Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Follow up - Folders in SharePoint document libraries - Why???

Last week I wrote a posting about the use of folders in SharePoint document libraries. After reading the comments I must admit  that I probably took a too rigid approach.

There are valid reasons why you can still use folders in SharePoint document libraries but are are also a lot of cases in which metadata/libraries or views are a better approach.

When migrating documents from file share into SharePoint the easiest approach is to copy (and paste) all of the documents including the existing folders into a document library. It is therefore quite tempting to continue working like this in SharePoint but as soon as the naming conventions of your folders carry meaning it might be a good idea to start thinking about converting the folders into metadata.

The only goal of using folders is to group them for the benefit of the authors, the people who need to work with it. Grouping documents in  a simple folder without adding extra metadata and creating views is an easy approach - especially when the "Explorer View" is frequently used or when large numbers of documents are used.

So let's compare:

Advantages of using folders in SharePoint document libraries:

  • It looks familiar to people used to work with file shares
  • Folders are required when you have a large number of documents in a document library (remember the 2000 item limit - for some background check out - Can you have more than 2000 items per folder and Why 2000 item limit per view in SharePoint
  • It is possible to define security on folders
  • Possible to define metadata on folders. Remark: the metadata is not replicated on the documents within the folder
  • Possible to create an alert on a folder

Disadvantages of using folders in SharePoint document libraries:

  • Not possible to use it for filtering or to create filtering
  • Only allows for adding a single dimension of information
  • When you move a document to another folder (because you miscategorized it) - the url will change. This is not the case when you change a metadata field
  • Will increase the length of the URL - remember URL length for Docs in SharePoint is still at 260 characters

          LOL - Der Untergang-Bedrijfsuitje [Dutch-speaking only]

          First JBoss User Group Belgium event

          Since I'm a strong believer in the power of the community - here a quick promo for the the first Belgian JBUG event - for more details check out Joram's blogentry - Announcing- The first JBoss User Group Belgium event!

          PS And no, I'm not going to convert to the dark side :-) ...

          Sunday, October 26, 2008

          Using Windows Mobile ActiveSync via Bluetooth

          I needed to sync my Windows Mobile smartphone with my portable - so when looking for some guidance - I stumbled upon this excellent walkthrough - Setup ActiveSync via Bluetooth

          Thursday, October 23, 2008

          Building a SharePoint custom site definition with a project tasks list and a listviewwebpart in Gantt view on the homepage.

          The next walkthrough will show you how you can create custom site definition with specific lists and their associated listviewwebparts on the homepage - as an example I will use the new Project Tasks list type in SharePoint 2007.  To get you going first take a look at Creating a custom site definition in WSS V3/MOSS 2007. Start off with something simple such as a completely blank custom site definition.

          Next let's add a new list instance of type Project Tasks to the site definition - to do this open up ONET.XML and navigate to the <Lists> node - for the Project Tasks you will need to add the line marked in bold.

          <Configuration ID="0" Name="Default">
                <List FeatureId="00BFEA71-7E6D-4186-9BA8-C047AC750105" Type="105" Title="Contacts" Url="Lists/Contacts" />     
                   <List FeatureId="00bfea71-513d-4ca0-96c2-6a47775c0119" Type="150" Title="Project Tasks" Url="Lists/ProjectTasks" />

          Now, how did I find the FeatureId and the Type - well quite simply - just try creating a new Project Tasks list through the UI and you will notice this in the URL - http://[servername]/SiteDirectory/demo/_layouts/new.aspx?FeatureId={00bfea71-513d-4ca0-96c2-6a47775c0119}&ListTemplate=150

          Looks similar no?

          Next, let's add a web part on the home page which will display the items in the Project Tasks list - the webpart which does this is the listviewwebpart. Again, you have to modify ONET.XML - take a look at the line in bold.

          <Module Name="Default" Url="" Path="">
                <File Url="default.aspx" NavBarHome="True">
                  <NavBarPage Name="$Resources:core,nav_Home;" ID="1002" Position="Start" />
                  <NavBarPage Name="$Resources:core,nav_Home;" ID="0" Position="Start" />
                   <View List="Lists/Contacts" BaseViewID="0" WebPartZoneID="Left" WebPartOrder="1" />
          <View List="Lists/ProjectTasks" BaseViewID="0" Type="GANTT" WebPartZoneID="Left" WebPartOrder="2" />

          Again, how did I find out about the BaseViewID and the Type property. I first searched for the feature with ID=00bfea71-513d-4ca0-96c2-6a47775c0119 in the Features folder underneath the 12 hive - apparently the Project Tasks list is based on the GanttTasksList feature. If you want to know about the available views  which you can use in the listviewwebpart take a look at the schema.xml file.

          Once you understand how you do this for the standard list definitions you can do something similar for custom list definitions as well. Happy sharepointing ...

          Wednesday, October 22, 2008

          SharePoint and it's partner ecosystem - addons to extend the platform

          The success of a platform is best measured by the success of its partner ecosystem. With over 3300 certified partners who provided solutions on the SharePoint platform 2 years after the launch I guess it is safe to say that SharePoint has gone mainstream. Lately some new interesting addons where released. Next is a list of some recent announcemnt with regards to released addons (Remember - this is not an exhaustive list - if you think there is something missing leave a comment):


          Tuesday, October 21, 2008

          Updating my SharePoint-Silverlight developer VPC

          After some issues with regards to lack of space on my SharePoint Developer VPC (See Extending an existing Windows 2003 system VHD image) I finally got around to complete the installation of the new Silverlight 2 development tools - things you might want to take a install yourself to start experimenting

          PS Remember to clean up all of the previous beta stuff such as the Silverlight 2 SDK Beta 2, Silverlight Tools for Visual Studio 2008 beta and Expression Blend 2.5 June 2008 Preview to avoid problems.

          Sunday, October 19, 2008

          Extending an existing Windows 2003 system vhd image

          When you try to install Visual Studio 2008 SP1 you will notice that you will need a lot of free space on your system drive. Unfortunately this was not the case with my SharePoint development VPC. Luckily it is possible to extend your existing C-disk.

          • Download VHD Resizer from
          • Next boot up your VPC with the newly resized disk as a secondary disk (This is important since you can't resize a system or boot volume) - and use Diskpart
            • Go to command prompt
            • Type diskpart
            • Type list volume
            • Type select volume [Your Volume Number]
            • Type extend
          • Save your VPC and change the settings of your Virtual PC image to use the resized disk as boot volume.

          Thursday, October 16, 2008

          Folders in SharePoint document libraries - Why???

          This is something which happens everytime again when you look at users who start working with SharePoint. They start creating folders within document libraries.

          NOOOOO .... metadata is the way to go in SharePoint - if you use metadata you can use search, filters and custom views to organize your documents. This provides for a lot more flexiblity.

          But unfortunately people are not eager to change the way they are working. So maybe it is possible to combine the best of both worlds - it would be nice that you could couple a fixed set of metadata to a folder so that when a user drops a document inside the metadata is added automatically. I know that you can add metadata to a folder  - take a look at Adding metadata to a folder or Implementing folder content types . Unfortunately the metadata is not replicated to the individual documents ... interesting feature to write - anyone up for it?


          Wednesday, October 15, 2008

          Introducing the Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) specification

          On september 10th the  new Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) specification was submitted to Oasis. The goal of this specification is to define a web service standard which will allow easier interaction between different ECM systems such as Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, EMC Documentum, IBM FileNet P8, etc ...

          Some interesting background info is to be found on the Microsoft ECM blog -

          The CMIS specification defines a standard "domain model" for an ECM system - a set of core concepts that all modern ECM systems have, like Object Types (which in SharePoint we call "Content Types"), properties, folders, documents, versions, and relationships - and the set of operations that can be performed on those concepts, like navigating through a folder hierarchy, updating a document, etc.

          The specification does NOT try to include all the capabilities of an ECM system - because many of these are simply too different between ECM systems. But the specification does attempt to include the fundamental concepts that are (a) relatively common across current ECM systems, and (b) enable the common integration scenarios that we've heard from customers to date.

          The specification then defines how to bind the CMIS "domain model" to two different web service protocols: SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol), the web services protocol used by many ECM systems (including SharePoint), and Atom, a newer web services model used in many "Web 2.0" applications.

          The ultimate goal of CMIS is comparable with JSR170 (or Java Content Repository 1.0/JCR) with the main difference being  programming language indepence.

          I believe that CMIS will further accelerate the commodization of ECM and that it will become a standard IT component of every organization similar to databases. The big differentiators in ECM platforms will be ease of extensibility, available development tools, workflow support, collaboration and search services. All things in which SharePoint Server 2007 excels.

          Lots of organizations have already invested in traditional ECM players but this investment can only be monetized upon when you can extend its use throughout the enterprise. This means that your platform will need to be built with broad adoption in mind and built for extensibility.  With CMIS it will be feasible to offer content management functionalities 'as-a-service' to other platforms and applications.

          Related links:

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          Tuesday, October 14, 2008

          Updating to Zune 3.0

          I just tried installing Zune 3.0 using the standard Zune setup package (which contacts Windows Update) but it failed with the error -  Can't contact Microsoft Update. Please try again later. (Check out for more error details). 

          Luckily there is a full download of the Zune 3.0 client software and after this everything went quite smoothly.

          The Zune.Social functionality is not available in Belgium however. But I still think that it is amazing that you can use all the new features (such as games) on old zune devices...

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          SharePoint at PDC08

          Not a lot of sessions about SharePoint at PDC08 - but if you look very hard you will find a couple :-) ...

          • Dublin" and .NET Services: Extending On-Premises Applications to the Cloud
          • FAST: Building Search-Driven Portals with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Microsoft Silverlight
          • SharePoint 2007: Advanced Asynchronous Workflow Messaging
          • SharePoint 2007: Creating SharePoint Applications with Visual Studio 2008
          • Sharepoint Online: Extending Your Service

          For more details check out Paul's blog.

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          Monday, October 13, 2008


          I just created a Wordle of my current site feed ... pretty neat - try it out yourself

          Clusty - The clustering search engine

          Interesting concept - try it out at - I found this information about the way that it works ...

          Rather than focusing just on search engine result ranking, we realized that grouping results into topics, or "clustering," made for better search and discovery....

          Clusty queries several top search engines, combines the results, and generates an ordered list based on comparative ranking. This "metasearch" approach helps raise the best results to the top and push search engine spam to the bottom.

          But what really makes Clusty unique is what happens after you search. Instead of delivering millions of search results in one long list, our search engine groups similar results together into clusters. Clusters help you see your search results by topic so you can zero in on exactly what you’re looking for or discover unexpected relationships between items.

          Microsoft releases Silverlight 2

          Check out the press release -  Microsoft releases Silverlight 2, already reaching one in four customers worldwide - some interesting details:

          • Microsoft announced plans to support additional tools for developing Silverlight applications by providing funding to Soyatec, a France-based IT solutions provider and Eclipse Foundation member, to lead a project to integrate advanced Silverlight development capabilities into the Eclipse IDE. Soyatec plans to release the project under the Eclipse Public License Version 1.0 on SourceForge and submit it to the Eclipse Foundation as an open Eclipse project - check out Eclipse4SL
          • Microsoft also will release the Silverlight Control Pack and publish on MSDN the technical specification for the Silverlight Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML) vocabulary. The SCP, which will augment the powerful built-in control set in Silverlight, will be released under the Microsoft Permissive License, an Open Source Initiative-approved license, and includes controls such as DockPanel, ViewBox, TreeView, Accordion and AutoComplete. The Silverlight XAML vocabulary specification, released under the Open Specification Promise (OSP), will better enable third-party ISVs to create products that can read and write XAML for Silverlight.

          PS Kurt Brockett also states that we will see Mac and Linux support in next versions of Silverlight.

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          Sunday, October 12, 2008

          Interesting thing to know about Definition Extraction in SharePoint

          Apparently the definition extraction feature in SharePoint Server 2007 does not use security trimming - for more info take a look at I don't like the Definition Extraction Feature . Fortunately, you can just disable it all together - go to the Search Center Results page - Modify the Search Core Results web part, and turn off ‘Display Discovered Definition’.

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          Photosynth - How to get synthy

          If you are into photography you should definitely take a look at Photosynth. Photosynth allows you to reconstruct a scene or object from a bunch of flat photographs. It allows for an interesting new new photoviewing experience.

          Photosynth also uses the Deepzoom (originally called Seadragon) capabilities which you can use in your own Silverlight apps.

          For more information about similar projects take a look at the Microsoft LiveLabs.

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          Wednesday, October 08, 2008

          Installing Office 2007 SP1 - make sure you have enough free disk space

          I got this error when installing Office Enterprise 2007 SP1 on a VPC where I only had 400 MB of free disk space on C-drive

          Product: Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007 -- Error 1307.There is not enough disk space to install this file: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\MODI\12.0\XIMAGE3B.DLL.  Free some disk space and click 'Retry', or click 'Cancel' to exit.

          After I freed up 1 GB everything went smoothly...

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          Monday, October 06, 2008

          Moving the ServicePackFiles directory in Windows Server 2003

          My installation of Office 2007 SP1 just failed because of insufficient diskspace on my virtual disk. So I decided to clean up some space - if you look in the c:\Windows directory you will notice a directory ServicePackFiles. Instead of deleting it, you can also move it to another disk - if you do this you will also need to update the registry - go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Setup and change the pointers to a new location.

          For more information check out Can I remove the ServicePackFiles folder from my Windows folder.

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          Saturday, October 04, 2008

          Quick tip: Search Center and SharePoint site collections

          You might notice that when you you upgrade a SharePoint Portal Server 2003 setup to MOSS 2007, sites are upgraded to site collections. If you look at the  search scope dropdown for these upgraded sites, you will only see the "This site" option. Correcting this is quite easy - just go to Site Actions > Modify All Site Settings > Search Settings (Underneath Site Collection Administration). Check Use custom scopes and fill in the URL to the Search Center (default /SearchCenter/pages/).

          Thursday, October 02, 2008

          [MVP] Congratulations ! You have received the Microsoft MVP Award

          Yep, this is the 4th year in a row that my title of MVP Windows SharePoint Services  is renewed. Thanks to everyone who in one way or another contributed to my (re)nomination.

          Here are the things that I plan to do in the next few months:

          Thanks again for all the support.