So, what do, you do here?

For this post I decided to ask myself this question, in order to reflect on the past year. So, in no particular order, here are my highlights of the (work) year:

To begin the year, I attended a great class in SharePoint 2010 Administration put on by Solartech and Rich North where I learned a lot about everything in SharePoint 2010 and some of the great do’s and don’ts when setting up and configuring an environment. I am still going back and forth through my notes from this class trying to remember things that were mentioned.

Moving to a virtual server environment was a big adjustment for me this year. To be honest, at first I was hesitant and a little resistant to this even though I use VM’s all the time for testing. In the beginning we had issues with our virtual boxes going down, but as the year has gone on, I really don’t see any difference now in my physical and virtual boxes. This area has also peaked my interest and made me want to study more about clustering, the cloud, and other options that minimize downtime in servers and applications.

During April I transitioned into a role of a SharePoint Administrator and it as been an interesting ride so far. Before this I was used to keeping the SharePoint environment up for around 300 people. After this change, that number increased to about 4000 users as we began implementing a new intranet website. With this change, I also was given a promotion and became a Senior Business Analyst. Yay!

In May I went to SharePoint Saturday in Atlanta and had a great time listening and learning from a lot of people who live and breathe SharePoint each day just like me. Check out my review in a previous post here.

In September a group of us headed back down to Atlanta again for my second SQL Saturday event. It was awesome, again! Many of the great talks were focused on clustering and backups and options for failover and a few previews of the new SQL 2012. That review can be found here.

Shortly after this, I attended a conference on MS Project Server 2010. It was interesting to see how Project Server fits into the overall SharePoint environment and just how much of a beast it can be to maintain. I can see why now many people specialize in implementing Project Server . I did a short review here.

Team Foundation Server 2010 was another big task undertaken this year to replace our old SourceSafe databases at work. I was excited to tackle this because it integrates quite nicely into SharePoint for things like project sites and other functions. I even got to mess around with code a little bit while I was creating this. But enough on that coding and other junk, back to SharePoint. Enough about coding and other junk…..Of all the things I did this year, SharePoint 2010 consumed more of my time and efforts than anything else by far!

SharePoint 2010. Of all the things I did this year, this by far consumed more of my time and efforts than anything. I was involved in several major upgrade projects this year moving from older versions (WSS2 and WSS3) of the product to the newest 2010 version. The knowledge that I have gained from this experience just cant be measured.

The intranet move alone was such an undertaking that looking back on it I cant believe what we had to do to get to this point! In April, the first draft of the website was given to the pilot users, then in July, we opened it to all users with a link back to the old site. Finally, in September, we officially cut the old version off and switched over fully to the new website. I think taking this process gradually was the main reason why we were able to be successful.

I have come to both love and hate SharePoint after using it for 4 years. Seeing how businesses use SharePoint is what excites me professionally and drives me to learn more about the product. If any of the blog posts I have read so far about 2012 are true, this could be an interesting year for SharePoint again.

So this year has been a great one overall. I think from a technology standpoint there are so many things that will be released in 2012. I cant wait to see what happens…oh and maybe write a little about it.

To everyone I wish you a happy and healthy 2012 New Year! God Bless.

– B.J.

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Project Server 2010 Conference wrap up

Back on Sept 20th my boss and I were invited to a one day conference down at the Microsoft offices in Alpharetta, to learn more about Project Server 2010. We have looked at it a couple of times before and I have installed and configured it in development for our project managers to test out and see if they liked it, but I personally had not gone much further than getting the bits installed and going.

I was fortunate to meet some great folks and learn some new things I‘ll have to go try out in development when I get back to the office. Mainly the items related to timesheets and resource tracking. I think both of those areas are something we can take advantage of.

The one thing I do see that could be frustrating is how Project Server 2010 handles permissions. It almost seemed like there was a whole different subset of users that you would have to keep track of that would be using Project Server separate from AD. That gives me stomach pains immediately. And at this point for me, it would be a deal breaker with the product. I think I need to do some more research on this before passing any kind of judgment.

In the meantime I want to thank all of the speakers who gave sessions there and I really enjoyed the event. Here is one thing on Project Server 2010 I came across that I thought was a good reference, but also exceptionally well designed. Kudos to whoever thought this up!

MS Project Server 2010 Reference

SQL Saturday 89 Summary

SQLSat89

Well, well, well. another year has come and gone so it seems and it’s time to head to SQL Saturday again. I am psyched because last year after going to SQL Saturday in Nashville I began doing a lot more in the areas of Blogging, Twitter, and the SQL community itself. It was good to be going back for another event to get some good free training and networking.

First talk of the day was a new area that I need to get up to speed on named SQL “”Denali” AlwaysOn High Availability Solutions given by Geoff Hiten (Blog|Twitter). The demo of failover and other features makes me glad that we are already looking at moving to Denali when it is released next year! The clustering features alone are making me drool…

The next session that I went to was given by Kevin Kline (Blog|Twitter) titled Top 10 Admin Mistakes on SQL Server. Wow, Kevin is definitely one of the pros at giving presentations. Being one of the founders of PASS and a long time blogger and author he gave some great advice through this presentation. If you have a chance to see Kevin speak at an upcoming event, it will be hilarious and educational at the same time.

During nomnom time we kicked back and heard a good talk from Dean Richards (Profile) and the folks at Confio showing us how to Light the Fire on Database Performance using a product called Ignite8. The demo was impressive and looked like the software gave a lot of finely detailed information about how to diagnose and monitor the SQL servers in your environment. Cool stuff!

Next was a very good and developer focused talk that I was a little hesitant about attending at first titled Storing BLOB’s in SQL Server using FILESTREAM given by Sven Aelterman (Blog|Twitter). This talk went over my head a little, but gave me a better appreciation of what is going on in the background of SQL Server when you start to use FILESTREAM in SQL for storage.

My second favorite session of the day was given by Mark Tabladillo (Blog|Twitter) called Social Marketing 2011 for Microsoft Professionals. This session was almost like a round table discussion in that Mark went over some tips and tricks for how to best market yourself as a professional. The best part of the discussion was hearing about what other people in the room were doing to create their own networking circles.

Finally for the end of the day I went to Stupid PowerShell Tricks given by Jim Christopher (Blog|Twitter). I enjoyed this most of all just for the sheer enjoyment of it. It was taking something useful like PowerShell and making it do weird, crazy stuff. I cant do it justice, but I can put in the link that Jim gives to sum up the session:

Permalink

BTW, thanks Jim, you were the only speaker I went to that posted slides or a summary of the presentation.Many thanks!

All in all a great time to be had and another SQL Saturday under the belt. Looking back I want to thank all the folks who put this on and give up a Saturday to put this event together and provide the people who attend with a great place to attend and good content to stoke the fires of curiosity with.

SharePoint Saturday Atlanta Wrap Up, Better late than never!

SharePointSatATL

Wow, it seems like it has been a long time since I went down to Atlanta with a friend to attend my first SharePoint Saturday conference at the Microsoft offices in Alpharetta, GA on the weekend of May 7th. Event Link

It was packed out, and for good reason! I had heard that this area had a great user base and people who were passionate about SharePoint. At the time I didn’t know much about many of the people who were speaking at the event, but I knew that they would be giving some great insight as to how I could use some of their tips and tricks to make my daily battle with SharePoint go a little easier.

I started off in the first session with Scott Lavoie (Profile) on Best Practices and Pain Points of Implementing SharePoint Training, because at the time I knew we needed to be thinking about this same theme when we begin rolling out a new big project I was working on at the time. Scott gave out some good advice on incorporating the users in the testing phase of the training ( I know, duh, right!!??) as well as many points to think about when bringing new applications into your environment and using things like a Sustainment Plan to make sure you are constantly updating existing users and educating new users as well as showing upper management you have a strategy to execute your ideas.

Next I went to the session Under SharePoint’s Big Top given by Lori Gowin (Blog|Twitter). This was a great admin focused talk relating to the ups and downs of installing and setting up SharePoint 2010 (like never using Stand-Alone) as well as some of the other programs involved in the mix like PowerShell, PSConfig, and the Products and Configuration Wizard. I enjoyed the talk as well as learning that the source of many of the photos used were from family and friends who worked in the circus as well. Neat-O!

Okay, nom-nom’s a plenty and then off to The Business side of Upgrading: Clean-up, Shape-up, and Ship-over by Virgil Carroll (Blog|Twitter). What I found interesting about this presentation was he hit many of the same points I am currently going through with our current upgrade project. Mainly garbage into SharePoint equals garbage out for an upgrade. Also he went over some good business questions to ask when going through a SharePoint upgrade process. I’ll definitely be referencing this a few more time to make sure our business reasons for upgrading are clear before we take the plunge.

Later in the afternoon was Taming the Beast: A SharePoint Survival Guide for the Server that was done by Craig Trulove (Twitter) and mainly the thing I really liked about his presentation was how he showed us some ways to make your admin life easier through PowerShell. He went over some good tools to have in the SPAdmin arsenal like Fiddler, ULS Viewer, Developer Dashboard, PowerGui, and SharePoint Manager to name a few. I have yet t try out the SharePoint Manager, so that’s next on my list to try in dev.

Finally to round out the day I went to see SharePoint Scalability and Performance by Pablo Gazmuri (Profile). Which was a great topic and I really enjoyed his demos and examples he used to get an idea of page performance and  caching in SharePoint. The C# information he discussed went right over my head only because I don’t know C# (although I should) but will be good to reference later for any of our developers building things in our SharePoint environment. Definitely need to delve more into this topic hopefully at a later time.

Overall this was definitely time well spent. If you have never been to a SharePoint Saturday or SQL Saturday event, let me give you one word of advice. Go! I know many people have a hard time being away from family or friends on a weekend, but this is you improving yourself for your career, which I think is the main reason why these wonderful organizations put on these events. And I appreciate them for doing it.

Now if I could just win one of those Xbox prizes in the giveaways at the end of the day… I would be set! Or an IPAD or Kindle would work also…

SharePoint needs coffee?

When running SharePoint in your environment, I don’t know about you, but I always want it to behave like a finely tuned machine giving the best performance possible.

One thing you may not have noticed until someone mentions it to you might go something like this: “Every morning when I come in and log into SharePoint, it seems slow at first, but after that it seems much faster the rest of the day.”

Well how can we prevent this from happening? With another project on CodePlex I ran across called SPWakeUp

This project works on either WSS, MOSS, Foundations, or SharePoint Server 2010. It can be run manually or can be scheduled to run at a certain time each day (which is what I do). I am in the process now of putting it on all of my servers and once I have used it for a while I will write another follow up post describing some more of the functionality.

In the meantime, enjoy! No more first time slowness!

BJ

Data Sheet View doesn’t work under IE 9…

Here recently I had been working on organizing some content under SharePoint 2010 and I kept running across this error when trying to open a list or library in the datasheet view:

DataSheetError

This was frustrating so I went to MSDN and fortunately a good discussion was done over this topic:

HERE

Thanks to Jenny E for the answer, but to recap, the solution for me was to install the 2007 Office System Driver: Data Connectivity Components.

After I installed the AccessDatabaseEngine.exe file locally and exited and cleared my IE cache, it works perfectly!

I can now edit my lists and libraries in the data sheet view under IE9 x64 version.

Enjoy!

B.J.

Add .csv image to SharePoint 2010

As I was researching for a way to do this I ran across several blogs that told me how to add an image for a .csv icon to show up under SharePoint 2010.

Here’s one that I really liked:

http://www.sharepointedutech.com/2010/02/17/changing-file-associations-icons-in-sharepoint-2010/

(Dave Coleman is awesome BTW)

Which the process here can pretty much be copied with any file extension type you want to connect with any other icon. Dave does a great job explaining this.

So I was originally looking for a way to map the .csv icon here to map to the icon that normal shows up when you save a .csv under excel.

I found out (to my surprise) that if you look under the images folder at:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\TEMPLATE\IMAGES

There actually is an image of a .csv (csv16.gif) there, it’s just not associated with anything.

So in order to hook this bad boy up to SharePoint we need to go into:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\TEMPLATE\XML

and add:

<Mapping Key="csv" Value="csv16.gif" OpenControl=""/>

under the heading <ByExtension> and directly under the entry:

<Mapping Key="css" Value="iccss.gif" OpenControl=""/>

Then do an IIS Reset and upload a .csv file to test it out and see if it works. I have confirmed that this file does exist for both Foundations and SharePoint Server 2010.

Enjoy and happy SharePointing