Today I received a real treat in the mail. I'll give you a hint. It's about SharePoint and Chapter One is entitled: "Collaborative Application Markup Language." Got your attention?
One of life's few certainties has been this sequence of events: I'll be talking or writing about SharePoint customization -- to a user group, on the newsgroups or with a coworker -- and I'll answer a question. The follow-up up question "how can I learn more about this?" comes up. And I answer, "You can't, it's not documented, you'll just have to dig through the /60/ folder like everyone else. Maybe catch a WebCast. Were you at the packaging and deployment talk at TechEd? It was marvellous, and remains undocumented unless you dug into the conference DVDs and then e-mailed the presenter for the files that didn't make it to the DVD."
Chapter Two: Databases, Web Services and Protocols. It has a list of all the columns in the Docs table, each with a description! It contains a Working With Lists section that doesn't once mention Sorting and Filtering! Nope, this one has phrases like "it is fairly straightforward to write SQL queries directly against the content database that return meaningful data sets." Now this is the book I've been waiting for.
The book was written by Scot P. Hillier and it's called Advanced SharePoint Service Solutions and it is scheduled for January 30 release according to Amazon, though the press release says January 3. It will cost $59.99, but of course you can preorder it today for $37.79USD.
I'll explore more in the days ahead, a rundown of chapters follows. And no, you can't have mine.
Chapter 1: Collaborative Application Markup Language
Chapter 2: Databases, Web Services and Protocols
Chapter 3: Advanced Web Part Techniques
Chapter 4: Advanced SharePoint Portal Server Solutions
Chapter 5: The Information Bridge Framework
Chapter 6: The Business Scorecards Accelerator
Chapter 7: SharePoint and BizTalk Server 2004
Chapter 8: SharePoint and Microsoft Content Management Server
Like most people who use MSN Messenger I have a Hotmail account that does nothing but act as my MSN identity. I've used the same one for years, and thankfully Trillian provided a bridge while friends and colleagues migrated (or didn't) from ICQ to MSN.
But now I spend my days in SharePoint and this brings a new dilemna. SharePoint has online presence indicators the people on my team. When I open a document from a shared library, MS-Word also shows me who's online so I can pop open a conversation window. It's way cool.
The problem? SharePoint considers my address to be the one it reads from Active Directory: email@example.com, rather than firstname.lastname@example.org. It doesn't have the capacity to associate my domain account -- call it my private identity -- with the public hotmail identity I've been using for years. That public identity is for all purposes permanent. I've had that public identity through three employers and dozens of contracts. To change it, I need to bother roughly a hundred people in my contact list to "allow this user to see your online status."
Ideally, SharePoint would have the brains to perform the lookup. It's near the top of my list for feature requests, right after Recycle Bin. In the meantime, I'd like Live Communication Server to solve the problem. Perhaps as a corporate IM hub, LCS could provide address translation and associate my public identity with my domain account -- sort of an IM proxy to the outside world. The world sees my "permanent" address, and people inside the firewall see my corporate identity and all the presence indicator goodness that comes with.
It is unclear whether this is even a feature of LCS. The feature list doesn't exactly spit it out. I Asked An Expert at TechEd last year, and they exclaimed "yes!" at first, but then turned a little dour and non-committal for my liking.
I've tried installing the LCS Standard Edition Trial to a test environment, but it seems that I can't without changing the AD schema of the entire company. Our test lab is a child domain of the corporate forest, and AD schema changes need to occur from the top down. Who knows the answer? Anyone doing it? Feedback, please!
And so I need a plan B. Once again, thank Cerulean for Trillian. After creating a Passport for my corporate address and pressing a couple buttons in Trillian, I can now be in two places at once. I still need to bother everyone in my contact list to add the new identity, but hopefully I'll stick with CDI long enough for them to forget about it by the time it happens again. And inside the firewall, by all indicators, I'm present.
However, I'm not about to recommend that the whole sales force migrates to Trillian. They have Hotmail addresses of their own. There needs to be a real solution. Is there a way to run two versions of the client -- perhaps Exchange Messenger and MSN Messenger -- at once? Will LCS solve this problem or does it just secure and archive corporate IM traffic?
Got a solution? I'd love to hear from you. And if it works I won't need to take up two spaces on your buddy list.
The stuff you stumble across on old machines. Here's a blast from 2002 when web-safe colours and image maps were topics for discussion.
There are a bazillion pages to display web-safe colours, here's a simple one which shows hex values on hover/mouseover: Eli's Colour Picker
And this is the original Classic ASP code used to produce it (including source): ASP Palette.
MSN joins the fray. . .
With MSN Spaces, you can easily create and manage your blog from your computer or your mobile phone. It's a great way to share information and photos with your friends and family. And best of all, it's free!*
* Internet charges may apply.
Is the blog-o-sphere saturated? Will this create new blogs or just grab market share from the competition? Are people setting up different blog identities on different sites? And will Google really take over the world by 2014?
* Don't you just love lawyers?
Courtesy Patrick Tisseghem:
Exam 74-133: Customizing Portal Solutions with Microsoft® SharePoint® Products and Technologies -- available at testing centers on 11/30 for Portal Developers.
Exam 74-132: Designing a Portal Solution with Microsoft® SharePoint® Products and Technologies -- available at testing centers on 11/22 for Portal Architects
Exam 74-131: Designing a Microsoft® Office Enterprise Project Management (EPM) Solution – available at testing centers on 12/9 for EPM Business Analysts.
Exam 70-281: Planning, Deploying, and Managing an Enterprise Project Management Solution – is currently available at testing centers for EPM System Administrators and Engineers.