Change, finally!

I’m reading a book that talks about how the jobs we do today will disappear in 20 years or less; how this time is decreasing and how the change speed is increasing.

Some people find this as a terrible news, but I find it as a fantastic news. Nowadays I’m doing my current position for 2 years and I’m desiring to face new challenges.

SAP GRC

SAP Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) solutions offer organizations with solutions that address risk management, corporate governance and regulatory compliance.

Key points to have in my mind:

  • Understand the impact of Sarbanes-Oxley
  • Control the type or nature of the risks and their volumes
  • International goods (purchase /sell)
  • Enable an approval chart that reply to your organization charts.
  • Keep an eye on the approval times: you cannot be competitive approving things in 3 weeks when you were doing in one day in the past.
  • Manage information flow in all directions.
  • Ensure that data is kept secret and private.
  • Implement your business strategy through the enablement of actions on GRC.

All these activities remind me some years ago when I worked in a project service for all the governance rules of the company I worked for. They had 101 rules at that moment to govern all the different aspects of the business in a risk controlled way. All these concepts, rules and mechanisms are the same here.

MSOCAF

Microsoft provides the Microsoft SharePoint Online Code Analysis Framework (MSOCAF) to customers for use in analysing custom solutions, testing the deployment of the custom solutions, and submitting them for installation in the SharePoint Online environment.

  • What is your experience using it?
  • Which valuable information provides it to you?
  • Is there some negative aspect of using it?
  • Do you recommend to perform the code analysis for SharePoint applications installed out of Office-365?

Customization on SharePoint on Office 365

Once that I have been involved in a SharePoint project and taking into account that my client is deploying a BPOS-D  Office 365 environment, I’m learning about all application lifecycle for potential opportunities.

Before to design one SharePoint application to Office 365 there is a set of supported features that can determine that your application is supported by Office 365. All these features have to be taken into account during the initial stage of a project:

  • Supported Types of customizations,
  • Supported features
  • Supported Services 

Related to the supported Types of Customizations, there is:

1.- Client-side customizations (no review required)
  • Customizations performed via the SharePoint UI (i.e. style sheets and web part pages)
  • Sandbox solutions
  • Customizations performed with an HTML editor like Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer (i.e. some master page changes or data view web parts)
2.- Server-side customizations (Customization review process required)
  • Customizations that require the development of server-side code and dependant files that must be deployed by the Microsoft Online operations team. This includes 3rd party web parts and custom developed solutions.

The application we can initially be deployed into Office 365, I’m in the process of trying that MS checks it using MSOCAF.

(Margate, NJ)

Webnode, feelings

I’m configuring the e-commerce solution, and these are my feelings:

  1. The first steps are very easy and the user experience is quite good. You do not need to go to the help section.
  2. To create/upload products is easy.
  3. The FAQ provided by the vendor is not so much complete.
  4. The way to link one domain to the store is not clear specified.
  5. To buy a domain name is expensive. I had already the domain name in other hosting and the price was 50% cheap.
  6. The forum is complete because people ask problems and they are answered. So many times by someone that belongs to the support team. This section is useful that the FAQ.
  7. There is limitations at the time to pay using paypal.
  8. There is no way to create an external link, I’m not kidding.
  9. There is not inventory management: you can buy products with zero stock, you cannot configure the option to avoid it.

Working on Search engine optimization (SEO)

I’m trying to work on the search engine optimization (SEO). I found 2 links and I have followed some of its recommendations. It has worked a lot, now Google finds it with the main key words of the business.

  1. Posicionar Web: http://www.posicionar-web.info/
  2. Zona Libre:  http://www.zonalibre.org/blog/salvaje/google.html

The activities I have done:

1.- Validate the URI. I started with 8 errors and now I obtain a green light: “This document was successfully checked as XHTML 1.0 Transitional!”

http://validator.w3.org/

2.- Add a sitemap.xml file. Before to do this I found the way to check that all links were properly included in this sitemap.

http://www.xml-sitemaps.com/ (limited to 500 entries)

http://www.check-domains.com/sitemap/index.php (unlimited)

3.- Add a robots.txt file,

4.- Add the web to DMOZ directory: http://www.dmoz.org/

5.- Add the web to Google directory: http://www.google.com/intl/es/addurl.html (it’s no longer available, Google closed it). But you can use this URL accessing from your gmail account, and then do a request to add it:

https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/submit-url

6.- Add your web site to bing:

https://ssl.bing.com/webmaster/SubmitSitePage.aspx

7.- Take care of all the metatags of the web.

8.- Check the quality of the page, with clear suggestions about what to do (the  best one for me): http://www.seositecheckup.com/

9.- Check tool for keywords density: http://www.ongsono.com/keyword_density.htm

10.- Complete SEO Analysis Tool: http://www.reactionengine.com/

11.- Other good SEO analysis, screens, directories…. : http://www.sheerseo.com/

Updates from 2014:

12.- Other good SEO analysis, screens, directories: http://www.woorank.com/

13.- Test Performance: http://www.webpagetest.org

14.- Check how the web is shown in different web browsers (19 different browsers): http://www.browserstack.com/screenshots

15.- You can write “cache:www…….” and you can see what Google is caching.

16.- SEO Chat, very good to perform an analysis of the keyword density.

17.- http://ubersuggest.org/ used to look for key words suggestions.

Updates from 2015:

18.- Search Metrics, for competitive analysis:  http://suite.searchmetrics.com

19.- Soovle, to find short tail and long tail words: http://www.soovle.com/

20.- Shopify did a tool to grade your store http://ecommerce.shopify.com/grader

From Access to SharePoint

Today I learnt you can move an Access database to SharePoint. You could do that since so much time ago!!! … I’m sure… but I learnt it today.

SharePoint provides a service (named Access Service) that allow us to share and publish Access DBs in a web environment. This service is able to build a web site where:

  • The Access tables are converted in SharePoint lists.
  • The forms are converted in ASP.Net pages.
  • Macros are converted in JavaScript.
  • Access reports are converted in Sql Server Reporting Services.

The creation of databases is done through the publication process to SharePoint from Access 2010 client.

  • First, the SharePoint compatibility is checked (there is a compatibility check function)
  • Second, execute ‘Publish Access Services’ specifying the web site URL.
  • Third, the central SharePoint administration service is activated

Depending of the complexity of the data model, you can find performance issues with the proposed chosen architecture by SharePoint. In this case, you may want to consider the following approaches:

  1. Use the SQL Server up-sizing wizard. The data will be moved into a SQL Server instance, and the front end will remain as an Access client. It can work very well depending on the specifics of the application.
  2. You can try ‘Access Services’ in SharePoint (requires Enterprise Edition). SharePoint lists are very good for simple flat table structures, if your Access schema is more complicated, it is better to go down the SQL Server route. If you really want to use SharePoint for the front end, move the data into SQL Server then surface it using either BCS (Enterprise again) or custom Web Parts, Silverlight etc.
(Rio Celeste, Costa Rica)

Lesson 5, the limit between your application and the SharePoint product

For sure you implement an E2E solution for your client but there is a limit in all of this.

For instance, we have faced infinite and recurring discussions about relative links.

In this project, the documentation stored in the solution has been linked with relative links, so once that it’s exported and sent to auditors, they can work from there properly. In addition people accessing from windows explorer can also work with it.

The only problem is users accessing through WebApps: relative links does not work.

This fact has been seen by the client as an stopper for the good integration with the end-users.

You can explain that this is a limit of the SharePoint product, but again and again they will come back to you with phrases such: “…you have not the enough expertise…”, “…this specific request is written in the project definition” (where??)….

A good thing is to open a ticket in Microsoft support. then they send you a signed report saying: “this is still not implemented”, and then the complaints stop.

All the lessons learned about SharePoint does not try to complaint against this product. It is just my lack of knowledge what is making me to see it as something I have to really learn how to govern.