AutoSPInstaller: SharePoint 2013 March 10, 2015 CU (KB2956166)

The AutoSPInstaller tool is not something I’ve written about in the past.  I’m not sure why because its a fantastic tool and I use it on a regular basis.  In general, it is a PowerShell based SharePoint installation tool.  If you are unfamiliar with it, I do recommend you take a look at it here.

I use AutoSPInstaller to build SharePoint farms including the creation of web applications, site collections, installation of PU’s and CU’s, etc.  The beauty of using a scripted approach is its consistent.  If your farm ever burns to the ground, its a way to rebuild it just as it was.

I recently used AutoSPInstaller to build a SharePoint 2013 farm for a client.  We then made the decision to install SharePoint 2013 March 10, 2015 CU.  As with all farm-level modifications I make, I added this CU to the AutoSPInstaller updates directory then ran the installer again.  It ran the CU, psconfig and ensured the farm was in an operational state.  It worked flawlessly!

To accomplish this, download the (3) SharePoint 2013 March 10, 2015 CU installation files from the Microsoft site and place them in the SP\AutoSPInstaller\2013\Updates directory.  You then run the launch script again, on all servers, and the cumulative update will be installed for you.  In addition, the script will run psconfig; so you don’t need to do than manually!

Split Pea Soup

There have been a few times in my life when I ask “where have you been all my life?”.  Okay, okay its happened more than once.  But my point is, why do I wait so long before I make this soup?  Sure, I live in Arizona now, and its hot; but who cares?  Peas and ham make a perfect relationship; and I’m always looking for a new relationship…

Today’s relationship is about peas and ham… ~yummm~

So here it is…

When you decide to make this, sit outside, relax and enjoy!

Ingredients

16oz Pachage Your favorite Dried Split Peas
Whatever you do, don’t use cheap split peas!
4 cups Water
3 Large Russet Potatoes
Peeled and cubed
2 Large Yellow Onions
Small dice
2 Carrots
Fine dice
4 cups Ham
Yes, include the ham bone too!
1/2 cup Diced celery
4 cups Chicken broth
1 teaspoon Dried marjoram
1 teaspoon Poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon Dried sage
1 teaspoon Fresh cracked pepper
1/2 teaspoon Dried basil
1/2 teaspoon Salt

Directions

I know, your split pea package says, no soaking necessary.  I don’t buy it.  I soak them for about 4 hours before I do anything with them.  Makes them nice and tender.

Combine all ingredients in a large pot.  Bring to a boil.  Once you have it boiling, turn the heat down to a low simmer.  Let simmer, stirring every now and then, for 2 hours.

Enjoy!

Evolution of SharePoint

Interesting article, from Julia White, general manager for the Office Product Management team, about the Evolution of SharePoint.  Exciting times ahead!

Excerpt from Intro:

“In the conversations I have with customers and partners, I’m often asked how SharePoint will evolve in Office 365, and what the future holds for SharePoint on-premises. As we move into 2015, continue to roll out new innovation within Office 365, and get closer to the next on-premises server release, I wanted to take this time to provide full context about the road ahead.

When we started this journey, SharePoint began as a content collaboration solution focused on team sites. As the product evolved, we added new experiences such as portals, search, business intelligence (BI) and enterprise content management (ECM). Across all of these experiences, SharePoint offers a consistent management layer providing control to customers. We also made SharePoint an extensible platform, allowing customers and partners to enhance the out-of-box experiences. Experiences, management and extensibility became the core aspects of what people love about SharePoint. As we move SharePoint forward, these three aspects continue to remain central—both within the server and across Office 365.

The cloud enables us to bring the experiences, management and extensibility together across not just SharePoint, but all of the Office technologies. We can finally break down individual product installations into a cohesive productivity solution, enabling holistic capabilities that provide greater value to customers and partners. The cloud also allows us to rapidly innovate and deliver new experiences faster than ever before. At the same time, we’re building collaboration, mobility and machine learning capabilities right into all of the Office experiences, enabling a generational transformation in the way people work.”

Good read if you are interested in learning more about the future of SharePoint and Office 365.

Lightning Conductor 2013 and Aggregating Form Library Content

I have been working with the new Lightning Conductor 2013 content roll-up web part recently, specifically the new custom column abilities. This web part allows you to add a custom column to a view and it can contain any jscript and CSOM. This opens up a new world of possibilities.

If you are unfamiliar with the Lightning Conductor 2013 roll-up web part, I highly recommend getting familiar with it. Lightning Tools has versions for both on-premise and Office 365 environments.
For more information on The Lightning Conductor 2013 product, please click here.

As I was saying above, you can create a custom column and include any jscript and/or CSOM calls. Today, I ran in to a situation where we were aggregating content from a form library. As you may be aware, there isn’t a Title column present on the Form content type, so you need to include the Name field if you wish the file name displayed. The problem with this is the file name contains the .xml extension; and my client didn’t want that displayed.

This is where the Lightning Conductor 2013 custom field came in to play. I simply created a new custom field, named FormattedTitle, and included the following:

[FileLeafRef].Substring(0,[FileLeafRef].Length – 4)

Worked like a charm!

I’ll be writing more about this web part, especially how the jscript and CSOM custom column can be extended to related data in, etc.

If you are interested in purchasing the Lightning Conductor 2013 web part, please contact CollectiveKnowledge Solutions.

Redirect Users to a New Location Automatically

Recently, while working with a client, I noticed they had purchased a 3rd party web part to redirect users from one location to another.  There are other posts that describe a simple, out of box, solution; however, I wanted to include it here for my readers and clients.

There isn’t any need to write custom code or purchase a 3rd party product to redirect users from one location to another.

To accomplish this, use the following steps:

Let’s say, for example, you are in the process of migrating your SharePoint environment to a newer version.  As you perform the migration, you may wish to have a redirect on the old site sending the user to the new (migrated) site.

1 – On the site you wish to perform the redirect, add a Content Editor Web Part.

Add Content Editor Web Part

I’ve given the web part a title of “Redirect to New HR Site”.

2 – On the ribbon bar, in the Format Text tab, click the Edit Source button.  Then enter the redirect source.

RedirectUsers02

 

The actual redirect is the <meta …/> tag line, everything else is simply telling the user what will happen.  I feel it is always a good idea to inform the user of what is about to happen and ask them to update their bookmark.

The actual redirect is formatted as follows:

<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”{seconds};url={target URL}“/>

Replace {seconds} with the number of seconds to delay before redirecting the user.  10 seconds is a very common delay.

Replace {target URL} with the URL of where you with to redirect the user to.

Example, delay 10 seconds and redirect to HR site:

<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”10;url=https://cks.sharepoint.com/sites/contoso/departments/hr/”/>

 

 

 

Country Sausage and Gravy, Grits and Poached Eggs

I was in the mood for brunch today so I decided to make Country Sausage and Gravy, Grits and Poached Eggs.  It’s quick, simple and, oh so, delicious!

I absolutely love grits.  However, by themselves, they can be bland and boring.  The next time you make grits, consider spicing them up; the possibilities are endless.  When I make shrimp and grits, most often I will add sharp white cheddar cheese, havarti cheese, garlic, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and onion.  This gives them a nice kick and really complements the shrimp.

For brunch today, I had already made up my mind that I wanted country sausage and gravy, so I decided to try something a bit different with the grits.  In this grits dish I added garlic, onion, chili powder and sharp pepper jack cheese.  They were delicious!

20140816 - Brunch

Get creative with those grits; there is so much you can do with them.  If you want to add a wonderful twist on texture, add hominy and/or whole kernel corn.

For the breakfast sausage, you can use any good quality “coarse ground” pork breakfast sausage, Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sausage, or your own blend.  I like making them in to patties and frying them.  This gives me a nice base for the sausage gravy.

If you would like to make fresh ground, homemade breakfast sausage, there are a lot of great recipes on the Internet.  I have made this one, from Alton Brown, and its fantastic.  Another nice twist is chorizo instead of breakfast sausage; however, if I want gravy, I think breakfast sausage is better!

And poached eggs, how can you go wrong?  If you’ve never tried or don’t know how to make poached eggs, check out this article.  They are super easy, fun to make and taste wonderful.

Keep cookin’ and let me hear about your successes!

SharePoint 2013 Management, Architecture and Design Course – Register Today

How many times have you been told the solution to your SharePoint 2013 needs require custom .NET development? Unfortunately, many consultants and consulting firms resort to custom .NET development because they are unfamiliar with how to truly architect solutions in SharePoint 2013. Granted, a certain amount of custom .NET development is required for most implementations; however, having a thorough understanding of how to architect your information to support business contextual needs, is the key to dramatically reducing those custom efforts and gaining more long-term value.

The truth is, most SharePoint Intranet, Document Management, Knowledge Management, Records Management and Collaboration solutions can be implemented with less than 10% custom development efforts. Implementing SharePoint 2013 using fundamental IA principals and techniques will reduce the need for custom development efforts, the cost of maintaining those efforts and the length of time you are tied to a consulting firm because of those efforts.

Start gaining the most value from Microsoft SharePoint 2013 today!

Join 5-year Microsoft SharePoint MVP, Bob Mixon, for a virtual hands-on 5-day, in-depth course and learn how to successfully apply Information Architecture techniques to SharePoint 2013. This course is geared to provide you with a thorough understand of Information Architecture and how to solve “real world” business problems on the SharePoint 2013 platform.

Register for our August 18, 2014 Class Today!

For complete course information and registration, see:

http://collectiveknowledgesolutions.com/sharepoint-2013-intranet-management-design-and-architecture-training/

We are now accepting Early Bird registration! Use the code CKS-SPMAD-2013-ID-JULY2014 before the end of July and receive a 10% discount!

10 Key Elements of Enterprise Information Architecture (#IA) – #3 Presentation

This article is the third in a series of ten that will help you better understand the 10 key elements of Enterprise Information Architecture.  To read the previous articles and the complete table of contents in this series, please click here.

Presenting Information
The manner in which information is presented can dramatically improve its value. Applying Information Architecture principals and techniques can afford us the ability to query and present information in many different formats thus supporting many different business contextual needs.

During the Subject Matter Expert (SME) interview process, used in the Understanding phase, formulate questions that inspire individuals to describe how they use and view information. Some information is best displayed as simple, linear lists. Other information is best displayed as charts, graphs in a dashboard and points of aggregation. During these same interviews and other assessment techniques, you can learn more about security requirements through the understanding of persona-based information access needs. Specific personas will have different visibility of information.

Note:
It has been my experience that applying techniques that simplify the storage and management of content be your initial focus. You can then aggregate that information, through specific queries, and present it in a manner that best suits the consumer persona and contextual needs.

Multiple presentation models to support varying contextual needs

  • Lists
  • Dashboards
  • Printed reports
  • Charts
  • Search
  • Content aggregation, Scoping and Faceted Filtering

Persona-based Presentation

  • Senior Management
  • Departmental, Line-of-Business Management, Business Unit Management
  • Employees
  • Customers
  • Vendors
  • Partners

05.03.03 - Presetation

As mentioned before, the interview process will provide you with a wealth of information about the consumers of information and the best manner in which to present it. Other techniques you can employ to understand presentation requirements include usability studies, wire-frame design diagrams, screen mockup’s and proof of concept or pilot projects.

Techniques for understanding how information is to be presented include:

  • Interview information SME’s and consumers
    • Understand how they use the information in their day-to-day business operations leads to the best approach for presenting information
  • “Day in the life of” scenarios
  • Usability studies
  • Wire-frame diagrams
  • Screen mockup’s
  • Proof of Concept’s (POC’s)

In SharePoint, information is stored and managed in sites, pages, lists and libraries. Other information can be incorporated using various tools, such as Business Connectivity Services (BCS), Excel Services, custom development, etc. To gain the most value presenting this information, you then need to first apply Information Architecture techniques; categorization, grouping, metadata, etc. Once you have architected your information, it simplifies the presentation of that information.

Create content scopes (result sources) to group information for aggregate presentation and ad-hoc search. You can then utilize the new faceted filtering (refinement) features of SharePoint 2013 to refine the scoped content and produce highly relevant set of results; to support various business contextual needs.

More on this in later articles!

SharePoint 2013 Intranet Management, Design and Architecture Training

These ten elements are defined, in detail, in my SharePoint 2013 Management, Design and Architecture Training Course.  For those of you who recall my Information Architecture (#IA) course for #SharePoint 2010, this new course expands on all the new features of both on-premise and Office 365 environments.

If you are interested in learning more about how to implement a #SharePoint 2013 Intranet solution, please register for our next class.

10 Key Elements of Enterprise Information Architecture (#IA) – #2 Understanding

This article is the second in a series of ten that will help you better understand the 10 key elements of Enterprise Information Architecture.  To read the first article and the complete table of contents in this series, please click here.

Understanding Information
Understanding information is the most important aspect of Information Architecture. Before we can create solutions around information, we must thoroughly understand how people use, think about and value it. This understanding of information can then drive solution implementation prioritization, trust in its accuracy/use and ability to aid with and improve day-to-day business operations.

Understanding information leads to:

  • How people think about and value information
  • How information is used by people and processes
  • How information is stored and managed
  • Identification of information ownership, responsibility and accountability
  • Standard naming conventions
  • Reduction in term ambiguity

05.03.02 - Contract Term
Most people use terms and names that have meaning to them. For example, when an employee in IT uses the term Contract, they could be referring specifically to a Service Level Agreement (SLA) Contract. As humans, we may be able to automatically derive the understanding of a topic by applying scope and context.

Using the previous example; I am talking to an IT employee about server down time, I understand the term Contract means SLA. If I am unclear, I ask!

Unfortunately, technology doesn’t have the ability to automatically derive this level of scope and context. For technology to support the various contextual needs, we must categorize and label information; i.e. the basis and need for Information Architecture.

As Information Architects, there are many techniques that can be used to better understand how information is used. Having a thorough understanding of how information is used in day to day business operations is critical to designing and building a SharePoint solution that ultimately adds value.

Unfortunately, we cannot be experts in all areas of business within our organization. As such, the best approach to understanding information is to ask the experts. You will gain a wealth of knowledge by interviewing business domain SME’s, users (consumers), vendors and customers.

Most individuals in an organization are busy and may not have ample time describing what they do and how they do it. In many cases, you can better prepare yourself for these conversations through self-education. A wealth of information and knowledge can be derived by inventorying existing file structures, file naming conventions and supporting systems.

If your organization has search tools, review and assess logs; many times this can provide you with insight in to what consumers are search for.

Techniques for understanding information include:

  • Interview domain subject matter experts (SME’s)
    • Business domain SME’s, Users, Vendors, Customers, etc.
  • “Day in the life of” scenarios
  • Card sorting sessions
  • Inventory content
    • Assess, audit, refine, prioritize, label and categorize
  • Often file structure hierarchies and existing website navigation taxonomies aid in understanding how users currently categorize and think about their content
  • Review search logs

Often, as IT personnel, we fall in to the “build it and they will follow” trap. This is a recipe for failure with these types of solutions. Remember, our user base has had free access to all their content when stored on file shares, local drives and other repositories. To simply pickup their content from those repositories and drop it in to SharePoint adds no business value at all. In fact, doing so makes managing their documents more complex. For our user base to see value in using a more complex approach to managing their documents, we must add business value. The only way to add business value is to understand their information and how it is used. Only then can we transform the way information is used and improve/streamline day-to-day business operations.

SharePoint 2013 Intranet Management, Design and Architecture Training

These ten elements are defined, in detail, in my SharePoint 2013 Management, Design and Architecture Training Course.  For those of you who recall my Information Architecture (#IA) course for #SharePoint 2010, this new course expands on all the new features of both on-premise and Office 365 environments.

If you are interested in learning more about how to implement a #SharePoint 2013 Intranet solution, please register for our next class.

Senior SharePoint Architect, Author, Trainer, Pilot, Chief and Father