Paul Galvin's (old) SharePoint space [SharePoint

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My Blog Has Moved

My colleague and friend, Uday Ethirajulu, made it his mission to move my blog to a more appropriate platform.  He migrated it over to here: http://www.mstechblogs.com/paul/

It’s a wordpress blog and it is simply amazing.

The most immediately great thing about it is that comments are handled in a useful way.  Being able to moderate comments is just an incredibly nice thing when you’ve gone years without that ability.

I have really liked windows live spaces as a platform, but I outgrew it about 2 years ago.

A huge thanks to Uday for making this possible and painless for me!

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Use Calculated Columns to Close Technical Gaps in SPD Workflows

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This article has moved: http://www.mstechblogs.com/paul/content-query-web-part-sharepoint%e2%80%99s-swiss-army-knife

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Create an Image Rotator in SharePoint Using jQuery

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Use jQuery to Kill Spell Checker in SharePoint Lists

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Solution: SPD Workflow and “The form cannot be rendered …” Message

Small Note About Microsoft Online Services Passwords and Administration

I started to work with Microsoft’s Small Business Productivity Online Suite several months ago, but now I have some better reason to be using it. 

I’m still working my way around it, so I may be getting some of the terminology wrong, but basically there are two major interfaces: the administration center and the services themselves.

The system was telling me that I had to change my password, so I went ahead and did that.  That allowed me to proceed and work with the services part (SharePoint, email, and live meeting).  However, when I went to the administration screen, it wouldn’t let me in by telling me that it didn’t believe my password was correct.

The behavior was a little odd.  If I entered the password I *thought* it should be, it would blank out the userid and the password and tell me the password or userid was incorrect.  If I entered a blatantly wrong password, it would tell me the same, but keep the user ID field intact.

I’ve been playing around with this for a little while and finally called (yes, on a Sunday morning).  Incredibly, a fellow, Ben, answered the phone right away.  And, I didn’t have to enter a credit card.

Long story short, the administration center password uses different password rules than the services password.  Admin password must contain alpha, numeric and special characters.  When I changed my admin password the first time, I didn’t follow that rule (nor did it warn me!).  I was able to change it to a valid administration password and got back in.

If you experience that kind of problem in future, you know what worked for me and hopefully it will work for you.

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Social Computing Book for SharePoint 2007

In mid July, I was offered a chance to author two chapters for Brendon Schwartz’s and Matt Ranlett’s up-coming book, Social Computing with Microsoft SharePoint 2007: Implementing Applications for SharePoint to Enable Collaboration and Interaction in the Enterprise.  (I think they were trying to win a length contest with that title; I think they won).  I jumped on the opportunity and now, finally, the entire book is done, arriving at stores in February.

As SharePoint matures, publishers have begun to produce a new wave of books.  This book is part of that wave.  This wave builds upon the previous round of technical reference manuals explaining core features and functions and begins to describe how to use those features and functions to deliver business value in a very non-superficial way.  I’m not saying that is anything superficial about reference manuals or their value.   In fact, a book like this on Social Computing probably couldn’t have been written a year ago.  (Literally, of course it could have been written, but I don’t think the larger community would have been ready for it).  The new wave of books tends to assume the reader basically understands core features and instead describes how to use those core features in interesting new ways. 

As the title plainly says, this is a book about Social Computing.  Social Computing is a subject ripe for discussion and exploration and indeed, the discussion is well underway among early adopters.  Many companies are now quite comfortable with document libraries, content types, search, basic workflow, etc.  Having implemented and mastered these bread and butter features, they are ready for the next level.  This book offers insights and strategies to do that and thereby, exploit new and interesting opportunities that Social Computing brings to the world.

Social Computing is a big and evolving subject and covers a lot off things, including blogs, wikis, social tagging, search, interactive media, mashups, "people," and other socially-oriented "stuff."  SharePoint has a very strong story to tell in this arena and now, at this time in Internet & SharePoint history, is the time to tell it.  All things being equal between companies, those that successfully leverage Social Computing will outpace and outgrow those that do not.  The train is getting ready to leave the station and you don’t want to miss it!  This book is your ticket for a seat on that train 🙂

Bottom line, this is a blog entry pitching the book.   It’s due out in February.  Pre-order it here: Social Computing with Microsoft SharePoint 2007: Implementing Applications for SharePoint to Enable Collaboration and Interaction in the Enterprise

(Full disclosure — there’s no royalty money in it for me if you choose to buy the book, so this isn’t an effort to boost my savings account, though if it sells well, it will help out my ego, which always wants more, more, more!)

As an aside, but very important aside, I thank Bob Fox for connecting me with Brendon.  And naturally, I thank Brendon and Matt for taking a chance on a newbie such as myself and letting me author chapters in their very important book!

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Using Delicious.com to Track SharePoint “v.next” Information

As I find resources on the web discussing features available in the next version of SharePoint, I’ll be adding them to my delicious bookmarks.  It appears that Delicious allows people to subscribe to a particular tag, so if you’re interested in what I find, when I find it, subscribe here: http://feeds.delicious.com/v2/rss/pagalvin/SharePoint_O14?count=15

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Congratulations, Natalya!

I just received word that my friend and colleague, Natalya Voskresenskaya was awarded MVP for SharePoint today.  I’ve been working with Natalya for almost 18 months now and it’s a well-deserved recognition.  Like all the MVPs I know, she’s strongly motivated by the community and her work with ISPA, among other things, is helping to make the SharePoint community one of the strongest and most helpful of any technically oriented effort on the planet.

Congrats!

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SharePoint Best Practices Conference, “Best Practices,” and the Elephant in the Room

I was lucky to attend and present at last week’s SharePoint Best Practices conference.  I’m still new to the whole speaking "thing" and, frankly, I was a bit nervous for the first half while I sweated out waiting to speak myself.  That sort of nervous feeling made it a little hard for me to pay attention to the presenters (not that I ignored them).  Instead, I focused a bit more on the attendees.

Conferences always set my mind racing and there was a lot take in at this one.  This conference was excellent.  I think it was unusual in several ways.  It wasn’t a heavy developer conference.  There were certainly dev parts to it, but I think it was at least 60% focused on non-dev issues, maybe as high as 80%.  I think that speaks to the evolving nature of the SharePoint market.  Companies are implementing SharePoint in a variety of ways and they are looking for guidance on how to do it right.  And not just guidance on how to create features/solutions (which by now, has been very well established).

I believe the conference was tremendously valuable to most everyone that attended and I know that the organizers plan to do the conference again early next year. 

Having said that, I believe there was a missed opportunity which I hope the next conference addresses.  I say it’s a missed opportunity, but that’s not a bad thing.  Discovering a community need is in and of itself a good thing.  The conference discussed a number of best practices in a variety of areas such as governance, training, requirements gathering, search, development, information architecture, etc.   I think that the missed opportunity has to do with the "green field" assumptions underlying many of the best practices.

When we talk about green field, we mean that SharePoint hasn’t gone into production and we’re starting with a clean slate.  This is ideal because you can start straight away using best practices for defining and managing governance, information architecture, etc.  However … what happens when you’re already in production with several thousand users (or 10’s of thousands) and you didn’t follow best practices at the beginning?  I’ve seen companies with … ahem … a very odd information architecture baked into their environment.  I don’t think that this conference provided much guidance for organizations with that kind of problem (and I don’t just mean IA, but governance, search, many other areas).  Of course, knowing you have a problem is a big part of the solution and that’s very valuable.

I think that the online SharePoint community hasn’t done much to address this either.  I know I have not.  It’s a very hard problem to solve at many levels.  Technically it’s hard.  Budget-wise it’s hard.  Culturally, it’s hard.  However, it’s probably a bigger real world problem than most.  Since the conference ended, I’ve been thinking about these kinds of problems and how one would solve them.  There has to be a better answer than, "uninstall and reinstall" and the community needs to face it head on.

I think that this a great opportunity for the blogging community and experienced thought leaders to lay out some guidance on how to repair their environments.  I think there’s a small but non-zero risk that SharePoint could end up with a bad and enduring reputation as a result of poorly architected implementations that fail due to poor governance, IA, etc. 

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