SharePoint Saturday 2017 Atlanta

On June 17th I had the pleasure of attending another great SharePoint Saturday event put on by one of the best users groups in the area and it did not disappoint!

The morning Keynote was given By Stephen L. Rose from the OneDrive for Business team at Microsoft.

It was really great to see from him all the new features and functionality that are coming ahead in just the next couple of months! Its something I think that will make users of OneDrive want it even more!

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I also attended several other session about workflow and forms with Laura Rogers which was a great session describing all the ins and outs of how Flow is developing into quite a nice tool that still has a ways to go in certain areas, but is quickly being developed into an actual SharePoint Designer replacement.

There was also a great Power Apps session given by Laura later in the day where she went through some great scenarios and examples of how the current version of Power Apps compares with InfoPath as well. It can do some great things right now, but as with Flow, it still needs to be fleshed out I think more in order to be an actual replacement for the older tools everyone is used to.

Much of the content I saw from this day definitely centered around more of the push to Office 365, but what excites me even more is being able to mold these features and capabilities to the on premises and hybrid worlds of SharePoint.

Thanks once again to the Atlanta SharePoint group and all of the volunteers who work at this event! It was another great day of training that I learned more than my brain could hold. 🙂

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Creating sample data for SharePoint with SPDG

If you work like I do trying to setup test environments in SharePoint often, the experience is great when you finally get all the bells and whistles activated for the features you need to test, but then what?

Now you have a great looking environment with no data! A SharePoint farm with no data in it is like a chocolate chip cookie without the chocolate chips in it. You might as well throw it away and go get something else to eat.

Never fear though as I have recently discovered a great tool that can auto generate much of the content needed to flesh out a SharePoint farm and it happen to be an open source project on GitHub created by the same fine folks that created SPDocKit!

It’s called SPDG (short for SharePoint Data Generator) and it’s another awesome tool to add to your arsenal if you don’t already use it.

Just head over to Github at the following link and check it out here!

Below is an example screenshot to give you an idea of what it looks like:

What is even better about this tool is that you can use it to generate as much content or as little as you need to flesh out your test box. It works with SharePoint Online, and even older versions of SharePoint like 2010!

This tool is so great and I can see so many uses for it, I may just have to do a demo video of this sometime down the road, so stay tuned! I’d love to see more folks talking about this because it definitely saves a lot of time and effort to fill up an empty farm when you need to give a demo!

Many thanks again to the guys over at SysKit for developing something awesome like this!

I hope you enjoy it as well!

No time for documentation? Get SPDocKit!

For many people who work in development and IT there tends to be one universal truth that I have seen time and time again. People setup and spend lots of time and money creating great software systems for businesses and other organizations, but when it comes time to document where things are and how things are configured, documentation falls in line sometimes with the same considerations as system security (hello Equifax?).

I don’t normally write product reviews or give endorsements, but for this one, I have taken an exception. If you need to figure out what all is in your SharePoint farm right now and don’t know, or even if you “THINK” you know about everything in your SharePoint farm and don’t have it on paper, please check out SPDocKit from the great folks at Syskit.

Here’s a great summary if you have never heard of them!

SPDocKit – Ultimate SharePoint Admin Tool

 

Not only will this product document the configuration settings of your farm, it can regularly take snapshots of your environment to help you know how things change over time. And you can even easily publish reports of your farm config at any time! Just take a snapshot (which is like a backup type of job), and then you can report on all kinds of things!

If you want to put your own company logo or labeling on the reports that get output, you have that option as well!

One other thing to know is you can try this out for 30 days and see if you like it, but I can already tell you that once you set this product up and run it once and actually see all of the information that is gathered about your farm in a small amount of time, that you will literally be telling the folks at Syskit “Shut up and take my money!”.

I hope you get to check it out! It’s also very affordable for what the product does!

Here’s a great overview of their latest version:

Hands-on SPDocKit 7 – SharePoint performance, Permissions audit and SharePoint Online

 

Displaying pdf reports in SharePoint

I had an interesting request by someone the other day. I was helping them set up a new site template for SharePoint 2013 and they wanted to display a couple of reports on their site that they had in pdf format in a way to showcase the numbers of the report to others in the company that would visit this site.

There are multiple ways actually to do this very method, but the one I ended up going with is referenced in the following article:

https://sharepoint.stackexchange.com/questions/151161/how-to-embed-word-and-pdf-documents-in-pages

After doing this one the page it gave a pretty good layout on the page. My only concern going forward is having to update this manually and having to possibly retrain someone to keep this showing the most up to date info on the page.

There are other things I would like to research as part of this like putting in zoom or other capabilities in the code to modify the view of the pdf for the users.

I hope this gives you more ideas for displaying info on sites and pages and should work regardless of what version of SharePoint you are working with.

If you have interesting ways to display reports or other objects on pages, feel free to add to this in the comments below.

Thanks!  -BJ

Update 9/18/17:

Beau Cameron just posted a fantastic article about how to do this in O365. Here’s the link:

http://www.aerieconsulting.com/blog/how-to-embed-a-pdf-in-a-modern-sharepoint-page?utm_source=collab365&utm_medium=collab365today&utm_campaign=daily_digest

Enjoy!

Mind the Site Locks when Move-SPSite Fails

Recently I was working on a migration of a couple of big sites moving them to their own content databases and it didn’t exactly turn out as I planned.

So more than anything, I wanted to use this post to describe what happened and mention some tips and other things that may help others out in the future if you ever run into trouble when trying to break out sites into their own databases.

Here are the major events that happened in the migration process:

  1. Created DB under central admin
  2. Used Move-SPSite to move one site from another content database
  3. Content stuck on Move-SPSite, never finished
  4. Restarted all servers
  5. When came back up, new destination database was in recovery
  6. Recovery process used all SQL resources, major slow down of farm (sad time)
  7. Looked into SQL logs to check status of recovery thinking new destination database would come back up
  8. Actually after recovery finished, I still had no access to content created in new content database
  9. Checked and under central admin checked site locks and quotas
  10. Turns out entire site still on old source DB
  11. Hadn’t been copied over, even though SQL showed a populated database
  12. Site lock had been switched on all the way to no access
  13. Users going to site would get a 403 forbidden message when trying to access
  14. Went under site locks and cleared the lock
  15. Once this was done, content access returned to normal
  16. Original content and under Central admin still said content was on source DB
  17. New destination content DB under still showed also that it contained no content

So in the end, the big lesson learned here was that even though I could check SQL and see that the new DB contained information, SharePoint hadn’t moved the site over to the new content database.

I did some research and there are timer jobs that run gradual site deletions, but I don’t think they applied here. Either that or I switched back to the original database before anything else was allowed to happen.

In the future, I may just use Backup-SPSite  along with Restore-SPSite because that command also has the ability to specify a new database to put the site into when the backup is restored.

I hope these tips save you some time and headaches in the future.

Enjoy!

2016 Year In Review

2016 was such a great year for me professionally and personally. I had many things happen this year that were firsts for me. Longest duration on a plane, first Microsoft cert, and many others.

This year I travelled to the following places:

Orange Beach, AL

Tampa, FL

Atlanta, GA

Chicago, IL

Aurora, IL

Decatur, IL

St. Louis, MO

Phoenix, AZ

Previously I have never travelled this much in a year, so this was a big change for me. I was able to see some great places, eat some fantastic food, and enjoy and learn about a lot of new topics like Office 365 and SharePoint 2016.

This year was also the first time I had ever tried to attempt a Microsoft certification. Back in the middle of the year I tried (and failed) to pass the 70-331 exam for SharePoint 2013. I was extremely disappointed that I did not pass this test. I had prepared extensively for it and plus I’ve been working with the product in one way shape or form since it was released in 2012, for almost 5 years with two different companies.

But on a whim around the same time I signed up for the 70-339 test, I saw that Microsoft was offering a free chance to demo the exams for SharePoint 2016. Everything that I had read and studied on the product so far made me think this could go right along with what I was doing for 2013. Well… kind of…

There are some similarities and differences between the products that’s for sure. This test was different, because since it was a beta exam, I wouldn’t know my score right away.

I had a pretty good feeling about it after taking the test, but then had to wait almost two months before I found out that fortunately, I passed. 🙂

During this year I also attended a training class to prepare for the coming of SharePoint 2016 and Office 365. It was held by Critical Path Training and instructed by Matthew McDermot. This was a great course and I highly recommend it to anyone who needs SharePoint training.

I was only able to go to one SQL Saturday or SharePoint Saturday event and that was SQL Saturday Chattanooga. It was a great event, and look forward to the event next year as well.

I will definitely have to head out to more events in order to learn more with the pace that things are changing. Too bad I couldn’t travel each month to an event…hmm….

I look forward to the challenges the new year brings.

 

Here’s to a New Year!

MS Ignite 2016 Day 2

Talk, then sit. Then walk, then sit. Then walk more and sit. Rinse and repeat. 

Today was all about sessions here at MS Ignite on Day 2 and here are some of the talks that I attended during the day:

Keep your OneDrive Content Safe and Secure

Great session given on the topics of the new auditing and monitoring features coming to SharePoint on premises and Online to show how policies and other items can be created to keep users from accidentally leaking important work data to unauthorized users.

Really enjoyed the mobile device features to enable or disable apps on devices to make sure content is being shared correctly

Understand the Impact of the future of SharePoint

This roundtable session was given by 3 MVP’s to discuss what they see coming up in the future of the product and how this will affect customers. Many people shared stories from their companies in a Q and A format

Dive into Microsoft SharePoint Server 2016 Upgrade and Migration

Upgrade session given by Todd Klindt and Jason Himmelstein over the different areas of focus to keep in mind when moving to the new 2016 version. Also had great tips and tricks for people who were making the move to 2016 from either 2010 or even the 2007 version of the product.

Explore MS SharePoint Server 2016 and beyond

Great session given by Bill Baer and Troy from the product team describing bore of the new things in feature pack one coming in November along with the road map of all things SharePoint from then on. Also he mentioned that 2016 will NOT be the last on premises version of SharePoint, so it’s nice to know that we will all have something to work harder on for the next few years. 🙂

Dive into MS Office 365 and SharePoint Hybrid Scenarios

Interesting Session given by Bill and Rick laying out some of the scenarios and steps to keep in mind when going from on premises to connecting things to the cloud. Discussed things like My Sites and One Drive in the cloud along with things to keep in mind when connecting search.

Also gave several great demos on how users perspective changes once things move to online dealing with video content and Delve as well.

Learn how to build a fast, responsive SharePoint Portal in SharePoint Online

Cool session given by some of the O365 team to describe how they have gone from working with regular SharePoint on prem to O365 development practices to try and make the pages of the new SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint Online load as fast as possible with minimal overhead.

Learn about Office 365 groups and how to use them

Great short talk given to introduce the idea of Groups and the presenter gave four scenarios how users might go about using them. It was nice to see this translated into real world scenarios so this made it easier to understand

Wow that was a long day, and I will be ready to rest and go at it again for day 3.

-BJ