Post by: Bryant Gofsky
Posted on: 2/19/2013 6:10:00 PM
You have a brand new SharePoint 2013 farm. You download and attempt to install and configure Workflow Manager 2013 on your SharePoint Server.
During the installation process you encounter the following errors
You also notice that the AppFabric Caching Service is stopped on your SharePoint Server, and it cannot be started
In addition, you notice the following error in the event logs on your SharePoint Server
The issue is caused by the presence of an entry in the HOSTS file on your SharePoint Server. The HOSTS file contains an entry that points to the loopback address for the local server name (i.e. 127.0.0.1).
Removing the HOSTS file entry will resolve this issue. Once you have removed the HOSTS file entry, you should be able to start the AppFabric Caching Service on your SharePoint Server
At this point, you can re-run the Workflow Manager Installation, and, barring any other configuration issues, it should complete without any further errors.
Post by: Zeshan Randhawa
Posted on: 2/15/2013 10:30:00 PM
Let me introduce you to a SharePoint environment. In this environment any user can create sites and site collections, and they do so, in great numbers. There are thousands of sites in this environment, with no clear indication of ownership or intention for any site. As you jump from site to site, there is no clear sense of where you currently are in the jungle of site structures, and each site is designed with its own use of colors, images, fonts, resembling an abstract painting. Yes it is a scary picture I’m paining, and hopefully it doesn’t resemble your environment. However, what is the one biggest thing that this environment is lacking? If you haven’t guessed from the title of this article, it’s Governance.
As complex as a product SharePoint can be, it craves and desperately needs a plan in place to provide direction for simple concepts such as who can do what in the SharePoint environment. So what is a SharePoint Governance Plan? How long should it be? What kind of topics should it cover? Who should be the audience of this plan? Depending on who you ask, the answers will most likely vary. One thing can be for certain and that is a Governance Plan is not a “nice to have” it is a necessity, one that we make a part of every project.
Over the years as we have worked with organizations and projects of varying size and complexity, we have constantly adapted our Governance strategy by simply, seeing what works, and what doesn’t. There are certain defining elements of a Governance Plan that we have come across.
1. Keep it short and sweet
When is the last time you wanted to flip through a 100+ page manual? Odds are, never. Those responsible for the Governance Plan may strive for a detailed thorough document that covers head to toe, however in our experience very seldom is a document of this length actually read. Instead it sits at the corner of the desk collecting dust. To make sure this doesn’t happen we push for including only the essentials within a Governance plan, and being able to know when to say something belongs in an Operations Plan vs. a Governance Plan.
Creating a plan of smaller length may be easier said than done, but it is what ensures the adoption, adherence and maintainability of it.
2. A picture is worth a thousand words
Perhaps this point continues on from the earlier one. Rather than creating a Governance Plan that is wordy, with paragraph upon paragraph of information diluted within sentences. Sometimes it’s a lot easier to represent information through diagrams. Don’t be afraid to use diagrams to illustrate your point, several of our sections in a Governance plan are just that, diagrams, whether it be a swim lane or data flow diagram, anything that can get the point across visually can be a much better conveyor of a message.
We have to keep in mind, one of the greatest purposes of the Governance Plan is to act as a guide or reference for those that support your environment, so they need to quickly get at the information they need and using diagrams and/or bullet points is what will give them that information the quickest and easiest.
3. Know thy audience
Just recently, while creating a Governance Plan, during one of our many review meetings for Governance an important point was raised. Somebody pointed out the terminology that was being used in the Plan such as “Site Collections”, “Managed Metadata”, were not terms that typical end users would understand. This is absolutely correct, while we want to abstain from using technical jargon and acronyms, your typical Governance Plan may not be intended for end users. Certain sections may definitely be used in training for end users, but the rest of the content is most likely strategic.
Knowing this, we must clearly define who our audience is, most likely a mixture of Operations, Help Desk, IT Department, SharePoint Steering Committee etc… Knowing the audience will ensure we create content that is relevant and understood by the right parties.
4. Use it or lose it
We don’t want to create a Governance Plan just for the sake of having one. We want to promote this Plan, and we want to make sure that it is adhered to. One of the best ways of making sure people adhere to the Governance Plan is by taking elements of it, and introducing them within the end user and site owner training.
By doing this you are transforming the Governance from being merely a document into the culture of SharePoint usage. Site Owners should know what kind of content they should be posting to SharePoint, what kind of formatting they should be applying to the content and so on. This is how Governance integrates into your SharePoint implementation, the last but most important step of introducing Governance into your environment.
5. It’s alive!
Inherently, SharePoint is a very dynamic product, ever changing in your environment. Features are added and removed, sites are created it’s a growing and living thing. Likewise, your Governance Plan must follow suit. You can’t simply create a Governance Plan, let it loose and forget about it.
The Governance Plan must be reviewed, it must be audited and it must be kept alive. It is a living document, and therefore we promote having a plan on who will be responsible for making sure the Governance Plan is relevant and up to date. The only thing worse than a stagnant SharePoint site is a Governance Plan that is the same.
With many schools of thought on Governance within a SharePoint environment we have to accept that there is no cookie cutter approach. Every environment and situation is different therefore we have to approach each Governance Plan differently. That being said there are some basic principles that must be followed, and the first step is understanding that the Governance plan is integral to the adoption and maintenance of your SharePoint environment, it’s the oil that keeps the engine running.Post by: Mark Romic
Posted on: 2/13/2013 11:09:00 PM
Categories: Business;Managed Services
Selecting a competent IT support provider is a daunting responsibility considering our reliance on technology, and it can have a significant impact on a company’s day-to-day operations. Decision makers and evaluators are faced with choosing from a number of providers that all look the same in writing and sound the same in interviews. Determining which provider will actually deliver on its promises is harder than it’s ever been.
The idea for this post spawned from my own research of the local IT support & management landscape in Vancouver. The number of providers in the market has grown tremendously since 2009 when I first entered the Managed Services space, all of them sporting updated websites with fresh new looks. The literature has certainly changed as well, all of them shifting from tech-centric lingo to end-user friendly terms and catchy buzzwords to describe their services. Most companies now present themselves in a professional way, yet there’s no way to confirm their operational maturity level, their competency, the overall health of their business, and most importantly, how they’ll perform in critical situations and on an ongoing basis.
With these unknowns in mind, what steps should you take to make sure that you choose the right provider the first time? Obviously you should continue to do the standard things you do when selecting any vendor; research a list of providers, interview them, verify credentials/certifications, scrutinize their proposal and managed services agreement, check their references, etc. Here are a few other suggestions for due diligence to uncover whether the provider’s the real deal or not
What Do Other IT Vendors Say About Your Prospective IT Support Partner? The Vancouver tech community is surprisingly small. We’re all familiar with one another, and it’s very likely that we all have access to information about one another through our wide array of contacts amongst the tech community and other mutual clients. That’s why I usually recommend evaluators ask any of their non-competing technical vendors for their opinions and what they know about prospective vendors. The potential for misinformation exists, but if you ask a few different technical contacts you’ll be able to get a good sense of that company’s reputation within the tech community and with any shared clients. Chances are that you’ll often hear a good story or two on how well/poorly they execute or some first/second-hand information about the internal workings of the company, which goes a long way to verifying their operational maturity level.
Evaluate Staff Happiness, Turnover, and Client Relationships Have you ever gotten tech support with a miserable Grinch on the other end of the line who provides you with almost no help? Or do you find yourself constantly being introduced to new vendor reps and staff, only for them to leave the company shortly after? It’s all too common, and usually leads to a disappointing experience for the customer. Unhappiness in the workplace manifests itself in the service being provided, and in the staff’s willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty.
Uncovering the raw truth here isn’t easy; your tactics to uncover staff satisfaction should span multiple parts of your selection process. During the interview, ask your vendor to describe how their company keeps staff happy and motivated, who are their top 3 longest-tenured employees (how does it compare to how long the company’s been around?), and ask for specifics about key service delivery personnel (technical director, service manager, technical account manager, etc) making sure to uncover how long they’ve been in those roles for that vendor and their overall experience. Using Linkedin, you can scan a company’s profile and see if you’re connected to any of their former employees whom may be able to provide you with their perspective on the business. During reference verification, ask the existing customer if they notice high turnover with key points of contact and how it’s impacted service and the business relationship (if at all). The answers you’ll get to these questions should give you a solid understanding of the overall morale of your prospective IT support partner which can help you predict future service performance.
What’s the Financial Health of Your Prospective Provider? Determining the financial health of a vendor is important for a number of reasons. Primary amongst them is transparency between partners; the customer/service provider relationship absolutely demands it on all engagement levels. Can their sales reps speak to more than just revenue figures? How well the vendor’s agent communicates their key financial metrics (gross margins, liabilities, net profits, revenues by quarter, and projected revenues.. to name a few), is also indicative of internal transparency and accountability within their own team. After all, if they can’t confidently share their financials internally with their own staff, you have to ask, why? There are a number of vendors who spend frivolously and carry excessive liabilities in the name of keeping up the appearance of a successful business, much like a pyramid scheme, they rely on new client revenue to keep the charade going. They forget that a part of the peace of mind behind signing a 4 or 5-figure monthly IT support agreement is knowing that your partner is financially viable and can deliver critical services when you need them, and well into the future as your business grows.
Make the Right Choice the First Time As we’ve all found out either professionally or personally, so many companies will go all out to make themselves look bigger/better than they actually are to get your business, only to fall flat on the promises they made. Unfortunately for most businesses, we can’t just return the IT management and support service for a refund or an exchange, to start all over again. The relationship with your future IT support provider takes time to build; integrating them into your daily operations to maintain the critical systems that are the backbone of your operation isn’t easily (or cheaply) undone. Taking the extra steps mentioned above in your due diligence phase will save you time, money, and the headaches associated with selecting the wrong provider.
Interested in how Softlanding stacks up to the above criteria? Contact me!
Post by: Ivan Josipovic
Posted on: 2/5/2013 10:43:00 PM
SharePoint contains a User Information List in the Root Web of every Site Collection which contains a number of properties about the users. The properties include Display Name
SIP Address (Used by OCS/Lync Presence)
This List is used in a number of different places in SharePoint, such as workflows/alerts, custom applications, People Picker and many more. This List is supposed to be updated by a User Profile Service Timer Job. I have rarely seen this function work in a Production environment. When this list becomes out of date, a number of issues could occur Alerts/Workflow Email sent to the wrong email
Assigning permissions to the wrong user
Custom Application relying on this information may behave incorrectly
The users Display Name in SharePoint may be wrong, it may be domain\alias or a random name
I have created this script which syncs all of the properties in the User Information List to the data in the User Profile Service. There are other scripts out there which will query AD for every user. I would not recommend running these scripts as you will be querying AD thousands of times as each Site Collection potentially contains similar users. Furthermore, the Set-SPUser command which they rely on only syncs the Display Name. Requirements User Profile Service with Synchronization working
User Profile Service must be connected to the Central Administration Web Application
The Account running the script must have Rights to the User Profile Service and all Site Collections
Download the script HERE! If you have any questions please leave a comment. Enjoy!
fix display name displayname script repair username domain UPS service sharepoint 2010 sharepoint 2013 synchronize change name update displayname set-spuser -syncad powershell Post by: Shawna Jiang
Posted on: 2/1/2013 11:46:00 PM
Scenario Follow the instructions here and here to package and deploy InfoPath 2010 browser-enabled forms. You should have a SharePoint 2010 solution package with the following structure
A site collection scoped feature A custom content type for the form A list definition for the content type A feature receiver that installs the form template and sets the render mode to browser A module containing the InfoPath Form (.xsn)
A web scoped feature A list instance of above list definition
The problem is that even if you follow all these steps, the form still opens in the client tool rather than in the browser. It is hard to know what went wrong since there are many steps and configurations involved, and there is a lack of detailed warning information in the last step for troubleshooting.
Here is a check list to help you quickly identify the problem
Check to make sure all the dependency features are activated in order to support the InfoPath form service and store the administrator-approved form templates. Verify Step Make sure the following features are activated Site collection scope Enterprise site collection feature Web scope Enterprise web feature and team collaboration list feature
Make sure your InfoPath forms can be published manually as browser compliable forms. Verify Step Publish your InfoPath form through InfoPath designer to a SharePoint library manually and make sure there is no error saying they are not browser compatible. Note the security level has to be domain or full trust. This is especially important when you upgrade or covert old forms which are not browser enabled. The browser enabled forms require much stricter XSD schema and support less controls. You have to eliminate or substitute all the controls and features which are not supported by the InfoPath Form Service.
Make sure the form templates appear under administrator approved templates in Central Admin. Verify step Go to Center Admin->General Application Settings->Manage Form Templates. Make sure all the forms appear. Possible Causes If the forms did not appear as expected, check the ULS logs and look for the error messages for your feature events to register the forms. One issue I run into is that the code snippet was trying to register the form template from featureInstalled event, after I added some code using SPWeb.features.add to active the dependency features in featureinstalled event, forms won’t show up under the template library anymore. By looking into the ULS logs, I can see that since FeatureInstalled Event handler cannot get hold of SPSite or SPWeb, which causes the event handler to throw an exception and therefore prevent the form templates from being registered. Another exception is the code snippet assumes the .xsn files are deployed to the top folder of the feature rather than under the module names as the default setting. After change the deployment location of the files to the top folder of the feature, the forms were registered without exception and show on under the template library.
Make sure the forms under formtemplates library can be opened in the browser. Verify step Go to the site, click Site Actions-> View All site contents->Form Templates. Make sure all the forms templates appear and can be opened in the browser rather than in the client filler application. If not, the form templates are not registered properly. Review step 3.
Make sure the Content type references the right path of the form template. Verify step Go to content type -> advanced setting. Make sure Edit Template link appears. If not, check the setting for the path to the form template file in the content type declaration.
Lastly, make sure the list definition is set to allow the change content type. Verify step Go to Form Library-> Library Settings->Advanced Settings and make sure the setting are as in the following screenshot. If not, make sure you add the setting DisallowContentTypes="FALSE" to the list definition elements.xml and EnableContentTypes="TRUE" in list schema.xml.