The IW Center and More Chris Caposela

Last week I confessed my admiration of Chris Capossela and I linked to an interview where he details his career path.  This week, Shane pointed me to a podcast he participated in that is hosted on the IW Center site (which looks like a great resource for information too).

Shane and I were also discussing last week how cool it would be if Capossela had a blog.  Even if he posted once a month – I suspect it would be quite interesting.

SharePoint 2007 Learning Resources

Shane posted on this last week but it really is blowing my mind that so many good resources exist already for SharePoint 2007 compared to when we first started working on 2003 (and let’s not even go 2001).  Man those were some hard times.  I remember having to create EVERYTHING from scratch.  From the sales process to the development, deployment and training stages – there was absolutely nothing to go on except what we made ourselves. I swear I spent my first 12 months documenting and creating templates.  Some of which I still use so I guess it was a decent investment of effort.

When I first started with 2007, I admit I was a little thrown off by just how much new functionality existed.  I started wondering if there was anyway I’d ever master it all to the degree I did in 2003.  However between official Microsoft material supplied both as part of TAP and directly to the community and then the MASSIVE amount of awesome resources being provided BY the community – I have made some pretty awesome progress.  I really couldn’t be more excited.  The amount of knowledge sharing and enthusiasm over this new version of the product only reinforces for me what an excellent choice it has been to focus on this platform professionally. 

Here are some great listings of resources if you are just getting started yourself. 

Andrew’s Extensive WCM Resource List

Arno’s Listing of Records and Document Management Resources

Arpan’s Listing of SharePoint 2007 Training Steps and Resources

Heather’s SharePoint 2007 Resource Listing

Jan’s Series on New Features Available in SharePoint 2007

Joel’s List of SharePoint Planning, Configuration and Deployment Resources

Joris’s Massive WSS and MOSS Resource Listing Page

Liam’s Plethora of In-Depth Posts on Various Functions of SharePoint 2007

Mark’s MOSS 2007 Resource List

Shane’s Tips and Hidden Gems Postings on SharePoint Customization

Ted Pattison’s Screencast Series (Awesome Starting Point)

Technet’s Office System Webcast Series

Seriously can you believe that I can actually refer to THAT many awesome resource listings for a product that isn’t even released?  And that is just a drop in the bucket based on a quick reference to a listing I have stored on my personal MOSS site.

So in summary – keep up the great work everyone

Putting Content Types to Work (Smart Navigation Menu’s)

Many moons ago in SharePoint v2 land we often found ourselves inventing some pretty clever solutions. The problem was they took quite awhile to bring up to production level.

For example: Raise your hand if you remember the “Document Library Navigation” style used in v2, in case you’ve forgotten about this fan favorite of the time, read this blog post I made a year or so ago on the topic. Amanda introduced me to the concept about a year before I seen it used mainstream.
Let’s revisit the v2 document library navigation technique for just a moment. The main idea was you stored your web part pages in a document library, then you added some nifty meta-data which allowed you to create some fairly funky filters which displayed only certain pages in certain views. These represented the navigation. Sure it got the job done but the solution was complex, long and drawn out.

Well, that was then and this is now. Fast forward a year or so and we now have the concept of “Content Types”. I cannot stress how UNDER hyped content types are, in fact in the coming months I’d bet my bottom dollar you’ll see them at the center of alot of the next generation OOTB solutions you crazy cats build.

Lets see how we can leverage the OOTB functinality in WSS v3 to create intelligent navigation menu’s in a couple of clicks … AND make managing them much easier using our friends the content types. In the end we will have a single list to manage the links of as many menus as we wish to build.

There is a visual below every major step in case you get lost…

Creating smart navigation menu’s using content types:

Step 1.
Create a links iist to hold all of the links.

  1. Select Site Actions, Create
  2. Select Links List from the Tracking Column
  3. Name your list “Navigation Links” and click create.

navstep1.jpg

Step 2.
Before you can create content types on a list or library you must first enable them. To do this:

1. Select Settings, List Settings (From the toolbar while on the Allitems.aspx view of your list)
2. Select Advanced Settings
3. Check “Yes” for Allow Management of Content Types

navstep2.jpg
Step 3.
Create a content type for each navigation menu. In this example we will assume a main and sub navigation menu. The important trick here is creating your site content types at the TOP LEVEL of the site collection. That way they’re avaialbel to all sub sites below.

  1. From the Site Actions menu select Site Settings
  2. Select Go to Top Level Site Settings
  3. From Galleries Select Site Content Types
  4. Click Create, Name this one MainNav, Choose Link Content Type for Parent and Create a New Group called Custom
  5. Create another content type (by repeating the previous step) this time naming it SubNav

navstep3.jpg

Step 4.
Add the content types we just created to your list. To do this:

1. Go to settings, list settings (from the list’s allitems.aspx view)
2. Locate the content types area and select add from existing site content types
3. Select the Custom Content Types Group
4. Add the main and sub nav content types and click ok

navstep4.jpg

At this point we have created two potential “types” of content which we can create in our list, MainNav and SubNav. Take a look at the items in the drop down for the “New” button on your list now. Should look similar to the screenshot below.

Pretty neat huh? You can see things taking shape. When we want to create a link in our MainNav we select it when creating a new link and vice versa.

Now all we have to do is add the links list to a page and create a view. – Moving right along …
navstep5.jpg

Step 5.
Create Views for Sub and Main Navigation on your list

  1. From the allitems.aspx view of your list select Settings, List Settings
  2. Scroll down to Views and select Create View
  3. Select Standard View
  4. Name it MainNav
  5. Remove all columns besides (URL) with edit menu
  6. Now the magic , Filter where Content Type  (is equal to) MainNav
  7. Click OK
  8. Repeat the process, this time naming your view SubNav and filtering where Content Type is equal to SubNav

navstep5b.jpg
Step 6.
Add the list the page(s) you wish to have the menu(s) on:

  1. From your home page select Site Actions, Edit Page
  2. Select Add Web Parts
  3. Add your Navigation Links List in a web part zone (add it twice)
  4. You can select exit edit mode from the top right

navstep6.jpg
Step 7.
Set your web part titles and default views via Modify Shared Web Part

  1. Select the DOWN ARROW on the right of your web part title, select Modfiy Shared Web Part
  2. From the toolpane now visable on the right, select MainNav from the Selected View drop down (at the top)
  3. From Toolbar select No Toolbar
  4. Next select appearance, in the Title field give it the name Main Navigation
  5. Select OK
  6. Repeat this process for the other web part directly below, naming it Sub Navigation and setting the View to SubNav

navstep7.jpg
That’s it, you are all set up. You can now add a link to your Navigation Links List and Select what navigation menu you want it to show up in. Give it a try! Pretty neat huh?

navstep8.jpg

SharePoint 2007, ** CAUTION ** Editing Application.Master (or any _layouts files)

This post is simply to avoid the invetiable.  As time goes on more and more people will attempt edits of their application.master page as well as other pages within the _layouts directory.

Before you do be make sure you fully understand the possibile consequences, some important things to realize are listed below:

1) Microsoft does not support editing default (file system) pages, they can easily be overwritten during updates, patches etc.  Please make sure everyone (This includes management, developers, customers – everyone) is aware of this.

2) SharePoint Designer 2007 can and does make automatic changes to page tokens and references which can break pages within your _layouts folder.  In the event that you find yourself starting at an error after editing your application.master page in SPD, now you know why.  Check the page changes (at the top of the page).

For those that have no fear and realize the potential threats editing these pages cause, please make sure you have a VERY solid back-up story and that it’s followed.

This post was mostly to point out the fact that SharePoint Designer 2007 does make automatic changes to pages without your knowledge – these changes can and do break the pages within the _layouts folder on the servers file system.  Hopefully there will be options for “no automatic” code changes, or “warn before all” in the final builds. 

SharePoint 2007 Features

(disclaimer: This is in reference to Beta 2 non TR – This may change and for that matter this may not be 100% accurate). 

While the naming seems a little strange to say the least, the benefits of “features” are going to no doubt make life a little easier for IW’s, ITpro’s and Developers alike.

What the heck is a feature you ask?
I think it was Ted Pattison who said it best with “Using features you can start with a Team Site and have it evolve into an Internet Publishing Site”.  Great analogy.

I am writing this post to hopefully help those that stumble when trying to enable “Site Publishing Features”.  There are a few things you should know.

1) You can only enable site publishing features on a site collection (I think).  The option is available via site settings on all subsites/webs.  For me it tosses an error. 

2) There are site features, and site collection features.  If you start by creating a site collection with a blank or team site at the top and wish to enable publishing features, you must select Site Collection Features, not to be confused with Site Features just left of it. (Screenshot Below).

site-col-features.gif

Feeling lost?:  Create a site collection (using the Team or Blank site template).  Click Site Settings – Notice there are site features and site collection features.  If you want to enable publishing features, you have to select site collection.  (This is mostly an “IO” error but hopefully it will save you a little time). 

You can thank Amanda for pointing this out because evidently my spewing profanities at the screen didn’t fix it initially…  Go figure :)

Developer Night in Canada (Usergroup Tour, ATLAS)

If you are in St. John’s or surrounding areas feel free to join us for Developer Night in Canada. Guest Speaker Christian Beauclair from Microsoft will guide you through building richer web applications using ATLAS (AJAX+ASP.NET). 

This is a great opportunity for aspiring and professional designers, developers, web 2.0 and AJAX buffs to come out and take a look.  Book your seat today! If you have any burning SharePoint questions, Amanda Murphy and I will both be on hand to answer them.  Meeting Details Below:

Developer Night in Canada User Group Tour – AJAX and ASP.NET “Atlas”(St. John’s)

September 25, 2006 7:00PM-9:00PM
Welcome Time: 7:00 PM
Language: English
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Engineering Building, Room EN2006
St. John’s Newfoundland and Labrador Canada

Speaker:
Christian Beauclair, Microsoft

General Event Information
Products: ASP.NET.

Recommended Audience:
Professional and Asipring Developer, Designer, WEB 2.0/AJAX Enthusiasts.

ASP.NET “Atlas” makes it easy to build rich, interactive Web-based applications for personalized Web experiences. It provides a framework that includes a suite of ASP.NET server controls, Web services, and JavaScript libraries. In this session, you’ll learn about ASP.NET “Atlas” and how this framework makes it dramatically easier to develop richer Web experiences.

Agenda
7:00 p.m. – 8:45 p.m. Presentation – AJAX and ASP.NET “Atlas”
8:45 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.  Questions and Answers/Open Forum

Please Note: Pizza and Soft Drinks will be served.

Register for this event here:
https://msevents.microsoft.com/cui/eventdetail.aspx?culture=en-ca&eventid=1032305931

See-you there!

SharePoint 123! – Level 200 Session

SharePoint 123! Level 200
August 30th at 3:30PM EST

Join us for our next exciting INETA Live! Webcast event on August 30th at 3:30PM EST for the level 200 content from the SharePoint 123 Training Series!

SharePoint 1, 2, 3! is a new concept in community-based training being offered to the development community by the development community. SharePoint 1, 2, 3! offers six sessions designed to train developers to install, use, and develop custom software for Microsoft’s Windows SharePoint Services. SharePoint 1, 2, 3! is designed to be a start to finish training session that has a 100 level course, a 200 level course, and a 300 level course to get into all aspects of SharePoint. A few months back we delivered the first session (level 100), which was a gentle introduction to SharePoint – what it is and how to use it effectively. You can view that presentation via our webcast archives available at http://live.ineta.org.

The second session (level 200) will be presented tomorrow on Wednesday, August 30th at 3:30PM EST and will be aimed squarely at developers and will focus on customizing SharePoint sites, developing and using web parts, and deploying SharePoint sites.  Sign up here!

The final session (level 300) will dive deep into advanced topics such as connected web parts and the SharePoint Object Model and will be coming up later this fall.

Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility Update

I noticed from the Xbox team blog today that there have been a load of new games added to the supported by Xbox 360 list.  This is great news as my gen 1 games list is pretty massive but I haven’t been playing them at all since I got my 360.  In fact my old Xbox has been nothing more than a bedroom DVD player. 

My favorite new edition to this list is Links 2004 as I really loved that game and have not been a big fan of the Tiger Woods series over the past couple of years.  Arnold will be impressed that Crash Bandicoot: Nitro Kart has made the list. 

See the list of updated backwards compatible games here.

Vista Experiences So Far

I have been running Vista on my personal computer for a couple of weeks now.  I really love the interface and behaviour of the operating system.  It’s fun to play with a new interface and get used to all the hidden gems.  I really love what they have done with the network settings as the experience of sharing files with other computers on my network has vastly improved.

My only issue holding me back from installing on other pcs within our home network is a bug that I have had very little success in finding other information online about.  So maybe it only happens to a limited few.  But as I load up Vista after a restart or turn it on…I log onto the machine and then it hangs for about 15-20 minutes on the “Preparing Your Desktop…” screen.  Then finally as if it pops out of a long daydream…we are back in business.

Anyone else have this?

Good Weekend

Shane and I had a great time last night camping.  We went to Fitzgerald’s Pond Park near Dunville, which was my first time there in about 20 years.  That park is actually about 20 minutes from where I grew up.  Good clear night and we had a perfect evening kicked back by the fire.

Today we went fishing with my family in Long Harbour (which actually IS where I grew up) and it was an awesome day.  The water could not have been more beautiful.  The fish were plentiful…well at least plentiful enough for our 2 boats to get our daily quota for the recreational fishery.  However the day wasn’t even so much about the fish as it was the good time with family and amazing experience of being on the water and taking in the beautiful sights around me. 

One of the day’s highlights was that we were joined by my nephew Arnold for his first time in a boat (other than a Ferry) on the water.  As you can see from the picture below he was pretty excited.

Of course fishing is hard work so he had to recharge a bit part ways through the morning by taking a quick nap at the front of the boat. 

But at the end of the day, he acheived every man’s goal which is to catch a cod fish that is almost as tall as him.  A note here is that he actually did catch the fish on the line.  I was holding the pole for the longest while with no action whatsoever…I called to Arnold to give me a hand and as soon as his little hands grabbed the pole…a fish was on.  Pretty impressive!

Anyhow all and all it was a great 24 hours and I feel much better equipped to handle the pile of work that stands in front of me now.