Inspiration: New State Websites Made With SharePoint

It’s been a long while since my last post… I have been working non-stop, particularly on the new ms.gov, which is going live tomorrow. I wanted to show everyone some great new state websites, all made by subsidiaries of my parent company, NIC, that all use SharePoint. Hopefully these will provide some inspiration to show what is possible with SharePoint for internet-facing sites.

Texas.gov

tx

The new Texas.gov is responsive, with a  clean, stripped down aesthetic that loads quickly. It uses SharePoint 2010, along with Google fonts, JQuery, Modernizr, and other goodies, proof that modern web development techniques can work beautifully with SharePoint.

SC.gov

sc

The new South Carolina state website is bold and bright. It also uses several modern web technologies such as Google fonts and JQuery UI, and responsive design.

Maryland.gov

ml

The new Maryland.gov is packed with features. It is an HTML 5, responsive site loaded with custom SharePoint developed features-this site is a good example of what you can do if you have dedicated SharePoint engineers.

MS.gov

I can’t show it today or my GM will kill me, but I can tell you it is a SharePoint 2010 HTML 5 site, it is responsive,  uses Twitter Bootstrap, JQuery, SPServices, Google Search and Google fonts, and it is has touch groovies for tablet users. I will post more on it tomorrow 🙂

Fun with the UserProfileService web service in InfoPath, part two

Part Two: Using the UserProfileService to Auto-Fill Fields

Today we will be using the UserProfileService to automatically populate the following fields based off the current logged user:

  • My Name
  • My Email
  • My Title
  • My Department
  • My Manager
  • My Manager’s Email
  • My Manager’s Title

If you haven’t already connected to the webservice, follow the instructions in Part One: Connecting to the UserProfileService web service in InfoPath

Once you are connected to the service, create a new InfoPath form and add the fields listed above. Your Form should look something like this:

Double-click the My Name field. Select Control Properties from the Properties tab in the ribbon. Under Default Value, click the fx button:

Click Insert Field or Group:

The Select a Field or Group dialog will display. Select GetUserProfileByName from the Fields dropdown:

Expand out the dataFields node until you get to Value. Select Value and then click Filter Data:

Click Add on the Filter Data dialog:

Under the Value dropdown, select Select a Field or group. Select Name from the Select a Field or Group dialog. Click OK:

In the third dropdown in the Specify Filter Conditions dialog, select type text and then type in PreferredName:

Click OK and then click OK on all the open dialogs. You will then follow these same steps on each of the following fields; substitute the listed text for the PreferredName text:

  • My Email: enter text Email
  • My Title: enter text Title
  • My Department: enter text Department

You should now have all of the My Info fields created and have default values added for each. For the manager’s section, we will add a new data connection using the UserProfileService, except when you get to the Operations screen, instead of selecting GetUserProfileByName you will select GetCommonManager:

Once the new data connection for GetCommonManager is made, select the control properties for the My Manager field, click the fx button, click Insert Field or Group. In the Fields dropdown that displays on the Select a Field or Group dialog, instead of selecting GetUserProfileByName, select GetCommonManager. Expand out the GetCommonManagersResult node and then select Name. Click OK on all open dialogs:

Follow these steps on each of the remaining Manager fields with the following substitutions in the Select a Field or Group > GetCommonManagerResult node:

  • My Manager’s Email: select Email
  • My Manager’s Title: select Title

Save your file and preview. your result should look like this:

Stay tuned for Part Three: Using the GetCommonManager function to display a user’s supervisor hierarchy.

Fun with the UserProfileService web service in InfoPath!

This will be a multi-part post about using the UserProfileService web service with InfoPath. I am using InfoPath 2010 and SharePoint 2007.

Part One: Connecting to the UserProfileService web service in InfoPath

  • In InfoPath 2010, click on Manage Data Connections at the bottom of the Fields panel:

  • The Data Connections dialog will display. Click ADD:

  • Under Create a new connection to:, select Receive data and then click NEXT:

  • Under From where do you want to receive your data?, select SOAP Web service and then click NEXT:

  • Enter in the address for the UserProfileService, which will be: yourSite/_vti_bin/UserProfileService.asmx. Click Next:

  • Under Select an operation, choose GetUserProfileByName and then click NEXT:

  • On the next screen that displays, keep the defaults and click NEXT:

  • Click NEXT on the screen that displays.

  • On the final screen, keep the default name for the data connection, GetUserProfileByName, check the box next to Automatically retrieve data when the form is opened, and then click FINISH:

  • The new data connection will now display in the data connections list:

    Stay tuned for Part Two: Using the GetUserProfile web service to auto-fill fields

Overview of SharePoint 2010 Changes and New Functionality

I wrote this overview of 2010 for upper management at my company. The content is pulled from multiple online resources and published books.

Overview of SharePoint 2010 Changes and New Functionality

Architecture and Farm Changes

WSS–>SharePoint Foundation 2010

  • Component of Server 2008
  • Provides core collaboration services
    • Team sites, work spaces, blogs, and wikis
  • Based on .NET 2.0 and .NET 3.5 framework

MOSS–>SharePoint Server 2010

  • Two versions:
    • Standard
    • Enterprise
  • MySites only work on Server, not Foundation
  • Standard:
    • Builds on top of Foundation
    • Portal, Enterprise Search, social computing, enterprise content management features
  • Enterprise:
    • Builds on top of Standard
    • InfoPath, Excel Services, Visio Services, Word Services, Access Services and performance Point Services
    • Internet License
      • MSP Server 2010 for Internet Sites
        • Standard and Enterprise version
      • Cloud-Based Version
        • SharePoint Online

SSP –>Independent Services

  • Service apps in 2010 are independent services that can be shared across web applications and farms
  • Examples:
    • Business Data Connectivity Service
    • Managed Metadata Service
    • Search Service
  • There are more than a dozen out of the box services that come with 2010
  • They can be shared across multiple servers, making it easier to scale the implementation

Enterprise Search

  • Now a service application
  • Redundant index functionality
  • Content sources can be divided among multiple partitions
    • Allows for greater load to be distributed between servers
  • Improved search relevancy
  • FAST search is also available
    • Add-on to existing search
    • Has all the features of Enterprise search plus:
      • Adds thumbnail previews
      • Click through relevance
      • Auto metadata tagging
        • FAST can extract useful data from items and can create structure from this data, which increases findability
      • Faceted Search
        • Similar to the drill-down refiners in Ebay
        • Ability to further refine a search
    • API extensible by developers
    • Extreme scalability and performance
      • Can support billions of documents and thousands of queries per second.

Power Shell

  • Used as a SP admin tool
  • Allows for automation of manual tasks, scripted installations, and remote administration support
  • Allows for backup and restore the farm , site collections, subsites and lists.
  • Over 500 MS-created commandlets for SharePoint

Remote BLOB Storage Capability

  • Can natively support storage of database BLOBS (the actual documents within the content database)
  • 80% of the content within a SharePoint content database is BLOB; by moving those files out of the content database you free up most of your storage and improve performance.

Backup and Restore

  • Progress bar indicators
  • Granular site recovery options
  • Capability to recover data out of unattached content databases
  • Not a substitute for a comprehensive enterprise backup and restore utility

Antivirus

  • SP 2010 contains no integrated anti-virus scanning options
  • Includes access to Antivirus Application Programming Interface (API) that enables 3rd party products to integrate directly with SharePoint to provide antivirus protection for SharePoint content
  • MS Forefront Protection for SharePoint 2010 is an optional product

Read-Only Databases

  • Ability to set up read-only databases
    • Users still able to access and view content during server maintenance
    • Results in less down-time for farm

System Requirements

  • Only available as 64 bit and requires Windows Server 2008 as base OS
  • 64 bit edition of SQL Server

Other Architecture Changes

  • Large lists pose less of an issue as they can contain millions of items
  • Admin can control number of items returned in a search so SP is not slowed down due to a large number of files
  • 100gb recommended size for content database no longer an issue

End User Changes and Additions to 2010

Deprecated Site Templates

The following templates are deprecated in 2010, though they can be created programmatically if needed:

  • Wiki
  • Site Directory
  • Report Center
  • Search Center with Tabs
  • Search Center
  • Collaboration Portal
  • News Site

New Templates in 2010

  • Assets Web Database
    • Used to keep track of assets and owners
  • Group Worksite
    • Site for groups to collaborate together
    • Same format as our existing custom Department Sites
  • Visio Process Repository
  • Assets Web Database
  • Contacts & Issues Database
  • Business Intelligence Center
    • Site for presenting BI data.
    • Provides document libraries, and lists for linking to content in Performance Point Services
  • Enterprise Search Center
    • Includes tabs for searching content and people
    • Ability to add custom tabs and scopes
  • Basic Search Center
  • FAST Search Center
  • Enterprise Wiki
    • Site used to capture knowledge and to share it across the enterprise
  • Contacts Web Database
    • Used to manage information about people your team works with, such as customers and partners
  • Document Center
    • Site used to centrally manage documents
  • Document Workspace
    • Site used for collaboration on a document
  • Issues Web Database
    • Used to manage a set of issues or problems
    • Can assign, prioritize, and follow the progress of issues from start to finish
  • MS Project Site
    • Site that supports team collaboration on projects
    • Can be linked to tasks within Project Server 2010
  • Projects Web Database
    • Project tracking database to track multiple projects and assign tasks to people

Saving Sites as Templates

  • Content limit has been increased to 419mb, allowing full sites with content to be saved and used in different site collections.

Content Types

  • Automatically available to all sites in the farm, whereas in 2007 a content type only applied to a specific site collection.

Interface Changes

  • Contextual Office ribbon replaces standard toolbars
  • Css, compliant code vs. table-based layout
  • Real dialog boxes  (Javascript/AJAX based) rather than page redirects
  • Ability to change colors either through the interface or by creating a theme in Power Point and uploading to site (these are not full themes as they are in 2007, merely color “skins”)
  • Live Preview capability

List Changes

  • New additions for custom coding with lists
  • Ability to check user permissions for a list
    • Select a file, select “Check Permissions”, enter a user name or group, feature will show what access the user or group has to the item and through what security groups
  • Items in a list support list and item level validation
  • External Lists:
    • Content not stored within these lists
    • Is a view of an external data source
    • Is an advanced feature of SP Server
    • Looks/acts like a standard list
  • Coauthoring
    • Multiple people can edit the same document at the same time.

Workflows

  • Can be created in Visio 2010
  • Workflows can now be reused!
    • Can be exported from one site collection to another
  • Site Workflows
    • Are associated with a site rather than a list
  • Ability to edit OTB workflows

MySites

  • Completely revamped for 2010
  • Allows users to rate content, add notes and tags to content
  • New features:
    • My Newsfeed
    • My Content
  • Greater social collaborations features and connectivity to the whole of SharePoint

Development

  • Developers can use SharePoint Designer 2010 and Visual Studio 2010
  • Sand-boxed solutions
    • Allows developers to add solutions to a SharePoint site through code access security (CAS), which allows devs to test solutions without worrying about their code interfering with existing code.

Office Web Apps

  • Provides browser-based viewing and editing for SP 2010 users who need to collaborate on Office files
  • Provides a subset of the functionality of the full client application.

Visio Integration

  • Can now publish Visio diagrams directly to SP with the backend connection intact
  • A license for Visio is not required for a user to view a Visio file uploaded to SP.

MS Access Services

  • You can now create, edit, and update Access 2010 databases within SharePoint through a browser.

Excel Services

  • You can load, calculate, and display Excel workbooks using Excel Services
  • You can share one workbook within multiple sites and can create dashboards

Performance Point Services

  • Ability to create scorecards that bring together data from multiple sources both inside of and outside of SharePoint
  • Can produce interactive, context-driven dashboards to track the KPIs of the company

Content/Records Management

  • Managed metadata
  • Unique document IDs
    • If a file is moved it can still be located by ID
  • Search by metadata tags
  • Per Item Audit Reports
  • Records are tied to content types, which makes discovery of documents for legal purposes easier
  • In-place records management rather than a central repository
    • Documents stay in current location and are classified as records
  • Records can be managed in an archive or in the same library or list
  • Compliance Details
    • Every document has an option to review the settings that have been applied to the record.
  • Document Hold
    • You can search for documents by a keyword and then hold them
      • Held documents are locked down to changes
      • Used for discovery in litigation and audit
      • Holds can be put into place across the whole farm
    • We currently have no OTB way to accomplish a hold in SP 2007
  • Multi-Stage Retention
    •  Retention policies can have multiple stages, allowing you to specify the entire document lifecycle as one policy (e.g. review Contracts every year, and delete after 7 years)
  • Auto tagging
    • You can set a folder to automatically tag all contents within it with the same tags
  • Document Sets
    • Allow multiple content items to be organized and managed together as  a single item
    • Example would be a contract with associated emails and related files. These can be grouped together as a  document set
  • Expiration Policy
    • Can set an expiration date for an item, after which workflows can be run to have the item reviewed and then disposed of or moved into an archive
    • Currently, we use a custom solution to perform this function on the Department Sites

Site Analytics

  • Improved site analytics
  • Ability to set custom dates; not limited to past 30 days (as 2007 is)
  • Can set up workflow alerts for different criteria, such as
    • If there are no clickthroughs on search queries (indicates failed searches)
    • If total number of daily visitors is less/more than a specified number
  • Trending
    • % change over time
  • Search analytics
    • Top queries, failed queries, Best Bet usage, keywords
  • Not a substitute for comprehensive site analytics software

Groove –> SharePoint Workspace

  • Add-on that installs on a user’s computer
  • Allows end user to connect to a SP site, get a local copy of selected libraries and lists, and add or modify this content within a private SharePoint Workspace
  • Content auto syncs with the associated  SP site when users are on their network.
  • No browser access is needed

New Webparts

This is not a complete list; there are quite a few new additions to the OTB webpart list in 2010.

  • Picture Library Slideshow
    • Create a Picture Library, connect it to this webpart, and it will display thumbnails of the images in a small slideshow wherever it is placed on the page.
  • Media
    • Ability to upload audio and video and include it directly into the page.
  • InfoPath Form webpart
    • Allows the hosting of an InfoPath form directly in the webpart on a SP page
  • Web Analytics webpart
    • Displays the most viewed content or most searched for content; continuously refreshed as data changes

InfoPath 2010

  • New user interface (called Fluent UI) uses the Office ribbon
  • Client and browser forms are now closer in functionality
  • Signature line
    • Allows users to digitally sign forms
  • Images can be used as buttons
  • Date and time picker
  • Person/Group pickers
  • New OTB rules for validation
  • Single-click form publishing
  • Create form pages for SharePoint lists
    • Extend and enhance forms used for creating, editing and viewing items in a SP list
  • Applications can be created on top of SharePoint
    • Includes form-based applications, document workflows and Business Connectivity Services
  • New InfoPath Webpart
    • Allows InfoPath forms to be hosted in a SP page
    • InfoPath forms hosted on a page can also connect to other web parts on the page to send or receive data

Upgrade Issues

  • SP 2007 List Templates do not work in 2010
  • Data view Web parts DVWP have been replaced by List View web parts in 2010
    • Use XSLT instead of CAML
  • SP 2007 custom themes do not work in 2010 and must be redone
  • Many of the site templates used currently are deprecated in 2010, such as Search Center, Report Center and News Site
  • New Ribbon interface replaces existing toolbars; this affects training as users have been trained to use the existing interface.
  • Explorer View goes away; Open with Explorer still works but the list view for Explorer is gone
  • Browser Issues:
    • On 64 bit systems, use IE8 32 bit. The 64 bit version has a number of known issues
    • IE7 32 bit OK
    • All other browsers have at least some known issues in regards to SharePoint 2010
    • IE 6 is NOT supported

Discovering Styles in Designer 2010

The standard method for finding out what classes are being used on a page in SharePoint is to use Firebug or IE Developer Tollbar. SharePoint Designer 2010 has a few new features that can also help in finding this information.

Skewer Click

In SharePoint Designer, open a page or masterpage and make sure that you are in Design or Split view. Click the Skewer Click button from the Home tab on the ribbon and then click on an object on the page:

Skewer Click

A list will then display with all of the classes that affect the object.

Skewer Click

When you select a class, its properties will display in the CSS Properties panel.

CSS Properties Panel

Copy Styles

An easy way to make a copy of a style that is applied to an object is to select the object, view the list of styles in the CSS Properties panel, and then right-click on a style and select New Style Copy:

New Style Copy

A dialog box will display. To copy the style into your custom css stylesheet, under Define in, select Existing Stylesheet. Then Browse for your custom stylesheet. You can then make changes to the css through the dialog box or you can keep it as is. Click OK.

New Style Dialog

Your custom stylesheet will then open in Designer with the selected style copied into it.

Copied Style

You can also choose to add the copy directly into your page by selecting Current Page from Define In and then clicking the box next to Apply new style to document selection.

Current Page

Designer will add the word Copy to the style, insert it into the page, and update the reference to the style within the HTML. Obviously, adding a bunch of styles directly to a page is not a best practice, but it is a possibility.

Styling Headers in the QuickLaunch, SP 2010

I finally have time to really dive into 2010. I will post my notes on how I accomplished individual things as I learn them.

QuickLaunch Headers

Of course, 2010 just can’t use the same styles as 2007, so once again starts the great search to find what class or classes affects what. I only wasted an hour today finding out how to target the headers within the quicklaunch. Use the style below in your custom css to target the headers:

Here is the before and after images: