Office 365 Issues!

I’ve noticed some serious glitches in Office 365. Here is just a partial list off the top of my head:

  • In page edit mode, webpart dropdown arrow in upper right corner of webpart is missing. You can still click the area where it is normally located and get the dropdown menu.
  • When you click the arrow to get to the dropdown arrow, it often causes the page to hop to the top of the page. The second time it doesn’t do that. Weird.
  • Sometimes when I click “Edit” to edit the page, it seems as though a style sheet falls out and a bunch of strange symbols show where the webparts should be.

Is this a browser issue? I know that many functions don’t work without without IE, but I discovered some time ago that in IE the top banner had issues and drop downs didn’t work occasionally either. So I switched to Chrome and Opera. I’ve come to like Opera quite a lot since. Anyone else come across these issues? Anyone have other issues with Office 365? How did you overcome them? Homeland Security says not to use IE, and I always follow their instructions. So what is a SharePoint professional to do?

The Six Gears of Your SharePoint Ferrari


If you’ve followed this blog at all you know that I love cars and prefer to make analogies
to SharePoint with them. In a previous post I compared SharePoint to a Ferrari. Most
Ferraris have 6 speed transmissions. The 6 speed gated shifter in the Ferrari is iconic,
and makes a satisfying clicking sound as you precisely maneuver through the gears. Shifting through
the gears in a Ferrari takes a bit of practice before you get it down. Likewise it takes
awhile for an organization to implement a great SharePoint site. The six speeds of
SharePoint might be different for every organization (and every SharePoint Pro for that
matter). This list will at least get you out of neutral and out on the track.

First Gear – Metadata

Metadata is a very powerful concept, and I feel that many SharePoint professionals assume
that business decision makers and end users understand it. Failure to understand how
metadata works can end up with your organization recreating public drive folder structures
on SharePoint. That is what causes traffic jams and multi-car pile-ups on your SharePoint
highway. That said, metadata is simply information you attach to documents or list items to
organize and sort information. For instance, a department column can be created to sort
Admin docs from Finance Docs. Simple concept, yet extremely useful!

Second Gear – Views

In order to create views you must first establish good metadata to organize information. A
view is simply a subset of information from a list. Once you have some views created, we
can move on to third gear!

Third Gear – Webparts

Webparts allow you to change the look and feel of a website. You can add content and change
it around to look however you like. Displaying views are one of the most common uses of webparts. SP2007 used to have a set of content arranged out of the box. I personally believe that since SP2010 they purposely made it ugly out of the box so that you were forced to change it. So go ahead and do it!

Fourth Gear – Workflow

When you reach redline in third gear you can pretty much go to any gear from there
depending on current needs, but I had to put them in some order. So let’s call workflow
fourth gear. Workflow allow you to accomplish a vast number of things like notify
appropriate users of status changes and to take action, update list items, create list
items, tasks, etc. You can access limited workflows in the UI front end, and much more extensive ones in SharePoint Designer.

Fifth Gear – External Data Integration

With Business Connectivity Services you can connect to offline data. You can connect to
pretty much any database with this feature. It opens up a whole new world once you pull
this data into SharePoint.

Sixth Gear – Dashboards

Ah, the top gear right? Not really, as I already explained that gears 4-6 could be
done in any order based on needs. Still, dashboards provide some eye candy for executives
and users to see trends and be able to make good decisions based on good current data.
Also, it is often the end goal for implementing a SharePoint solution in the first place.

I’m quite sure that someone will come along and ask what reverse is used for. Backup and
restore of course. And while a Ferrari will backup just fine, restoring after a crash can
be painful. There are however (third party) tools that can make it easier.

As I said, your gears might have different names. You might even have more gears (oooh fancy!) The point of this post is just to get you out of neutral and moving. If you have a better set of gears, please post it in the comments. Or post it on twitter @SharePointRoger. Happy motoring!

A New Chapter!

It looks like I will be leaving my current job of almost 4 years. It’s been a good run, but it’s time to move on. It would be interesting to explore something in the private sector, but in any case I look forward to the next chapter of my career. I’m open to pretty much anything, but would prefer a job between Virginia and Central Florida on the east coast. I’ve got a lot of leads, just a matter of finding the right fit! Wish me luck!

“Required permissions cannot be acquired” error after SharePoint 2007 SP2 Install

I recently installed SP2 on a SharePoint 2007 instance. In order to migrate SP2007 content to SP2010 you need to have SP2 installed. So when I installed SP2, another .NET application on the server got jacked and I got the “required permissions cannot be acquired” error when trying to access the site. The issue was that the WSS_Minimal trust level got applied to the custom application. So once I found the web.config that was controlling the application I upped the trust level to Full. That fixed things, but it also upped the trust level for SharePoint to Full. And of course we all know we can’t fully trust SharePoint, right? So after much googling, and changing the (COPY OF) web.config I just removed the trust level tag entirely and both SharePoint and the .NET site work like a charm!

Migrating SharePoint 2007 Site Collections to SharePoint 2010

I have been meaning to  learn how to do this for some time, but have been bogged down putting out fires to do it. Also, I thought it would be harder to do than it is. After searching I found a bunch of instructions that sounded good, but left out steps or were less clear than I would like. So here is the DEFINITIVE instruction manual on the subject. (If you feel I left something out, or was not perfectly clear please let me know.)

Migrate SharePoint 2007 Site Collection to SP 2010

1.   Backup SP2007 DB

2.   Make Sure SP2007 content DB is NOT Read-Only!

3.   Detach SP2007 content DB

              a.   In the detach DB dialog select the “Drop” option

4.   Copy SP2007 content DB files (.mdf and .ldf) to the SP2010 machine in the SQL folder with all the other SQL files (usually something like C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQL\Data

5.   In the SQL Server Management Studio, right click Databases, and then Attach. Select the .mdf file for the SP2007 content DB. The .ldf file will automagically associate.

6.   Create new web application in SP2010

7.   Create new site collection in SP2010 using web application created in step 6

8.   Test the imported 2007 DB to see if all needed components are there. Take care of any affected sites/lists at this point.

 Script: Test-SPContentDatabase -Name WSS_Content_Imported2007DB -WebApplication http://NewSP2010Site

 NOTE: Use the SharePoint 2010 Management Shell, not Windows PowerShell module. I hated Powershell for some time till I figured out that I should have been using the SP Management Shell!

 9.   Un-mount content DB for new site collection created in step 7

 Script: Dismount-SPContentDatabase WSS_Content_NewSP2010ContentDB

 10.   Mount SP2007 content DB to new site collection created in step 7. You can use the “UpdateUserExperience” option to convert the SP2007 site to the SP2010 look and feel, or leave it with the SP2007 look and feel and convert it later.  Look for another post to outline this process.

 NOTE: Again, use the SharePoint 2010 Management Shell

Script: Mount-SPContentDatabase WSS_Content_2007ContentDB –WebApplication http://Sharepoint2010SiteURL

 Yes, it’s just that easy!