sharepoinTony

@info – The practical side of SharePoint

Warm-up SharePoint 2010 sites

Posted by sharepoinTony on October 20, 2010

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Background

Customers may ask for a “warm-up script” to enable their SharePoint sites to load faster after a restart, etc.  With versions of SharePoint prior to 2010, such as 2003 and 2007 there were several variations of scripts developed to accomplish this, each with their own negative impact.  Generally, Microsoft recommended against using these scripts in a production environment.  For SharePoint 2010 there is a new and better solution which is an extension to IIS.  You must evaluate your environment to determine if this solutions is appropriate or not.

Solution

Use the Application Warm-Up Module for IIS 7.5.

IIS Application Warm-Up for IIS 7.5 can be configured to initialize Web applications by using specific Web pages and user identities. This makes it possible to create specific initialization processes that can be executed synchronously or asynchronously depending on the initialization logic. In addition, these procedures can use specific identities in order to ensure a proper initialization.

Steps To Implement

  1. Download the 64-bit version for Windows Server 2008 R2 from the iis.net site (Application Warm-Up Module for IIS 7.5)
  2. Install the module on the machine hosting SharePoint 2010 web applications
  3. Configure the module by launching IIS Manager
  4. Click on your SharePoint site, double-click on the Application Warm-Up item
  5. Select Settings from the Actions section on the far right pane
  6. Select both options in the Settings dialog and click the OK button
  7. Click Add Request….
  8. Enter the URL of your SharePoint site (typically the main page) – the status codes will auto-populate
  9. Enter a name for this Request in the Request context parameter field, click OK
  10. Click Edit User Context… to specify authentication settings
  11. Select Set Username and Type only from the Mode selection box of the Edit User Context dialog
  12. Select Windows from the Type selection list (or another appropriate option for the environment)
  13. Enter the User name and click OK
  14. Repeat steps 7-13 for each site or site collection running on this IIS server which you want to ‘warm-up’

Notes

  • If you try to use Anonymous or do not set the User Context the module will not work & will generate errors in the event log.  There are situations where Anonymous would work, such as an external SharePoint site with Anonymous access enabled then you could use Anonymous in the User Context settings.
  • This module will warm-up the site after an IIS Reset, Server Reboot, or Application Pool recycle.

Reference:

http://www.iis.net/download/ApplicationWarmUp

Using the IIS Application Warm-Up Module http://learn.iis.net/page.aspx/688/using-the-iis-application-warm-up-module/

http://sharepointgeorge.com/2010/warm-sharepoint-web-applications-windows-2008-r2-iis-75-application-warmup-module/

Posted in Install and Configure, SharePoint 2010, Tips and Tricks | Leave a Comment »

SharePoint Saturday San Diego

Posted by sharepoinTony on September 29, 2010

Announcing SharePoint Saturday San Diego!

This event will be held on Feb 26th, 2011 at the San Diego Convention Center!

Registration is open

Join SharePoint architects, developers, and other professionals that work with Microsoft SharePoint for ‘SharePoint Saturday’.  SharePoint Saturday will be an educational, informative & lively day filled with sessions from respected SharePoint professionals & MVPs, covering a wide variety of SharePoint-orientated topics.  SharePoint Saturday is FREE, open to the public and is your local chance to immerse yourself in SharePoint!

Here are a few highlights for our event:

  • Over 40 sessions and 7 tracks…
  • MVPs and Experts from all over North America…
  • SharePint with attendees and speakers directly following..

Please save the date and register NOW!

The San Diego SharePoint Users Group (SanSPUG) is proud to host this event.  Follow SanSPUG on twitter or use the #SPSsan hashtag in your twitter search to stay informed about this event.  You can also find SANSPUG on LinkedIn and Facebook.  For more information about SharePoint Saturday see the SharePoint Saturday international home.

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Security Advisory for ASP.NET updated for SharePoint 2007

Posted by sharepoinTony on September 28, 2010

The Microsoft SharePoint Team Blog (http://blogs.msdn.com/b/sharepoint/archive/2010/09/21/security-advisory-2416728-vulnerability-in-asp-net-and-sharepoint.aspx) lists WORKAROUND steps that should be taken for SharePoint Web Front Ends (WFE’s) to mitigate the vulnerability related to ASP.NET.
Follow the link above to find the steps for your version of SharePoint and implement this in your environment.  It only takes a few minutes!

Posted in Administration, Announcement | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

USPJ does a great job

Posted by sharepoinTony on September 26, 2010

I finally got to read through the latest Understanding SharePoint Journal and I have to say I was impressed.  

The journal is clear and concise, it is very informative, and it is very easy to read.  The level of detail is great for anyone learning about SharePoint and provides sufficient information to allow you to build something of value by the time you finish reading.  In fact, the examples allow you to follow along and build something while you are reading. 

The format of these journals focus on one topic at a time, allowing you to get more depth in the topic and learning more without feeling like you sat through a lecture.  The coverage of the topic is excellent and fits the audience well.  I highly recommending the Understanding SharePoint Journal to anyone trying to learn SharePoint or learn more about SharePoint.   I certainly learned more about SharePoint 2010 Workflows than I expected after reading this issue.

Kudo’s to Bjorn and the USPJ team.

Posted in Commentary, SharePoint Tools, Workflow | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Odd Profile Import from AD

Posted by sharepoinTony on September 23, 2010

I am running a clean install of MOSS 2007 SP2 on Windows Server 2008 R2, all patches/updates etc. have been applied (this was not an upgraded SP2003 server).

I have the following User Filter in place for the import from our Active Directory:

(&(objectCategory=Person)(objectClass=User)(!(userAccountControl:1.2.840.113556.1.4.803:=2))(!(!company=*)))

This should be filtering such that I import only people with the account type of User, which are not disabled, and do not have a blank value listed in Company.

What I get: SOME disabled accounts are imported into the User Profiles and appear in the User Information list, while others are not.

This is happening AFTER 3 or more Full Imports have run since the time the user accounts were disabled in AD.  All of the accounts are ‘disabled’ the same way in AD, right-click and choose disable. Looknig at the menu via right-click on the account displays “enable” and looking at the properties shows that the accounts are disabled.

After searching and trying various things I did find one very interesting thing.  When the import is run using the domain administrator account rather than my SharePoint service account (which has read access to the AD) then all of the disabled accounts filter properly.  When I switch back and do a full import, then the rogue disabled accounts return to Active.  It is always the same accounts that do not filter and the same disabled accounts that do filter regardless of the user who runs the import.

There must be some kind of permission thing going on here, and I am still testing but this seems like an odd behavior that may have as its source Active Directory.  Updates to follow, if I ever find the final answer.

Posted in Administration, SharePoint 2007, User Profiles | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

What not to do – buying web parts

Posted by sharepoinTony on September 10, 2010

This is a message to business managers trying to solve problems using SharePoint.

First, good job using SharePoint!

Now, please DO look at the options available to you that will help you get things done or enrich your SharePoint environment.

Please DON’T puchase web parts without talking to your SharePoint Administrator, Specialist or whomever you have focused on SharePoint.

Why?  Well, here is a short story (which I will call a fairy tale) that should make my point.

Once upon a time there was a department looking for a more robust solution than was available in their OOTB SharePoint 2007 environment.  They happily danced around while looking for solutions and discovered a shiny web part package that was priced very well.  The joyful department manager purchased the package and gleefully notified the SharePoint Administrator of the wonderful find.  The glorious admin reviewed and installed the tool and went about configuring for the perfectly good solution for the happy department.

The happy department requested a meeting.  Before they start using this new dandy they want a few changes.  The excitement filled the air as the team listed requirements for their solution.  What’s this?  They want to change the columns used by the solution’s installed list.  They want the solution to use existing InfoPath forms.   Gee, that seems reasonable doesn’t it?

A cloud of darkness appeared over the happy crowd, evil seemed to rain over them, sadness ensued.

You see children, the solution is a good one only if it meets the requirements set forth in the beginning.  Oops, no requirements had been written.  That’s OK as long as the needs to enrich the environment and make the identified task easier for the joyous department members are met.  Oops, the solution won’t allow those desired changes to the list.  Oops, it will not allow the use of InfoPath forms.

Hmm, what went wrong?

Then End.

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Daily Twitter Newspaper

Posted by sharepoinTony on September 8, 2010

I am really getting hooked on reading articles in the #sharepoint Daily and the SharePoinTony Daily !

Tweets containing links to articles, videos, and photos are captured and placed in an online newspaper format  for you to review.  I often miss many great tweets with excellent articles and reference material because of when they are tweeted and what I am doing (not watching twitter).  Reviewing the Daily daily helps me find those gems.

The topics sometimes range from things like PowerShell cmdlets, SharePoint governance, and Microsoft announcements to new books, vendor announcements and wacky photos.  This displays the breadth and depth of the SharePoint community.  Recently there was an article on “Boss Management” and another with photographs of Pakistan’s deadly flood.  These things are not gathered by a news organization and placed on these daily’s…these are things that SharePoint people are talking about, promoting and sharing with the community.

What I find interesting is that these daily papers can be personal or social, but are always very different.  It is amazing how different they are, even with the overlap and occasional duplicates between them, they are unique to the ‘owner’.  Thinking about it, if you read the SharePointTony Daily you are reading things that the people I follow are posting.  If you read the #sharepoint Daily you are looking at the posts by anyone in the twitter community who uses the #SharePoint hashtag.  If you create a daily with a narrow focus you can get a very personal “paper”.

In testing out this concept I created a daily paper using a SharePoint MVP and Certified Masters twitter list.  I also created one for my family, it obviously has a very small number of “articles” posted but it could be a great family sharing tool.  These have a much more personal feel and I can’t wait to monitor them over time to see how I feel about them months from now.

With the growing number of social media outlets, sites, and tools it can become overwhelming.  I hope the growth doesn’t create competing twitter Daily papers, but rather complimentary papers each with their own personality.  For example, I look forward to reviewing the EndUserSharePoint Daily and WonderLaura’s Daily to find other gems I missed or might have never seen.

Try searching for newspapers, check out the SharePoint 2010 Daily – it is slowing growing as people use the #sp2010 hashtag – and build your own. Look at the media with a different point of view and often you will see something new.

Posted in Commentary | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Epilogue to Calendar Reminder

Posted by sharepoinTony on September 8, 2010

The Calendar Reminder (Part 2) post has been the most viewed post on my blog over the past year.  There have been a few weeks where other posts surfaced as number 1, but when I review the stats for the past 12 months, the calendar post is certainly the most popular.    There is obvious interest in this topic.

Since the time of the original post, I have had several other calendar related requests and from them I have pulled one feature that might be of particular interest to those of you who found the Calendar Reminder post useful.  This is a twist on the reminder, but certainly related.

How would you like your SharePoint Calendar event email reminder to include a link to create an Outlook event for the user?

Here is how to accomplish this using SharePoint 2007

Requirements

  1. A SharePoint calendar
  2. A workflow associated with that calendar

Steps to add a link to add the event to the users Outlook calendar in the email they receive from SharePoint.

  1. Create (or go to) the event in the SharePoint calendar
  2. Open the event (view) and Right-Click on the Export Event link, Copy the link
  3. Jump over to SharePoint Designer, open the workflow for the SharePoint Calendar where the event resides
  4. In your email (or the variable used to create the message text) add in an html anchor tag and paste in the link you copied in step 2
  5. Find the “ID=” portion of the link, remove the id number and insert a lookup – use the <Add Lookup> button
  6. Select the ID of the current item for your lookup (this way the link works for any item created in this calendar)
  7. Don’t forget to add the quotes and end tag syntax to your anchor – see example below:

If you would like to add this event to your Outlook calendar, <a href=”http://webappname/sites/sitename/_vti_bin/owssvr.dll?CS=109&Cmd=Display&List={ec72e475-45aa-4f06-83e0-855ec9ca94d4}&CacheControl=1&ID=[%Calendar:ID%]&Using=event.ics“>CLICK HERE</a>, then click to Open, then click Save & Close in the Outlook calendar item.

This example provides both the Outlook calendar item and instructions on how to use it.  Notice that the portion highlighted above should contain the link you copied with the ID removed.  The link must come from your server and the specific SharePoint Calendar that you are providing to the Outlook item.

Perhaps you would rather not create such a complex workflow as the Calendar Reminder posts provide.  If want to just send an email at the time of the event creation that included the ability to add the event to the Outlook calendar – you can simplify the workflow to notify the recipients and include the above link.   This allows the user to create their own reminder using Outlook!

I want to point out that this idea originated (for me) with Laura Rogers 2009 post entitled “Appointment email Link, via SPD workflow“.  Thanks and kudos to Laura for sharing the idea and steps with the SharePoint community.

Posted in Calendar, SharePoint 2007, Tips and Tricks | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Restricting Site Templates

Posted by sharepoinTony on September 3, 2010

I had a group come to me recently that wanted to set up a subsite to their site and allow a group of users create sites under that subsite.  Standard issue for SharePoint.  In this case they wanted those sites to all start out the same.  They had specific things such as two document libraries and a few other specific lists as the default when those sites get created.   Also standard issue for SharePoint…by simply creating a site template the users to select they would get what they wanted.

This request didn’t specifically ask for the restriction of site templates, however since we have had numerous other similar requests we now have a lot of site templates available.  So…

To make everyone’s life a little easier I decided to restrict the subsites so the users could only use the template created for them.  The group manager was very happy-this made it very simple for them to find and thus the creation of their sites was a snap.

The trick to it all is getting to the Page Layout and Site Template Settings page.  This isn’t available to you at the Site level, it is only on the Site Settings menu at the Site Collection level (top-level site).  That doesn’t mean you can’t use it to accomplish this task.

After creating the desired site template, go to the site above (parent to) the site where you want the users restricted to specific templates.  Replace the aspx page portion of the url with

_layouts/areatemplatesettings.aspx

Make your adjustments to the site templates available to subsites in the Page Layout and Site Template Settings screen, then click OK.

Posted in Administration, SharePoint 2007, Tips and Tricks | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Lean Thinking for SharePoint

Posted by sharepoinTony on August 27, 2010

I have to start this with a tidbit of history.  You see, I actually did something before I began working with SharePoint…surprising as that may sound.  For several years prior to SharePoint I had a really long job title, but the gist of what I did was implement Lean practices in a corporate setting.  My focus was on the “office” which meant any business function that wasn’t on the factory floor.

So what is Lean?

There are books that go into depth on the subject, and Wikipedia provides some definitions, but my personal short description is this: Lean is a way of thinking and working that incorporates continuous improvement, process improvement, and efficient practices.  It is all about eliminating waste in your business.

Lean is what lead me to SharePoint.  When I first saw SharePoint and learned the things it could do, I jumped into it.  SharePoint was the tool I was looking for to help implement new processes, to help business staff embrace Lean concepts, and to help the company benefit from the Lean effort.  I got excited about SharePoint and haven’t looked back.

One of the cool things about SharePoint is the concept of distributing the work and enabling people to create what they need in a site.  Eliminate the bottleneck.  That is a Lean thought, it is a Lean way of doing things.  Lean is about empowering your staff to do the things that they need to do to get their job done.  And you want them to succeed, to excel, and to do it all without WASTE.

How many times have you experienced the waste most companies tolerate?  Wasted time, wasted spending, wasted energy.  Lean is about eliminating those wastes.  By capturing the time, energy, and money previously lost in that waste you can redirect all of that into improvements that benefit the company.  You can take a week-long process and make it into a few hour process.  When your company shortens process times it becomes more competitive, more cost-effective and usually more profitable.

What is Lean Thinking for SharePoint?

Although there are lots of benefits to studying Lean, I think that by simply using a few Lean concepts your SharePoint activities can make significant improvements that benefit your company.  “SharePoint people” can easily pick up these concepts and incorporate them into their work.  A perfect example is the implementation of a new workflow.

We typically attack a workflow request by asking about the process and capturing key steps we know we will need to create a SharePoint workflow.  But what if we take the opportunity to ask questions?  Why are those steps needed?  Who really needs to be involved?  What is that information used for and by whom?  But don’t stop there…you have to follow-up by tracking that information flow.  What does that person actually do with the information?  Is it even used?

That is the tough part.  People always say they know the process or they know the requirements.  Never believe them.  I cannot tell you how many times I followed a process, tracked the information flow across multiple branches and up the chain of command only to find out that the end result was never used.  Everyone in the organization had accepted the process, enforced the perceived “need” and just “knew” that we had that do it that way.  It often turns out that someone in some department said they needed the information and that filtered its way into the process over time.  It sounded valuable, so management made it a requirement.  Everyone got used to the “requirement” and it became part of the culture of the business.  Years ago that probably was needed information.  The business had to change to stay competitive, but  business processes lag behind and are not updated.

Taking the time to truly find out what is needed and why it is needed allows you to create a process, in a SharePoint workflow, that reduces work and eliminates waste.   By taking the time to do this, even if you don’t find any waste you will gain a solid understanding of the process and have documented the process which is of value to the company.  Having to change a workflow to correct the process isn’t fun and is a form of waste.  Just do it right the first time and you will save time and money.

Resources you can use to learn more about Lean:

Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation, Revised and Updated
by James P. Womack, Daniel T. Jones
Easier, Simpler, Faster: Systems Strategy for Lean IT
by Jean Cunningham, Duane Jones
Office Kaizen: Transforming Office Operations into a Strategic Competitive Advantage
by William Lareau
The Lean Office: Collected Practices and Cases (Insights on Implementation)
by Productivity Press Development Team
Lean Administration: Case Studies in Leadership and Improvement (Enterprise Excellence)
by AME – Association for Manufacturing Excellence

Posted in Best Practice, Lean, Workflow | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »