Friday, February 22, 2008

Hope to see you at Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2008

Well, it has kind of snuck-up on me, but we’re only about a week away from Microsoft SharePoint Conference 2008!

If you are going to make it over to Seattle for SPC2008, we hope that you’ll stop by our booth and take a moment to say hello. Our SharePoint Solutions’ booth number at SPC2008 is #810, right next to the meal area ;). We’ve gone big for SPC2008, with a voluminous 20x20 space and a brand new booth to boot! We’ll be giving away a few Zunes, so please come by and register to win.

Along with Jeff Cate and Jeremy Luerkens, I will be presenting a session at SPC2008. Our session is titled “Collaborating with Customers on the Extranet with SharePoint 2007: Solutions and Best Practices”, and is a 200 level presentation in the Collaboration and Social Computing track. Here’s the session description:

Come to this session to hear about using Windows SharePoint Services and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server on the Extranet, from the foremost experts on the subject. This session presents a case study of an extranet deployment at a company that has a need to create numerous extranet sites per month for customers and manage accounts for over 1500 extranet users and growing. This session covers the details of forms-based authentication and alternate authentication stores—which are the two primary extranet-enabling features included in WSS and MOSS. Then, we dive deep into the best-of-breed add-on, Extranet Collaboration Manager for SharePoint 2007, to see how it rounds out SharePoint's native functionality to provide a truly complete solution that is secure and manageable. Don't miss this session if you are planning to deploy SharePoint on the Extranet!

If you have time after hours, I’ll be grabbing a pint with the bunch over at Kells Irish Pub on Wednesday night.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Has Microsoft Redefined the Order of Operations in Workflow Designer?

We were recently reviewing the content for a new InfoPath workflow course (Mission: Automation) here at SharePoint Solutions when it was brought to my attention that the Workflow Designer in SharePoint Designer appears to have redefined the order of operations for Boolean expressions.

If you take a look at the conditions in the Workflow Designer for a simple case where we're creating a condition on the title field, you'll notice we have the Boolean expression:

title field contains "meeting" OR title field contains "lunch" AND title field contains "manager"

I learned the order of operations as BNAO (brackets, not, and, or). Since there are no brackets or parenthesis in the user interface, I can only assume that the correct way to interpret this condition expression is:

(title field contains "lunch" AND title field contains "manager") OR (title field contains "meeting")

However, when you do the testing within SharePoint, you find the order of operations interpreted within Workflow Designer as:

(title field contains "meeting" OR title field contains "lunch") AND (title field contains "manager")

as indicated by the results in the following screen shot. The "completed" workflows represent the cases where the Boolean expression evaluated as false and the "in progress" workflows represent the cases where the Boolean expression evaluated as true.

Somebody help me here! Has Microsoft redefined how Boolean expressions are evaluated or am I missing something about the way the expression is displayed that should cause me to adjust my perspective?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Integrating Community Server with SharePoint

Since Community Server™ was first released, SharePoint™ administrators and users have looked towards its rich forums and blogging functionality with envy. Even with the latest release of SharePoint, its built-in discussion and blog capabilities have been a disappointment to all but the least demanding users. The scalable, feature-rich forums and flexible blogging functionality of Community Server are what users really want.

Our engineers here at SharePoint Solutions have spent some time and effort coming up with the standard work and best practices to make these two excellent products integrate well together. The end result for our customers is a best-of-both-worlds scenario with a seamless user experience. Both applications recognize the same user account, without any additional login required.

As an example, our SharePoint-based commercial software site uses the out-of-the-box Blue Band master page. By creating a custom master page for Community Server, we've skinned the forums to match the software site's look-and-feel. As you can see, the result is visually consistent and convenient with only a single user login required.

SharePoint Solutions now offers a professional service to integrate Community Server with your SharePoint implementation. If you would like Community Server's excellent forums and blog capabilities integrated with SharePoint, please contact us to have our expert team assist you.