SharePoint, where for art though?

Captain’s log… the vapor and mist of the cloud have formed and we see that things are starting to take shape in the realm of Office 365. Dan Holme and his cadre of excellence have continued to chart forward with making experiences usable by end users, providing capabilities that to build on-premises, while feasible in large chunks of time, come to life.

In the day of past with SharePoint before “v12” came out, developers seemed to hack away at the core of SharePoint, injecting and reflecting methods to bring to life the Frankenstein solutions that clients were seeking. Not that these solutions weren’t valuable, nor was it that they weren’t well put together, but the typical SharePoint developer had to know how develop using Object Oriented Languages… namely C# or VB.net. Both languages were not for the commoner, or the SharePoint Citizen as some may call it.

Then came SharePoint 2013 and the app model was brought forward. The Internet had solved identity for the Internet (no one really likes leaving port 88 open on the Internet for Kerberos tickets to be passed between realms mind you). Developers were now free to roam about and develop where they wanted, how they wanted. And it was good.

Then Microsoft took a page from it’s competitors and started offering experiences and building out a Framework that would allow developers to interact with the underlying components of SharePoint and Office 365 using REST API calls. Gone were the days of requiring developers to know C#… the day of the JavaScript developer (and really any other developer that knows how to make REST calls) was here.

Experiences like PowerApps and Flow though have also largely taken away the needs and desires to learn a “hard” language (actually, thinking about it, if you don’t know how to construct the logic of a program, JavaScript becomes all out hacking in some cases… not that people didn’t copy others C# code and wonder why it didn’t work).

So where do we find ourselves? Well, as a SharePoint admin, I must say that there’s less and less I find myself worrying about. Sure I still have my concerns about opening up Access Services on my 2013 farms that are still operating and having developers create app after app watching the SQL server backend topple over. And sure, in the 2016 environments I’ve embraced MinRoles with open arms.

But why should I continue to build on-premises when Microsoft has Office 365 / SharePoint Online available with SLAs that I can’t match on-premises? What’s a trusty admin to do? It’s time to take some time and REST… just kidding, it’s time to help organizations migrate to SharePoint Online where it makes sense and make use of Hybrid to help them make use of some of the tools (ala PowerApps and Flow) that make their end users lives a little bit easier.

And maybe also learn some REST… because you never know when some prototyping will come in handy.

SharePoint Saturday NYC 2015

Another year, another July trip to New York City for SharePoint Saturday NYC. It’s like clockwork the way these folks run these events – great crew of organizers. I’m really looking forward to engaging with attendees and hearing their ideas during the session I’m presenting. It’s been two years since I’ve had the pleasure of presenting with Scott Hoag, and this year we’re actually doing a new talk!!! Come join us to hear more about Worst Practices for SharePoint.

Session info:
Worst Practices of SharePoint
In a perfect world, most SharePoint systems are well planned out with defined requirements, stakeholder approval, and methodology approaches with unlimited budgets. The reality of SharePoint implementations, deployments and operations are typically not what might be seen through rosy colored lenses.
For all of the things that can go wrong with your SharePoint implementation, one of the best things we can do is learn from others. From not accepting that implementing an established information architecture and having an available infrastructure are core tenants of every SharePoint installation to managing SLAs with your end users; join us as we share not only what we’ve seen as worst practices but also worst experiences.
Attendees will learn practices on how to properly manage their SharePoint environments, how to work with other IT department leads and plan for a more properly planned SharePoint environment instead of dealing with the headaches that precipitate themselves when systems are hastily thrown together.
Where: Central Park West in the Microsoft Offices of NYC
When: 230 PM Eastern
Slides will be posted up shortly after the event. We look forward to seeing you all!

SPS DC Chevy Chase – Summer 2015

So for the past few years, myself and a few friends have been running the SharePoint Saturday Events DC events. As a part of these events we strive to improve upon each event to try to cater to the needs of the community and to help provide a setting for folks to come to an event and learn more about SharePoint and associated technologies like Office 365 and Azure.

In as much, we’ve got a quick survey for this year’s Summer event available here:

http://www.instant.ly/s/wa6Qh

If you’re attending the event, please feel free to fill it out so that we can help to ensure that we plan rooms properly and to give presenters some information ahead of time so that they can shape their presentations to the needs of you the audience.

Northern Virginia Code Camp 2015

This coming weekend on 18 April 2015, the Northern Virginia Code Camp will be hosting it’s Spring event at the Reston Microsoft Technology Center with 30 speakers covering various aspects of development across several different technologies and platforms.

The session listing is available here: http://www.novacodecamp.org/Sessions.aspx

If you’re interested in registering for the event, you can do so by hoping over to the registration site here: http://www.nvite.com/novacc15/edda

If you’re interested in updates about the Northern Virginia Code Camp, follow their twitter handle yonder under the name of @novacodecamp

Definitely worth your time on a Saturday morning to learn something new, network with others in the technology community and gather perspective on different ways of approaching technology problems.

SPS Events – Baltimore 2014

It’s surprising how quickly time passes when you plunge yourself into the world of technology. Nevertheless, SPS Events Baltimore was a great success – especially considering the competition of the Preakness Stakes up yonder in Baltimore proper. This year we were at the Anne Arundel Community College Campus just north of Annapolis, MD. As Rob Windsor made note of, it’s been a while since I registered for a college class. You see, to be an attendee we had to sign in for the day as a student.

That being said, I gave it the old college try, presenting on two topics that are near and dear to my heart… okay so there are a lot of topics that are near and dear to my heart but these two seem to be ones that keep popping up on my radar.

First up was Getting Started with Office 365. The audience was fantastic and outside of a minor snafu where the VM that I ran the demo out of required a little bit of extra finesse, the session went over well. If you’ve got questions, don’t hesitate to ping me, Office 365 is pretty big and all encompassing – that being said, I don’t know all the ins and outs of the platform, but happy to redirect to those that have expertise in different areas.

After that it was a mental reset moving back to pure SharePoint best, I mean Worst Practices. It was a lively audience with Jason Himmelstein, Brian Alderman, Jared Matfess, and Thomas Carpe in attendance. Great engagement and fun times 🙂

Nevertheless, I look forward to next year’s SPS Events Baltimore – hope you’re able to make it to the next one!!!

Seeing through the sensationalism…

I do have to say that it cracks me up seeing authors try to spin different information from a non-technical perspective to explain things to consumers rather than just stating, “Hey, it’s a service that already exists, they’re just allowing you to buy it separately.”

In this case it’s an article on CMSWire on the topic of OneDrive for Business takes on SharePoint.

I’m sorry, what? OneDrive for Business, formerly SkyDrive Pro, is comprised of two components. Me thinks it’s not trying to take on SharePoint as a whole. The article might as well say “XYZ document synchronization software takes on SharePoint.”

The client agent for OneDrive for Business is an outgrowth of SharePoint for Workspaces 2010 which was an outgrowth of Microsoft Groove 2007 which was a rebrand of Groove 2006. The OneDrive for Business is merely the document library that’s standard for a user’s mysite user profile that happens to now connect back into the Groove software, I mean OneDrive for Business software with a special folder that shows up through File Explorer / Windows explorer thanks to the client agent. On a side note, all the functionality that you had in Groove and SharePoint Workspaces for metadata synchronization, forms, conversations and such no longer exists in OneDrive for Business.

I would like to say that my hat goes off to the Microsoft Office SharePoint Product Group and the associated teams that were able to make OneDrive for Business possible. It’s not easy to integrate something like this and it’s further not something simple especially with all the other turning wheels in the SharePoint platform wheelhouse.

Back to the article though… do I think that OneDrive for Business is taking on SharePoint? Trying to replace it? For certain use cases? Sure. If you’re an army of one or a small team of individuals that lack hard core processes, don’t require workflow and are primarily concerned with document management and collaboration, sounds like a nice service offering to go after.

For team collaboration however, where you’re working in an integrated workspace with calendar information, tasks, workflows, metadata, applications, dashboards, project schedules and other particular information – no.

Also, it’s interesting that the article mentions the “OneDrive for Business” following document libraries… that would be the client software allowing you to sync to document libraries… perhaps I’m missing the significance here but that’s SharePoint document libraries.

The subscription service to me is basically Microsoft offering it out there to compete with Dropbox for Business or other enterprise services. This just happening to key off the capabilities of SharePoint that already exist. Props to Microsoft for setting up the infrastructure and commoditizing it for those simply looking for document management and document collaboration through Office Web Applications.

All in all, I’m excited to see OneDrive for Business continue to gain popularity since until now SharePoint MySites and the document library were largely overlooked in SharePoint 2003/2007/2010.

To me though, the best part, if you look in task explorer and look at the process that’s running, while it might have a label that says “OneDrive for Business” it’s still good ole Groove.exe. 🙂

Patch Tuesday – January 2014

A few quick bits of information for today that might be of interest to those of you working with the Microsoft Stack.

If you dig into the KB2916605, it’s labelled as important, not critical but probably something you’ll still want to address. This impacts impacts Microsoft Word across several versions as well as the Word Automation Services and Office Web Apps of SharePoint 2010 and 2013.

Also new today, Power BI is now available for purchase for your Office 365 SharePoint Online tenants. If you have an E3/E4 subscription you’ll see a heft discount.

This past weekend I mentioned during a presentation on getting started with Office 365 that there are service updates that are pushed regularly. To get more information as to what’s being pushed each month, check out the Services Updates for Office 365 for enterprises, mid-size businesses and Education (English) here:

And if you’re interested in learning more pertaining to the Office 365 Service Upgrades that are ongoing for the Enterprise, more information is available here:

Looking for the latest and greatest when it comes to new content for SharePoint 2013?

Nothing really of note, the last update was back on 16 December 2013 with:

  • Deactivated controls in SharePoint Designer 2013 (new)
  • The building blocks of SharePoint hybrid (new)
  • Set-SPAuthenticationRealm (updated)

If you’re looking for updates for MSDN related SharePoint articles, you can find that content here – New and updated content for SharePoint 2013