Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Windows 7 Feature Comparisons

I know this post is a bit off topic, but on a personal note we had a laptop die and we were deciding whether to go with a fully fledged laptop or a netbook, since my partners needs are simply email, Facebook and Microsoft Office functionality.

Battery life was also a key consideration, as well as being small and light.

So a netbook seemed like the obvious choice, but the nerd in me just has a niggley feeling that they are just too underpowered for that occasional YouTube visit etc…

So on to the web for some research and came across this useful table about Windows 7 editions and some of the key differences.

  Windows 7 Starter (limited distribution) Windows 7 Home Basic (emerging market only) Windows 7 Home Premium Windows 7 Professional Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate
Broad application and device compatibility with up to three concurrent applications. Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Safe, reliable, and supported. Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Home Group makes it easy to share media, documents and printers across multiple PCs in offices without a domain. Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Improved taskbar and JumpLists Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Live thumbnail previews and enhanced visual experience.   Yes Yes Yes Yes
Advanced networking support (ad-hoc wireless networks and Internet connection sharing).   Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mobility Center is included.   Yes Yes Yes Yes
Aero Glass and advanced windows navigation.     Yes Yes Yes
Easy networking and sharing across all your PCs and devices.     Yes Yes Yes
Windows Media Center     Yes Yes Yes
Improved media format support, enhancements to Windows Media Center and media streaming, including Play To.     Yes Yes Yes
Multi-touch and improved handwriting recognition.     Yes Yes Yes
Domain Join enables simple and secure server networking.       Yes Yes
Encrypting File System protects data with advanced network backup.       Yes Yes
Location Aware Printing helps find the right printer when moving between the office and home.       Yes Yes
Remote Desktop Host       Yes Yes
BitLocker prevent loss or theft of data.         Yes
BitLocker To Go protects data on removable devices.         Yes
DirectAccess links users to corporate resources from the road without a virtual private network (VPN).         Yes
BranchCache makes if faster to open files and Web pages from a branch office.         Yes
AppLocker easily restricts unauthorized software and enables greater security.         Yes
MUI multiple languages support.         Yes
Boot from VHD disk image.         Yes
Maximum running applications *Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited

Original Source:

Microsoft Windows 7 Edition Comparison (Click the feature comparison tab):

In the end we decided to go with a middle ground laptop (Acer Aspire One) with Windows 7 Home Premium pre-installed, but it was certainly interesting to know what the different Windows products offer.

I think working for a Gold Partner we get a little spoilt by the latest and greatest, therefore these things can often get overlooked.

Anyway, off to start the day…  till the next time.


Feedback from the few sessions I attended at Sharepoint Saturday UK, 12th Nov 2011

November 19, 2011 Leave a comment

As Giles Hamson mentioned I too went to the “Sharepoint Saturday” meet-up in Nottingham for the first time. Since I was on a course this week and driving 3 hours every day I didn’t get much chance to give my feedback, so with a lot of delay here are my personal notes I jotted down in mymemory.

To my surprise, or just because I didn’t actually read the Sharepoint Saturday website much when I registered, I was amazed by the venue, the quality of the speakers (a lot US citizens Sharepoint faces coming just for the occasion) and the attendance. I thought not many professionals would sacrifice a Saturday to come and “think Sharepoint” since I know I was in that case last year but indeed it was quite a success, not a full room in the opening keynote but still a good number, a few bloggers have already reported about the event and a lot of noise on Twitter too, so this one is extra.

To my experience for having attended 2 Sharepoint Best-Practice conferences in London, once as a guest and once as a vendor, Sharepoint Saturday is very similar except that it’s free !

The quantity of knowledge session after session is very intense and if we had a way of attending 2 rooms at the same time it would be quite useful, like a download of information into our brain. Actually there kind of is a way to attend 2 sessions in 1… if you read the Twitter post of next room while listening to your room, but it is quite tiring.

The other point of such event is purely to take the opportunity of networking with the Sharepoint community in the UK and internationally, it’s rare to have people involved into Sharepoint, the ones who blog and write books under the same roof.
The reality is that meeting this close-knit Sharepoint community in real life in just one day does not give much time but it helps to put a face and personality behind a name or nickname when engaging each other on twitter and reading blogs.

Right, so now for the content and what I gathered from that day:

9:15. Silverlight vs. html5: Becky Isserman

This session was a demo of how to create a very basic project in Silverlight and the same in HTML5, but it was really a discussion with Becky and the attendees about the feeling around chosing either platform for development. The conclusion was a BIG “no idea”, “we don’t know” “Microsoft didn’t tell us anything”. So not very useful except to confirm our feeling of uncertainty.

Note to self :

10:20. Customizing the SharePoint Packaging and Deployment Process in Visual Studio 2010: Eric Schupps

I am not a Visual Studio developer since I usually design an application, write my views on what a webparts, event handler or piece of custom-code should do, then the developer would write the managed code and deliver me the packaged solutions to deploy on a Sharepoint environment. However I occasionally have to organise the solutions, re-factor a bit of code or add comments and re-compile and I recently also had to write a few SSRS reports in VS Business Intelligence therefore I needed to make sure I was in sync with other’s Sharepoint professionals’ way of packaging Sharepoint solutions.


One main thing I did not know for not having developed in VS recently and will now add it to priority number 1 when opening Visual Studio 2010 on Sharepoint: install CKSDev, this will add additional tools for SharePoint into your Visual Studio. For instance a very useful Project Item is “Branding” which create master page, CSS and layout page, which will all be activated as a feature when deployed:

CKSDev Branding item

  • What changed in deploying Solution to Sharepoint?

A must have as well is Powertool for 2010 to get additional tools for SharePoint.

Production deployment has not changed: give a WSP and deploy it via Powershell (or stsadm)

Development deployment has changed dramatically, to take advantage of sandboxed solution we can deploy directly Visual Studio to Sharepoint.

Pay attention at the option “view deployment configuration” in Visual Studio solution properties which allows us to configure all the steps that to be done at deployment time.

11:45. How we did it (about branding ) : Matt Hughes

  • Download a custom masterpage and CSS from the community, some include comments and disable some feature by default which is useful for starting small and re-enabling features as needed.
    example : by Matt, or http://startermasterpages.codeplex.comby Randy Drisgill
  • One CSS class to note that I didn’t use : “S2-notdlg” anything within this class will not show in a Sharepoint modal dialog box, to use if we have a control to show everywhere but not duplicate its display in the dialog boxes.

Matt’ session was really interesting as a subject but I didn’t learn much except that it confirmed my experience in doing Sharepoint branding as he and Sam have had the same issues I had.

It was a little bit strange to focus on Matt’s face while he spoke, check the pic below, Movember Sharepoint style.

13:45. Why are we developing?  : Nigel Price

I chose this session to check what others are doing Out-Of-The-Box in Sharepoint as opposed to building custom controls and webparts to reach business expectations. This is a rather vast subject because more often than not, my clients come to me and think that Sharepoint can do everything they want without the help of .net developers. The other side of the balance is that being a Sharepoint consultant I need to make sure that sites I design are not too far from Sharepoint architecture so that they will migrate easily and “anyone” (ie not developer) can maintain them, bringing a lot of out-of-the-box tools.

Again I mainly comforted what I usually do which is “Try OOB before going for managed code”, Nigel’s bullet list for “when do we have to develop” is :

  • Need to action something with elevated privileges
  • Use of an authentication mechanism outside AD
  • LOB integration (BCS..)
  • Write event receivers
  • Custom Search protocol (if custom iFilter)
  • Code repository, i.e. source versioning

15:00.  Why branding intranet ? Gus Fraser  (SharePoint 2010 Intranet Branding for Developers)

As we all know the main reason for branding an intranet site is so that it doesn’t look like SharePoint. This has been the subject of lots of discussion in the past weeks and surely will not end. Although my role is to advise my client in the concept of branding Sharepoint and why they should not remove all “Sharepoint-looking” features very often I just have to follow what the client’s creative agency (who never used Sharepoint) dictates.


  • Use prototyping tool like Balsamic more. specially that Balsamic includes “mockups to go” ribbons.

  • Again : use Visual Studio 2010 CKSDev which includes branding item.
  • Use control adapters.
  • Use CSSReset by Kyle Schaeffer, which is a CSS to literally “reset” the existing style in Sharepoint 2010 so that we can start styling them as we want.
  • Use ieTester tool to test your site with various IE versions
  • Options in the Sharepoint Ribbon barre can be removed using Custom Action. Gus’ code to remove the font style option for instance can be downloaded here.
  • Other link about branding in the pic below


As mentioned a the top of this post, this Sharepoint Saturday did not feel like wasting a day of my private week-end time, the amount of knowledge in the sessions AND talking to the other Sharepoint at the breaks is invaluable, it did feel like a long way to go for just one day and I had to be back in London for 8pm which made me leave just at 5 after waiting to see if I win an iPad2 😉 I will definitely go back to this event, and since I missed the Sharepoint Best Practice (now International Sharepoint Conference) in London this year I am very eager not to miss the next one so that I can renew this experience multiplied by 3 days.

Created by the #SharePoint community – The SharePoint 2010 Handbook #SP2010 #ProjectServer #MSProject #SPSUK #SUGUK #in

November 15, 2011 4 comments

** UPDATE ** Thank you for the overwhelming feedback, A Kindle version of the book is in the works and we will keep you posted.

Back in June 2011 Paul Beck asked the community for authors to contribute to a community book on SharePoint 2010 (original post).  Various authors have stepped up to the plate and the book has now been released.  So without further ado…

The SharePoint 2010 Handbook

A Collection of Short Chapters for Delivering Successful SharePoint Projects

TheSharePoint2010HandbookCover_smlThe SharePoint 2010 Handbook aims to explain some of the key topics of SharePoint 2010 as well as to broaden the understanding of SharePoint so that its full business effectiveness might be better exploited. Each topic has been written as a separate chapter by different authors, each drawing on their own real world experience.

Publication Date: 7th November 2011
ISBN/EAN13: 1466486740 / 9781466486744
Page Count: 448
Binding Type: US Trade Paper
Trim Size: 5″ x 8″
Language: English
Colour: Black and White
Related Categories: Computers / Documentation & Technical Writing




Authors & Chapter Titles:


Chapter Descriptions:

01. Structuring a SharePoint 2010 Practice (John Timney)

SharePoint 2010 is simply put, nothing like SharePoint 2007! It is vastly more scalable, significantly more complex, and hugely appealing as an information management hub. A consequence of the successful re-architecture of the product to such a strategic hub product and the core of the Microsoft tools strategy is that programmes and projects, and consequently employers and recruiters need to think carefully about the new range of planning roles and skill sets required to satisfy a successful end to end delivery of SharePoint 2010. This chapter will show the reader how (and equally as important why) to correctly structure a SharePoint Practice or programme of delivery to plan for internal career progression and assist with staff retention and to identify and exploit the correct roles to staff modern demanding SharePoint 2010 delivery programmes.


02. SharePoint Test Environments (Justin Meadows)

Test environments for most IT professionals are a no-brainer — major system changes should be tested once, twice, even three times to provide the best possible experience to end users with little to no interruption in service. Recent virtualization technologies have made this easier than ever; one only needs to spin-up a new instance of a virtual machine and off they go with an entire SharePoint environment at their disposal.

SharePoint administrators will painfully learn, however, that this testing model doesn’t adapt well to the componentized structure underlying a well-built SharePoint system. This chapter will make the case for building and maintaining a fully-scaled test environment that is architecturally similar to an organization’s production environment.

It will support this recommendation with lessons learned from the authors personal experience administering a small SharePoint farm. This case can be argued further to include more than one test environment. If an organization chooses to develop solutions for SharePoint they should consider building in one environment, certifying the build in another test environment, and then implementing the solution in the production environment.

Using one or more fully-scaled test environments is the only way to understand the implications of a major system change. They also provide a mechanism for rehearsing these system changes. With such a tool at their disposal, SharePoint administrators can maintain and administer their systems with confidence.


03. SharePoint Adoption (Veronique Palmer)

There is a common misconception that merely installing SharePoint makes for a successful implementation. It is how the people in the company effectively adopt the solution that is the true measure of success. Have you asked yourself how you will get people to use the solution?

Anyone can cope when there is only one table booked in a restaurant; but what happens when you are booked to capacity with a waiting list – are you geared to cope with that demand? What if you get no bookings at all? Could you explain to your investors why no-one is visiting?

SharePoint user adoption is about how to get to a full house, how to be prepared for the rush, and how to manage it once it happens. People will not magically adopt SharePoint, there are measures you need to put into place to ensure that happens. If this is done correctly, you will have a very high adoption rate and consequently good return on investment for the capital outlay of the infrastructure.

This chapter will cover what you need to do in order to achieve that.


04. Social SharePoint (Jasper Oosterveld)

The word ‘Social’ has become a very popular term over the last couple of years. Everyone is familiar with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. These so-called Social sites attract (hundreds) millions of visitors per day! So how does this translate to SharePoint 2010? What Social features are available? Social features were also available (albeit limitedly) in the previous version Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS 2007).

The main feature was the My Site. This site is a personal page for every user within a SharePoint Intranet portal. The user was able to provide valuable information for colleagues, such as a mobile number, e-mail address, manager or skills. Other users were able to use the MOSS 2007 search engine to find a colleague with the skill ‘Writing marketing material’, for example. By using these features, users were able to connect and share information with each other.

This has been improved in SharePoint 2010 and loads of new features are now available. This chapter describes these features, and how they can improve the collaboration within your organisation. Talking points covered include My Sites, Tags and Notes, Ratings and Social Search. Most importantly, the author addresses how they are all connected and what advantages they provide for companies.


05. The Art of SharePoint Success (Symon Garfield)

Microsoft SharePoint products and technologies have been in the market for ten years the fourth version, SharePoint 2010, was released in November 2009. There is no doubt that SharePoint is a phenomenal success: It is Microsoft’s fastest selling server based product ever and has generated approaching two billion dollars in sales revenue for Microsoft. The only other Microsoft Server products to generate this level of revenue are SQL Server and Exchange Server, and SharePoint has reached this milestone more quickly than the others.

There have been over one hundred million SharePoint licenses have been sold worldwide and I.T. industry analysts such as Forrester Research and Gartner rank SharePoint as a leader in a number of different technology markets including Search, Enterprise Content Management, Social Computing, Collaboration, Information Access and Horizontal Portals.

SharePoint will be at the heart of Microsoft’s information worker strategy for many years to come. Yet despite its market success many organisations seem to struggle to realise the full value from investments in SharePoint products and technologies. In 2010 AIIM survey found that forty seven percent of organisations that have deployed SharePoint use it primarily as a file share. In May 2011 research commissioned by Fujitsu shows that SharePoint is the most common collaboration tool used by UK businesses, Ninety two percent of Enterprise organisations using collaboration technology use SharePoint. But the research also shows that on average only sixty percent of SharePoint sites are considered active, and forty percent of IT managers don’t believe that the collaboration platform is driving cost savings.

This chapter first explores the challenges facing organisations investing in SharePoint based initiatives, and then presents a framework for success consisting of four elements; Governance, Strategy, Transition, and Architecture. Governance relates to defining the accountability for the ensuring a return on the investment in SharePoint. Strategy discusses how SharePoint relates to organisational objectives. Transition considers the challenges of organisational change and user adoption and Architecture relates to the way that SharePoint is deployed to the business as a set of distinct but inter-related services.


06. Exploring Different Options for Implementing SharePoint Solutions (Rene Modery)

An important decision to make while planning the implementation of any SharePoint solution is how exactly it should be created. Two commonly used options are leveraging the out of the box available functionality through customization in the browser and development of solutions using custom code.

SharePoint’s out of the box functionality empowers end users to create simple solutions with little effort and in a short time frame, however with a limited customization scope. Development of custom code solutions provides the most flexibility, however at a higher cost in terms of complexity and resource requirements. Another option is to extend the standard SharePoint functionality with customizations that make use of JavaScript and the Data View Web Part.

Using JavaScript has become a very popular way of extending SharePoint without having to rely on custom code. It allows users with some basic development knowledge to create their own more advanced solutions easily.

Considering all these possibilities, when evaluating the correct course to take for a solution implementation, organizations need to take into account the pros and cons of the different approaches, and weigh them against each other.

This chapter will compare these approaches with each other and describe the capabilities, as well as the benefits and the drawbacks of each approach, allowing a decision maker to better understand which method is useful in which situation and choose the best option.


07. SharePoint Server-based Data Storage and Data Access (Paul Beck)

This chapter guides readers through the basic storage and data access options available in SharePoint 2010 application development projects. The matching of application business requirements with the appropriate storage and data access technique is vital for achieving a successful project.


08. SharePoint 2010 Automated Code Deployment (Suzanne George)

During the past several years SharePoint has quickly become one of the leading collaboration technologies. Businesses today are taking the SharePoint framework from the development labs into mission critical production environments which require application high availability. This chapter will describe methods and concepts which will ensure you will be able to build and deploy custom code into Intranet and/or Internet facing production farm(s) using Visual Studio 2010, Team Foundation Server 2010, and SharePoint 2010. Further, a description of the concepts and tools necessary to ensure code consistency throughout the development lifecycle will be included.

SharePoint Internet facing sites often have additional requirements, network bottlenecks, and limited downtime constraints which make deploying code from the development arena through QA/staging, and finally into production SharePoint farms more restrictive. The new capabilities provided in Visual Studio 2010, Team Foundation Server 2010, and SharePoint 2010 make this process much easier than before.

This chapter will provide examples for all flavours of deployments (timer jobs, page layouts, web parts, etc.) so you don’t have to learn as you go! You’ll get an in-depth look at how these tools can help you successfully deploy code into production SharePoint 2010 farms.


09. SharePoint Security and Authentication Notes (Conrad Grobler)

SharePoint 2010 provides different options for authentication of users as well as authentication to external line-of-business systems. During the design and implementation of a SharePoint 2010 solution, the chosen authentication method could impact or restrict the availability of some SharePoint functionality and the options for interacting with external systems.

This chapter will discuss the different options and architectural considerations for user authentication and for authenticating to external systems. It will cover classic mode authentication and claims based authentication. It will cover NTLM, Kerberos, Clear Text Authentication, Forms Based Authentication and Trusted Claims Providers, the Claims to Windows Token Service and the Secure Store Service Application. It will also give a brief overview of options for exposing

SharePoint 2010 sites securely across the Internet, such as using Microsoft Forefront Threat Management Gateway, and the implications of doing this and how to ensure the security of business data exposed using SharePoint.

The chapter will provide information on configuring and troubleshooting the authentication options such as Kerberos, Clear Text and Forms Based Authentication, the differences between the SharePoint 2010 FBA implementation and ASP.Net forms authentication and the implications for interoperability between SharePoint and applications. It will also provide information on the limitations of certain functionality (such as search based alerts and the people picker) for Forms Based Authentication and Trusted Claims providers.


10. InfoPath 2010 – What is new? (Ashraf Islam)

This chapter is dedicated to exploring the capabilities of InfoPath 2010. What can InfoPath can do for you? What are the key improvements to InfoPath 2010 and the impact on form design and development.

InfoPath 2010 has interesting license implications and this deserves some attention. The chapter also discusses key concept and building blocks of InfoPath Forms (such as rules, data connection, design template and data validation) using scenario based solution. The chapter also demonstrates how to write c# code for control and form events.

InfoPath is an agile/rapid design tool for creating forms. InfoPath is intricately linked with SharePoint so it would be ideal if you know the basics of SharePoint 2010. This chapter will give you a solid foundation for people new to SharePoint and will allow more advanced users to see what is new in InfoPath 2010.

The chapter ends by discussing potential issues and what users might be expecting from Microsoft for the next release.


11. Governance in SharePoint (John Stover)

Governance relates to the process and plans used to define expectations, grant power, and verify performance. SharePoint Governance describes the specific plans and procedures for managing your SharePoint environment.

SharePoint’s widespread adoption, broad capabilities, ease of use, and multiple deployment and hosting options have made it easy for anyone to get started using SharePoint. It’s this same flexibility that can also make SharePoint difficult to effectively manage. In order to optimize the use and growth of SharePoint, your SharePoint Governance Plan should be used to define expectations, grant and restrict rights, as well as maintain and verify usage and performance.

Due to vast differences in SharePoint environments, a SharePoint Governance Plan should be adapted to your specific environment, regardless of how simple or complex your environment is. This chapter will serve as a guidebook outlining processes for the administration, maintenance, and support of your SharePoint solution.

There are three primary goals of this chapter: To provide a recommended structure for a SharePoint Governing Board responsible for governing and supporting the SharePoint solution. To provide recommended governing policies and procedures of the SharePoint environment within three distinct areas (IT Governance, Application Governance, and Information Governance) and to provide a recommended user adoption and training strategy for the people using and maintaining SharePoint.


12. Creating Dashboards using Business Connectivity Services, SharePoint Designer and other related technologies (Giles Hamson)

When I look back at my days of learning SharePoint and dashboards etc. in SPS 2003 & MOSS 2007, I had to learn from various articles on the internet about each specific component and then bring them together myself so that I could provide a cohesive end to end solution for my clients.

If I knew then what I know now, projects could have gone a lot smoother.

This chapter covers the end to end cycle of linking to 3rd party Line Of Business (LOB) applications, authentication and creating reports explaining the concepts along the way.

By completing this module the reader will have gone from end to end understanding the following subjects:

  • Secure Store Service (previously Single Sign On service – MOSS 2007)
  • Business Connectivity Services (previously Business Data Catalog (BDC) – MOSS 2007) connecting to SQL Server views via SharePoint Designer 2010
  • Dashboard pages with drill downs using the BDC Web Parts
  • Excel Services directly connected to the SQL and refreshable.

This chapter compliments chapter 13 (Building Business Solutions) by providing step by step instructions to achieve your solutions using key Enterprise features.


13. Building Business Intelligence Solutions with SharePoint 2010 (Mark Macrae)

In this chapter we will explore the variety of tools available in SharePoint 2010 to provide business intelligence to your business users. We will examine the pros and cons of each tool along the way, and look at a couple of methods of building a powerful dashboard from the items we construct.

Creating dashboards and drill downs using Business Connectivity Services, SharePoint Designer, Filter Web Parts and Reporting Technologies.

This chapter covers the creation of dashboards and drill downs utilising SharePoint Designer 2010, Business Connectivity Services, Secure Store Service, Business Data Catalog Permissions & Actions. It demonstrates Filtering Web Parts & Connections to List Web Parts and explores Excel Services.

The chapter will be a guide to using SharePoint Designer 2010 to connect to SQL Server data sources with External Content Types. It will discuss the rationale for using the Secure Store Service and the Business Data Catalog.

It does this by utilising a real world Customer Information Portal scenario for a Products & Service Company. The company has a requirement to bring together information from various disparate systems within the network to aid a number of departments.

The #SharePoint Saturday UK 2011 Experience #SPSUK #SP2010 #ProjectServer #MSProject #in

November 13, 2011 5 comments

So this weekend was the 2nd SharePoint Saturday to be in the UK and my the 1st SharePoint conference I have ever been to and I have to say I was very impressed.


The setting, Nottingham University.  Sitting there at the beginning of the day in one of the lecture theatres, memories of my university days came flooding back.  A Robin Hood guide initially setting the scene and Todd Klindt starting with his keynote on stepping out of the comfort zone and gaining extra qualifications to become a more rounded consultant.

In his case, a SharePoint Administrator through and through but has always dabbled in scripting and other development work (not that he would publically admit to, until now).  However his journey of studying for the SharePoint 2010 development exams has allowed him to not only become a better administrator with troubleshooting event logs etc. but to also gain further knowledge in PowerShell and the his fellow development colleagues.

Like other known SharePoint bloggers have stated (Joel Oleson, Bill Simser etc.), it is impossible to know everything about SharePoint, the product is just too big.  However, learning more and more about SharePoint and the surrounding technologies is part of the fun and is certainly why I continue to love what I do and why SharePoint merges between by professional and personal life.



After the keynote, my colleague (Francois) and I went to see Becky Isserman (@mosslover) and her presentation on HTML 5, Silverlight and how they work in SharePoint 2010.  The answer being clear cut where SharePoint is concerned.  HTML 5 and SharePoint 2010 doesn’t really mix with the master pages provided out of the box and the current state of cross browser / platform compatibility of HTML 5 really means that as far as business applications within SharePoint are concerned, Silverlight is really your best choice (mobile browsers not withstanding).

The 2nd session I attended was Paul Grimley’s Global Deployment discussion.  This not only validated in my mind the choices I have made in previous projects but really hit home that sometimes decisions around SharePoint deployment are just hard and is just as much about the political challenges as well as the technical challenges.


During this session, I met up with an old colleague and fellow blogger on this site, Paul Griffith.  We had a good catch up about old times, current projects and challenges and decided to go to the next session together: Chris O’Brien’s Custom Ribbon Development.


This session really showed off the power of the fluent UI ribbon functionality and the level of customisation that could be achieved but left me wondering…  With the kind of clients I deal with, how can I justify the cost of developing these customisations.  Perhaps I need to spend some time out learning these techniques to ensure value can be perceived with this development work.


TheSharePoint2010HandbookCover_smlDuring lunch I met up with my colleagues and we exchanged details about the sessions we attended before moving on to the next sessions.  For this I decided to attend the Ask The Experts session.  Although I didn’t have any questions myself, it was a good time to digest what I had seen already and also time to catch up with Paul Beck.

Paul Beck, myself and several other bloggers have over the last 6 months been writing chapters for a community book (The SharePoint 2010 Handbook).  Having only ever spoken to Paul over email, it was an absolute pleasure to meet the man who has been embarking on this ambitious project.  The good news is of course that the book is now finished, published and available on as of yesterday!  This was also the first time I got to see the printed book in real life.  I know have this copy proudly sitting on my shelf at home.  (a full blog post about this will be following this week).



During the Ask The Experts session I also found myself in conversations with various other people I read blogs or listen to podcasts about.  The sense of community between the bloggers, presenters etc. is amazing and long may it continue.

My last session before the final keynote was Todd Klindt’s PowerShell session.  Many unanswered questions came out of this and I know I shall be using this knowledge again and again (I feel my Linux scripting days coming on again).


The final keynote with Steve Fox from Microsoft Consulting Services discussed how SharePoint Online, Business Intelligence and Azure comes together to truly provide a complete cloud based solution.  The session went off without a hitch and showed off the power of what we will all be involved in for future projects.


To end the day, prizes were given out by the sponsoring vendors many of the attendees ended up in the centre of Nottingham for a SharePint and while others went off to ensure the night followed through to morning, I went back to my hotel room and went out to dinner with my partner who had spent all day in the hotel spa.

All in all, a very successful event and a big thank you to those who co-ordinated, supported and presented at the 2nd SharePoint Saturday event in the UK.

How I Got Into SharePoint – Giles Hamson

November 7, 2011 2 comments

Just a quick note to say that I shall also be doing some blog post posts for Matt over at SharePoint 365, starting with this post.

I suspect the posts I do for SharePoint 365 will be more focused than this blog which tends to be a collection of my thoughts as I work through my projects on a daily basis.



How long have you been using SharePoint?: 7 years

What’s your current role: Senior SharePoint Consultant / Information Architect at Corporate Project Solutions

Your Story:  Whilst working as a Technical Developer at Rentokil-Initial, I helped head quarters move from a Windows to a Linux based server environment (including custom developed modules on phpGroupware, Novell Groupwise and a number of other collaboration platforms).  Whilst completing the project an old colleague of mine put me in contact with a recruiter who was looking for a collaboration specialist with business analyst and technical skills  at Microsoft Business Solutions (now Microsoft Dynamics) in Reading, UK.

After learning .NET 1.0 for the role and taking a couple of exams I won the contract and was introduced to SharePoint Portal Server 2003 where I created a BI portal reporting on bugs in the Dynamics product set (Great Plains, Navision & Axapta) in pre-release versions of the products.

Excel Services wasn’t around at the time, so I used the Office Web Components as part of Microsoft Office 2003 to create graphs on the fly.

At the end of the contract I moved to a Microsoft Education Partner in Oxfordshire (European Electronique) where I created a learning platform based on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, Moodle (Virtual Learning Environment) and various other 3rd party products as part of the Academy and Building Schools for the Future programmes. 

After 3 years of implementing Virtual Learning Platforms I moved into specialising in SharePoint and Project Server with Corporate Project Solutions.

What’s next for you: Currently on a long term project which started in the SharePoint / Project Server 2010 public beta.  The system is now live to the proof of concept users and is in the process of being rolled out globally which is slated to end by mid next year.  In the meantime I am concentrating on Project Server certification and community efforts where I can.  Also hoping to be at the Project Conference 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona next March.

I just won a free MSDN subscription… SharePoint Home Drive Web Part #in #SP2010 #SharePoint

December 1, 2010 10 comments

A while ago I entered a competition that Liam Cleary (MVP) was running about Web Part contributions in the community. (Link)

Turns out I won. (Link) Smile

Thanks Liam, I shall be using the subscription for some new web part ideas I have.

The web part in question was my SharePoint Home Drive web part.  This was developed for IT Administrators in schools to give access to Teacher’s & Student’s home drives within their intranet to aid SharePoint adoption.

It was released a couple of years ago and has been used in various educational institutions.  It has also recently been tested in SharePoint 2010.

Competition Entry:

1. What the original problem was

Ensuring that users can access their home drives within SharePoint to aid adoption of the SharePoint Portal within the education establishment.

2. Why SharePoint was chosen

SharePoint was chosen due to its flexibility and support from third party vendors for the various applications currently in use.

SharePoint’s educational licensing costs allows schools to user enterprise scale solutions for a fraction of the cost.

3. What the solution was (end-to-end)

To aid education establishments in providing a single collaboration portal connecting all appropriate solutions into one place including:

  • File Shares
  • Email
  • Cashless Catering
  • MIS integration
  • E-Learning
  • + others

4. How it helped

Although all the 3rd party vendors provided web parts etc. for the various applications, users were still having to go away from the solution to access their personal files.

Document libraries will be used for future years of children as the architecture catches up with the change in solution, however for current student data, financials did not allow for the required increase in storage in the SQL database.

Training of document libraries for non-IT staff in terms of uploading files and the understanding of metadata was troublesome and take up of the collaboration solution was slow among some staff and students.

Shared folders on the network were easily integrated using the Page Viewer Web Part in File / Folder mode and a Search Server Content Source of the Network Share.

However, this method could not easily be implemented for a user’s home drive, due to the dynamic nature of the UNC path.

Typically, this is set up in Active Directory using the user’s ADUserName (SAMAccountName) as the folder name for the share.

To solve this, I created a Web Part that allows administrators to specify the UNC path of the file share; it will then inject the AD username after the UNC path.

This provides a File Explorer view of the user’s home drive within the SharePoint Portal.

This was developed to be an interim solution until Document Libraries were fully adopted by end users and the SQL storage could be bought with future budget.

The SharePoint Home Drive web part was released to the community via CodePlex in June 2009 and has recently been tested in SharePoint 2010 environments also.

Compatibility of the Web Part also includes WSS 3.0 and SharePoint Foundation 2010.

Web Part URL:

My CodePlex Projects – Now SharePoint 2010 Compatible #in

October 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Just a quick note to say that my I have added my CodePlex projects to my blog and I have also tested them in SharePoint 2010.

I am pleased to say that they work without modification.

I will also be updating this site with video showcases for each web part as I get round to doing them.  (Probably start this weekend).

Let me know what you think.

SharePoint Job Market

October 16, 2010 Leave a comment
Categories: Personal Tags:

I’ve been published (unofficially)

October 10, 2010 Leave a comment

A while ago I was googling around to see where people were finding my CodePlex solutions and I came across a link on a book publishing site.  It turns out that one of my open source solutions (SharePoint Home Drive – formally WSS and MOSS Home Drive) has been mentioned in a book.

It’s nice to see that my solutions are getting used.

Here is a snippet of the book: MOSS 2007 for Office 2007 Users

Categories: Personal, Work Tags: , ,
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