I’ll be speaking about Branding at #SPSMI (SP Saturday in Troy, MI) this Saturday… I’m pumped!

May 9, 2011 3 comments

I’m very excited and looking forward to this SharePoint Saturday!  I’ll post up my slides after I present.  I’ll write up a blog post about the experience after this weekend.

Here is the link to the event:  http://www.sharepointsaturday.org/michigan/default.aspx

Have a good one!


Categories: Uncategorized

SharePoint 2010 and Lync 2010: Adventures in Integration Part 2

May 2, 2011 16 comments

So…part one of this series I started with a teaser about how I was tasked with building some SharePoint and Lync 2010 (the upgraded Messenger 2007 client) integration.  I’d like to talk about how to setup that development environment…because in the beginning…it was kind of annoying going through all of the Lync 2010 Server setups.

First off, lets talk about the completed setup.  I consider this the bare minimum that you would need to start developing for both Lync and SharePoint.

  1. 2 servers.  1 primary purpose is DC, 1 primary purpose is Lync, SharePoint & Visual Studio.
  2. I recommend VM.  Snapshots are nice….I can this setup on a laptop (core i7, 8gb ram) and I was still hurting performance wise.  
  3. SDK’s for Lync, UCMA 3.0, Silverlight 4.0 
  4. All windows service pack updates

Note:  You can do this with the new DC/SP2010 server (ALM TFS/SP VM package) and then create a Lync Server with VS 2010 on it.
Another-note:  You must have Lync Server installed on your development machine to take advantage of Lync Controls (the bits/pieces of the Lync UI that let you develop for the platform). 
Another-nother-note:  You can’t use the Lync/UCMA SDKs on machines that don’t have Lync Server 2010 installed.
Another-nudder-note:  You CANNOT install Lync 2010 on a Domain Controller.

I could keep going with those =)

Those are the specs…and this is how I would install it:

  1. Create a Sysprepped Windows Server 2008 R2 image (that is fully configured and updated minus roles).
  2. On server A:  add roles/features:  Active Directory Domain Services, Active Directory Certificate Services, RSAT.
  3. On server B:  add it to the domain.  Make sure you re-log in as the domain admin…and not the admin of that machine.
  4. On server B:  add roles/features:  RSAT, IIS, .Net framework 3.5.
  5. Install:  Lync Server 2010 (follow these AMAZING instructions to install Lync Server 2010), SharePoint 2010 (any version), Visual Studio 2010 (with SharePoint tools).  Don’t forget SDK’s UCMA 3.0, Lync 2010 SDK, Silverlight 4.0 SDK.

It looks simple, but the Lync 2010 install is far from it.  I highly recommend you look at the provided link and google all install errors as you see them.  It’s a frustrating install if its your first time.

Once you have that setup, you can IM between both of the machines.  To me, its amazing the level of encapsulation that goes in this product.  Find a user and chat with them.  The user is totally oblivious to the amount of technical complexity that is under the hood!

In the next part of the series, I’m going to show how to create a “Hello World Lync/Silverlight/SP” customization.  Fun Stuff…..stay tuned!

Categories: Lync 2010, SharePoint, SP 2010

SharePoint 2010 and Lync 2010: Adventures in Integration Part 1

March 31, 2011 10 comments

Recently I was tasked with trying out some integration with SharePoint 2010 and Lync 2010.  I had a blast while learning more about Lync 2010 and custom development as it pertains to SharePoint 2010.  In this blog series, I want to share that experience with you.

Starting off… Lync 2010 is,  in a nutshell, Microsoft’s communication platform (IM, Voice, Video, etc.).  If you are familiar with MS Communicator 2007, it’s the same idea but much more improved.  Just to give a point of reference… below are images for MS Communicator 2007 and Lync 2010:

Then… Communicator 2007

Now… Lync 2010

Check out that new hotness!  So…switching gears… What’s even cooler, is that the development tools for Lync 2010 allow you to drag n’ drop pieces of the Lync client into your Silverlight of WPF application (these are known as Lync Controls).  If you have been using SharePoint 2010…you know that Silverlight easily integrates into it.  So…basically I’m saying that you can drag n’ drop the Lync client into a Silverlight app that is hosted on your SharePoint site!  When I first heard this, I was very excited…there’s so many possibilities that can be accomplished here!  Take these examples:

  • A dashboard that shows the Sales team and their clients.  Aggregates sales data using web services from 3rd party applications.  Shows their Presence information, location, and options to call that user.
  • Since I’m a branding dork… integrating a Silverlight object into a master.page that shows current logged in user’s information by their name (showing picture, location, changeable busy/away info, and thought bubble).

So, I think you get the idea.  The point is…Lync 2010 is cool and integrates with the client so well!  Its also not limited to that!  In the series, I’ll explore more about the different ways that you can use SharePoint data that integrates into the Lync 2010 client and vice versa.

I’ll post multiple parts about my development experience and integrating Lync 2010 with SharePoint 2010.  I’ll show the things that went well…and things that didn’t go so well.  Additionally, I’ll post up some of the customizations I built along the way.


Categories: Lync 2010, SharePoint, SP 2010

I’ve been dorking out lately about this JQuery Webpart I built…

March 3, 2011 3 comments

I haven’t posted anything very meaningful in a while….but I promise I’ll start blogging more!  I’ve been extremely busy with family and work…thats my excuse =)

So anyways…I’ve been working on this web part that will basically render HTML via a web part (I know…exicting…but theres more..).  I want to give a teaser for the functionaly…here are the features (with a lower-case f):

  • render a set of announcements in a rotating fashion…showing 1 item at a time
  • rotate through items automatically
  • show different formats for different items (one might be image-based, one rich-text-editor)
  • have an amazing content-authoring side

I can use any development tools available (so I’m not limited to client side or anything liek that…).  When this problem was presented to me…I was very excited and it sounded like fun.  It was a lot of work to find out how it would work…but in the end…it worked out beautifully.

I’ll blog how I solved this problem in my next blog post (which I hope to be this weekend!).

Categories: Uncategorized

Just completed 70-573 & 70-667!

February 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Well, its been a while since I’ve posted. I do have news though… I’ve completed 70-573 & 70-667 MS Certification exams =).

I started studying those with the intention to post up a quick study guide. But as I was writing away…I thought that there must be a better way to help others study. So I searched on the internet and found what other people thought was the best way to study for these exams. In this post, I’d like to talk about how I studied for these exams.

First of all, schedule your exam first. That way, there is a clear deadline and force you to study.
Second, make sure you have a SharePoint environment to play with. You will want to test examples, play around in the environment, and get that experience that the exam is testing.
Third… get hands-on experience. Search for legit study guides. Also…take a free trial or two and see some questions!
Fourth, take the exam under the right mind-set. Get a good night sleep and eat before you take the exam. Also, remember your test-taking skills!

Bonus: 70-573 study guide…seriously…check this out, its awesome!

Hopefully this mini-guide was helpful! Good luck on any future exam!


update….passed 70-668 using the same steps.  I would approach the 70-668 exam the same way I approached the MCTS ones….however the MCITP & MCPD ones seem to be a more experience based questions.



Diablo 3 SharePoint Branding

December 20, 2010 Leave a comment

In my BuckeyeSPUG presentation about Branding Sharepoint 2010 sites, I said I would share the presentation with everyone.  When I was building this branding solution…I had a BLAST.  I’ve never been so pumped to brand SharePoint.  I learned a lot from this exercise…. find something you want to do and integrate it with something you like.

I’m making the presentation available now… but in the future, I’ll make the master.pages available.  Below is a screen shot of the publishing master.page:

Teamsite master.page:

I might just have to create a World of Warcraft or Starcraft II branding solution for SharePoint.  Even better… maybe let you change the branding from the ribbon!  Stay tuned…

Branding Presentation file

As a side note, the HTML and CSS was provided to me by Blizzard through the Diablo 3 fansite kit. All I did was integrate the Start Master.pages from Randy Drisgill with this HTML + CSS and viola…Diablo 3 SharePoint!

Categories: Branding

SharePoint 2010 Site Directory … its still there

December 13, 2010 13 comments

I’ve always liked the out-of-the-box Site Directory template.  It gives you a bunch of ways to sort your sites and its a pretty simple to use interface.  Its not perfect, but it works.  If you aren’t familiar with the Site Directory template, heres an excerpt from Microsoft:

Select this site template when you want to create a site that lists and categorizes important sites in your organization. It includes different views for categorized sites, top sites, and a site map.

Example use A Site Directory can help you if you want to provide site visitors with a central place to view or locate all of the sites in your site collection.

Source: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint-server-help/default-site-templates-HA010174491.aspx

Below is a picture of what it looks like (pretty similar to MOSS…)

The Site Directory looks and functions the same as the MOSS site template.

This site template isn’t available in the default set of Site Templates.  It’s actually hidden.  To use this tempate, locate the following file:

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\TEMPLATE\1033\XML\webtempsps.xml

Find the node for “Site Directory” and set the attribute Hidden=”True” to “False”.  You can now create the Site Directory as a seperate Site Collection.  To create it as a sub-site, you will need to run the following command:  stsadm.exe -o activatefeature -id 5F3B0127-2F1D-4cfd-8DD2-85AD1FB00BFC –url http://yoursite (Replace the GUID with the proper GUID…I’m assuming its the same.. ).

Adding Sites to the Site Directory

You can manually or automagically add sites to the site directory.  To manually add sites, navigate to the Sites list in your site directory and add your directory.  You can add any URL to the Site Directory.  Don’t forget to Approve them because content approval is on by default!  Microsoft also gave us the option to automagically add newly created sites to the site directory (and yes…you still have to approve these).  In Central Admin, navigate to General Application Settings then Site Directory.

In the Configure the Site Directory link, you see the following options:

This page is awesome.  If you have ever created a workflow to automatically create site collections and add them to the Site Directory, this page eliminates a lot of the headache that is associated with adding new items into that list.  In Site Directory Location, you will put the path to your Site Directory.   This registers all newly created site collections into the Site Directory.  It will put all of your site metadata (title, desc, owner, etc) into that entry.  Also, you can enforce the categories in the last option.

In the second link, Scan Site Directory Links, you can scan views of the Sites SharePoint list for bad or updated links.  Below is a screen show of this page:

In my case, I’ve put the AllItems.aspx view and had this scan update the metadata (only title and description).  This option will actually create a Timer Job that runs daily.  In my case, I had the Timer Job execute immediately.  I tried 3 cases…

  • 1 created site collection, that I later deleted (and ran the scan afterwards)
  • 1 manually entered BAD link
  • 1 site that I updated the title/desc from that site collection

In the bad-link cases, the site directory did not notify me or delete the broken links (maybe I didn’t have it setup correctly…will report when I figure that out).  However, it did change the metadata.  E-mail is not setup in my environment…so I might have different results.  At any rate, I would setup this feature still in the future.

Below is the picture of the timer job definition:

Lastly, the following shots are before and after shots for when you connect your Site Directory to Central Administration (via the options…)



Hopefully this post helps!  Have a great day!


Categories: Architecture, SP 2010