Planning for SharePoint 2010 Guide Book

So you’ve just gotten word from your project manager that you’ve got three weeks to plan for and implement SharePoint 2010 for your customer. They’ve got a perfectly good and working SharePoint 2007 implementation that’s hosting their data and fulfilling some of their needs, but they have plans for something new and brilliant, or at least from a functional perspective they see the benefits of SharePoint 2010 and want to use them as soon as possible.

Sure, the requirements aren’t completely filtered out and sure the hardware hasn’t been ordered, but when’s that stopped you before? Smile Breath in a few times through the mask and prep yourself for a wild ride…

But wait, Microsoft recently released the SharePoint Server 2010 Planning Guide – ~600 pages of planning goodness.

So while three weeks will be cutting it close to plan and implement, heck, who am I kidding, you’re going to need those three weeks to read through the document and begin planning your detailed plan of attack… remember to give yourself some space while you analyze the functional needs of your client to figure out exactly what authentication method will provide for the functionality of your clients technical needs.  And also remember that unless you’re going To The Cloud! through a fantastic service like RackSpace Cloud Hosting services, you’re going to have wait a few weeks for hardware to show up from your favorite vendor.

To quote Airplane, “I just want to tell you both good luck. We’re all counting on you.”

Enjoy the doc and remember happy planning!

Baltimore SharePoint User's Group – 21 May 2009

This past Thursday, I drove up to the Baltimore SharePoint User’s Group to present on the topic of “Designing Logical Architectures and Site Taxonomies.” It was a decent drive up the BW Parkway from Northern Virginia, chatting with Eric Harlan and a few others on the way up – apparently there were folks heading for the beach already on Thursday afternoon for the Memorial Day weekend, so the drive lasted a little longer than anticipated (about 2 hours).

The presentation was well received by the group as well as lively with questions. Eric Harlan, Shadeed Eleazer and I headed off to the Bone Fish Grill afterward to chat about life, SharePoint and SharePoint Saturday Baltimore (25 July 2009).

Overall, a successful trip up to Baltimore!

The slides from the presentation are available here in

Please note that the slides are constantly being refined with each presentation – feedback is always greatly appreciated 🙂

SharePoint on Windows Server 2008 – Building the framework

This weekend I undertook the fun of building out a medium sized farm on my personal development hardware with my trusty MSDN license that I bought for my own personal use to begin testing a few pieces of code I’ve been working on as well as to have a play ground to work through occasional architectures, web part testing and diagnosing issues.  Oh, and the fact that I’ve not had the opportunity to work with Windows Server 2008 all that much, so I figured why not go ahead and build out an environment to get my hands dirty and learn the ins and outs?

So the first part to the madness that should be understood is that IIS 7 (standard for Windows Server 2008) is a lot more granular in nature than IIS 6 which is the standard web publishing application on Windows Server 2003.  From even when you’re starting your installation of the Web Server role to installing the individual components, it’s far more granular and modular, and probably confusing to some administrators that are used to just clicking “IIS” from Add/Remove Program in Server 2003.

So where to begin, well, once you’ve got your Windows Server 2008 box up, operational, patched, service packed, sysprepped (if you’re using Virtuals, you end up requiring that you have different SIDs and computer names right?), IP’d and joined to a domain, the fun begins in installing just the framework prior to SharePoint.

Step 1 – Open up the Server Manager, this typically appears when you power on the server, but if not, you should be able to find it fairly easily from the start menu.  Select and expand the roles label from the tree in the left pane, then select “Add Roles” from the right pane.

1 - Server Manager - Roles

Step 2 –   If this is your first time installing a role, this would probably be helpful to read “Before You Begin”.  Definitely read through it at least once, after that, feel free to click the check box to skip it in all future instances.  Click on Next.

2 - Before You Begin

Step 3 – Select the Web Server role from the list of server roles. Note that you will be prompted to select additional features for the Web Server role to operate properly.  Select “Add Required Features” else turn and back away, and perhaps reconsider what you’re looking to do.

3 - Add features required for Web Server

Step 4 – Once you’ve accepted the need for additional “required” features to be installed, you should see something like the below stating that you have selected the “Web Server (IIS)”.  Click on Next.

4 - Select Server Roles - Web Server

Step 5 – The role installation wizard presents an overview of the Web Server (IIS) role which again is fairly useful for an administrator to read through the first time.  Click Next.

5 - Introduction to Web Server IIS

Step 6 – Select the individual server roles that you require for your SharePoint installation.  I’ve found that the basic role services that are installed with IIS 7 are barebones, which from a security posture is fairly helpful so as to not have to remove several roles, but it will make you stop and think through what roles you do indeed to make the system operational.

6 - Select Role Services - Default IIS

Step 7 – The first thing to select of course to make your platform usable by SharePoint is the ASP.NET development platform.  Once you’ve selected this, you will be prompted to add additional roles that are required for ASP.NET.  Select the “Add Required Role Services” else, much like before, be prepared to have a difficult time installing SharePoint services on your server.

7 - Add role services required for ASP.NET

Step 8 – Select the additional roles that will assist in your SharePoint implementation, in my case this also includes “Logging Tools” to diagnose issues that may come up.

8 - Select the role services to install for Web Server - Logging Tools

9 – Select the appropriate authentication providers that you wish to be able to utilize.  For me, I’m going with a fairly vanilla SharePoint installation and configuration, so I’ll select “Windows Authentication”.

9 - Select the role services to install for Web Server - Windows Authentication

10 – Additionally, so as to not bother with going back and installing later, I’ve selected the “IIS Management Scripts and Tools”.

10 - Select the role services to install for Web Server - IIS Management Scripts and Tools

11 – Lastly, the “Management Service” to be able to better manage the IIS 7 instance on the server from the server or remotely.

11 - Select the role services to install for Web Server - Management Service

12 – After selecting the roles that are appropriate to support your SharePoint services installation, click on Next, which then will bring you to a page that lists all of the components that you are looking to install.  Do a quick read through to ensure that you’ve got the components, roles and features that you require and click on Install.

12 - Confirm Installation Selections 

13 – Observe the installation process as can be seen here:

13 - Install Progress - Part I

14 – After a few minutes, the installation progress bar will complete and an installation results page similar to this will be presented.  Click on Close after you’ve observed that your installation results were successful.

15 - Installation Results

15 – After you’ve completed your IIS 7 installation, you’ll see that there are 24 installed role services related to IIS running and operational on the server through the Service Manager roles summary.

16 - Roles Summary Post Installation

Next on Tap:

First Impressions on Balsamiq

So a few different folks in the SharePoint community have mentioned that they’re huge fans of Balsamiq, and we’re not talking about vinegar.  Balsamiq is an application built upon the Adobe AIR framework that allows for rapid development of mockups – typically of web based applications, but can be used for mockups of such technical systems as the iPhone.  A quick mockup I did last night using their demonstration copy left me with a definite interest of using the product more regularly when developing quick designs.
balsamiq-piratenosh

In this case, I’ve developed a quick SharePoint-esque mockup of what the swashbuckling developers at Pirate Nosh* would want to design their site to look like. Not only was it extremely easy to drag and drop components onto the page, but I was extremely impressed with the folder tree component which can be customized quickly and easily without having to do a significant amount of “nudging” of graphics to the left or the right or copying and pasting and arranging as you might do in something like Visio.
Overall, a great product by Balsamiq Studios, definitely applaud their product and hope to be using it more often in my daily work when designing interfaces to better help gauge what’s on the page.

*What is Pirate Nosh? An anagram of SharePoint

SharePoint Collaboration Service Governance Plan

Joel Oleson, John Ross Jr. Jennifer Mason and Paul Culmsee have developed a whitepaper on behalf of Microsoft on the topic of “SharePoint Collaboration Service Governance Plan”.  The document provides an outline of the administration, maintenance and support of an MOSS 2007 deployment.

Great document that definitely gets at the heart of the matter with regard to roles and responsibilities and developing a plan for a deployment.  While most documents released from Microsoft have little fluff in them, this document I would say has zero fluff and is like a laser beam, carving out a path to success.  Definitely worth your time to read, available at:

http://go.spdan.com/brhuq