I do not recommend SharePoint

I’m sorry Mr Microsoft but I cannot recommend SharePoint.

I have been seeing during the last 3 years major companies investing millions of dollars on SharePoint farms, SharePoint migration projects, tonnes of effort to go… where?

…Nowhere…

They have the best sales people I have seen, using the nice story that SharePoint is the natural replacement of Lotus Notes environment, increasing productivity of the individual, departments,….

Implementations with tonnes of CPUs and MBs (because you cannot run SharePoint on a simple environment). No, you cannot. You need a farm bigger than the farm-ville of a retired guy.

 

Non successful SharePoint implementations

I have been seeing during the last 3 years major companies investing millions of dollars on SharePoint farms, SharePoint migration projects, tonnes of effort to go… where?

Do you know any major SharePoint implementation where the end users and CIO are happy?

If you do, please let me know! I’m interested on it.

I have seen successful mid-size implementations, and small farms for a bunch of users. The point is that for these type of implementations the investment per user is so high and you cannot take advantage of the economy of scale.

LN to SharePoint Migration map

An image is more valuable than a thousand words, so,

Main components of a Lotus Notes Application mapped to corresponding SharePoint 2010 Custom Application. LN-SharePoint-Components

The more challenging point on a migration to SharePoint from LN databases is the fact the final key users have to be aware of the target possibilities they have for the organization of the data.

Dear Mr Customer: “LN is not the same thing than SharePoint”

 

 

SharePoint templates

Coming back to SharePoint world after one month without thinking on it. Some necessary research about resources that potentially can enable us to advance in the construction of real solutions for our client.

Source: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windowsserver/sharepoint/bb407286.aspx

The most interesting for me are:


Manufacturing Process Management

The Manufacturing Process Management application template helps teams to model and track manufacturing processes as well as tasks and issues that arise in the upkeep of these processes.

Case Management for Government Agencies

The Case Management for Government Agencies application template helps case managers track the status and tasks required to complete their work. When a case is created, standard tasks and documents are created which are modified based on the work each case manager has completed.

Employee Activities Site

The Employee Activities Site application template helps manage the creation and attendance of events for employees. Activity owners use the site to review proposals for new activities and create event calendar items. Employees use the site to sign up as well as track which activities they’ve attended in the past.

Employee Training Scheduling And Materials

The Employee Training Scheduling and Materials application template helps instructors and employees manage courses and related materials. Instructors can use the site to add new courses and organize course materials. Employees use the site to schedule attendance at a course, track courses they’ve attended and to provide feedback.

2010 SPS Farm Report

A tool to remind, the 2010 SharePoint Server Farm Report tool provides you information available that helps you to understand the complete configuration of your farm.

http://spsfarmreport.codeplex.com/

From the link:

“This is a 64-bit executable that relies on .NET Framework 3.5. This assembly can only run on x64 Windows operating systems where SharePoint Foundation 2010, SharePoint Server 2010, and/or Project Server 2010 is installed and configured using psconfig.”

“It references the 14.0.0.0 microsoft.sharepoint.dll and the powershell interface through system.management.automation.dll. It is recommended that you use IE to view the generated output and then optionally enable scripts.”

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)

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.