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Archive for May, 2009

Word 2007 – Filling Up Demo Documents

Posted by workerthread on May 27, 2009


Often when I’m demonstrating things like SharePoint document libraries, I find I need to create a new Word document and quickly fill it with some placeholder text, ideally real text rather than the usual “asdadsadasdasda” that you end up typing otherwise.

For a long time I’ve used a little feature in Microsoft Word, whereby you can type =rand() and hit enter to generate some placeholder paragraphs, or =rand(paragraphs,sentences) to specify a number paragraphs and sentences.  Even though this feature has been around in Word for several versions now, most people still don’t know it exists.  One thing that has changed in Word 2007 is that the generated paragraphs are a little bit of Word 2007 help, like this sample –

On the Insert tab, the galleries include items that are designed to coordinate with the overall look of your document …

In previous versions of Word, using =rand() generated multiple paragraphs of The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog which is a pangram containing all letters of the alphabet.  Well, thanks to this post on the Microsoft Word Team blog I’ve discovered you can still use the “quick brown fox” version – you just have to use =rand.old() instead. 

The Word Team’s post also mentions another function (new to me) which can be used in Word to generate Lorem Ipsum text, using = lorem() – again, quite useful for generating placeholder text in documents, web pages and SharePoint web parts.

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Posted in Office, Training, Web Design | 1 Comment »

Tools for SharePoint UI Layout

Posted by workerthread on May 25, 2009

A while ago I wrote about Balsamiq Mockups and since then I’ve been trying it out on a couple of specification jobs.   On the Balsamiq Mockups to Go site I found this very handy set of pre-built SharePoint elements – so many thanks to Gordon MacLeod of Navantis for that.   Following a quick download of these elements It was possible to create mock-ups like this (click image for a larger view):


So definitely worth considering if you need some quick SharePoint mock-ups for a presentation or proposal.  By the way you can now link Mockups together, also useful when presenting to an audience.

I also just heard about Visio Shapes for SharePoint, basically three different collections of stencils and shapes covering SharePoint UI prototyping, architectural design and conceptual views of your SharePoint implementation.   I haven’t tried this one myself yet but looking at the screenshots on the site you get a very comprehensive set of design elements.  I plan to take a look soon – if anyone reading this has worked with this product please leave a comment and let me know – I’m keen to hear what it’s like.

Posted in Microsoft SharePoint, Web Design | Comments Off on Tools for SharePoint UI Layout

Kilimanjaro Becomes SQL Server 2008 R2

Posted by workerthread on May 22, 2009

News in the past week of plans for the next version of SQL Server.  This previously had the code name Kilimanjaro, but now becomes SQL Server 2008 R2.  I’m not really sure I understand the Microsoft’s logic behind product naming.  As far as I can see SQL Server 2008 R2 will be released in H1 2010 – at around the same time that we will start to see other new products such as SharePoint Server 2010 and Office 2010…

Anyhoo, you can take a look at some of the new features and services on this SQL Server R2 page, and you can also sign up for notification when it gets to Community Technology Preview stage.  I’ve also heard that this release of SQL Server will, like other future server products, be 64-bit only.  As well as some interesting screenshots the page has a clever “silent movie” style video:

It does look like R2 will get some nice new Business Intelligence and reporting features.  One of these is currently known as “Project Gemini”,  which uses in-memory database technology and column-oriented processing techniques.  This can be combined with a forthcoming Excel 2010 add-in to provide a much improved ad-hoc data analysis tool.  Excel 2007 is pretty good at this at the moment, but not as good as it should be, and certainly not as good as some of the desktop analysis tools from ProClarity.

We don’t have all the details on Project Gemini at the moment, but here’s a video of a demo by Donald Farmer from Microsoft showing how it will work with Excel (with 20 million rows of data!):

And here’s another one showing how you might publish your analysis out to a SharePoint site:

Posted in Business Intelligence, Office, SQL Server | Comments Off on Kilimanjaro Becomes SQL Server 2008 R2