Jean Paul's Blog

There are 2 types of People in the World, One who Likes SharePoint and..

  • Microsoft MVP

  • MindCracker MVP

  • CodeProject MVP

  • eBook on SharePoint 2010

  • eBook on Design Patterns

  • eBook on Windows Azure

  • NLayers Framework @ CodePlex

  • MSDN Forums

  • .Net vs. Java

    Due to Public Demand

Archive for January, 2013

Active Directory & SharePoint

Posted by JP on January 31, 2013

Active Directory & SharePoint are co-operated technologies. In this article we can see an overview of Active Directory & integration with SharePoint.

What is Active Directory?

Active Directory or AD is a Directory Service from Microsoft. In simple terms Directory Service is a directory containing users, computers & properties. Active Directory performs Authentication & Authorization.

clip_image002

The features of Active Directory are:

1. Indexed

2. Fast

3. Replicated

4. Hierarchical

5. Extensible

Active Directory is installed as a Role in Windows Server operating systems.

clip_image003


Inside Active Directory

We can explore the Users & Groups by expanding the domain > user’s tree as shown below:

clip_image005

We can also add / edit / delete users & groups using this interface.

Groups inside Active Directory

We can create user groups inside Active Directory. There are 2 types of groups:

1. Security Group

2. Distribution Group

Security Groups are used to assign security rights to the set of users. Example: Backup Group, Department Groups like Technology, Finance etc.

Distribution Groups are email distribution groups. Example: Country Distribution group containing all members from particular country,

clip_image007

You can right click on the Users item to create group.

clip_image009

Group Scope

Group Scopes determines the visibility of the group. There are 3 group scopes:

1. Domain local

2. Global

3. Universal

Domain local groups can be assigned permissions only in the Domain. Global groups can be assigned permissions in all the domains. Universal groups can be assigned permissions in any domain forest.

clip_image010


Active Directory & SharePoint

Following are the points to be noted working with SharePoint & Active Directory:

· Users can be authenticated against Active Directory

· User Profile Service Application is SharePoint part working with Active Directory

· We can synchronize user profiles & schedule synchronization

References

http://bit.ly/11eMOcY

Summary

In this article we have explored Active Directory features & usage with SharePoint. In the next article I will come up with Active Directory User creation & Assigning to SharePoint Groups.

Advertisements

Posted in C# | Leave a Comment »

How to change Password Policy in Windows Server?

Posted by JP on January 30, 2013

While working with Windows Server environments, it is often needed:

  • Changing the Password Length policy
  • Changing the Password History requirement
  • Changing the Password Complexity requirement

How to change Password Length?

Open the run window and enter the following command:

  • gpme.msc

image

On pressing enter, you will get the following dialog box;

image

Choose the Default Domain Policy and click the Ok button to continue..

image

Open the path as shown above (Policies > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Account Policies > Password Policy)

Then double click on the Minimum password length item from the right pane.

image

Enter the number of characters required and press the Ok button.

Now you have changed the password length policy. 

How to change Password Complexity Requirements?

Now open the item Password must meet complexity requirements item.

image

Mark the property as Disabled and click OK.  You are done with complexity disabling.

Similarly you can change other policies too.

Posted in C# | Leave a Comment »

DeliverPoint Installation

Posted by JP on January 30, 2013

In this article we can explore a SharePoint productivity tool from company Lightning Tools. The installation does not seems to be simple, so I thought of adding a guidance on the same.

What is DeliverPoint?

DeliverPoint is a tool that enables User Permission Management & Reporting for SharePoint. DeliverPoint is sold by Lightning Tools.

http://lightningtools.com
http://lightningtools.com/products/deliverpoint-2010/

http://lightningtools.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/ProductDownloadsDeliverPoint2010.pdf

clip_image002

Why we need DeliverPoint?

DeliverPoint provides time saving utilities related to Permissions management. Some of them would be:

· Manage Permission Inheritance

· Find unique permission items

· Copy user permissions

· Transfer user permissions

These all tasks would take more time if we go for the SharePoint way. In bulk user scenarios this tool should save much time & as time equates to money, purchasing the tool would be a profitable idea.

How to install DeliverPoint?

You can visit the following page:

http://lightningtools.com/products/deliverpoint-2010/

Click on the Request a Trial Version link:

clip_image003

Fill the appearing form:

clip_image005

Make sure you selected the appropriate version as marked above.

Click the Send me Download button from the bottom of the page.

clip_image006

You should receive an email with the Download link provided.

clip_image008

Click on the link & you should get the setup zip file.

Installation

Extract the zip file.

clip_image009

Execute the Installer.

clip_image011

After installation, you need to run the DeliverPoint Configuration Wizard from the Start Menu.

clip_image012

On running the wizard you should get the following screen:

clip_image014

In case if you received any error, try executing the Configuration in Administrator mode.

Click Next button to continue & in the next screen enter the Farm account credentials.

clip_image016

DeliverPoint requires a database for internal purposes.

clip_image017

Please enter a valid database name in the next step and wait for the configuration to be completed.

Once the configuration is completed you will get the following screen:

clip_image019

How to run DeliverPoint?

After the installation, you can see DeliverPoint custom actions inside the Site Actions menu of your user facing site. Please make sure you login with Administrative Privileges.

clip_image021

Click on the first menu item to continue. You will get the following screen.

clip_image023

Check the sites you need to generate information for. You can select the various options.

clip_image024

Wait for a few minutes for the operation to be completed.

Generate Report

For generating User Permission report, use Site Actions > Discover Site Permissions menu item.

clip_image026

Moving through the wizard we can generate the report.

clip_image028

The report shows the Url and associated Users having access in it.

The report shows the Url and associated Users having access in it. If you face any data generation errors, please ensure the Interrogator was executed.

clip_image002

Interrogator is a set of scheduled tasks used by DeliverPoint to generate the report data. You can view them through Control Panel > Scheduled Tasks as shown below:

clip_image004

For immediate results in reporting, you can choose the Run option for the above tasks.

References

http://bit.ly/10uiVpB

Summary

In this article we have explored how to install & use DeliverPoint tool for SharePoint. In real world scenarios I believe this tool could save lot of productivity hours while keeping us cool. 🙂

Posted in C# | Leave a Comment »

SharePoint 2010 – New Installation – Error – Connection Close

Posted by JP on January 29, 2013

In some cases SharePoint 2010 New Installation results in a corrupted web site.  Following will be the result on accessing the port 80 url:

Eg: http://localohst
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Server: Microsoft-IIS/7.5
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2013 15:27:43 GMT
Connection: close

The error can happen due to:

  1. Invalid web application
  2. Invalid site collection

Solution

As the solution you can delete the existing port 80 web application and create a new one followed by a new site collection too.

image

Open central administration and select the port 80 web application.

image 
Click the Delete button.
 
image 
Choose Delete content database & web sites option & click the Delete button.
Wait for a few minutes for the delete operation to get completed.

Create new Web Application

Now click the New button and create a new web application.

image

Choose the port 80 and save changes.

Create new Site Collection

Now go to Central Administration and choose Create site collections link.

image

Click the Ok button to save changes.

You should get the following happy page on accessing with url, eg: http://localhost

image

Please note that, for Correlation errors you can visit the 14 hive LOG folder.

Posted in C# | Leave a Comment »

Error :: Configuration Failed :: Failed to create configuration database; The password supplied with the username was not correct

Posted by JP on January 29, 2013

I was receiving the following error while installing SharePoint.

  • SharePoint 2010
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • SQL Server 2008 R2
  • Active Directory

 

The installation went fine, but running the Products & Configuration wizard, the error appeared and spoiled the game.

I error says “Password was not correct”.  I ensured the password was right.

 

image

Playing around & I found that the user was not added to Administrators group.  Following is the fix:

Solution

Create a new user spadmin

Eg: DOMAIN\spadmin

Ensure the Password policy as Never expires.

image

Add the user to Administrators group

Inside Active Directory window, right click on the user & choose the Add to Group option.

image

Click Ok to continue.

Assign SQL Server Permissions

Now open your SQL Server & choose Security>Logins. 

If you cannot find the spadmin user, add using New Login option.  Ensure you set the following Server Roles as well

image      image

 

Click the Ok button save changes

Back in SharePoint Products & Configuration Wizard

Back in the wizard, use the new spadmin user in the format DOMAIN\spadmin

The error should not appear this time.  Good Luck!

Posted in C# | 2 Comments »

Why InfoPath?

Posted by JP on January 23, 2013

In this tip article we can see the advantages of InfoPath Forms compared with SharePoint List Forms.

You know that we for a SharePoint List, for new / edit / delete operations we can invoke:

· SharePoint Built-in Forms

· InfoPath Forms

Following are the screen shot of both the forms:

image

Following are the advantages of using InfoPath Forms compared with the default forms.

Custom Design Possibility We can design the forms using InfoPath Designer which allows much more layout & user control choice.
Better Formatting Options More colors & data formatting options are possible.
Better Validation Options Better validations are possible
Better Data Entry through Repeating & Nested Sections Repeating Sections allow capturing of repeating set of data. For example multiple contacts addresses with same kind of fields like address, city, and state.
Lookup Data from various sources We can lookup through different data sources like external content, web services etc.
Offline Form Filling Forms can be send to users for offline filling (through email attachment)
Digital Signature Users can digitally sign the form
Managed Code Integration We can write custom code for much more control.
Late Form Submissions Completed forms can be submitted later on through the Submit feature of InfoPath form filler.

The advantages are depicted below:

image

References

http://bit.ly/pFvhVf

Summary

In this article we have gone through the advantages of InfoPath forms compared with SharePoint forms. I hope this will give good grip in advocating InfoPath forms with the customer.

Posted in C# | 2 Comments »

How Paid Tools are critical for SharePoint?

Posted by JP on January 22, 2013

In the SharePoint world, there are lot of paid tools by third party companies.

The tools are available in the following areas:

  1. Document Management
  2. Security Management
  3. Backup & Recovery
  4. Reporting
  5. Migration

How Tools are Important?

This purely depends on the scenario:

  1. If your client wanted a quicker solution
  2. If your client wanted a cost effective solution (in the long run)

For example SharePoint provides Backup & Restore, but there are Tools which provide Scheduled Backup, Fine grain Restore etc.  Surely these are time saving factors & the tool is advantageous!

For example without a tool a person of $100 per hour rate has to be employed & 20 times per year thus increasing the cost to $2000.  In this case a tool of $1000 will be saving $1000.

Some of the custom tool providers in SharePoint are:

  1. AvePoint
  2. Telerik
  3. Quest (Acquired by Dell)
  4. Axceler
  5. MetaLogix
  6. Idera

image

Please note that licensing of tool may change based on the number of farms or servers involved, thereby increasing cost.

Posted in C# | Leave a Comment »

Importance of SharePoint Governance

Posted by JP on January 15, 2013

In this article we can explore Governance.   The topic is very important for the Success of a SharePoint in meeting business objectives.

What is SharePoint Governance?

Governance is the set of policies, roles, responsibilities, and processes that guide, direct, and control how an organization’s business divisions and IT teams cooperate to achieve business goals.

clip_image001

In simpler words, we can equate Governance as something we see in our daily life. For example we can take the Traffic control mechanism where there is a set of rules & procedures in using road, overtaking, parking etc. supported with authorized persons.

The importance of Governance lies on the problems of No Governance!

What are the problems of No Governance?

Without proper Governance, the SharePoint Implementation could end up without meeting the Business Objectives. Some of the failure scenarios are following:

1. Hundreds of unused sites as a result of unattended site creation, eating up disk spaces

2. Too many document versions taxing on content database size

3. Poor Performance & Unstable Environments keeping users run away from SharePoint

4. Duplicate documents & contents creating chaos & wasting productivity hours

5. Folders are used in a Hierarchical way & Metadata columns are deferred

6. Extranet Data Threat as unauthorized external users can view confidential documents

7. Too many customized pages adding load to servers due to fetch from content database

8. Users gaining power of SharePoint Administrators thereby decentralizing authority

Without Governance, in the long run a chaotic situation might occur as depicted traffic jam below:

clip_image003

clip_image005

After all, this is a Dynamic Topic and requires careful analysis before implementing any pre-defined Governance plans. The Governance Team formation & procedures explained here specify a typical Governance model & should be tweaked based on your organizational requirements.

A Proper Governance Plan is as important as a Proper SharePoint Implementation.

What are the steps involved in Governance?

Following are the steps involved in Governance Implementation:

1. Organize the Governance Committee

2. Decide the SharePoint Elements to be governed

3. Implement Rules & Policies

4. Monitor & Reinforce Governance

clip_image007

Step 1: Organize the Governance Committee

A governance committee includes people from the Business & IT divisions of organization. A typical Governance Committee will be having 5 Teams:

1. Business Strategy Team

2. Technical Strategy Team

3. Operations Tactical Team

4. Development Tactical Team

5. Support Tactical Team

Step 2: Decide the SharePoint Elements to be governed

Following are some of the SharePoint Elements can be governed or controlled:

1. Site Collections & Sites – Creation, Deletion, Quotas etc.

2. Security – User Permissions, Groups, Policies etc.

3. Content – Document, List, Versions, Upload Size, Metadata etc.

4. Backup & Recovery

5. Customizations – Page editing, Branding, Navigation etc.

6. Document Versions

7. Solutions & Features

8. Workflows

9. Information Management

10. Managed Metadata

Step 3: Implement Rules & Policies

In this step the Governance Rules & Policies are implemented. The implementation includes proper creation of Rules & Policies around the elements. Some of the activities during this step are:

1. Setting up Rights & Permissions for Users / Groups

2. Restrict Site Collection creation

3. Setup content approval & routing

4. Setup Locks & Quotas

5. Set Document Versioning Policies

6. Set Retention / Deletion Policies

7. Restrict page customization & usage of SharePoint Designer

8. Setup workflows for automating approvals & processes

The Policies created around Governance Elements should be communicated effectively with the users. Proper communication ensures higher productivity, less overheads & support calls.


Step 4: Monitor & Reinforce Governance

Periodic meetings are conducted by the Governance Committee to review governance. Any necessary change to the Rules & Policies is updated during this phase. In general a quarterly meeting is conducted.

Governance Pyramid

Following is the Governance Pyramid. It depicts that higher the accessibility of content, more will be the Governance requirement.

clip_image009

Please note that down the pyramid, where My Sites are deployed, the amount of governance will be lowest.

Scope of Governance in Water Fall methodology

The activities of Governance usually start after the System Analysis phase. Following diagram depicts the occurring of Governance.

clip_image011

References

http://bit.ly/10uiVpB

http://oreil.ly/dm6GjL

Summary

In this article we have explored the Importance of SharePoint Governance & How to implement it. You can refer the References link for more detailed approach to Governance.

Posted in C# | 3 Comments »

SharePoint 2013 – Apps Advantages

Posted by JP on January 13, 2013

SharePoint 2013 introduced a new feature called Apps. Apps are self-contained pieces of functionality that extends the capabilities of a SharePoint website.

Apps will be executed outside the SharePoint Server, and in the Client machine or in the Cloud. This makes Apps makes easier installation & cleanup. Sandboxed Solutions are deprecated and new custom solutions should be provided through Apps.

image

The Advantages provided by Apps can be divided into following categories:

1. Advantages to Users

2. Advantages to Administrators

3. Advantages to Developers

image


Advantages to Users

Following are the advantages of Apps from the User perspective:

1. Apps are available through:

a. App Catalog within Organization

b. App Store outside Organization

2. Apps provides easiest discover & installation

3. More Apps are available through SharePoint App Store as compared with Sandboxed Solutions.

4. Apps provides future upgrade support

image

Advantages to Administrators

Following are the advantages of Apps from the Administrator perspective:

1. Apps are Safer than Sandboxed Solutions as they are executed outside server environment

2. Apps induce Less Load to server than Sandboxed Solutions

3. Apps are Configurable by Administrators allowing them to restrict usage of Apps by users

image

Advantages to Developers

Following are the advantages of Apps from the Developer perspective:

1. Web Programming skills are reusable in creating Apps

2. Common web standards of HTML, JavaScript, CSS can be used to develop Apps

3. Visual Studio 2012 supports App project templates

4. Like the Sandboxed Solutions, developer can access SharePoint lists & libraries within Apps

5. Opportunity to create & publish Apps to SharePoint store

6. More potential in developing revenues through Apps

image

image

Please note that Sandboxed Solutions are deprecated but still supported in SharePoint 2013 in order to provided backward compatibility. This makes the need for developing new SharePoint custom solutions using Apps. Additionally Farm Solutions are still supported in SharePoint 2013 and we can use it advanced scenarios.

SharePoint & Facebook

For those who have developed Facebook Apps may find similarity with the SharePoint 2013 Apps. Both of them have client side HTML / JavaScript Apps enabling less security overheads & load to the server.

image

Apps in SharePoint App Store

Following are some Apps listed in the SharePoint App Store:

You can access the site from the Apps for SharePoint link in following page:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/store/

image

Please note that the above site has Apps for Excel, Outlook, Project & Word as well.
image

Building Apps

For starting with building Apps, you can follow the link:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj163230.aspx


References

http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/office/apps/fp179930(v=office.15)

Summary

To summarize the article, following are the points worth noting:

1. Apps are self-contained pieces of functionality

2. Apps are executed in the client machine or cloud

3. Sandboxed Solutions are deprecated

4. Apps provides more safety, less impact to the SharePoint server

5. Apps can be made available through SharePoint App Store

6. Opportunity for Developers in generating revenue through selling Apps

 

Posted in C# | 2 Comments »

SharePoint Roles

Posted by JP on January 6, 2013

In this article I would like to discuss the SharePoint Roles involved. SharePoint Roles & Assignment to People is an essential step towards a SharePoint Project analysis & implementation.

Following are the most important Roles, I could identify here:

clip_image001 SharePoint Architect

clip_image001[1] SharePoint Developer

clip_image001[2] SharePoint Designer

clip_image001[3] SharePoint Administrator

clip_image001[4] SharePoint Trainer

clip_image001[5] SharePoint Power User

clip_image001[6] SharePoint User

The role involvement is depicted below:

image

Now let us explore what each Role performs.

SharePoint Architect

Following are the responsibilities of Architect:

· Should be an Expert in SharePoint, .Net & SQL Server

· Analyze the Requirements & Gain Business Objectives

· Collaborate with Customer

· Define & Implement Governance Plan

· Architectural decisions on Number of Servers, Capacity Planning, Taxonomy etc.

· Direct Developers in building Custom Solutions

· Direct Administrator on SharePoint Infrastructure usage

· Configure Search Center, Business Intelligence

· Decide on Hold, Retention Policies

· Ensure Performance & Monitoring mechanisms of the Implementation

SharePoint Developer

Following are the responsibilities of Developer:

· Develop custom solutions for SharePoint involving Web Parts, Workflows, Object Model

· Submit Deployment Package to Administrator

· Should be having good knowledge with SharePoint Out of Box features & Programming in .Net

· Responsible for running unit tests, memory tests involved in development

SharePoint Designer

Following are the responsibilities of Designer:

· Expert in HTML, CSS, XML, Master Pages with Good understanding of SharePoint features

· Provides Customization of SharePoint Site Pages

· Implementation of Branding

· Responsible for the Non-Programming customizations of SharePoint

SharePoint Administrator

Following are the responsibilities of Administrator:

· Expert in SharePoint Out of the Box features, Active Directory with good amount of Networking skills

· Setup Windows Server, SharePoint Servers, Services, Active Directory, IIS etc.

· Monitor the Health of Servers, Implement Retention Policies

· Performs Site Collection Setup, DNS Mapping, Users & Permissions setup

· Assigns new users to groups & set access to sites based on requirement

· Coordinates with Network Administrator

· Deploy new Solutions, Components to SharePoint server

· Executes Power Shell scripts

· Performs Backup of Content Database

SharePoint Trainer

Following are the responsibilities of Trainer:

· Expert in SharePoint from user point of view

· Well knowledged with SharePoint compatible Browser, Office Applications

· Train the customers in their respective functional areas along with SharePoint

· Train the customers in creating Sites, Libraries, Lists & using Office Integration, Search

SharePoint Power User

Following are the responsibilities of Power User:

· Power User is a User with good amount of Knowledge in SharePoint features

· Should be guiding other users during times of difficulties

SharePoint User

Following are the responsibilities of User:

· Should be expert in Business Functionality & knowledgeable with SharePoint implementation

· Performs his/her activities through SharePoint

image

Please note that Power User & User are scoped from the Customer side. SharePoint Administrator can be from the customer side if it is a customer maintained implementation. In specific scenarios the customer might rely on third party companies to administer SharePoint implementation, where the Administrator will be external to customer premises.

References

http://www.c-sharpcorner.com/uploadfile/Roji.Joy/sharepoint-roles-and-responsibilities/

Summary

In this article we have explored the different Roles involved in SharePoint. For those who are new to SharePoint, I believe this information should add value.

Posted in C# | 6 Comments »