Monday, 23 May 2016

How the Recycle bin works

Problem:  A common misunderstanding with technical and business folks is the details of how the recycle bin works.  I missed some of the finer points so I thought I'd record my note.

First stage recycle Bin - User deletes a document and the document goes to the user's recycle bin/1st stage recycle bin.  The 1st stage recycle bin retention period is 30 days by default.  Items in the first stage recycle bin are moved to the second stage recycle bin after the retention period is over or the user chooses to delete the item from their 1st stage recycle bin.

Second stage recycle bin or Site Collection recycle bin - where documents go after they are removed from the 1st stage recycle bin.  SCA can restore or permanently delete the documents from the 2nd stage recycle bin.

Recycle bin explained for Office 365 - as of May 2016
Note:  The views change between the SharePoint versions but the functionality remains the same.
Note:  An item that I have not understood for multiple years is that the retention period for recycle bins applies to both the 1st and 2nd stage recycle bin.  If the recycle bin retain content for 30 days and the user deletes a document, then 22 days later they delete the document from their own 1st stage recycle bin.  The document only stays in the 2nd stage/site collection recycle bin for 8 days.  From Nik Patel's site "In other words, total time spent by the item in both recycle bins".
Note:  If you do not have access to the farm settings, you can see how long the retention period for the recycle bin is by deleting a document/item from the 2nd stage recycle bin, you get a confirmation box that let's you know the setting.   This approach allows me to see that Office365 SharePoint sites hold recycle bin items for 93 days.
In the Site Collection Admin (2nd Stage) recycle bin delete an item to see how long the retention period is set to.
To Access the Recycle bins: Site Collection administrators page > Site Settings > Site Collection Admin > Site Collection

More Info:
Basics of Recycle bins from Microsoft
Nik Patel has a good article on how the recycle bin works

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Microsoft Graph Simplified

Overview: Microsoft Graph provides an API to allow search to bring back data stored in Office 365 (email/Exchange Online, SharePoint, and others).  The centralized search provides the data source to query and adds a ranking engine on top to allow for easy access to data.

Overview of Office Graph

More Info:
A great article on Graph is here.  NB!

Screenshot from my iPhone 6 using the Microsoft's Delve iOS app with my own Office 365 E3 tenant.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Co-authoring on SharePoint 2013

Overview:  Co-authoring has been around awhile and I haven't paiudd it any attention in a long time.  The idea is multiple authors can edit the same document at the same time.  

  1. Word and PowerPoint use to be the only supported files for co-authoring.  SharEPoint 2013 supports co-authoring in word 2013, PowerPoint, OneNote and visio 2013 as of 20April 2016.  
  2. Excel does not provide co-authoring unless you use Office Web Apps or excel services.  More info
WIP  -Versioning issues with Word....

Article describes nicely what applications work with co-authoring

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Hacking SharePoint input field Validation

Problem: Here is an easy way to step around SharePoint 2013's input field validation for a drop down list.  Any list contains a drop-down list (configured to only allowed to chose values from the drop down list), using Internet Explorer (IE) developer tools and amending the DOM, when posting the form, the change value is inserted into the list.
Replication Steps:
  1. Open IE go to the list to add a new list item (the list must have a drop down field column), hit Fn+F12 to open the IE Dev toolbar.
  2. In the "DOM Explorer" tab select the "Select element" icon (top left).
  3. Click on the drop down control i.e. "Primary/Secondary" input control as shown below.
  4. Edit the DOM value for the item selected to some crazy text and save the form.
  5. Open the item in view mode and you will see the crazy data as shown below circled in red in the bottom picture.  

Project Server 2013 Overview Notes

Project Server 2013 is a Service Application and part of SharePoint Server 2013.  You install the on-prem. version on a SP2013 farm and need to follow the best practices for your SharePoint farm.
  • A Project Web Application (PWA) is a a single site collection.  
  • Consider storing each PWA in it's own content database.
  • Each PWA site collection is made up of multiple projects (each project has it's own SharePoint sub site).
  • Project 2013 online or a project server 2013 on-prem are the hosting options.
  • OData services for reporting, Excel can be used to create and view reports.  This is the approach to use on Project Server Online.  Each PWA instance on-prem. can add OLAP cubes from the PWA manage SSAS screen, once the default cubes are generated, it easy to query using Excel or SSRS (assuming you have the infrastructure). 
  • A single Project Web App database for each Project Server 2013 instance whereas in Project Server 2010, each instance had 4 Project Server databases (Draft, Publish, Reporting, and Archive).
  • Upgrade to Project Server 2016 from Project Server 2013 only.
  • PWA manages security and WSSSync manages the security syncronisation with the SharePoint project sub sites.
  • No user management in PWA, now all done in SharePoint assuming SharePointPermissionMode.  SharePointPermissionMode done in SP not in PWA (What ProjectPermsissionMode), pref SharePoint permissions mode.  oldproj server guys prefer ProjectPermissionMode say it gives more fine grained security control.
  • PWA Security explained
  • To access Project Server 2013 with the Project Server client application (desktop software) you can't use the Standard edition but need the pro edition (Microsoft Project Server professional 2013).
FluentBooks from FluentPro looks good for ALM between environments and PWA instances:
  • Desktop tool - Offline Management - download configuration & then uploads configuration to the new PWA
  • Is there anything to install on the farm? No
  • Ports needed? 80 or 443 Uses web Services (PSI & CSOM when uploading change).
  • Highly configurable such as mapping account between domains as we move environments.

Archiving between 2 PWA instances using FluentBooks

  1. Download/Export projects into a FBB file(s), new project professional client.  Gets the Project data.
  2. Download SharePoint sub sites
  3. Upload FBB file to archive PWA 
  4. Upload sub-sites into the archive PWA

More Info:  Project Server 2013 and SharePoint Security  FluentBooks website

Bamboo Solutions appear to have a good Project Management Solution that has gone thru several iterations.  Project Manager Central sits on SharePoint 2007, SP2010 or SP2013.  Similar concept to Project Server, Portfolio site is a site collections and then project sites are sub-sites.  There is also an option to have Department sites whereby a sub site is created that subscribes to multiple project sites.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

How Browser Cookies work in SharePoint

Overview:  SharePoint by default uses disk based persistence using a FedAuth Cookie.  In most enterprise clients there are multiple different application and authentication providers.  Cookies can be set for session persistence in multiple ways and as the application world is walking toward SSO is becoming even more prevalent for unexpected behavior to happen with cookies.

  • Cookies that keep are responsible for authentication can be stored for the browser sessions eithe ron Disk or in session.
  • By default SharePoint uses disk based authentication for the users session using the FedAuth cookie.  Switching to session based persistence should not be undertaken without considerable forethought.
  • Watch out for IE's odd behavior relating to session whereby domain level permissions are passed down to sub-domains.

More Info:

Sunday, 28 February 2016

What makes Successful SharePoint projects

Overview:  There tend to be characteristics of successful SharePoint projects and if the majority of these are in place for SharePoint or any IT  project for that matter, the project tends to be successful.

High Level:

  1. The project has a clear vision that engages and inspires everyone.  Do we know what we are building and why.  Do some or most team members have a strong feeling of ownership. Strong decision makers or a product owner is SCRUM parlance is essential.  This crazy idea of all inclusive decisions and management by committee (“I was elected to lead not read”, Simpson movie) wastes time, leads to an incomplete vision and often worse decisions are made.  The business must pick a leader or 2 and let them get on with it.  Rather get a product owner that makes decisions and is periodically wrong, these changes can be fixed easily when it becomes clear they are wrong.  Only decisions that are not easy to change should go to review and generally there are not many of these.
  2. People - The team members select is the most important factor in successful projects.  Encourage an open respectful collaborative team with mixed talents and strong skills at the right time.   Note: Leave you ego at the door.  There will and should be arguments.  Don't let the arguments become personal in nature and find people that will get over minor squabble.
  3. Delivery Focused.  Each team member needs to know his/her deliverables are.  Methodologies like SCRUM are useful to make this happen.  Build a product backlog and prioritize, but fundamentally it’s building the right piece at the right time.  High standards must be set (review broken window principle), each member of the team must be professional and deliver quality.
Team Structures:
My preference on complex projects is a small teams of hard working problem solving individuals that take pride in their work and have a history of delivering successful projects.   In short, there are a lot of people that talk the talk but don't walk the walk (aka they are lousy) in IT projects.  Someone who is referred to you by someone I trust as a general rule works out brilliantly, people I have worked with in successful projects are the 1st people i look for.  You can't always get who you want but you sure can try aim for the stars and get a great team together.  The difference between the best and worst developer on my teams tends to be a factor of 8 so I recon the most productive person delivers 8 times the value of the least productive.  Try skip the bottom folks, the top folks don't get paid 8 times as much....

The formula to High performing teams is a varied group of committed zealous people, collective in a shared idea.  I’m looking for people that want to be successful, others in our team to be successful and people like.  Team members must have strong skills, the ability to listen and stand-up for what they believe and play well in a group.  I try exceed my clients expectations continuously and if I can get a critical mass on my team that do the same….  Actually the word "formula " is misleading as is too strong a word, it's simple: get smart, hard working, experience people that are nice.

Fundamentally, the goal is to build a cohesive team, it's also worth reading Patrick Lencioni's book "The Advantage" and in "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team", the 5 factors to a successful teams are listed as:

  1. Trust one another and be prepared to show your vulnerability/lack of expertise/be prepared to apologies if you get something wrong.
  2. Conflict is good and productive, argument is needed to get the best solution
  3. Commit to getting the project right/take ownership and agree to decisions collectively
  4. Accept accountability/take ownership/each team member should try exceed client expectations continuously
  5. Focus on results - as a team what we deliver needs to work and be a success.
All pretty obvious but the number of teams and projects that fail and don't follow these basic guiding principles is staggering.