Tag Archives: Cloud

Why you should keep your on premise SharePoint when developing for Office 365

Office 365

If you’re diving into the wonderful world of developing for Office 365, or SharePoint Online, don’t let go of your development environment just yet!

Keeping your on premise instance of SharePoint 2013 for development will make a few things much easier, and will alleviate headaches in the long run.

For starters, make sure to have your environment configured with host named site collection, not separate web apps. This closely mimics how Office 365 is configured, and will help down the road. See this TechNet article for more details.

Errors

You heard it here first, Office 365 will error on you!

If you kept your on premises SharePoint, you can try the same app there, and if it errors, look through the logs. If it does not error, wait out Office 365 (more below).

I ran into this exact issue when developing a provider hosted app. Just couldn’t get past the error on Office 365. I spun up my virtual environment, tried it there, and received the same error. Searched the logs and found that my client ID wasn’t correct. Oops, I fat fingered something. Fixed and reran on Office 365 and success!

This won’t always work, as Office 365 does get updated more frequently than your environment does, and some of those updates may cause issues. Test it on your on-prem and then Open an Issue with Microsoft (more below).

You can also check the error log with your app, if you’re lucky. More on that here.

Waiting for Office 365

Sadly, Office 365 isn’t the best thing since sliced bread. Sometimes, Microsoft and team will randomly perform maintenance, and it appears whenever they want. I was working through the aforementioned provider hosted app, when all of a sudden, everything went read-only:

Site is read only Office 365

Great, now what?! Nothing. I couldn’t do anything, but my deadline kept getting closer!

What is a SharePointer to do? Dive into your on premise environment which you were wise enough to save, and finish development there. This read-only status kept for about 6 hours this day. This can really hurt development progress when this happens.

Another fun thing is when services get degraded.

Office 365 degraded SharePoint Online

This issue came up, and hindered one specific piece of what we were developing, sorry I forget what it is exactly. Sure enough, moving to on-premises saved the day.

One more story: I was working happily in Office 365 all day, with a deadline the next day, things were going smoothly. I left work at 5p, knowing I’d sneak in a little more work that night to polish up the app. I get home, enjoy my family time, and jump online once my kids are in bed. Sure enough, Office 365 is experiencing an issue and wouldn’t let me continue… grrr… Got up early the next morning and things started working again (I was able to meet my deadline).

Open an Issue with Microsoft

I have to hand it to Microsoft, their support team for Office 365 is responsive! Submit a support request through your tenant. If you’re working on someone else’s tenant, it’s okay, submit the request using your details. Gone are the days of having to submit under an account user just to hand the ticket off to someone else.

Once submitted, they call me back within 4 hours most times. Not too shabby. They aren’t the brightest set of support techs, sometimes things get escalated, but they really try hard to fix your issues.

Again, if you have your on-prem environment, you can submit the support request, then continue working on-prem.

Less Important, Until You Lose it

Office 365 is on the cloud, and if you lose your internet, you’re down. This may go for your on premises SharePoint as well if it’s not running locally on your workstation. Nothing hinders work more than not being able to access anything! Keep it mind.

Keep Your On Premises SharePoint

Just do it.

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Before you make SharePoint Public – 2 more times

I wanted to quickly share on two more options for you to listen in on my session Before you make SharePoint Public.

SP24 is reairing all of their sessions, this Wednesday and Thursday, May 14th – 15th. My session will be run Wednesday night, at 9pm EST. I hope you can make it. Check out the wrap up from my first session here.

I am also presenting this session live at the Connecticut SharePoint User Group on May 15th. CTSPUG is hosted at 100 Pearl Street in Hartford, CT, check out their site for more details, www.ctspug.org

I hope to see you there!

Upcoming webinar: maximize video in the enterprise

The Slalom Blog

Microsoft SharePoint is a powerful solution that can manage content across organizations in a variety of ways. Recently, I had the opportunity, as part of a Slalom Consulting team, to work with RAMP and help create its enterprise product MediaCloud for SharePoint. We integrated RAMP’s impressive media solutions with SharePoint to provide a rich video experience inside SharePoint itself.

MediaCloud for Sharepoint enables team members to upload a video directly into SharePoint, which then handles processing, querying, etc., using RAMP’s secure cloud-based storage and delivery. Once the video is ready, the user is notified and video playback is accessible through RAMP’s custom player. The video is searchable through SharePoint, including spoken words—meaning users can stay in SharePoint from start to finish. As a result, organizations can get the most from their video content through the SharePoint solution they already have in place.

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Is it too much to ask for a single cloud instead of a storm?

If I may, I would like to take a few minutes away from SharePoint (it won’t be long) and talk to the techno-savvy-geeks out there who want more from the cloud.

As I move more and more into the cloud, I am more and more hesitant, and I’m curious to see if you share in my anguish. The cloud appears to be very young and viewing the several dozen different providers and apps available on the cloud, I would say some providers are fighting to become a sole solution, but no one is there, yet.

Here’s my issue, tell me if you relate

  • I want a service where I can easily upload all of my files, photos, videos, and music.
  • I want a service where I can easily browse my files, photos and videos online.
  • I want a service where I can play my music when I want.
  • I want a service where I can easily share my files, photos, videos and music.
  • I want a service where I can bookmark web sites and RSS feeds.
  • I want a service where I can blog.
  • I want a service where I can store and retrieve passwords for websites.
  • I want a service where my wife and I can share our calendars, contacts, and even the grocery list.
  • I want a service where I can do ALL of this on my Windows computers (at least 3 at any point in time), Android phone, iPhone/iPod, and possibly a Mac if I get bored.

Did I miss anything?

And let’s throw in some social networking (keep tabs with friends, tweet, locational check-ins, rating and reviews, etc).

Is this too much to ask? Instead, I have a pile of services and providers in an attempt of doing it all:

  • I use DropBox for synchronizing my files between devices, and it’s pretty easy to access online.
  • I use Evernote for storing and synchronizing notes, and allows me to get wireless keys, CD keys, registration codes, recipes, etc. from my phone or computer. Their online experience mirrors their desktop application. Not great for actual files (word docs – music) hence using DropBox.
  • I use Gladinet Cloud Desktop with my web site hosting provider. Gladinet allows you to make a drive on your computer to cloud storage, like an FTP server, or Amazon’s cloud services. Their application has a sync option to synchronize desktops, but doesn’t appear to have a mobile app available.
  • I use Amazon Cloud Player for storing and playing my music on my computer and Android.
  • I use Google Calendar to share with my wife.
  • I use Windows Live SkyDrive to share files with others instead of emailing the file.
  • I use LastPass to store my logins and passwords from websites.
  • I use WordPress for my blog (this blog).
  • I use ReadItLater to bookmark websites and articles I come across.
  • I use Google Chrome to also synchronize bookmarks.
  • I use Google Reader to track my RSS subscriptions including podcasts.
  • I use Facebook to share images, but store images on my FTP server.
  • I use YouTube and Facebook to share videos.
  • I use two different email providers, one for work and one for personal.
  • I use my company’s Exchange service to synchronize contacts between my computer and my phone.
  • I use Foursquare, Yelp, Facebook, Google+, Hootsuite, and Skype to be “socially aware”.
  • And since I’m on the topic of cloud, I also use Netflix for TV/Movies.

Even with all of that, I still don’t get what I want. However, now that I compile my list, it does look like a lot to ask… or is it? From what I can see, Google is slowly becoming that resource, and they’re taking it a step forward and including social networking. With some work, I think Google could easily take, or at least unify the storm into a single cloud which would be a lot more manageable.

  • Use Google Docs for file synchronization and sharing, they just have to get an app to install on desktop to help file upload and sync (good bye DropBox, Evernote, Gladinet, SkyDrive)
  • Use Google Calendar for calendaring.
  • Use Gmail for contacts and emails, allow it to easily download emails from my personal (non-gmail) and my work (also non-gmail) accounts. (Good bye personal accounts, and possible corporate accounts)
  • Use Google’s YouTube for video storage and sharing, and online TV and movies. (Good bye Netflix)
  • Use Google Music (currently in beta) for storage and playback of music. (Good bye Amazon Cloud Player)
  • Use Google+ (currently in beta) for social networking, location check-ins and reviews. (Good bye Facebook, Foursquare, Yelp, Hootsuite, and Skype)
  • Use Google’s Blogger for blogging. (Good bye WordPress)
  • Use Google Toolbar for saving website passwords and logins, and manage bookmarks and RSS feeds. (Good bye LastPass, ReadItLater)

A little terrifying, but wouldn’t it be nice? One spot for EVERYTHING you ever need, one service to rule them all. I know they’d get sued left and right as they crushed the little guys. I’m not even a Google fan, but if they can pull something like this off, I’d use it.

Is there anything close? I’d be happy with a breakup of

  • File share to include files, photos, videos, and music synchronization on desktop, retrieval on mobile devices and browse online (with playback). Allow for easy sharing as well.
  • Data share, not unlike files, but more free-formed data like calendars, contacts, bookmarks, and allow ad-hoc lists as needed like grocery lists.
  • Social share to post to ALL networks (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, etc), read all streams/feeds, read and manage RSS, and of course share it all.

And let there be hooks between the three so files can be shared via social networks, and social networks can auto-post data lists if needed.

(now back to my blog topic) Breaking it down into the three groups feels familiar, almost like an existing product available from Microsoft could service these with great success, maybe some tweaks here or there, and a great mobile app and nothing could stop you!

A pipe dream, maybe, but I say go big or go home.

What do you think?

Google+, a business collaborative tool, almost…

After reading the article Google+ and the Enterprise, and the experience I’ve had, I tend to agree with the statement

“if Google+ can create an effective toolset for businesses internally – marrying email, with news streams, with video conferencing, with screensharing, with whiteboarding – it could be a huge win”

I just came off a project for a customer where we stood up a proof of concept solution using SharePoint. It was a real fun project. This customer got me on Google+ and at first it was just for fun, I invited my friends and uploaded my pictures. Got it to post updates to my Twitter and Facebook, it was yet another social network.

Before we knew it, Google+ became a method for us to connect with each other about the project. Using circles, I was able to send notes, links and status updates to my team, and not to my friends. I checked it out, I looked on my wife’s computer and saw that she couldn’t see anything I posted to my colleagues, therefore not bogging down her stream with stuff she could care less about.

One of our team members was halfway across the country, using Google+ hangout capabilities proved easier than some of the video conferencing industry leaders. We were connected and chatting in less than 5 seconds, 5 SECONDS! It normally takes 30 seconds just to get the video conferencing app installed, then you wait for the other user to figure out how to get video to connect. With the Google+ app for Android, I was able to take pictures of whiteboards which had schedules and diagrams and get them shared with the team in about a minute (I had bad cell signal in the room, no 4G was available). Google+ truly stream lined a lot for us.

The one thing that wasn’t available easily in Google+ was document sharing. Google has their Google Docs service, but at the time it was not integrated with Google+. If we could’ve uploaded documents and simply specified which circles to share with, I don’t think I would’ve sent one email during the entire engagement!

Where does this leave SharePoint? Some might say in the dust, but I would say that SharePoint is still a vital piece for the enterprise. Google+ is feeling a lot like Yammer, a collaborative space for chatting, news feeds, and sharing. SharePoint is so much more. As an internet or extranet solution, SharePoint provides awesome capabilities for companies to connect with and serve their customers and potential customers. As an enterprise content management system on steroids, SharePoint can not only provide a simple website or portal, but a real robust tool for providing customers a self-service tool for getting what they want when they want it.

As an intranet, SharePoint provides an endless world of possibilities. Some of the coolness of Google+ isn’t there (like instant video chat and mobile app), yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see open source applications or 3rd party vendors to fill some of these gaps. What SharePoint does well, it does better than most others. Calendaring (that actually links to Outlook), ad-hoc list creation (go ahead, make a list, any list you want: tasks, contacts, calendars, meeting agendas, product info, HR resources, etc.), document management (with workflows, permissions, metadata, retention, versioning, etc.) which tightly integrates with the Microsoft Office suite, wiki pages (quite easily throw together pages and pages of content like marketing info, knowledge base, etc), integration with other Microsoft applications like SQL Server Analysis Services, SQL Server Reporting Services, PowerPivot, Excel and so much more. SharePoint isn’t a simple file share.

Unlike the cloud, a locally deployed SharePoint provides something really important: peace of mind your sensitive data isn’t floating in cyber space. This is a big concern for some industries like finance and government. Your data isn’t sitting on someone else’s server, its on your own local servers behind your security. This is a huge factor and one that is slowing the jump to the cloud.

The second biggest reason to stay local instead of cloudifying your solution is integration with other existing systems. On the cloud, integration is near impossible. Displaying and interacting with information, reports and KPIs from your other systems like your CRM, your ERP, your email, your data warehouses, your business intelligence solutions, your reporting tools, your… is virtually impossible on the cloud and exceptionally easy on SharePoint. Out of the box tools are available to integrate your other systems with SharePoint, without needing to know code or how to write an application.

It’ll be a trip to watch Google+ expand and see how it will be accepted and adapted into the enterprise. Possibly the best fit for Google+ is to assimilate into existing enterprise solutions and enhance what others are already doing really well, instead of reinventing the wheel. Provide SharePoint users with the space they need for instant collaboration, video chatting, shared whiteboards, etc through Google+, but keep your information safe and organized in SharePoint.