Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Some more webdesign tips

A while ago I wrote a posting about tools for webdesigners, today I found a blog which listed some more info about one the hardest things for webdesigners, Choosing Colors for your website

Monday, December 27, 2004

Some more SharePoint blogs

Some spare time to surf the web again, so I went hunting for some more sharepoint blogs:
  • It seems that there are a couple of German SharePoint blogs, here's one of them

  • ... and another one, SharePoint blog (German)

  • This one is in English, (... fortunately ;-) ....) Fear and loathing:SharePoint, .NET, Agile, and other things that go bump in my computer...

  • It also looks like Lamont Harrington has created a newly compiled list with SharePoint stuff at his SharePoint 2003 Resource Center (He also adds a link to some online seminars about SharePoint on MSDN - I kind of lost that link )

  • A blog about SharePoint on SharePoint: definitely take a look at this site, it is a great example of all the things you can do with SharePoint

  • Dustins SharePoint blog
  • Friday, December 24, 2004

    How email changes vacations

    Excerpt from an article in the New York Times, how email changes vacations, I have to say they definitely have a point since I'm also cleaning up my inbox now although I'm on holidays,... or maybe I'm just a workaholic. This will probably be one of my New Years resolutions, "do not answer email when you are on holidays"....

    "Today's reliance on e-mail has changed the nature of vacation," said James E. Katz, director of the Center for Mobile Communication Studies at Rutgers University.

    If you do clean your in-box, he said, you're "defeating the purpose of vacation, which is to get away from the office and do something different."

    If you don't, "you have to work twice as hard when you come back," he said. "And while you are responding to those, new ones come flooding in." In some ways, he said, "you are punished for taking vacation, by out-of-control e-mails."

    Thursday, December 23, 2004

    Microsofts top 10 challenges for 2005

    Here are Microsoft's top ten challenges for 2005, as assessed by Kirkland-based research firm Directions on Microsoft and republished by silicon.com.


    Some days ago, I got a dvd from a friend with just a couple of letters written on the cover Mame, now I know that it stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. Download the emulator and go surf the net for all of those popular old games (By the way check out romnation), 1942, Double dragon, PacMan, Street Fighter, ... Ah, the nostalgia

    Tuesday, December 21, 2004

    MSN Spaces inappropriate content ... Hahaha

    I don't think I'm moving all of my content to MSN spaces, yet... yesterday I received an email from MSN Spaces Customer Support, which announced I had inappropriate content (Pornography) on my MSN spaces. Just because I uploaded some (nude) sketches from my art classes into the picture libraries... Come on, this is definitely sad...

    " Space Name: portalgeek
    Space URL : http://spaces.msn.com/members/portalgeek
    Photo Album: Sketches
    Photo Name:
    Photo Description: Inappropriate content (pornography)

    If you remove the said materials, your space will be again in compliance with the MSN Code of Conduct and will remain open for your access. Otherwise, we will be forced to close down your space.
    We hope you could bring your space into compliance as soon as possible.
    MSN Spaces Customer Support "

    By the way, check them out anyway on my other blog http://jopxpaints.blogspot.com

    Google Desktop Search vulnerability

    Well, Google Desktop Search seems to have a security problem which would allow users to search your desktop from over the internet (You can register for free to read this article on the NY Times). Check if your Google Desktop Search is vulnerable, examine the "about" page from the Google Desktop icon in the browser task bar. Version numbers above 121,004 indicate a newer edition of the program, which Google released after the vulnerability was discovered.

    Sunday, December 19, 2004

    Rule Based engines in .Net

    My final dissertation at university was about building a rule based system for derivatives trading with JESS. Since I haven't done any java development anymore since version 1.1.7, I'm definitely going to check out ILOG Rules which is .Net enabled, read more about it in this article or go directly to the ILOG website.

    SharePoint Community

    Another communitysite around SharePoint, build with SharePoint ...

    Real Developer Network

    Picked this up from Patricks Blog, the developers at Real Software have launched a blog community called the Real Developer Network

    Thursday, December 16, 2004

    SharePoint developer evangelist is blogging

    I picked this up from Daniels blog, Mike FitzMaurice is blogging (Mike is the developer evangelist from Microsoft for SharePoint - you can see on events such as the SharePoint Developer Tour, last year) and he's actually commenting on some questions and remarks which we're raised in the blogosphere... Check out Mike's blog.

    Wednesday, December 15, 2004

    Developer & IT Pro Days

    Today, my boss told me I could go to Developer & IT Pro Days, nice... I definitely want to see the 2 Hardcore SharePoint Development sessions by Jan Tielens and Patrick Tisseghem and the sessions about Distributed .Net and Service Oriented Architecture.

    Newly released code for SharePoint and CMS

    It's amazing how productive people are lately, another bunch of nice code for SharePoint and CMS has been released:
  • Webpart control which displays content from MSCMS from Stephen Huen

  • Posting about using Web Author to Insert Internal Bookmarks (MSCMS)

  • MSCMS Health check tool

  • The TemplatedWebPartZone source code is now available on the WebPart Components workspace. (SPS/WSS)

  • MCMS.RAPID launched: MCMS.Rapid is a framework for MSCMS development, it is downloadable for free under open source agreement

  • Document Library Browser for WSS/SPS

  • Source code for the CMS Metadata placeholder from Jesper Halvorsen

  • CustomPropertyDbEx (article) / CustomPropertyDbEx (source code) - this is a replacement for the custom properties in CMS
  • ... and of course SmartPart 1.0., download the installer here - For those of you who have done webpart development, this tool will solve a lot of time while development, provides an alternative way of building webparts with usercontrols, enables webpart connections easily and runs under minimal trust
  • Tuesday, December 14, 2004

    Monday, December 13, 2004


    Tariq has just finished Need for Speed Underground 2,... I'm still at 28%, still some hours of gaming to go. Damn, so little time and so much things to do. By the way, does anybody know how to solve this issue with network play, the game just freezes when I'm connecting to the lobby.

    MSN desktop search launched

    Jan has added a great review of the newly launched MSN Toolbar suite which enables MSN desktop search. I'm definitely trying it out the next couple of hours. By the way, you can download it here, do mind however that this is a beta release

    Microsoft Office Business Scorecards Accelerator

    This weekend I took a look at the Office Business Scorecards Accelerator and I have to tell that I'm pretty impressed. Most of the BI solutions that I know require very high end ( and also high price) products but for people who have already an existing Microsoft based infrastructure with Windows 2003 and SQL Server, this solution is a very nice starting point to deploy a flexible scorecard solution. I'm under the impression that this accelerator is not very known within the market although it is a very good value solution. I think that the next couple of weeks I'm going to write a little bit more about how you should implement a scorecard solution based on Office Business Scorecards accelerator. So lets start of with a quick introduction...

    The Microsoft Office Business Scorecards Accelerator enable employees at all levels of the organization to simplify the measurement and management of key performance indicators (KPIs) and business strategies. It does this by simplyfying the creation of so called scorecards, the mapping of real data to the measures in these scorecards and providing a customizable visualization of these scorecard. The solution is targeted at decision makers at different levels in your organisation.


  • SharePoint Portal Server or Windows SharePoint Services : required for the Scorecard Development environment.

  • Visio: The Visio ActiveX control (Visio 2003) is required for creating scorecards. The free Visio Viewer is required for just viewing scorecards.

  • SQL Server/Analysis Services: Required for the Scorecard database. Analysis Services cubes are required as scorecard data sources.

  • Office 2003: Required for utilizing Office Web Components and for document creation.

  • Main components:

  • Multiple scorecard & metric views: a number of webparts are out-of-box available to display the information from within your scorecards

  • Strategy Map Builder : enables users to easily creates strategy diagrams and integrate key performance data, by using Visio.

  • Scorecard Builder : user interface for building your scorecard definitions, the user interface is webbased and uses WSS or SPS

  • Scorecard Engine: the main component, builds your scorecards based on the on the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you define yourself. These KPIs are mapped on data which resides in your SQL Analysis Server.

  • II would love to hear of people who have project experience with this solution. So if you have some nice tips and tricks, sample code, ... do not hesitate to comment on this posting.

    Saturday, December 11, 2004

    SharePoint MOC 8036a

    Last week I was teaching the MOC 8036a - Designing IT platform collaborative applications with SharePoint 2003, this course is a replacement for MOC 2012. It is a 2-day course which explains all the basics of SharePoint, stuff like deployment, features, security and architecture. It is a nice overview if you are not familiar with SharePoint and want to get up and running in 2 days. Some observations of mine (I won't be so harsh in my critique as Patrick - definitely take a look at the last line of his posting - but I definitely see his point) :
  • I think that the SharePoint MOCs contain a little too much marketing material, if customers are following this course, they probably already know about the merits of SharePoint so don't rub it in.

  • There are a lot of annoying little errata: e.g. it still talks about the limits of MSDE, while WSS actually ships with a modified version of MSDE - WMSDE which has the limitations removed

  • The course should at least provide a chapter about SharePoint customization, it doesn't even talk about the difference between site templates and site definitions. If you want to learn more about site definitions and site templates read the whitepaper Customizing SharePoint Sites and Portals Part II

  • Some things are repeated over and over again in the slides, ... and the course is definitely missing a clear structure.

  • Maybe these shortcomings are only so conspicious when you have already some experience with SharePoint, but anyway this is not an excuse, these MOCS definitely need improvement. Of course,if your trainer is good, it makes a world of difference ;-) ...

    This posting does not reflect the views of my employer
    and is provided as is with no warranties, and confers no rights.

    Google suggests

    Whow, this is cool, Google suggests.... As you type, Google will offer suggestions. Use the arrow keys to navigate the results. Also take a look what Joel on Software says about it.

    Tuesday, December 07, 2004

    Waka and XML Visualizer

    From Patricks blogl, I found this link to the Waka Web Part tool, it allows you to register controls as safe in the web.config for SharePoint projects. When I took a look at the other postings, on this site I found a link to this other nifty little tool, called the XML Visualizer, a VS.Net addin which enables visualizing XML data in debugging mode.

    Monday, December 06, 2004

    More SharePoint stuff

    After cleaning up my RSS postings for review, I selected interesting SharePoint postings
  • Restrict a Customized Search to an Individual, New, Programatically-Created Content Source

  • Setting a WebPart Title programmatically - when is it a good time to do so? - Interesting article about the event lifecycle of webparts

  • Interesting "over-documented" setting in SharePoint Portal Server regarding alerts - Summary, scheduling alerts doesn't work - they are send whenever an index update is done. This feature was removed during development, but they forgot to take it out of the documentation - go figure ;-)

  • People Finder Web Part Nice little tool from Mark Bower, great code, definitely take a look at it

  • Writing Windows SharePoint Services Server-Side controls

  • Microsoft has located the Language bug in Sharepoint. It seems that .Net 1.1 SP1 causes SPS administration pages to switch back to English. Whow,finally the multilanguage functionality I wanted ... ;-)

  • The "I hate Oracle club"

    A variation on the usual Microsoft bashing ... the I hate Oracle club.

    Thursday, December 02, 2004

    SharePoint Tools Galore

    I noticed that Tariq has created an overview of tools for SharePoint, so I'm trying to complete it with some more tools:

    SharePoint toolsuites
  • Coras workplace suiteSuite with rollup webparts (for news,documents,tasks,...), navigation controls and full language localization (This is way cool...)

  • Syntergy Provide lots of modules such as replication technologies for SharePoint, bulkloader, audit for SharePoint,...

  • Search
  • Entopia K-Bus for SharePoint Portal Server: Adds extra information discovery capabilities, also allows SharePoint to index Documentum, Opentext,...

  • WSS PowerSearch - The developers ofthis product also have some other nice SharePoint tools, check out PowerRecycle and PowerNav

  • Navigation and UI enhancements
  • Advis site navigator

  • Backup/Data Recovery/Antivirus
  • SharePoint document recovery tool : Free download from Stephane Cordonnier

  • McAfee Portal Shield

  • Workflow
  • NetPoint Solutions

  • Factiva:Search and workflow tools for Office 2003

  • Captaris Teamplate: This workflow toolset even adds a module for fax based workflow "RightFax Workflow wizard

  • Skelta workflow .Net

  • K2.Net

  • Nintex smartlibrary

  • Smart workflow from LMR Solutions

  • DataLan FlowBuilder

  • Records management
  • Meridio: .Net software which integrates seamlessly into SharePoint and provides records management features needed to be compliant with standards such as Sarbanes-Oxley, US DOD 5015.2 records management standards,...

  • Towersoft

  • Utilities
  • SharePoint Explorer : another free tool which you can use to explore the SharePoint object model

  • Admin report kit for SPS 2003: configuration and usage reporting tool for SPS 2003

  • Business Intelligence
  • DSP Portal Edition : Adds webparts which can display information from OLAP cubes

  • Miscellaneous
  • Brightwork: adds MSF (Microsoft Solution Framework) on top of SharePoint

  • Ratings & expert module for SharePoint
  • Wednesday, December 01, 2004

    Deja vu - the browser wars?

    A long time ago there was this little company called Netscape. It had only one application called a "browser",... But then on August 10, 1995, Netscape went public and it turned out to be the largest public IPO in Wall Street history. People started dreaming, maybe Bill dropped the ball and they already predicted the demise of Microsoft. But Microsoft reactly swiftly and this ignited the first browser wars.

    But this time it is different, although the newslines seem to be the same see Browser Wars Back On. This is not a for profit company, this is Open Source. And it looks as if Firefox is actually gaining ground... I just took a look at which browsers people are using to visit this blog. Amazing....

    1. Internet Explorer 6.x 74.2 %

    2. Mozilla Firefox 1.x 25.8 %

    Something that is however not discussed in most articles is the fact that people are not only using browsers but also news aggregators to surf the Net. Since I read a lot of blogs, I think that the majority of the time I use RSS Bandit when accessing the Internet.

    MSN Spaces

    MSN spaces is available for everybody to use,... Microsoft is apparently aiming at Blogger (also owned by Google). I just created a new MSN Spaces site, PortalGeek. I hope it will be possible to use wbloggar to create postings as well...

    SOA Revisited

    The past couple of weeks, I looked at some notes I took after watching some presentations about architecture. SOA - (Service Oriented Architecture) definitely seems to be the hype word at the moment. Well not so long ago, the hype word was web services. But I think if we take a look at Gartners hype cycle for new technology, web services seem to have hit rock bottom, or as Gartner puts it "Trough of disillusionment".

    But the hype about SOA will revive the interest in webservices because web services are one of the enablers of SOA. Web services are currently the first universally accepted interface, every software vendor or product has SOAP support. Web services allow us to define a software architecture in which the services are the core.

    A while ago, I blogged about SOA, but lets recap, what is SOA? Actually it is nothing more then a design philosophy, a philisophy which is governed by 4 tenets:
    1. Services have explicit boundaries : only interaction possible at the service boundary - e.g. Asmx webservices
    2. Services are autonomous : no assumptions about how the service is implemented, loosely coupling
    3. Services share schema & contract not objects : "pass by value" - the WSDL contains both the service and the data contract
    4. Services are policy based : policies describe the rules for interaction, transactions, security, wire protocol

    These tenets have also some technical consequences however, such as:
  • Try to avoid remoting & enterprises services at service boundaries, these are tightly coupled, component based architectures. Use .Net remoting only in very specific scenarios - for iIn process cross application domain calls and
    when you have to implement a custom wire format (For more elaborate discussions, take a look at Clemens Vasters blog). One fo the reasons you should avoid Remoting is because it uses SOAP encoding differently from web services

  • Use asmx webservices and WSE for basic policy implementations

  • Use a WDSL first approach, start from your xml schemas and then go to the class implementations