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Archives / 2008 / December
  • Summing up the year of 2008 and embracing 2009

    Tags: Microsoft, Personal, SharePoint, Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, PDC 08, Windows 7

    The time has come to make a summary of the past year and have a look into the future – the year of 2009. About a year ago I made a similar post with a summary and some predictions.

    This year has been a fast year and I have made so much, both personally and at work. For a few months in the spring I was at home taking care of my daughters and tried not to work (which I find really hard). It was a great time and I really need that. At work I think I’ve never felt this pressure from the market, no financial crisis in sight here. It’s mainly been about SharePoint, SharePoint and SharePoint. Our team at Pdb has had some really interesting projects and we have some even more interesting in the pipe.

    This year has allowed me to focus more and more on Microsoft SharePoint. I took the two development certifications on WSS and MOSS (both with maximum scores) and I plan to take the configuration tests in 2009. I have quite some time blogging about it and answering questions on the SharePoint MSDN Forums which as always is a great way to get even more experienced.

    The highlight of the year was of course the PDC conference in LA. I learned a ton of stuff, met a lot of nice people at the conference and at the parties, such as the SharePoint by day, SharePint by night party.

    Personal Projects

    As usual I have a ton of personal projects that I have been working on. I released two of them out in the wild:

    Blogging

    Blogging here has been fun as usual, and I’m glad to see so much new people dropping by. I’ve had to increase my bandwidth cap three times this year. This years most popular posts are:

    Most of these are popular due to internet searches. If I look at what people actually reads and links to, these are the most popular ones:

    As you can see all of them are about SharePoint – one of this years hottest software products!

    If I count in posts from previous years the most read one is:

    Last years predictions

    In the last years post I did some predictions about 2008:

    • A working version of Windows Vista with Service Pack 1 Check – Vista behaves really nice nowadays. Just waiting for Vista R2, ahem, Windows 7
    • That OOXML gets approval from the national bodies So they did and OOXML is now an ISO standard, IS29500, but the debate still continues. Microsoft has really grown during this time and I think they are now more open than ever and I really like the new Microsoft. Just take a look at the latest interoperability initiative at http://www.documentinteropinitiative.org/
    • That XPS is submitted to ISO Nope. I guess they have to ride the OOXML storm out first.
    • Getting at least a few of our customers to upgrade to Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 Yes – we have had fun
    • Having a nice parental leave You bet
    • Getting some time over so I can finish msfeedicon version 3 Nope. Did some other interesting stuff instead, such as the ChartPart.
    • Testing out the new Media Center for Vista, codename Fiji Nope. But instead I got my hands on Windows 7 during the PDC.
    • Internet Explorer 8 Yes and no, I did initially think that IE8 would be ready by now – but it’s not far away…

    So what about 2009?

    Guessing that Internet Explorer 8, Windows 7, Office 14 and SharePoint 14 will hit the streets is not that hard. But what else? I don’t expect any major new releases from Microsoft – but I do expect some more “open source” projects dropping out of Redmond and I do expect some major updates to the Windows Live services so they become even more “social”.

    This will once again be a year of constant betas, like 2006.

    Happy New Year!

    Happy New Year to all of you readers out there, and thanks for subscribing to my little blog. I really appreciate all feedback that I get.

  • Web Part Versioning with assembly redirection

    Tags: SharePoint, Web Parts

    When working with SharePoint Web Parts and features it is easy to get into trouble if you are changing the version of your Web Part DLL file. The easiest way to get around this is to never change the version of the Web Part, which is a pretty common scenario. But if you are developing a product or feature that you expect to have a longer life cycle and that you will upgrade or enhance over time you should really use the assembly version features. Having a version on your Web Part will make it easier for you to support it for multiple customers and/or installations.

    Web Parts are defined in the .webpart file with the full class name, including the version number, which makes it a bit troublesome to update. That is if you just change the DLL or reinstall your feature, with a new version, all of your added web parts will stop work, since it will no longer find the old assembly. To resolve this you have a couple of scenarios that I will briefly explain.

    Parallel installation

    .NET has allows you to have multiple parallel installations of the same DLL, with different assembly versions. This means that you can easily just install an updated Web Part into your farm and have all versions running in parallel. This requires you to create a new feature, if you use features to install your Web Parts.

    This method is really easy to use and just requires you to create a new feature. The problem is supporting it, you can sometime have trouble finding out which version your clients are running.

    Assembly Redirection

    Using Assembly Redirection is, according to me, the best way to accomplish upgrades of your Web Parts. This means that you in your web.config specifies that all requests for a specific Web Part version is redirected to another. When using this all of your previous installed web parts will still work, as long as you did not change how certain web part properties works. If you make a complete new version, this method may not be suitable, then you should consider creating a new Web Part/feature and use the parallel mode.

    Take a look a this code; it redirects all 1.0 to 1.5 versions to use the 2.0 version. This is specified in the web.config.

    runtime>
      assemblyBinding>
        dependentAssembly>
          assemblyIdentity name="WebPart" publicKeyToken="ba74fbef247b82bb" culture="neutral" />
          bindingRedirect oldVersion="1.0.0.0-1.5.0.0" newVersion="2.0.0.0" />
        dependentAssembly>
      assemblyBinding>
    runtime>

    In a standard WSS 3.0 or MOSS 2007 installation you will see that there are already a lot of assembly redirects, from previous SharePoint versions to the current (from 11.0.0.0 to 12.0.0.0).

    Read more about Assembly Redirection here.

    Alternative/custom version numbering

    There is also an method in which you completely ignore the built-in .NET assembly versioning and make your own versioning. This sample is described by Adam Buenz in SharePoint WebPart Versioning.

    I think this method is not to prefer since then you need to access the actual UI of your component to see which version that is installed. You cannot find it out by looking to the .webpart file, the GAC, the SharePoint databases or the event logs.

    What’s your take on Web Part versioning?

    Technorati tags: , ,

  • How to make SharePoint index Office 2007 files

    Tags: SharePoint, Microsoft Office, Office Open XML

    If you install Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 on a new server you will find that your Office 2007 (.docx, .xlsx etc) files is not indexed as they should but the old binary document (.doc, .xls etc) format is indexed. This is due to the fact that the Office 2007 IFilters is not installed by your WSS installation.

    To resolve this issue you have to download the Microsoft Filter Pack and install it on your server. This will install the actual IFilters which are used for indexing the Office 2007 files.

    Then you have to tell the WSS Search Service to index those files, this is a manual registry operation. All details is found in the How to register Microsoft Filter Pack with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Knowledge Base article. To describe it short; first you have to tell the gatherer which file extensions to handle by adding all extensions to the registry. Then you have to connect all the extensions to the correct IFilter guid. After all this is done you have to restart the Search Service.

    Normally this works fine, but in some cases I recreated the whole index database to get things up and running fast.

  • PDC 2008 Photosynth

    Tags: Windows Live, PDC 08

    Today I have spent a few hours tagging photos using the incredible Windows Live Photo Gallery application. It’s quite slow and still has some buggy features, but it’s so good for cleaning and tagging photos.

    As I tagged along I found some images I took during the PDC 2008 at the LA Convention Center entrance hall. From the Windows Live Photo Gallery I fired up Microsoft Photosynth and made me a Synth. Creating the synth was really easy and done in a few minutes and here it is:

  • Result of SharePoint feature installation poll, and a new quick poll

    Tags: SharePoint

    A couple of days ago I made a quick poll on how people preferred to install their SharePoint features.

    The results are as follows:

    Poll results

    Using STSADM is the favorite one, probably due to that fact the audience answering to the poll is mostly IT-Pros or developers. Using an MSI based installation is, surprisingly, the first runner up together with scripts. I totally understand why but there are many problems having an MSI based one but the problem is that installation and uninstall is tied to one specific server.

    Unfortunately I did not get more than 18 answers.

    So I would like to have your input on another matter, please do take 20 seconds of your time and answer the simple question:

    What tool do you normally use to create SharePoint WSP files?

    Click on the question above to get there and answer the question!

    Technorati tags:

  • How do you prefer to install SharePoint packages

    Tags: SharePoint

    With the recent release of ChartPart for SharePoint I created a simple command file to simplify the installation of the .wsp file. What I did not expect was that so many should download it – about the same amount of people who download the ChartPart.

    Some really nice people have asked me to release it as an MSI package, which I will do as soon as possible to make it even easier for non developers or IT-pros to install the ChartPart.

    Out of curiosity I put up a small poll which I would like to see as many as possible of you readers answered to. It’s a simple question: Which way do you prefer to install SharePoint packages?

    Head on over to the poll: http://snappoll.com/poll/303013.php

    My personal preference is to use STSADM – that way I have full control of the deployment.

    Technorati tags: , , ,

  • ChartPart for SharePoint 1.0 released

    Tags: SharePoint

    After a few weeks of testing and great feedback, ChartPart for SharePoint 1.0 is available for download on CodePlex.

    CharPart for SharePoint is a free chart web part for SharePoint (WSS 3.0 or MOSS 2007) that enables you to easily create charts based on existing lists and views in SharePoint.

    ChartPart for SharePoint

    These are some of the features of ChartPart 1.0

    • Generate a graph from a SharePoint list in just a few clicks
    • Multiple graph types (bars, columns, splines etc)
    • Legend
    • Title
    • Multiple built-in palettes
    • Custom palettes
    • Size of graph
    • Supports columns such as dates, lookups, calculated, users etc

    ChartPart is currently translated into English, Swedish and Portuguese and German coming soon. Please contact me if you would like to help out in translating it to other languages.

    This was just the first version, I am currently doing some nice work with version 2 – expect a beta version pretty soon.

    Why are you still reading and not downloading it!

About Wictor...

Wictor Wilén is a Director and SharePoint Architect working at Connecta AB. Wictor has achieved the Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) - SharePoint 2010, Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM) - SharePoint  and Microsoft Certified Master (MCM) - SharePoint 2010 certifications. He has also been awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for four consecutive years.

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