Thursday, August 27, 2015

SharePoint 2016 is good!

After two days of playing on it, I like it!

New and improved features are listed here.  In general, it's like the upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7.  The main functionalities and UI are same, but got improved everywhere.

My main concerns are:

1. How's the "Add-ins" model get improved?

2. What's going to replace InfoPath?

3. Any AI (Artificial intelligence) in it?

4. Can we put a service (such as "Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Web Application" and "User Profile Synchronization Service") into a Container?

Hopefully we can figure that out in the next six months.

Some screenshots here.

SharePoint Designer 2016 CTP is not released yet, but version 2013 seems still support it, althought the version number is not recognized correctly.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

App / Add-in model is dead?

Andrew Connell just released an interesting post, which mentioned:

"Customers already dismiss the add-in model... I don't see many people using it today. There's a lot of talk around it, but in reality, I bet Microsoft wouldn't want to admit how many people have built add-ins and deploy them to SharePoint Online in Office 365. Another model would be dismissed even quicker."

App / Add-in model is quite complicated at this stage. The development/troubleshooting productivity is poor. However, the idea is correct: we should keep development outside of SharePoint server.

No doubt, add-in mode on SharePoint 2016 will be much better. Then, more and more developers will start to utilize it. However, I do concern about the latency issue. Response from another (potentially quite far away remote) server, is always much slower than response from another process on the same server. What can we do to resolve this problem? Well infrastructure design and AJAX asynchronous calls help a lot, but no doubt, it could be headache.

So far, I haven't jumped to "App / Add-in model", because, no need. What I did, is to minimize the requirement of full trust solutions.

Sometimes we need to explain to clients that internal SharePoint sites don't need to look like internet facing sites; sometimes we need to use "windows task scheduler + PowerShell script" to replace timer job; sometimes we need "Content Editor Web Part + javascript + css" to replace web parts; etc.

Four years ago, 100% of the sites I created used full trust solutions; now, 5%

The whole farm is stable, the clients are happy, IT department colleagues are happy, and I am happy!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How to remove Document ID after disabling "Document ID Service" feature?

After disabling "Document ID Service" site collection feature, the field "Document ID" is still in the "Display Form". That's annoying.

However, it's easy to remove/hide it, with the help from the famous freeware "SharePoint Manager".

Go to the library, then expand "Fields", then change the property "Sealed" from True to False, click "Save"; then change the property "ShowInDisplayForm" from True to False, then click "Save" again.


PS: we cannot do the same change with this field in list content type or site content type.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The feature we really need in SharePoint (but may not get it in the next 30 years)

Recently I uploaded all my photos and videos to “Google Photos”, and realized that Google recognized all metadata and keywords of each photo and video automatically.

That resolved the most painful issue of photo management.

Then I realized that this is the critical feature we need in SharePoint.

When millions of files are stored in SharePoint, it's almost impossible to ask thousands of users to attach "tags" manually to documents. And, when the content of a file is changed, sometimes we also need to update the relevant metadata.

However, it's easy to understand that's much more complex than attaching tags to photos and videos. AI needs to understand the documents, to some extent.

Let's wait for SharePoint 2040.


PS: If this is technically impossible, I hope SharePoint can offer some "possible tags" when a document is uploaded. That should not be too hard.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

How to upload thousands of photos from different folders, to Google Photos, in one go?

Finally I got something to share which is not related to SharePoint at all.  :-)

Google just announced that they allow users to upload unlimited photos

This is crazy idea. But, if it can help Google's market value to rise for 1%, then they actually got 4 Billion USD, which is more than enough to purchase hard disks. And, if they can grab some market share from Facebook, or even beat Instagram, then they actually got much more than 40 Billion USD!

So, maybe this aggressive strategy will succeed.

Anyway, I want to try it.

I have around 40GB photos, which are stored in thousands of folders. When trying to upload them to Google Photos, it seems that I can only upload the files in one folder in one go.

That's annoying. I don't want to upload the photos in thousands of batches.

So, below is the PowerShell script to copy the photos to a cache folder, and change the file name with unique string. I concatenate the parent folder name and the file name to get the string, which is enough to keep it unique in my case. It's easy to add "modified date" to the file name if necessary.

Get-ChildItem –Path E:\Photo\PhotoDVD\PhotoDVD1\* -Include *.jpg -Recurse | % { Copy-Item -Path $_.FullName -Destination "C:\GooglePhotos\$($_.Directory.Name).$($_.Name)" -Recurse -Force -Container }

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Request Management Service missing?

"Request Management" Service is missing on one SharePoint server? How to start it there?

This may sound silly...... what we need to do is simple: start "Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Web Application" service on that server, then "Request Management" Service will appear, then we can start it up.

It seems that "Request Management" Service is bound to "Microsoft SharePoint Foundation Web Application" service.

Hope this tip can save you 10 minutes :-)

Monday, May 18, 2015

SharePoint is on the wrong way

SharePoint 2016 is coming. Tons of new features.

But none of them really make business users excited.

Actually, in my opinion, even the cloud version "SharePoint Online" is not so attractive.

Let me share my thoughts a bit here.

SharePoint is designed for enterprise collaboration. It helps users to organize information. It's so flexible and UI friendly, SharePoint 2007 was really impressive.

A big bonus is the integration with MS Office suite. We can contribute and manage information at the same platform.

But that's it. After that, I don't see any GREAT feature.

"Wait!", you might ask, "What about the new features of SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013?"

Yes, there are a lot of new features, but none of them are GREAT.

Here is an analogy. Upgrading file system from FAT32 to NTFS, we can get enormous advantages, but that doesn't mean much to business users.

Same to "cloud computing". If it works fine, do users really care whether the system is based on cloud or on-premise? They don't.

I agree that Windows 8 is much better than Windows XP, But, let's face it. If Windows XP still had main stream support, then millions of companies would stick to it. Why? Because there is no GREAT new feature in Windows 8!

What features that SharePoint really needs? The first three features appeared in my mind are: Calendar. Trello. Slack.

There is calendar list in SharePoint, but, it's too hard to combine it with "information management".

Same with Trello and Slack. SharePoint has similar basic elements, but it's too hard to use the OOTB functionality to replace Trello or Slack.

In one word: Microsoft need to focus on "business feature" instead of "technical feature".

I wish SharePoint 2016 can give the world more surprise!

(Any comments are welcome.)