Tag Archives: Groups

SharePoint’s Not Dead…. It Procreated!

SharePoint is amazing.

It has been great over the years. Seeing it grow up from a basic document library to a robust fully featured enterprise portal and content management, with search, taxonomy features, modern development methodologies, BI, an App Store and so much more.

Click the slides to watch the videos

evolution_of_sharepoint_roadmap

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And then things got serious. Office 365 stretched its arms out and took SharePoint in, and much like a caterpillar in a cocoon, SharePoint went dark. SharePoint has been in the cloud years before Office 365 came around, but it was only over the last year or so when has Microsoft shifted such focus to their cloud offering that it scared some of the older SharePointers. Rumors ran the interwebs saying Microsoft is getting rid of SharePoint. Office 365 is the beginning of the end for SharePoint….

microsoft_ignite

I had the opportunity to attend Ignite this year, and it was great! Coming from SPC the year before I think a lot of people were expecting more SharePoint sessions. I saw a lot of SharePoint faces around the conference, and reconnected with many. SharePointers were there in full force. Then the great keynote session, and Satya didn’t say SharePoint! All we got was “collaboration tools”.

Ouch.

It’s true, SharePoint is dead

SharePoint Is Dead

Once we got in there and things started up we realized this wasn’t the case. SharePoint is not dead. There were more sessions on SharePoint then initially thought, a lot of them masked in sessions with words like Office 365, Azure and more. but there were more than 200 sessions available!

200_plus_sessions_sharepoint

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What happened? We thought SharePoint was dying! SharePoint was dark because, well, it was procreating, and everyone knows you don’t mess with a pregnant momma. SharePoint is now a proud momma of so many fantastic features like Delve, OneDrive, Video Portal, Microsites, Blogs, Cloud Search, and more! All of this awesomeness is only possible because of SharePoint.

Things Are Changing

SharePoint as we know it now is changing, rather growing, maturing, evolving.

evolution_of_sharepoint_overview

Approximately at 7:40

It’s a great thing, it really is! If you’re a fan of Darwin, then you have accepted evolution, why not for SharePoint? It is happening at a much faster pace, and it costs a lot more money, but it’s a good thing. SharePoint may not be named ‘SharePoint’ in 5 years, but it will always be there, in the background.

SharePoint 2013 is Genesis block

So accept it, SharePoint isn’t going anywhere. Below are some key areas I found that will highly impact enterprises over the next year as Office 365 continues and SharePoint 2016 is released.

SharePoint 2016 – the last on-prem version?

Highly doubtful from where I’m sitting. Watch these two videos (below) showing off the new feature sets and paths for SharePoint 2016. It is very promising that Sharepoint will be alive and well on-prem for longer than we feared. In a few sessions it was said that Microsoft has changed their approach for on-prem: cloud first focusing on working and enhancing cloud then rolling that down to the on-prem installs. It’s a great model as the features are heavily tested well before they’re deployed into our production farms.

Check out The Evolution of SharePoint and What’s New for IT Professionals in SharePoint 2016, long list of new stuff!

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Approximately at 45:40

Cloud Search Service Application

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Approximately at 15:10

This is a new announcement, and starts in SharePoint 2013 later this year via a SP or CU. The Cloud Search Service Application will offload your search queries and indexes to the cloud, yes, really, a real hybrid seamless search experience. Your on-prem only needs the crawler, and the crawler then pushes everything to the cloud. This will work with SharePoint 2010/2013, FileShares and BCS! Enterprises don’t need a robust search farm anymore to store indexes with millions of items. Let Microsoft’s FAST team handle it. This should impact a lot of enterprises, freeing up some expensive hardware and hopefully reapplying performance to our end users ;)

OneDrive for Business

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Approximately at 4:05

OneDrive was a huge topic during Ignite, lots of good sessions. OneDrive is Sharepoint’s oldest child. OneDrive is a SharePoint site with a library, and some very specific features targeted to that experience. There are some great improvements coming down the line, especially on the sync tool. My biggest joy comes from the new selective sync option

onedrive_selective_sync

Approximately at 8:05

I’ve been waiting a long time for this. The new sync tool is based on their consumer version, which is solid and has millions of users.

Groups

Groups have been around for a little bit, Microsoft introduced them I believe late last year in Office 365. Groups allow you to create groups of users grouped together for a grouped goal… Groups will span Outlook, Yammer, Delve, OneDrive, etc.. It’s the new team idea, allowing you to create dynamic groups on the fly, add users and then relate content across these applications. Definitely feeling like the new team collaboration concept from Microsoft, however this is missing metadata, lists, etc. that SP does so well. I’m curious to see how team sites will fit in the coming months.

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Approximately at 9:40

The above video goes to a deep dive, there is an overview session but the video isn’t available, yet.

NextGen Portals

A lot of the recent updates have been personal, focusing on the user base. What about the business? We have some new exciting pieces coming there as well. MS showed off some new portal templates which will fit 80% of businesses easily. The goal isn’t to replace the customization options currently available, instead provide new additional options for businesses to create rapid portals in lower amounts of time and effort.

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Approximately at 2:00

  • Video portal. this has been out for a while. SharePoints second eldest child. It is based on SharePoint site collections, however videos are streamed from Azure Media Services.
  • Blogs. Announced to be released this week, have been reinvented in Office 365. They are beautiful rich experiences using a new authoring canvas, matching the latest blogging technologies from other mainstream blogging services. Rich text editing is clean and simple, no more ribbon.
  • Microsites. Appears to be replacing the publishing sites. These are the rich media experiences we’ve been used to. These have the same features as blogs, but on a larger scale.
  • InfoPedia. The new knowledge management center for businesses. Appears to be using the Delve interface some, and will roll up for multiple sources in SharePoint.

Auto save is coming as well! Especially to blog and microsites, SharePoint will auto save your page while you’re editing. For real, auto save page content…. I can’t wait!

What about on-prem NextGen Portals? No idea, the sessions were focused on O365, but I would expect these to be available onprem eventually, possibly with 2016?

What about team sites?

See Groups Above. Otherwise, nothing. Not one peep about team site improvements that I could see. Does that mean it’s going away? Maybe. Team sites, collaboration sites, do what they do really well. OneDrive, Groups, Delve introduces a new team concept, allowing users to spin up teams as needed. We’ll see where this goes.

So When?

The Office 365 improvements are all over the place. Watch the videos to find out more. Given the rapid update model things may be available by the time you’re reading this. As far as SharePoint 2016, it is scheduled for beta later this year and RTM by Q2 of 2016.

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Approximately at 46:00

Approximately at 29:55

Approximately at 29:55

Nope, not dead

Microsoft is making great strides to improve the product base, adding amazingly rich, user-centric functionality that will only improve productivity and user adoption of these services. During the Evolution of SharePoint session it was stated a few times that there is no expectation all businesses will go to the cloud, and Microsoft will continue to improve on-prem as they go. I don’t see SharePoint dying out any time soon!

Disagree? Comment below!

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SharePoint Script: Hide or Disable your fields

This one has been on my list for a while. I’ve used a collection of JavaScript methods to help streamline customizing forms in lists. I have created and compiled this little collection starting probably 5-6 years ago, and over time I’m constantly updating, tweaking, enhancing it, especially more so as of late working with Office 365.

This script works on SharePoint 2013, 2016 and Online. I heard it works on 2010 as well, though I haven’t had much experience with it there. Let me know!

I have a lightweight JavaScript file which allows you to hide or disable (set to read-only) fields in a new or edit form. It’s pretty basic but is a big value add. Also, you can set a field to read-only for only certain groups, meanwhile allowing other groups to edit the field. You can also hide a field completely, as well as hide a field and only show it for certain groups. Pretty sweet right?

UPDATED 2/28/15 fix a few bugs as noted in the comments.

UPDATED 10/22/15 fix disableWithAllowance and people pickers.

UPDATED 10/23/15 fix disable and disableWithAllowance and metadata fields.

UPDATED 5/24/16 fix issue with disabling Lookup Fields, now will show correct value.

UPDATED 8/1/2016 fix issue with disabling choice fields as radio buttons, now will show the single selected value.

UPDATE 9/27/2017 not really a fix, but moving from CodePlex to GitHub

The script is here: download from GitHub.

How to use it

Include the script along with jQuery on your page. Ideally, throw this nugget into your master page and you can use it anywhere in your site.

<script src="//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.10.2/jquery.min.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="/SiteAssets/Lozzi.Fields.js" type="text/javascript"></script>

Once that’s in, get using it! It’s really simple, I threw this on my new form for my task list:

<script type="text/javascript">
 $(document).ready(function(){
  ExecuteOrDelayUntilScriptLoaded(function(){
 Lozzi.Fields.disableWithAllowance("Start Date", ["Project Managers"]);
 Lozzi.Fields.disable("Task Status");
 Lozzi.Fields.hide("% Complete");
 },"sp.js");
 });
</script>

This will change our New form for a typical task, from:

New SharePoint Task Form

to

New Task Form with Hidden Disabled Fields

See the difference? It’s subtle, but when working with end users, it can provide a huge benefit to help streamlining your business flow.

From here, you could have the edit form disable or hide a lot of the fields for normal users, only allowing your Project Managers, or if this is a support request list, your Support Team access to modify fields as needed. The options are endless.

More details

Lozzi.Fields.disable(fieldname)

Simply disables the field, for all users. It hides all controls in the field and displays the value instead.

Lozzi.Fields.disableWithAllowance(fieldname, groups)

Disables the field, but enables it for the users in the groups specified. Also, Site Collection Administrators are included automatically, so they can always edit the field. You can send the groups in an array, like [“Group One”, “Group Two”].

Lozzi.Fields.hide(fieldname)

Simply hides the field, for all users.

Lozzi.Fields.hideWithAllowance(fieldname, groups)

Hides the field, but shows it for the users in the groups specified. Also, Site Collection Administrators are included automatically, so they can always edit the field. You can send the groups in an array, like [“Group One”, “Group Two”].

Some other important notes

  • Currently, this script does not work on list views, meaning a user could edit the data in datasheet/quick edit view.
  • This script should work just as well on SharePoint 2010 if you so desire.

Download this script here: download from GitHub.

Til next time, Happy SharePointing!

Using PowerShell to access SharePoint Sites, Users, and Groups

In this post I am going to dive into some of the basics of accessing your SharePoint sites using PowerShell. This is a pretty basic concept, but something that I think is worth knowing. Understanding the basics allows us to dive deeper into the more complex stuff.

So let’s start! On one of the SharePoint servers, open your SharePoint 2010 Management Shell (Start > All Programs > Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Products). You may have to right click on the app and select Start as Administrator to get the correct permissions.

PowerShell Window

You will get a nice black window, type in cd\ to get to the root. This gives us a little more room to work with. At any time, you can type in cls to clear the screen, this is helpful to keep your eyes focused.

First things first, let’s get a site collection. Type in the following, followed by the Enter key

$site = Get-SPSite http://yoursitename

Now the $site object is your site collection. If it worked correctly, you’ll just be returned to the command prompt

Get-SPSite

Let’s make sure you have the right site, so lets check the URL. Type in the following and press enter after

$site.URL

And that should return your address to the site collection. Want to see all webs in your site? Type in

$site.allwebs

SPSite all webs

Pretty neat eh? You can get the site owner now

$site.owner

SPSite site owner

You can explore the site object and all of its properties and methods by referencing MSDN article http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/microsoft.sharepoint.spsite_properties.aspx .

Initially we used the Get-SPSite command to get a site. If you leave the address off, and just type in get the command, we can get all sites back

get-spsite

Get-SPSite

Using the previous reference to MSDN, we can add additional properties for a nice report. Let’s pull all site collections with their associated content database.

get-spsite | format-table -property URL,contentdatabase

Get-SPSite properties

And you’ll see all my site collections are in the same database.

Ok, back to our first $site. Now let’s get the root web and check the name.

$root = $site.rootweb
$root.title

Get root web

You just got your first site! Good job! There’s a slightly faster way to get a website. Instead of getting the site then getting the web, you can just call Get-SPWeb http://youraddress, and that will return the web for you.

So if you want to grab a subsite, you would call

$web = Get-SPWeb http://address/site/site/site

Now that you have a web, you can explore it’s properties and find out some more information about it. Check out MSDN article: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/microsoft.sharepoint.spweb_properties.aspx.

Back to our $root. Let’s get a list of all users in the web.

$root.allusers

Next, let’s see who’s a site admin, and whether or not any of these users are domain groups.

$root.allusers | format-table -property displayname, issiteadmin, isdomaingroup

The additional properties, issiteadmin, isdomaingroup, are from the SPUser object (see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/microsoft.sharepoint.spuser_properties.aspx for more detail).

Let’s check out the groups of the site.

$root.groups | format-table -property name, owner, users

If you run just $root.groups (try it) it’ll dump out a lot of information at once. Formatting and selecting our data makes it easier to work with.

The above results tells us the groups of the site, and who owns it, and a sneak peak of the users within the group. Let’s explore one group to see all of the users in it.

$group = $root.groups["Sideswipe Members"]
$group.users

To get a user, you need to know the user’s ID or email address. To find this info, you can add the properties to the above command

$group.users | format-table -property displayname, id, email

No, my users do not have email addresses, so I’ll have to use the ID. Either way, you would use

$user = $group.users.getbyemail("emailaddress")

or

$user = $group.users.getbyid(17)

Confirm you have the right users

$user.displayname

This was a very top level overview of accessing some of SharePoint’s objects. From here, now that you know how to get some of the common objects, you can query some more, update values and properties, add users to groups, etc. Microsoft’s MSDN site is extremely helpful in exploring these objects.

Please leave a comment below if you want to see something more specific.

Managing SharePoint Sites Suck?

I’ve discovered that most complaints about SharePoint are from the self-imposed or top-down-imposed SharePoint administrators who are stuck with managing SharePoint sites. I do feel sorry for you guys, you didn’t ask for it, or even if you did you probably thought it was suppose to be easier. In most cases, SharePoint was slapped together at your organization and instantly became adapted as a new network drive, so now you have a site with a ton of data everywhere.

These scenarios can be hectic, chaotic, and down right annoying. The biggest issue in most cases is governance: the art of controlling and governing your data and information flow. Managing your SharePoint site should be an easy task, and should be minimal, without a doubt. Poor governance is one large factor which provides for a mind numbing experience. SharePoint should be easy once it’s been implemented correctly.

A quick story. I was assistant coach for my son’s little league team. It was his first year playing, and the team had all boys from ages 6 to 8. For a lot of them, this was their first time playing. The excitement and joy poured out of the kids and into hyper activity. It was a little crazy at our first practice: kids running around, swinging bats at each other, etc. It was crazy but really fun to watch and experience. I let my son go to town and run around like a maniac as well.

The coach instantly set some rules: no one holds a bat unless they’re up to bat. Boom, I felt safer and stopped flinching (and governance was applied). If you wanted to play, you had to pay attention and listen quietly (more governance); no climbing on the fences (more governance); no leaving the dugout during a game (more); no throwing dirt (more); no helmets on unless you’re batting (more) and so on. As the season progressed the governance rules were tweaked, some were eased up and others were tightened. All the meanwhile, the boys still had a blast and the coach and parents had fun too.

Much like playing baseball with 7 year olds, governance is also essential for a successful SharePoint site. Governance within SharePoint utilizes site topology, permissions, audiences, and data categorization. Control who has access to what, where and how much.

  • Site topology is the site map, it helps define where sites and libraries live in relation to each other. It’s like the lay of the land. No topology makes governance very difficult.
  • Permissions control who have actual permissions to what, for example who can update files, who are read-only, and who have no access at all. Permissions is the core of governance. Permission management is a whole other ball of wax and should be done right.
  • Audiences help manage what your users see, it doesn’t necessarily stop them from doing certain things, but helps them see what they should. They might still figure out how to get to something in the back end library, and if they’re not supposed to, use permissions to lock them out.
  • Data categorization is less involved within governance, if at all, but I think it’s important to note. Categorization is initially defined by site topology, HR docs will be in the HR site (a category of data). Additional data categorization can include meta data and meta tags. The additional information help control how data is found and navigated to.

The latter two items, audiences and data categorization, should be considered in your governance plan, though I’ve seen more often it’s not. Governance (controlling who has access to what) can easily use audiences and meta data to help control what people can see. Filtering views can help control who sees what, but still allows users to access more if they really want to dig in deeper.

If we didn’t apply governance to our little league team, I’d be saying “managing my little league team sucks” because it would. I’d be going to practice with a protective cup, other kids might have black eyes, a broken leg from falling off the fence, etc. it would be a terrible experience for all, much like poorly governed SharePoint sites.

As a side note, it appears governance is simply saying No, no hitting, no throwing dirt, no saving a file there, no editing a file here. That’s one way of looking at it. I prefer, being the eternal optimist that I am, to look at it like you’re allowed to edit this file, you’re allowed to save a file here, you’re allowed to play baseball, etc.

It’s not too late, if you’re in the muck and mire of a poorly governed SharePoint site you can still recover. Get with your governing bodies (managers, directors, etc) and figure out who should really have access to what. Start applying some governance in small doses. Use SharePoint’s web analytics to see what areas are the most popular, and apply it there. Don’t worry if you find it needing to change later, your governance (just like the US government) should be flexible, receive feedback and should react and grow with your business.