Archives

Archives / 2004 / January
  • SharePoint Portal Server 2003 and Windows SharePoint Services capacity planning

     There is now some information available on capacity planning for SharePoint Portal Server 2003 and Windows SharePoint Services.

    The documentation I could find was:

    ·        Capacity Planning for Windows SharePoint Services (Microsoft, TechNet)
    Interesting capacity and scale limits, must read

    ·        SharePoint Portal Server Capacity Planning (MSD2D, Brien Posey)
    Limited interest, only single server capacity computations

    ·        The IntranetsPlanning.doc file in the Microsoft Solution Accelerator for Intranets, version 2.0, November 25, 2003 (Microsoft, Download Center)
    Interesting read, most interesting for large configurations

    ·        Capacity Planning Guide for SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Beta, based on Beta, not linked anymore (Microsoft, SharePoint assistance)
    Interesting read, most interesting for smaller configurations (info might be out of date)

    ·        Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Performance Summary, info by HP, mostly included in the IntranetsPlanning.doc file pointed out above.

    ·        Example HP ProLiant Server Configurations for Deployment of Microsoft SharePoint 2003 Products & Technologies, info by HP
    Interesting read, also describes small configuration (2 servers) with what hardware you exactly need

    Another interesting read in this context is the description of Microsoft’s own implementation of their Intranet based on SharePoint products and technologies:

    ·        Deploying SharePoint Products and Technologies for Enterprise Collaboration (Microsoft IT Showcase, HTML, Microsoft TechNet)
    MUST READ!! Irritating that TechNet does not have it’s docs in Word or PDF format… after some searching:
    www.sharepointcustomization.com/resources/whitepapers/ OTG%20Sharepoint%20Deployment.doc
    Also have a look at: Hosted Solution Facilitates Team Collaboration (Microsoft IT Showcase)


  • SharePoint Portal Server 2003 and the Research feature of Office 2003 and Internet Exporer 6

    A collegue of mine (thanks Carlo!) pointed out a standard feature of SharePoint Portal Server 2003: you can search your Portal through the Research pane in Office 2003 and Internet Explorer 6. There is actually not much information on this topic available. This information is for example NOT documented in the SharePoint Portal Server User help and Administrators help (some work to do for the next version of the documentation, you guys at Microsoft!!!!). In most online Microsoft documents you don't find much more than: Integration in the Microsoft Office System Research and Reference Pane: Microsoft Office System users can search a SharePoint portal site from the Research and Reference Pane I can't find anything on the “Reference Pane”, I think it is the same thing as the research Pane. You can find it under “Tools - Research...” menu in your Office 2003 applications. Funy thing is that they find it really important if you look at the default configured shortcut: Alt-Click. Microsoft offers even a whole one day course on the topic: http://www.microsoft.com/traincert/syllabi/2016afinal.asp

    I did some Googling, but the only real documentation on how to configure it can be found in the whitepaper “Microsoft® SharePoint™ Portal Server 2003 - Specific Arabic Features“, a must read! I love those screenshots! Have a look at http://www.microsoft.com/middleeast/arabicdev/dotnetservers/SharePointPortal/wpapers2003.asp#37 for the whole document.

    In short (shameless copy of their information):

    1. Microsoft Office System users can search a SharePoint portal site for Arabic data, from the Research and Reference Pane. Microsoft Office System users can search a SharePoint portal site from the Research and Reference Pane.


      Figure 22 - Share Point Portal Server 2003

      Through the Research options dialog box, the user can add SharePoint Portal as a service for searching. To enable this service, please follow the following steps:
      1. Launch any Office component (Word, Excel, etc...).
      2. On the Tools menu, click Research.
      3. In the Research task pane, click Research options.
      4. Add research services, click Add Services.


        Figure 51 - Share Point Portal Server 2003

      5. Add a Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 site, type http://your root directory/vtibin/search.asmx.(Example: http://Share/vtibin/search.asmx.)
      6. Click Add. The service is automatically enabled for searching, and it will appear in the Search for list the next time you open the Research task pane.
      7. Select the portal name and write an Arabic word to search for (Example ãÇÌÏ), then press the Search icon


        Figure 52 - Share Point Portal Server 2003

    This can also be configured in your Internet Explorer 6: View - Explorer Bar - Research...

    If you like to know more about developing for the Research pane, check out the following articles and the SDK:

  • Game development using the .NET Compact Framework

    As soon as I got my hands on Everett, the beta of VS.NET 2003, I dived into the Compact Framework... great to be able to develop your applications within VS.NET for such a small formfactor as the Pocket PC. One of the things I looked at was the possibilities for game development for Pocket PC, not that I am twisted enough to be able to develop a game (trust me, you need to be a twisted to come up with bright game ideas, I worked with some of these guys!), I'm just very interested in graphical applications.

    Of course there is the possibility to use the Forms library to do all kinds of graphics (see http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dnnetcomp/html/netcfgaming.asp for an example), but the real performance you will only get using direct access to the screen buffers. What you really want is the PocketPC variant of DirectX... it's a pity: only the DirectPlay part is available for communication(http://www.microsoft.com/windows/directx/default.aspx?url=/windows/directx/downloads/directplay.htm). On the Pocket PC you have GAPI (http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&familyid=d9879b0e-4ef1-4049-9c61-e758933d84c4), a very simple game API with only the basic functions available for screen buffer access.

    On top of GAPI some nice game development libraries are available like PocketFrog (http://pocketfrog.droneship.com/) and GapiDraw (http://www.gapidraw.com, works on multiple platforms). Another really interesting initiative is by a Dutch company called Overloaded (www.overloaded.com) who developed the Overloaded Game Foundation SDK, and a whole program to develop games and publish it with them in participation and get revenues. Their website seems down (http://overloaded.pocketmatrix.com) so I don't know if their initiative survived. See http://www.mobigeeks.com/e/forum/showthread.php?s=8b025d293af64be37828ab90eb2dde1c&threadid=191 for more info.

    Problem with all these libraries is that you need to be a hardcore C++ programmer who knows everything about WIN32 (although Overloaded created a really nice framework containing all you needed to write games). I have bin there, but I really don't want to go back. I love the speed of development with C# and managed code. I tried to get interop between C# and GAPI working, but I just did not have the time to really dive into it.

    Today I found some links to articles describing just that a .NET layer on top op GAPI with a lot of extra functionality. I did not have the time yet to read it all and try it out, but it looks very promissing... Is there a future for game development for the Pocket PC using .Net? Have a look at:

  • Web client side programming... how to make life easier

    Last weeks I had to do some extensive client side programming in good old Javascript, and I used a set of tools that made life a lot more bearable than it was in past development where I had the feeling I was completely working in the dark. My last client side project was a tree menu navigation web part for SharePoint portal server 2001 (have a look at: http://spsutil.sourceforge.net), and did I get frustrated not knowing what was going on...

    OK, the set of tools I used this time (they deserve some plugging!):

    Instant Source, from Blazing Tools (http://www.blazingtools.com). Great tool to look at the code in your browser: both the code that came from the server as the current state of the DOM. The “element under cursor” view is also very useful. 30 day full test version available for download.

    PrimalScript 3.1 from Sapien (http://www.sapien.com). The best script editor I have ever seen (did also use it for ActionScript 2.0 editing, I love it!). It interprets the MSDHTML and uses the found info for code completion, it knows your Javascript functions and shows a list of them as children of your file in the file list, it can find the declaration of functions... I was working on HTC files (HTML components, IE specific) and I had to add the HTC extension to HTML file types to get it working.

    VS.NET 2003 from Microsoft, great for debugging!!!

    HTML debugger in Javascript (http://www.bitesizeinc.net/project/jsDebugger - thanks Daniel) I just stumpled into this one, check it out, looks really promising!!! Catches Javascript bugs in a meaningful way, and it allows you to explore the DOM visually and even change the values. Client side programming and debugging becomes fun again..

    There are even unit test frameworks (http://www.jsunit.net/, look also at http://www.xprogramming.com/software.htm if you are interested in unit testing) available!!

    The power of client side code is overlooked by most programmers, especially in the current .Net era with ASP.NET server controls where programmers don't look at the resulting code thrown at the browser. All those postbacks... all those HUGE pages (OK, gzip compression solves a problem here, but is OFF by default in many browser configurations. IE sets it OFF by default within the intranet zone!). Would't it be great if web applications were written like Microsoft Outlook Web Access, the online “Outlook” client  (great work!).

  • SharePoint 2003 (WSS+SPS)... and keeping yourself 'documented'

    Things are moving fast in the SharePoint world... especially with respect to documentation. Before you know it the documentation of SharePoint is updated. It is a huge product, and on release it was quite clear the documentation wasn't finished.

    The documentatation that came with the product is out of date, the SDK's that you downloaded are probably out of date as well.

    To get the latest version of the regular documentation (for administrators and the user help) keep an eye on:

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/results.aspx?productID=353C4E9D-9E78-4435-A360-01BB7F540D17&freetext=&DisplayLang=en

    For the developers out there, keep an eye on the online documentation in MSDN that is the most recent:

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/nhp/default.asp?contentid=28001891

    This is the entry point to all the developer information. It is also possible to download the SDK's from the first given link, but it will always be behind the online documentation. Problem is that search on MSDN just does not work, so for finding info fast I still prefer the downloadable help files. If this information does not “satisfy” me I check out the online documentation.

    Note that in the online documentation you have to go to 'SharePoint Products and Technologies'->'SharePoint Products & Technologies (2003)' -> 'SDK Documentation'. Here you find two folders 'Platform' and 'Applications'. WSS (Windows SharePoint Services) is the platform, SPS (SharePoint Portal Server) is an application build on top of WSS.

    If you missing info on the search XML query syntax, download the Office 2003 Research Service Software Development Kit (SDK) at the following link: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=d3fc8129-63f7-43b5-8d99-de4058ade0ec&displaylang=en. This SDK provides documentation and samples on (quote):

    The Microsoft® Office 2003 Research Service Software Development Kit (SDK) provides you with a set of Web methods for developing information services that are searchable with the Microsoft Office 2003 Research feature. The Research feature is available in Microsoft Office Word 2003, Microsoft Office Excel 2003, Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003, Microsoft Office OneNote™ 2003, Microsoft Office PowerPoint® 2003, Microsoft Office Publisher 2003, Microsoft Office Visio® 2003, and Microsoft Internet Explorer.

    But it also provides the schema of the XML query language used in the SharePoint Search webservice (and through the object model) and documentation about the XML query language.

    The topic itself (writing web services that can be used in the Research feature) is also very interesting! Did you ever check it out in Internet Explorer 6? Select menu 'View' - 'Explorer bar' - 'Research'. How sweet would it be if you could search for sites, people and content in SharePoint.... 

  • SharePoint Portal Server 2003 with anonymous access

    We are currently investigating the possibility of enabling anonymous access on SharePoint Portal Server 2003. This works by creating an additional web site as described in the Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003 Administration Guide. What we are planning to do is to have users that are not in the corporate active directory access the web site that is configured with anonymous access. Users that are in the corporate active directory access the website configured with integrated security. The anonymous access website will have a “login” button available that switches to the integrated security website with code as simple as:

    javascript:window.location.href = window.location.href.replace(”anonymous.website.com”, “integrated.website.com”);

    This switches to the new site, and if the user is in the corporate active directory, he does not have to login, otherwise you get a login box. Some of users that are not in the corporate active directory but have to be able to contribute content cab be put in a special active directory group to enable them to log in.

    One important thing is that if you have custom developed code, you have to go one extra step clearly described in the following Microsoft Knowledge base entry: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;830424

  • Blogging on Flash in a .Net oriented weblogs environment...

    Due to the great integration of Flash MX 2004 with web services that can be developed on the .Net platform, the usage of XML within Flash that can be provided by ASP.NET pages and numerous other possibilities of using Flash a a rich client connected to .Net based technology on the server side, it is my feeling that blogging on Flash might be of interest to the .Net community. Let me know if I'm wrong... and I might shut up!

    I'm very interested in the view of other people in the .Net community on the usage of Flash in the creation of Rich Internet Applications, and the experiences with it. Please let me know in a comment!

  • Flash MX 2004... rich Internet applications...?

    Two weeks vacation in Italy are a terrific opportunity to dive into technology that you know could be interesting, but have never time to look into during “normal” life. This Christmas vacation was dedicated to the possibilities of Flash MX 2004 to build rich Internet applications. As a Microsoft tools user I already looked with much interest to the possibilities of the usage of Windows Forms applications within IE and the future developments that Longhorn will bring to us in the arena of web based applications. Problem with these technologies are the fact that you need to run Windows and have the .Net framework installed on the client PC, or the fact that although looking very promising release will be far in the future. The possibilities of Flash MX 2004 and the great penetration of Flash (> 500.000.000 downloads!?) on multiple operating systems (Linux, Windows, Mac) and multiple form factors (pocket PC, mobile telephones etc.) did get me interested and I did write my first little custom component that provides a treeview of the SharePoint Portal Server 2003 area structure connecting to a custom SharePoint webservice (written in good old c# ofcourse). A lot of fun!  I will cleanup my code and post it soon to show you the power of the new ActionScript incarnation (internal programming language of Flash) based on Javascript.