Archives / 2008 / October
  • Notes from PDC Session: Extending SharePoint Online


    I took some notes, and augmented it with some of my own thoughts and information.


    SharePoint Online provides:

    Managed Services on the net
    - No server deployment needed, just a few clicks to bring your instance up and running
    - Unified admin center for online services
    - Single sign on system, no federated active directory yet

    Enterprise class Reliability
    - Good uptime
    - Anti virus

    SharePoint online is available in two tastes: standard (hosted in the cloud) and dedicated (on premises)

    Standard is most interesting I think: minimum of 5 seats, max 1TB storage.

    On standard we have no custom code deployment, so we need to be inventive!

    SharePoint Online is a subset of the standard SharePoint product (extensive slide on this in the slide deck, no access to that yet)

    SharePoint online is for intranet, not for anonymous internet publishing.

    $15 for the complete suite: Exchange, SharePoint, SharePoint, Office Live Meeting. Separate parts are a few dollars a piece.

    Base os SharePoint Online is MOSS, but just a subset of functionality is available. Also just the usual suspect set of site templates is available: blank, team, wiki, blog, meeting.

    SharePoint Online can be accessed through the Office apps, SharePoint designer and throuth the web services.

    SharePoint Designer:
    - No code WF
    - Customize content types
    - Design custom look and feel

    - talk to the web services of SharePoint online.
    - Uses authentication of current user accessing the page hosting the Silverlight control
    - See for some discussion on getting a SharePoint web service call working

    Data View Web Part:
    - Consume data from a data source
        - Consume RSS feeds through http GET
        - Consume http data through HTTP GET/POST
        - Consume web services
        - ...
    - Configure filter, order, paging etc.
    - Select columns, rename columns,  ...
    - Result is an XSLT file

    This XSLT code can be modified at will. There are infinite formatting capabilities with XSLT. Also a set of powerful XSLT extension functions is available in the ddwrt namespace (See for a SharePoint 2003 article on this function set, see reflector for additional functions in the 2007 version;-)). See for writing XSLT extension functions when you are able to deploy code, so not for the online scenario; this was not possible on SharePoint 2003).

    Note that the Data View Web Part can only be constructed with SharePoint designer.

    InfoPath client: custom forms for workflows

    Web services: Can be used from custom apps (command line, win forms, ...), but also from Silverlight to have functionality that is hosted in your SharePoint Online site itself.

    You can also host custom web pages on your own server or in the cloud on Windows Azure (the new Microsoft cloud platform), and call SharePoint Online web services in the code behind of these pages.

    What can't be done:
    - No Farm wide configurations
    - No Server side code
        - No custom web parts
        - No site definitions
        - No coded workflows
        - No features
        - No ...

    There is still a lot that can be done, but that will be an adventure to find out exactly....

  • From the PDC: Windows Azure - the Windows cloud server - is here!

    New times have arived! Exactly what we hoped for, developing for the cloud using Microsoft technology. Of course, EC2 and Google App Engine did beat Microsoft in timing, but bringing up Linux instances, and learning python happened to be a big hurdle for a guy who has been using Microsoft technology for too long. I did some testing with both platforms and was impressed by their concepts. But the Azure cloud platform that Microsoft announced today is more "my kind of candy".

     In the PDC keynote I wrote down some twitter messages on my iPhone (I love Twitterific!), you can read them at:

     Also have a look at the great posts by on Azure. I will blog some more thougths on the new platform in the next days, but now the session on Extending SharePoint Online is starting!