SharePoint Commerce Services Overview now available


My colleagues, Jesus Salazar and Joshua Grear presented a great session on SharePoint Commerce Services last week.  Commerce Server provides enterprises with a robust eCommerce platform.  SharePoint provides an enterprise class Content Management platform.  It is only natural that these two services when integrated provide your eCommerce and Merchandising team the capability to quickly deliver updates to your website using SharePoint’s CMS capabilities.  With SharePoint Commerce Services your business users can now easily manage your eCommerce website by creating pages, templates, modify product descriptions as well as reuse any prebuilt SharePoint and Commerce Server webparts to deliver a compelling experience on your website.

Click here for the SlideShare presentation on SharePoint Commerce Services

Advertisements

Office 2010 Integration with SharePoint 2010 compared with Office 2007


Based on my recent work with SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010, here is a list of my observations of the differences between the two versions of Office when integrating with SharePoint 2010.

Click here to download a PDF version of this comparison

Some enterprises may decide to rollout SharePoint 2010 without upgrading Office. In this case, here are the features that you will miss out on!. This is not a comprehensive nor the official list and is based on my initial experiences. Please post in the comments if you have additional features or if some of these work in 2010

Legend –

Fully Available – Fully Available

Unavailable – Unavailable

Partially Available – Partially Available

Word

Feature Word 2007 Word 2010
Save to SharePoint Fully Available Fully Available
View and Manage Versions Fully Available Fully Available
View/Manage/Start Workflows Fully Available Fully Available
View and Manage Workflow Tasks Fully Available Fully Available
Co-Authoring of the same document simultaneously Unavailable Fully Available
Set Managed Metadata Properties Unavailable Fully Available
One click document synchronization with the server Unavailable Fully Available
Social Integration with Notes and Tags Unavailable Fully Available
Office BackStage Unavailable Fully Available

PowerPoint

Feature PowerPoint 2007 PowerPoint 2010
Save to SharePoint Fully Available Fully Available
View and Manage Versions Fully Available Fully Available
View/Manage/Start Workflows Fully Available Fully Available
View and Manage Workflow Tasks Fully Available Fully Available
Co-Authoring of the same document simultaneously Unavailable Fully Available
Set Managed Metadata Properties Unavailable Fully Available
One click document synchronization with the server Unavailable Fully Available
Social Integration with Notes and Tags Unavailable Fully Available
Office BackStage Unavailable Fully Available
Slideshow Broadcasting from Powerpoint through PowerPoint web app Unavailable Fully Available
Edit Video and Pictures within the document Unavailable Fully Available
Screen Capture Tools Unavailable Fully Available

SharePoint Designer

SharePoint Designer 2010 is required to edit SharePoint 2010 sites. It is not backward compatible with MOSS 2007 either.

Outlook

Feature Outlook 2007 Outlook 2010
Social connector to LinkedIn Unavailable Fully Available
Take SharePoint lists offline Fully Available Fully Available
Overlay Calendars Partially Available Fully Available
Plug-ins to connect to SharePoint social features Unavailable Fully Available

Visio

Feature Visio 2007 Visio 2010
Save to SharePoint Unavailable Fully Available
View and Manage Versions Unavailable Fully Available
View/Manage/Start Workflows Unavailable Fully Available
View and Manage Workflow Tasks Unavailable Fully Available
Publish to Visio Web Services from the client Unavailable Fully Available
Build Workflows for SharePoint Unavailable Fully Available
Import Visio Workflows to SharePoint Designer 2010 Unavailable Fully Available
Office Backstage Unavailable Fully Available

Excel

Feature Excel 2007 Excel 2010
Save to SharePoint Fully Available Fully Available
View and Manage Versions Fully Available Fully Available
View/Manage/Start Workflows Fully Available Fully Available
View and Manage Workflow Tasks Fully Available Fully Available
Co-Authoring of the same document simultaneously Unavailable Fully Available
Set Managed Metadata Properties Unavailable Fully Available
One click document synchronization with the server Unavailable Fully Available
Office BackStage Unavailable Fully Available
Improved Publishing to Excel Web Access Partially Available Fully Available
Excel SparkLines Unavailable Fully Available
Excel data slicers Fully Available

InfoPath 2010

InfoPath 2010 is needed for customizing the display forms in SharePoint. Forms can be filled in but will not support the features like BCS metadata controls and people selected controls.

 

Consuming External Content Types(BCS) in InfoPath Forms


Business Connectivity Services(BCS) is one of the coolest features in SharePoint 2010.  BCS helps us connect to Line of Business applications without writing a single line of code.

In this article, we will explore the process to connect to BCS and use the information within an InfoPath form.  A business scenario would go something like this

“You need to create a Expense Report form.  Users entering expenses will need to pick a valid project from your Line of Business system within the InfoPath form”

Check out these articles on how to create the BCS model and connect to your Line of Business system

Tobias’s Article on BCS

Now that you have a BCS system, lets display those fields within an InfoPath form

In my example, I have a simple SQL Table with a list of projects as shown below

image

We need to build an InfoPath form where users can pick one of the projects from this list.

My external content type in SharePoint Designer looks like this below

image

Notice the following properties ‘coz you will need them when you build your form in InfoPath

Name, Namespace, External System

Open up InfoPath 2010 and design a blank form

In the Home Tab, Under the Controls section choose the External Item Picker option under the input sub section and add it to the form

image

InfoPath will add a new group to the data fields with some properties.

Add the Field to the InfoPath form, right click and pull up the Properties for the external Item Picker

image

Enter the Namespace of your ECT , Name of the ECT and the System Instance Name(in our case it is CRM) into the required fields. <edit>Enter the Display Name of your field, otherwise you would only the see the identifier when you preview the form..</edit>

Note: After two hours of frustration, I found this to help finding information about the system instance name.  There is no help for the required fields and at first I couldnt figure out what the “System Instance Name” was.  Is it the name of the Finder ? Is it the name of the Entity? .   A search on MSDN retrieved the following article

MSDN System Instance Article

The System Instance name is a property of the SPBusinessDataField.  So to find out the property, I added the same field to a custom list and wrote some code as follows to retrieve the System Instance Name

image

The system Instance name was the same name as the external system property in SharePoint Designer.

Click the Other Settings tab in Infopath and set the following properties.  Check the “Refresh on Open” option and select the dropdown for the picker mode to “Connect to external data through SharePoint”

image

Click Ok and Hit Form Preview. Now you can search for content in your LOB and surface them through InfoPath.  We will discuss saving this data to SharePoint in another post.

image

Creating a Custom Theme for SharePoint 2010 using PowerPoint


One of the neat little features in SharePoint 2010 is the ability to leverage your organization’s PowerPoint slide to create the look and feel for your SharePoint sites

With MOSS 2007, you had to adhere to a Corporate Style Guide and design your CSS themes manually. 

With 2010 you can leverage any existing Marketing Collateral that you might have and import those styles into SharePoint.

Here is a default SharePoint 2010 site

image

If you are using PowerPoint 2010, open up any PowerPoint slide and goto the BackStage and click Save As and choose “Office Theme” as your File Type Option.  Give an appropriate name for your theme, since your users will be using this name to identify the theme within the theme gallery

image

Now that you have saved your theme, Goto Site Settings and goto the Themes gallery and upload your newly created Office Theme

image

Your custom theme should now be available for your sites.

SharePoint 2010 Public beta is now available


SharePoint Server 2010 Public Beta is now available for download here

SharePoint 2010 Install & Powershell Issue on Windows Server 2008


PowerShell is an optional component available with the Windows Server 2008 default install.  If you enable this feature in Server Manager you will run into an issue when installing the pre-release version of SharePoint 2010.  2010 depends on the PowerShell CTP3 which cannot be installed without uninstalling the inbuilt PowerShell feature. 

To Uninstall PowerShell.  goto Server Manager and uncheck the PowerShell feature.

Now your 2010 install should proceed without any issues

Check this post below to review and download the various versions of Powershell

http://blogs.msdn.com/powershell/pages/download-windows-powershell.aspx

Getting Ready for SharePoint 2010


Last month at the SharePoint conference in Las Vegas, Microsoft unveiled the feature set and hardware requirements for SharePoint 2010.  2010 requires 64 bit hardware and that might mean a significant re-platforming of your existing developer machines.  With MOSS 2007 developers were free to run a test environment on their 32 bit machines using Virtual PC.  Bamboo Solutions even came up with an innovative solution to run MOSS 2007 locally on Vista machines

MOSS on Vista

However, If you are a SharePoint developer and you currently have a 32 bit machine, there are some significant changes coming down the road.

First, if you can, move on to a 64 bit platform.  Irrespective of whatever OS you run(Windows 7 , Vista or Windows Server 2008) moving to a 64 bit platform provides you the flexibility to run 64-bit 2010 Virtual machines natively using Hyper-V or VMWare Server or Virtual Box

If you are running Windows 7 and do not want to deal with VMs, there is an interesting option called “Boot from VHD” in Windows 7.  With this option,  you could boot directly into a Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 test environment VHD and hence leverage all of your system resources within the VHD.  Here is a great post that talks about the steps to prepare a VHD and boot from it.

http://blogs.technet.com/aviraj/archive/2009/01/18/windows-7-boot-from-vhd-first-impression-part-2.aspx

If you are stuck with a 32 bit machine and you are not part of a hardware refresh cycle, you have one option.  If your machine has a Intel/AMD chipset that supports virtualization, make sure to update your BIOS by visiting the manufacturer’s website.  Once your BIOS is updated, you should see an option to turn on Virtualization within your BIOS setup.  After turning on virtualization within the BIOS, you can run your 2010 VMs.  Currently,  VMWare Server 2.0 and Sun’s VirtualBox support running 64 bit guests on 32 bit hosts.   The performance of these VMs on 32 bit hosts leave a lot to be desired and is definitely not recommended for hard core SharePoint development.  You will be better off developing off of a Hyper-V or VMware Server hosting your VMs remotely.

%d bloggers like this: