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Archive for June, 2008

Defending SharePoint Designer

Posted by workerthread on June 27, 2008

spd I mentioned in my previous post that Paul Galvin had written an interesting piece for EndUser SharePoint called In Defence of SharePoint Designer.  It’s true to say that some members of the SharePoint developer community look down on SPD, but personally I’m all for any product which can be used to develop quick-turnaround no-code solutions in MOSS or WSS. 

When implementing SharePoint, particularly in an intranet environment, SharePoint Designer can often be used to address specific business process problems, and deliver a “quick-win” solution.  I’ve found that frequently this is the type of problem for which a bespoke, hand coded solution in, say ASP.Net can’t be justified, but can be done with some custom lists and workflows in SPD.  Sometimes this is the type of application that a team of people might have used Microsoft Access or Excel for – managing multiple lists, scheduling tasks etc.  This is not to say that SharePoint and SPD could be used to develop some of the fully-featured business applications that people have used tools like Access for, but still great for smaller applications, and IT Departments prefer it because they can have more control over where the data is sitting.

The 40 free Application Templates for WSS 3.0 will give you a pretty good idea of the type of application I’m talking about.  Now, these aren’t 100% bug-free, and you may need to do a little more work on them yourself, but they are a good place to start.  You can also download a useful Application Templates Under the Hood document to get more insight into how the templates were developed.  I would also recommend looking at the Microsoft SharePoint Designer Team Blog which contains some good “how-to” articles.

And a couple more links to SharePoint Designer solution walk-throughs – a Training Classes Scheduling Solution from Natalya Voskresenskaya and a Permit Management Solution from Paul Galvin.

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EndUser SharePoint – Content Types Screencast

Posted by workerthread on June 26, 2008

Mark Miller’s EndUser SharePoint site has published some excellent content recently, including a nice case study on Using Pages and Sites, and a piece by Paul Galvin called In Defence of SharePoint Designer (of which more later).

Today Mark has published a new screencast called A Beginner’s Guide to Content Types.  This is one of the most useful features in SharePoint, and one I bang on about a lot when talking to clients.  The screencast does a good job of showing how content types add value to a document-centric SharePoint site and is worth 50 minutes of your time, so get a cup of coffee and take a look.

A Beginner's Guide to Content Types

 

Posted in Collaboration, Microsoft SharePoint, Office, Training | Comments Off on EndUser SharePoint – Content Types Screencast

SharePoint Server 2007 Search Federation

Posted by workerthread on June 23, 2008

Arpan Shah has a post about availability of Federated Search for SharePoint 2007.  Right now federated search is only available for Search Server 2008/Express – what this does is allow you to pass queries to other search engines (Live Search, Wikipedia etc) and get the results back alongside your crawled and indexed SharePoint searches.  This feature can be very useful, particularly as you can create your own Federated Search connectors.

Arpan says the federation features will be publicly available for SharePoint 2007 as a “rollup” in early July.  His post also includes a link to a good PowerPoint presentation on Search Server 2008 which you can download here.  In the presentation there is a link to the Search Community Toolkit on CodePlex.  There’s some useful stuff here as well, including some ASP.Net Search controls which you can use to connect to the search web service on SharePoint Server 2007.

Posted in asp.net, Collaboration, Microsoft SharePoint, Search | Comments Off on SharePoint Server 2007 Search Federation