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SharePoint Install & Config

There are lots of things to do to install and configure a SharePoint 2010 farm in a production environment. Even if it’s possible to use wizards for most operations, it’s often required to have a better control of what’s going on and in most cases tweak some of the options used during installation and configuration.

Because of this I’ve put together a list of steps to complete based on the Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Deployment Guide and personal experience. Each step is linked to the deployment guide or other resource with detailed information on completing each steps.

Read more

Additional core information about SharePoint Server 2010 may be found at the following locations:

Integrating SharePoint Search with the desktop

October 13, 2010 11 comments

I often get asked if it’s possible to integrate SharePoint search services with the users desktop. And yes of course it is! To summarize the features and how to get it up and running, follow the brief descriptions below.

Note that installing and integrating SharePoint search with the desktop is not equal to implementing “Enterprise search” as a concept. If an implementation of enterprise search is considered, be sure  to include topics like taxonomy tagging, topic maps, enterprise content management, metadata, information strategies and more. Making the search engine available for the user in different contexts is just a tiny little piece of the puzzle.

NOTE! Before you enable the desktop application’s ability to integrate with a search engine you will have to install and configure the search service. You may use SharePoint search features (both 2007 and 2010), Microsoft Search Server as well as FAST integrated search. However, this will not work with Windows SharePoint Services or SharePoint Foundation.

Microsoft Office research pane

The Microsoft Office research pane gives you the ability to search directly from within Office products. This feature has been available in Microsoft Office products since at least Office XP and is very easy to use. To add your SharePoint installation as a search provider in Office, do the following:

  1. Open the research pane
  2. Click the “Research options” at the bottom of the pane
  3. Click the “Add services” button in the Research options dialog
  4. Enter the URL to the SharePoint search service web service, similar to:
                  http://%5Byour_server%5D/_vti_bin/search.asmx
  5. Click your way out after the successful addition

And yes, it is possible to add search providers through centralized management, such as GPO’s. Read more at the xxx.

Internet Explorer 7+ search bar

When you use Internet Explorer 7 or newer you have a search bar integrated in IE. By default it’s pointed at Microsoft’s Bing and it’s possible to select additional search providers from a list. However, it’s more or less just as easy to add your SharePoint search service as a search provider within IE.

  1. With IE, navigate to http://www.ieaddons.com/en/createsearch.aspx
  2. Enter the URL to your search service including a query word “TEST” similar to:
                  http://%5Byour_server%5D/SearchCenter/Pages/results.aspx?k=TEST
  3. Give the search provider a name which will be displayed as the name of the service
  4. Select the proper character set the search service use
  5. Click the “Install provider” button to install the service in IE.

Read more on how to deploy this through GPO or other means of central administration.

Windows 7 Integrated Search

The Windows Search integrated in Windows 7 use OpenSearch to connect to different search providers. OpenSearch is a standard for query and result and is basically just XML and web services. With some quick steps you may add your SharePoint server search service as a possible search provider from Windows 7 search (available in Windows Explorer).

  1. Create an XML file containing information about where to find the search service. This XML file should look something like this (change highlighted content for customization):
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    <OpenSearchDescription xmlns=”http://a9.com/-/spec/opensearch/1.1/” xmlns:ms-ose="http://schemas.microsoft.com/opensearchext/2009/">&#160;
      <ShortName>SharePoint Search</ShortName> 
      <Description>Search the local SharePoint installation</Description> 
      <Url type="application/rss+xml" template="http://[your_server]/searchcenter/_layouts/srchrss.aspx?k={searchTerms}&amp;web.count=50" />
      <Url type="text/html" template="http://[your_server]/searchcenter/Pages/results.aspx?k={searchTerms}"/>
    </OpenSearchDescription>
  2. Save the file as an .OSDX file
  3. Double click the file you created to import the settings into Windows and just follow the steps in the wizard.

Do note that Windows 7 supports OpenSearch and is able to integrate with any OpenSearch search provider. Both SharePoint Server 2007 and 2010 may be used as a search provider for OpenSearch connectors.

Another option with Windows Vista and Windows 7 is to define the Primary intranet search scope Url in the registry or through Group Policies. To implement this add the search provider URL use the Group Policy Editor or edit the registry key HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search\PrimaryIntranetSearchScopeUrl with the following string value modified with your appropriate values:
     [ScopeName],http://%5Byour_server%5D/SearchCenter/Pages/results.aspx?k=$w
This will enable the integrated search capabilities to involve the SharePoint search engine.

Windows Desktop Search (WDS)

As an addition to Windows XP it was possible to install “Desktop Search”, a client based indexer and search engine. Since it stole all resources on the client, no one actually used it, but when you connect the Desktop Search to a centralized search engine such as SharePoint, the use is a lot more efficient.

To use Windows Desktop Search you will have to install the software. It’s downloadable from Microsoft as a free package for genuine Windows users. Please remember to use release 3.x for Windows XP and release 4.x for Windows Vista and Windows 7.

After the software has been installed, follow these steps to configure WDS to use the SharePoint search provider. Please note that local administrative privileges is required to complete these steps. Procedural steps has not been verified.

  1. Open the registry editor (regedit.exe).
  2. Navigate to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\Windows Search.
  3. Add a new string value (REG_SZ) and name it “SecondaryIntranetSearchScopeUrl”.
  4. Set the value to “[ScopeName],[QueryUrl]?k=$w”, similar to:
             [ScopeName],http://%5Byour_server%5D/SearchCenter/Pages/results.aspx?k=$w
       
    For multiple providers separate each string with a semicolon.
  5. Save and close the registry editor

Since these settings are placed directly into the registry, it may be set by Group Policies as well. With Windows Vista the policy template (.adm file) is included with Windows. For Windows XP you will have to download the template from Microsoft.

Read also the MSDN blog article about enabling WDS for intranet search.

Recommended additional reading and resources

For further information on how to deploy search services I suggest you take a look at some of the following sites and pages:

Installing SharePoint Foundation 2010 on Windows 7

July 20, 2010 8 comments

I know there’s a lot of posts describing how to install SharePoint Foundation 2010 (WSS4) on Windows 7 (see Microsoft’s installation procedure for Vista and Windows Server 2008 installations), but I just had to write my own short edition of the installation procedure available at MSDN.

Please note that Microsoft does not support this configuration for production environments. Windows 7 installations should only be used for development, testing and demo purposes!

Prerequisites

The following components and additions has to be installed on the computer running Windows 7 64-bit edition:

Installation procedure

Use the following procedure to install SharePoint Foundation:

  1. Make sure all prerequisites are met and no critical error is present in the event logs.
  2. Download SharePoint Foundation from Microsoft’s web site.
  3. Extract the web package to a temporary location using the /extract command line option.
  4. Edit the .\files\Setup\config.xml file according to the section below.
  5. Run the SharePoint Foundation setup, but do not run the configuration wizard.
  6. If you use a local SQL Server 2008, install KB970315.
  7. Run the SharePoint products and technologies configuration wizard.
  8. Install appropriate language packs.
  9. Configure SharePoint with the SharePoint Central Administration web application.

Editing the config.xml file

As described in step 4 in the installation procedure above, the config.xml file has to be edited to allow installation on Windows 7. Add the following line in the configuration section:
<Setting Id="AllowWindowsClientInstall" Value="True"/>

The entire config.xml file should look similar to this:

<Configuration>
  <Package Id="sts">
    <Setting Id="SETUPTYPE" Value="CLEAN_INSTALL" />
  </Package>
  <DATADIR Value="%CommonProgramFiles%\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\Data" />
  <Logging Type="verbose" Path="%temp%" Template="Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 4.0 Setup *.log" />
  <PIDKEY Value="RBWQH-7PFXQ-D6RX2-HVK8Y-HP7F7" />
  <Setting Id="UsingUIInstallMode" Value="1" />
  <Setting Id="SETUP_REBOOT" Value="Never" />
  <Setting Id="AllowWindowsClientInstall" Value="True"/>
</Configuration>

IIS Features and Components

The follow screen shots shows required IIS components as described in the prerequisites section:

N’Joy!

Using LiveID with SharePoint

Managing users and user profiles on a public or community site running SharePoint is often a pain in the ass. Luckily some creative developers have created an authentication provider for SharePoint which authenticates users with Microsoft LiveID. I’ve tried different solutions, but the extended version of CKS:LiveID developed by Wictor Wilén seems to be the best to use and easiest to install and configure.

How to get started? Well, in short terms:

  • Download the Live Authentication Provider from Codeplex.
  • Register a LiveID authentication service at Microsoft Azure.
  • Install and configure the LiveID authentication provider according to the documentation provided with the solution file.
  • Add users and user permissions to your site, and…
  • Off you go!

    Please note that the authentication provider requires outbound http and https traffic (web services). If you use a proxy, please make sure you add the appropriate proxy settings in the web.config file!

    See also Wictor’s blog post on the solution.

    The DNN-approach

    Another approach is to use the LiveID integration provided with the DotNetNuke (DNN) framework. With some additional modules, it’s possible to use DNN as an authentication and user management front-end to SharePoint. This makes a great authentication provider and self-service user management solutions, especially since the modules for DNN is free and highly customizable.

    N’Joy!

    HowTo remove unused features from a site template file

    November 16, 2009 Leave a comment

    When you create a site template (.stp) or an export via stsadm.exe you will end up with a cabinet formatted archive with all the data and some XML files. One of these XML files, the Requirements.xml, contains references to all requirements the site template has. Unfortunately, SharePoint adds references to core features even if they’re not required. Typically, when you export a site from a SharePoint Enterprise server, all the enterprise features are included as requirements even if the feature set is turned off and not used.

    To fix this you will need to modify the Requirements.xml file inside the cabinet archive. This is how I do it:

    1. Rename the export or template file to .cab
    2. Extract all content to a separate directory
    3. Modify the Requirements.xml by removing all lines referring to features which is not required (be careful!)
    4. Create a new .cab file with all the same content and the modified Requirements.xml (I use Microsoft’s cabarc.exe)
    5. Rename the new cabinet file with the proper file extension
    6. Import the file according to the SharePoint environment

    Please note that any errors in the XML file or removal of actual required features may result in a corrupt cabinet file and/or a corrupted site, so BE CAREFUL!

    N’Joy!

    Codeplex recommendations

    To make it somewhat easier to find active and interesting projects at Codeplex, I’ve put together a list of projects which I find useful and from sources I trust (at least so far :).

    Solutions

    Tools

    • SharePoint Manager 2007
      The SharePoint Manager 2007 is a SharePoint object model explorer. It enables you to browse every site on the local farm and view every property. It also enables you to change the properties (at your own risk). This is a very powerful tool for developers that like to know what the SharePoint holds of secrets.
    • SharePoint Management PowerShell Scripts
      A collection of PowerShell scripts for easier management of SharePoint.
    • SUSHI
      One of the best and most popular management tools for Sharepoint. SharePoint SUSHI is a powerful, user-friendly utility enabling you to accomplish common administrative tasks. You can think of SUSHI as a Swiss army knife for SharePoint.
      SUSHI = SharePoint Utility with a Smart, Helpful Interface 

    Accellerators

    See also the ordered list of best rated projects at Codeplex.

    Sharepoint version number in Office 2003 docs

    Since the automatic propagation of Sharepoint version number requires Office 2007 files (.docx), it’s often required to enable this functionallity manually.
     
    I came over a blog entry which describes how to do this and implement it as a Sharepoint feature. See the following blog entry for details:
     
    If you don’t have the possibility to deploy new solutions, you might use VBA as well. See the following article for information on how to do this:
     
    However, since the macro and script security in Office often requires the persmission to run unsecured code, I recommend the feature approach.
     
    If you only use Office 2007 document formats, simply add the "_Version" document property to your document and all is done.

    SharePoint 2007/WSS3 Deployment Downloads

    When deploying SharePoint it’s a lot of updates, additions and tools which should be downloaded and installed. To make it a bit more convenient, I’ve put together a list of recommended updates and additions.

    All downloads are pointed to x86 platform releases. If the x64 platform is required, follow the links and choose the x64 download on the download page instead.

    Supported platforms are any edition of Windows Server 2003 R2 with Service Pack 2 and Windows Server 2008. Requires Internet Information Server and ASP.NET installed and configured prior to deployment.

    Please note that several security updates and other minor updates may be released and not available through this list. Please visit Microsoft Download sites for more information.

    PREREQUISITES

    SHAREPOINT CORE COMPONENTS

    • Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) 3.0 with SP2
      The SharePoint edition which is free with a Windows Server license including Service Pack 2. English version.
    • WSS 3.0 Service Pack 2
      The latest service pack for SharePoint Services 3.0 which is required for quite a few features. The patch is not required if WSS 3.0 is installed with SP2 (the link above). Must be installed even if MOSS is installed with the latest service pack.
    • WSS 3.0 Language Packs
      All the language packs available for WSS 3.0, including my native language (Norwegian).
    • WSS 3.0 Language Pack Service Pack 2
      The latest service pack for the language packs. Must be installed even if MOSS is installed.
    • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 Trial
      The 30 day trial of Microsoft Office SharePoint Server Enterprise Edition, which includes all enterprise features such as forms and Excel services. English version. A pre-installed virtual machine is also available for download at Microsoft’s download center.
    • Office Servers Service Pack 2
      The latest service pack for all Office Servers including SharePoint Server. Requires WSS SP2 before installation.
    • Office Servers Language Packs
      All the language packs available for all Office Servers, including SharePoint Server.
    • Office Servers Language Packs Service Pack 2
      The latest service pack for all language packs for all Office Servers. Requires MOSS SP2 installed prior to installation.

    SQL SERVER COMPONENTS

    DEVELOPMENT & CUSTOMIZATION

    DOCUMENTATION

    SAMPLES

    RECOMMENDED SOLUTIONS

    RECOMMENDED TOOLS

    • Sushi
      A free-prog binary tool for everyday SharePoint maintenance. Published under the MPL agreement.
    • SharePoint Manager
      A free-prog binary tool for exploring and managing SharePoint content. A must for SharePoint administrators.

    RECOMMENDED RESOURCES

     

    N’Joy"!

    Desired SharePoint Solutions

    April 21, 2009 1 comment

    In many cases there’s a need for a set of default web parts and solutions for SharePoint to give the user a better experience, and designers tools to create nice web solutions. I’ve been working with SharePoint for quite a few years, and during this time my experience is that the following basic web parts and solutions often are required.

    If anyone have solutions for these needs or would like to develop them as Open Source projects, please let me know. In addition to the solutions specified below, I think the following solutions might be just as relevant, but will generate quite a lot of work:

    • Organization chart based on user profiles
    • Basic graphical charts, typically as included in .NET FrameWork 3.5, similar to the ChartPart for SharePoint or the Charting for SharePoint projects at Codeplex
    • Phone Book/List view of the profile database (not  just people search)
    • LDAP directory lookup and search
    • Customized list forms with a forms designer
    • File explorer with delegated permissions
    • PowerPoint mini-viewer web part to display a PPT in a small web part (Silverlight)
    • Rolling info screen presentation based on SharePoint content (Silverlight)
    • User self service with AD property modification, password resets and more
    • Server side Power Shell script execution
    • Corporate CV database based on the user profiles shared service

    In general all solutions should be flexible in terms of deployment scope, languages, WSS/MOSS and highly configurable.

    Content Tagging with Tag Clouds

    This solution is more or less the same as any standard tagging feature, but for some reason it’s not included in SharePoint. The solution should cover as many of the following requirements as possible:

    • Tagging of any content type in any site within a site collection
    • Dynamically storing all used tags in a configurable tags list
    • Auto complete lookup towards the configured tags list (Ajax)
    • Highly customizable rendering

    The SPTags project at Codeplex is a possible solution to cover this need.

    Cross Site List Aggregator and Rollup

    This solutions should be able to aggregate information from a specified list type in different sites and display the aggregated result. The solution should be able to use all Sharepoint view features, such as the default list view, calendar, Gantt charts and more.

    A possible solution for this is the Portal Solutions SharePoint Toolbox project at Codeplex.

    Advanced Lookup Field

    The standard lookup field in Sharepoint is very limited. It’s not possible to use this field cross site or towards any other data source other than a Sharepoint list. In addition, it’s not very user friendly, especially with a large number of entries returned to the user.

    Some of the basic features of this solutions should be:

    • If the input field is free text, it should be possible to enable auto complete as the user types. Typically implemented as Ajax.
    • It should be possible to use more or less any data source as a lookup source.
    • The lookup should be able to filter and sort the returned results based on configurable options.
    • It should be possible to enable dynamically connected lookup fields which filters the selection list based on a value in another field.
    • Both multi select and single select must be configurable
    • The rendering of the selection alternatives must be configurable

    The SharePoint Filtered Lookup Field project at Codeplex covers the need for filters in a lookup field, but it’s not possible to combine this feature with other solutions such as dynamic/connected and auto complete lookup fields.

    The SharePoint Connected Lookup project at Codeplex covers basic needs for dynamically connected lookup fields, but again it’s not possible to combine this feature with other solutions.

    Multi RSS Feed Reader

    The MOSS RSS feed reader does not support WSS and multiple feeds, and in many cases it’s desirable to have multiple feeds combined as one. It’s also important to have a good RSS reader for WSS.

    The best solution I’ve found so far is the Smiling Goat RSS Reader, but there are several issues with this solution. Among other things, the solution has problems with non-English characters and the formatting is poor. For commercial use it’s not preferable to have author branding as the web part icon.

    Content Rating

    This solution should be able to rate any content on a SharePoint site or site collection regardless of content type (libraries, lists and pages). The rating should be configurable as both strings and numbers as well as the presentation such as images, strings or other visual effects.

    The SharePoint Tool Basket project at Codeplex contains a solution which might cover this need, but I’ve not been able to try this out yet.

    Mini Calendar View

    On most intranets and public internet sites, where a schedule is an important part of the business, it’s often requested to have a tiny calendar on the front page which highlights the dates in a month with content and displays the entries when a user hovers over the date. Each date in the mini calendar view should be linked to a calendar and the appropriate date.

    I know that Bamboo Solutions have some commercial alternatives, but I haven’t been able to test them yet.

    Calculated Icon Field Type

    Lists in SharePoint is often used as an alternative to Excel spreadsheets, but there’s one important feature missing which is conditional formatting, especially icons to visualize status of the rows.

    I’ve seen some solutions at Codeplex, but these solutions are limited in use. Among other things, it’s not possible to configure which images to use and the criteria/rules are limited to specific values or ranges. It should be possible to define SharePoint formulas as the criteria and custom images based on the result of the formula.

    Based on a tip from one of my associates, I’ve manage to accomplish this by altering the fldtypes.xml file on the server, but I don’t think hacks are the way to go in a commercial production environment.

    In addition it would have been nice to have conditional formatting in any list similar to conditional formatting in Excel 2007.

    User Poll

    This solutions is a quite straight forward User Poll, but it should be possible to use the Poll both as an authenticated user and as an anonymous user. It should be configurable if the user may respond several times or not, and if the user may see the results of the poll.

    Some projects at Codeplex covers some of the needs, but anonymous poll is not supported and the configurability and styling is very poor.

    What’s New and What’s Hot

    This is actually two different solutions which is closely related. The What’s New web part should display the newest items on a site or site collection with the ability to filter on specific lists. It should be customizable how the result is displayed and how many items to return.

    The What’s Hot web part should display the top x items on a site or site collection. The solutions should be able to exclude some pages/entries, such as the home page of the site, and the information returned or displayed should be customizable.

    Web Capture Web Part

    In SharePoint Portal Server 2003 (SPS) Microsoft shipped a web part called "Web Capture" which grabbed parts of any web page and displayed the result in a web part. With Office Systems 2007 the feature disappeared, including the client side ActiveX control required to browse and select elements for the targeted web page.

    Since it’s lots of web sites and web applications which doesn’t support any kind of data aggregation or integration, this solutions was great. However, it’s gone.

    I deployed the SPS web part on WSS/MOSS and the web part it self works fine, but it’s required to use Office 2003 to have the ability to browse and select which element to grab. In addition, the old web part only supports table tags, and the div tags are more commonly used and the W3C recommended tag for layout purposes.

    Ticker Web Part

    The Ticker should be able to display content from lists, web services and RSS feeds as a scrolling text, both vertically and horizontally, similar to the stock ticker you might find on any financial web page. The web part should be able to use both JavaScript and Silverlight or flash as client side presentation.

    Possibilities beyond comparison

    December 3, 2008 Leave a comment

    The CKS:EBE solution is one of the best solutions available for SharePoint and “Web 2.0” type web site. This entire site is based on WSS3 and EBE 2.5 (and some other minor additions) and includes several of the required web 2.0 features. Among other things, the site has basic functionality such as:

    • Anonymous comments posting
    • Taxonomy tagging
    • True RSS feeds
    • Modular themes
    • Trackbacks and permalinks
    • Forms based feedback/contact

    …and features are still being added to the solution.

    A special thanks goes to the author ‘The Kid’ and contributors.

    Read more about this site and the solution behind it in the about pages.

    N’Joy!

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