to pull back the curtain on such a significant overhaul of Microsoft’s lineup of non-OS products.

Doing the math, and looking at the calendar, I can certainly make educated guesses. I’d expect Microsoft to have ambitious targets, but to maintain its traditional public stance of “it’s ready when it’s ready.” Mary Jo Foley reports that her contacts peg the release by the end of the calendar year.
In any event, it’s clearly going to be in Microsoft’s next fiscal year, which runs July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013.
It’s also obvious that, regardless of the exact product release date, the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas will be well enough into the product release cycle to be chock-a-block with Wave 15 information.

HOW can I get my hands on it?

Right now, you cannot, unless you or your company are members of the Technical Preview, which according to Hough is already full. Keep in mind that Technical Preview used to be called Beta 1.
The product is not meant to be production ready at this stage, and Microsoft’s goal with the preview is to incorporate customer feedback into the product.

Office 15 Technical Preview

Microsoft announced the launch of the Office 15 Technical Preview on January 30. There’s some big news in the short announcement made on the Office Team Blog.    Let’s dissect the announcement and get answers to the questions that I hear from people about the next version of Office and SharePoint.
As announced by PJ Hough, the Corporate Vice President of the Microsoft Office Division, Office 15 reached the Technical Preview milestone on Monday. As word spread like wildfire, the most common questions are these: What’s Office 15? When will it be released? How do I get my hands on it? and, of course, What’s new?

WHAT is Office 15?

“Office 15” is the code name for the next versions of Microsoft Office products and services, just as “Office 14” was the code name for what became Office 2010, SharePoint 2010, and Visio 2010. Of course, the name of the product will likely change and I can’t imagine Microsoft straying from the decade-old trend of branding the product with the year—for example “Office 2012” or “Office 2013.” But, for now, it’s “Office 15” and you’ll hear its components referred to with the 15 moniker for coming weeks and months: SharePoint 15, Outlook 15, Visio 15.
‘Softies regularly refer to this new generation as “Wave 15.” And “wave” might be an understatement: tsunami is more like it. Microsoft’s ambitions are huge, as reported by Hough:
"With Office 15, for the first time ever, we will simultaneously update our cloud services, servers, and mobile and PC clients for Office, Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project, and Visio."
Read this statement again folks: Microsoft is publicly saying it will update cloud services (Office 365), servers (SharePoint, Exchange and Lync), mobile and PC clients simultaneously. Unified communications (Lync/Exchange), Office apps, and collaboration, all at once. Holy upgrade, Batman! That’s huge!
There had been buzz about Microsoft releasing one side or the other (on-premises versus in the cloud) “first.” You might remember that Office 365 launched a full year after the on-prem version of SharePoint.
Not so this time around. Looks like Microsoft is delivering on its promise to be “all in” with the cloud this time around.