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I'm currently the CTO for Hedgehog Technology a business dedicated to delivering Cloud based productivity solutions in Logistics

Thursday, June 29, 2006

SharePoint v3 Discussion Groups

One of the features I’ve always been keen on to use in SharePoint is the discussion lists. I think having the concept of a newsgroup at your disposal, in particular for small communities and using an html interface is a really useful thing to have. Especially if you can set one up quickly so it can also be used on a temporary basis and for groups of dispersed people that just happen to have a common need, such as the MOSSIG members ;-).

Unfortunately, in version 1 and 2 discussion lists in SharePoint were very limited.

With Office 2007 however, the situation is much better, not only are the discussion lists more feature rich in the SharePoint environment itself, but the addition of exposing them using RSS-feeds and the ability to manage them from Outlook 2007 really works for me. What Outlook adds automatically is read/un-read settings on an individual level, where the previous version of SharePoint only gave you an arbitrary ‘NEW’ indication that was not personalized. And Outlook adds all its rich management features to flag and categorize items, set reminders etc.
What it also allows you to do is add new posts or reply to existing ones from within Outlook, and obviously you have a complete off-line copy of all the items making it much easier to search the information posted in the lists whenever you need to.

How to go about using these features?

It’s all pretty straight forward, in your SharePoint site, create a discussion list. Now open the list, and in the actions menu pick Connect to Outlook, a wizard will pop-up from Outlook guiding you through the process. The list will now show up in a special folder called SharePoint lists and you can start using it as any other folder in Outlook.

As promised during the MOSSIG meeting last Tuesday I have setup a discussion list on my hosted SharePoint server so ‘MOSSIG members’ can participate in this mini on-line community while exploring the new SharePoint discussion lists and Outlook 2007 at the same time. I encourage you to try this out and use the lists as a means of communicating with the other group members on matters MOSSIG related.

You will have to let me know you want to participate, as it cannot be an anonymous list, I actually have to add you as a user to the SharePoint site. So either drop me an email using the email address you want to use for the login, or leave a comment here on this post and I will quickly add you to the site. Be aware that it is actually a beta environment, so don’t be surprised if the site is not available sometimes, or there are issues with posting. I have seen several, especially when you post using the html-interface in the site itself (not using Outlook 2007).

Friday, June 23, 2006

LOBi == IBF Version Next???

When MS lifted the NDA for Office 2007, there were a couple of things that were still under NDA, LOBi being one of them. It intrigued me very much, it was the first time I saw that acronym and I've been wondering ever since, wondering if it might be related to IBF and on that topic what will happen to IBF when Office 2007 and BDC in SharePoint is available as there seems to be a lot of overlap.

At Tech-Ed 2006 MS finally released some info, annoucing OBA a more descriptive, technical document can be downloaded from a new portal on MSDN.

Here's what I found on the new, mostly still empty OBA-portal:

"LOBi is a set of services designed to support and enhance Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Office Business Application Services. It provides specific support for:
Surfacing reusable line-of-business data in the Microsoft 2007 Office Suites. Business data and processes can be surfaced as objects in Office rich-client applications. Write once and reuse objects anywhere across the Office Suites.
Providing deep interaction with line-of-business applications. Processes can be surfaced in Office and results can be written back to underlying applications.
Taking existing processes offline. Processes in a line-of-business application can be surfaced in Office and taken offline, and then synchronize with the business application when re-attaching to a network."

Sounds very interesting, and nice that MS has actually started with certification and learning links this time, can't wait to see what else surfaces here as LOBi seems to ust what I've been doing in Office and SharePoint for a while now.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Developing in or for Office 2007?

The sparse documentation and resources for beta2 have just been updated. Go and get the new content : updated developer content for the beta 2 release


Directions on how to get there are here on Local.live.com . It seems that the maps of Australia are very much up2date now and you can easily get directions from Office or home using the pushpins (they say it takes my 43 minutes, which indeed is pretty accurate), have fun:
27 JUNE, 6PM

The 2007 Office release is the most significant release of Office for a decade, adding further servers, applications and services to expand and enhance the Office System.
The challenge for us, our businesses and our clients is to collectively know and apply the features that the Office System brings.

Introducing the Microsoft Office Server Special Interest Group (MOSSIG) which has been formed specifically with the Victoria.NET members as a community to learn and share their experiences whether they be application, server or solution based.

We will be kicking off our inaugural meeting next Tuesday the 27th June at 6pm with a jam packed session for Office Users and Developers alike, so please consider passing this invitation on to your non-developer colleagues as well.


A Lap Around The Office 2007 System
Join Tim Wragg (Professional Advantage) as he gives us an overview of the new & updated servers, applications and services for the Office 2007 System

The new Microsoft Office 2007 Interface - Business Focus Topic
Join William Cornwill (SDM) as he discusses why Microsoft has changed the interface and the new features

Developer view of Microsoft Office 2007 - Business Data - Technology Focus Topic
Join Ed Richard (Software Objectives) as he talks about data storage of Sharepoint 2007 and using Line Of Business data in applications like Word and Excel.

Open Forum
A chance to Network with each other and open up the floor to discuss their thoughts and experiences with the Office System

TO REGISTER: E-mail Ed Richard at Ed@SoftwareObjectives.com.au, by COB on Monday 26 June.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The First Gig

Last Saturday was the Victoria.net regional conference in Ballarat. I delivered two presentations on Office 2007. One aimed at developers, the second from a business perspective. It turned out most of the people who attended my developer one also came to the business one so I think they got a pretty good overview of how, and why Office 2007 is important as a development platform. BTW, we mentioned PDF as the one of the export formats for saving files, here's the latest on that: http://www.microsoft.com/persspass/legal/06-16-06AdobeStatement.mspx , looks like it's still very much up in the air.

For those of you waiting for articles and presentations, the powerpoints were sent to Victoria.net this morning I'll update here as soon as I know the location where you can download.
I'm still working on them, but I plan to have some published by the time we do the Office group launch the 27th. If you are into Office development, think you should be, or are using Office and are looking for ways to be more productive with Office make sure you are in Melbourne the 27th and join us at the Microsoft premises in Como Tower (pizza around 17:30).

The first article will be about how to write XML files, create and use Schema's and XSLT to generate Word documents. this will be a solution that works with Office 2003 (and 2007). I also have almost finished the same for Excel and an article on Content Controls and XML which is Office 2007 specific.

If you would like to proofread or 'beta-test' the articles, post a comment here and I will contact you.