The WorkerThread Blog

we know stuff so you don't have to

Archive for October, 2008

Indexing PDFs – Can Someone Make it Easier Please?

Posted by workerthread on October 14, 2008

The two posts on this blog with the greatest number of hits are the one on configuring a PDF iFilter with WSS 3.0, and using Adobe Reader 9 with SharePoint.  Almost every SharePoint implementation I’ve been involved in has required setting up a PDF iFilter and I would say that after standard Office documents (mostly Word but some PowerPoint and Excel), PDFs are the file type most commonly uploaded to SharePoint document libraries. 

So please, could someone somewhere make it easier for SharePoint Admins to set up their servers for crawling and indexing PDF documents!  I really would like to see the day when I don’t have to mess with registry settings and XML files to get this to work!

Sadalit Van Buren has a post on her wishlist for the next version of SharePoint.   As she says, “forget the relationship with Adobe already, so that the Acrobat Filter is out of the box!”.  I also spotted a post on the Res Cogitans blog with a speculative SharePoint v14 Feature List which also mentions PDF support as a “Probably” – I really, really hope so.

If this does happen, I would really like to get the metadata captured as well, in the same way as Office documents.  PDF document properties generally look like this:


So of course I would like to get them automatically mapped to document library columns on upload.  Bamboo Solutions are moving towards a solution with their pre-release PDF Document Parser, so maybe as this progresses at least one of my wishes will come true…

Technorati tags: , ,

Posted in Collaboration, Microsoft SharePoint, Office, Search | 6 Comments »

Jazz Up Your SharePoint Dashboards With Graphical Indicators

Posted by workerthread on October 9, 2008

Many SharePoint users have variants of the out of the box Team Site for the bulk of their collaborative efforts, and many of these end up with a landing page displaying web parts such as “Tasks Assigned to Me”,  “Overdue Tasks”,  “Project Status” or similar.  Where possible it’s good to make the status pages a little more interesting by providing some form of graphical representation of the current state of play.

Standard lists like Project Tasks come pre-configured with a view which lets you see a simple Gantt view which is often a good starting point, and several of the free application templates from Microsoft have nice overall status graphs on their front page, like this:


If you want to do something similar yourself, then providing you are OK using SharePoint Designer or Visual Studio, there are several articles which show you how, for example this one from Bill Burke, or this from Paul Galvin.  As Bill points out, there is also a section on dashboards in Application Templates Under the Hood giving more information. 

If you want to display status indicators against individual list items (as opposed to the “rolled up” view above) I would recommend taking a look at Christophe’s Path to SharePoint blog.  Christophe has come up with the idea of using calculated columns to write HTML, within which you can generate coloured bars, traffic-light symbols etc, like this:


or this:


The nice thing about Christophe’s approach is that you don’t need SharePoint Designer – just the calculated column to create the HTML, and a Content Editor web part in which you put Christophe’s JavaScript.  This is a really interesting approach and certainly something I would never have thought of before.

In fact, the Content Editor web part can be used in lots of other scenarios – take a look at some more examples at the Content Editor Site which is dedicated to “enhancing the lives of SharePoint users around the world, one CEWP at a time”.

Posted in Business Intelligence, Microsoft SharePoint, web development | 4 Comments »

The Digital Company 2013

Posted by workerthread on October 2, 2008

I picked up on this over at The Content Economy –  the Economist Intelligence Unit have published an interesting briefing paper on the digital company 2013.  If you follow the link you can download a free briefing paper on their findings.  Some points from the executive summary on their view of the 2013 workforce:

Technical Ignorance will be a thing of the past – a workforce which is fully at home with digital technologies in the workplace – or able to master them quickly.

Social networks will be common in the workplace, like it or not – not all respondents are completely happy about this, but it’s going to happen anyway.

Beware new mountains of information – much of it generated by the new collaboration tools, and this will need to be effectively channeled.

Definitely well worth reading the briefing paper, particularly if you are interesting in information worker and collaboration technologies.

Posted in Business Intelligence, Collaboration, Microsoft SharePoint, Technology | 1 Comment »