Posts Tagged 'sharepoint 2010'

Learning Tree Opens 34 NEW AnyWare Learning Centers across North America


We have some exciting news to share! Learning Tree has officially opened 34 New AnyWare Learning Centers across North America. You can eliminate travel costs and commuting time and take our IT and management courses locally at a designated center near you via AnyWare, our web-based attendance platform that allows you to experience the same hands-on, instructor-led classroom training live, online.

To view a complete list of SharePoint courses, click here. If you have any questions, feel free to drop us a note in the comments or follow us on any of our social media outlets:

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How to Keep Reference Data Tidy and Well Organised


Frequently when building solutions using SharePoint you need to make use of reference data. This will be presented as look up type columns in the main list for your solution.

Internal Data

Internal data that is data stored within SharePoint can be stored within existing and new lists.

List organisation

The user doesn’t need to see these lists therefore it makes sense to keep their user interface as uncluttered as possible. Leaving the list out of the navigation is one thing that can be done then it keeps the quick launch as small and useful as possible. Hiding the list will keep it out of the view all site content keeping this uncluttered as well. To hide a list open it in SharePoint designer and set the Hidden attribute

It is also a good idea to arrange a specific location for such look up type lists. Placing them in a high level site of the site collection allow them to be easily used from all child sites.

I described this here with SharePoint 2007 but it still applies equally to SharePoint 2010.

Simply define your look up column as a site column in the root site and to a list in the root site and you will be able to use it in any child site. The list can be maintained in one place.

External Data

Frequently however look up data already exists in external systems that can be accessed by web services or directly from a database.

SharePoint 2010’s business connectivity services can be used to hook up such data into the SharePoint environment. Depending on your particular needs this can be achieved with SharePoint Designer or for more advanced scenarios by using Visual Studio

Aspects of Business Connectivity Services are covered in many of our SharePoint 2010 Courses including

David Severn

 

Getting Started with SharePoint: It’s Not Just a Product


At our Introductory SharePoint courses for SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2010 I often meet attendees who are completely new to SharePoint. I like to ask the class what they know already, what they have heard and what is of most concern to them. Many will be expected to carry out some newly learnt tasks as soon as they return to work. For the people who are completely new the response to what have they heard already is frequently similar to this:  “It will make us better at collaborating at work, it will automate current manual processes.” For the next question, “What is of most concern?”, answers range from, “It’s a huge learning curve,” to “It’s a complex product,” to “I have so little time to learn all the things my manager wants me to do.”

SharePoint is here to help

Firstly it will help you collaborate and implement business processes. The key thing here is that it will help you but you need to set these things up. This leads neatly into the response to the second question (“It’s a massive product”). It is massive and complex but SharePoint isn’t simply a product that you install and start using. SharePoint is an impressive framework upon which is built many components. Some of which can be used pretty much out of the box such as basic team site with lists and libraries to get you started through to Business Intelligence services which can display incredibly meaningful dashboards.

Study is required

To get the best out of SharePoint you have to invest your time in some study. There are lots of books and resources on the internet as well as training courses. If you are thinking about using SharePoint for your company then allow for some serious study time as part of you overall implementation plan. Gord has blogged about why SharePoint sucks and in my view those who think it sucks are looking at it in the wrong way. If you expect it to be a simple product then it will suck if you accept it’s a starting point that can help you achieve great things with little or no traditional development then it shines.

It must be used

One thing I stress during training and initial consultancy engagements with new SharePoint users is the need to actually start using it. Even if you start simply you will get a feel for the SharePoint way of doing things. There are several patterns to working within the browser on a SharePoint site , within the site and within list and libraries.

Simple Steps

One way is to start by using a calendar and synchronising it with Outlook. Assuming you have access to site that has calendar, start using the calendar.

Another way is to create a simple to-do list. You can use the built-in tasks list, or if that seems too complex, consider creating a sipl custom list named To Do.

Use it as is to record things that you have to remember. Add a date time type column named Required By and a choice column named category with choices such as Work, Home, and Family, etc.

These columns allow you to enter values that can be used in a variety of ways. This is also known as metadata. Start adding some items to the list and you are already using SharePoint. As you use it ideas for enhancements will occur such as creating a view of Work only items and items that are complete which will prompt you into creating a new column of type yes/no called Complete.

Evolution

Over time the simple to-do list may become a key part of your personal time management strategy and along the way you will have gained lots of useful techniques for making better use of SharePoint which can be applied to many kinds of solutions. However before you start creating lots of custom lists ensure that you review what you get out of the box as there maybe functionality that already does what you need. This can be quite time consuming even with a good book to guide you so if you are going to use SharePoint a lot then a good training course may pay for itself. Especially if an instructor with real world experience is available for example see here to guide you towards things that are relevant to your particular needs.

What did we do?

If you create such a list as that mentioned above take a step back and consider what you have done and what SharePoint has provided for you.

You brought the idea and need together with knowledge of how to create a useful and practical list that can be enhanced over time. SharePoint provided the tools to allow you to achieve this. You see it’s not just a simple product that you use out of the box it is so much better than that.

This is the kind of subject matter that is covered with in the first day and a half of our introductory training courses. With another two and half days material it should be obvious that this is just the beginning. We’ll see how to move on from here in future posts.

David Severn

SharePoint 2010: More Than a Year Already


SharePoint in the past year

Since SharePoint 2010 was released I have been working on various projects and will start to share some of my experiences and suggestions over the coming months. During this time Learning Tree produced a number of new courses ranging from basic usage to Enterprise Application development in addition to the SharePoint 2007 courses which are still very popular. Why so many courses ?

Both Business and Technical SharePoint Skills Are Needed

The skills taught on these courses are required because of the complexity of both versions of SharePoint. They are powerful products but without proper planning a poor implementation can result in less than desired results. The starting point is to decide why you want to use SharePoint. Concentrate on the business value and work forward from there. There are so many features that it can be difficult to know where to start so good requirements definitions will be essential.

Preferably start with a simple project. Maybe a training planning site complete with a calendar for dates when you are attending our courses. J

The suggestions I posted here still make sense and hopefully will help you get started.

Use a Guide

Guidance from someone who has been through this process of planning and designing SharePoint sites may be another good way to start – for example, someone like an experienced Learning Tree Instructor. SharePoint is a large and complex product. Any advice that helps reduce your project’s delivery time is worth considering.

Flexibility is the Key

In the light of your own experience if you find that the early sites you create aren’t quite what you want then you can easily make changes and move things around until you arrive at a better solution. SharePoint is great in this regard, as it’s flexible, and when you are ready you can easily save your site as a re-usable template. If you need more guidance, Learning Tree offers a variety of SharePoint courses to choose from.

Review and Learn

As you make changes it’s worth documenting what you have done and why so that you can review these later and assess what has worked and what hasn’t over time. An iterative process will normally result in a better solution than trying to plan everything up front. As your experience grows these documents will also help you move in to tackle the bigger projects such as public facing web portals, Enterprise search environments, and Business intelligence dashboards.

User Feedback

Use WIKI’s, Surveys, and discussion forums to get real-world feedback from your users and then implement the changes that make sense.

Give It a Go

In reality it’s unlikely that you will have all the possible skills you need before you need to use them and certainly with the increasing responsibilities I.T. departments face, time will also be lacking. The important thing is to make a start. So carry out as much planning as you can but don’t get stuck in endless requirements sessions and re-designs without making a start.

Create a simple test server within a virtual machine and experiment. As your confidence grows start planning for a more serious production installation.

For now making use of tools found within in SharePoint and using basic governance will allow you to build SharePoint outwards and reap business rewards rather than letting it spiral out of control.

Dave

SharePoint 2010 Pilot course done but never finished!


We finished the SharePoint pilot course with great reviews from the attendees.

On the final day we hit a couple of glitches with excel services which is the web based way of viewing and manipulating Excel spreadsheets. Fortunately most people were able to complete the practical work and see it in action.

There was a lot of material covered in the four days and no matter how well presented, which it was, it can be tough to take it all in. The main thing is to try and apply the knowledge gained as soon after the course as possible.

The next part of the course development is where Dux has to modify the notes and exercises based on the attendees comments and fix any problems we found. In addition to that in this case he has to rebuild the loads for the machines with the release version of SharePoint as soon as it becomes available. Even then the course is never really finished. It will continue to evolve based on the feedback we get from attendees and instructors. Hope you can be a part of that by attending a class soon.  Our next sessions are starting in June in the Washington DC area with other dates to follow in New York, Toronto & Chicago.  For other dates, please visit our North American and UK schedule.  As well, most sessions are also available remotely via Learning Tree AnyWare.

David Severn

Half Way Through the SharePoint 2010 Pilot Course


Two days in to the pilot!  Attendees have filled out detailed evaluation forms at the end of each day and we then review these to see how we an improve the course – final adjustments to make it even better.  We are lucky in that we have a group of enthusiastic people who are giving us the feedback.  So far we have found a couple of places where we need some extra course notes.  Dux talked for a while about taxonomy design and got some great questions as a result of this.  Unfortunately we don’t have much in the notes about this so these need to be created.  Another area is that of content types, a really important area in SharePoint.  Our challenge with each of these subjects is how detailed to make the material since this is an introductory course.

A few slides with screenshots have colors that were a little unclear on the classroom screens.  These will be changed to have greater contrast.

Another area we will increase is that of post exercise class discussions whereby we get great ideas and comments  to share during the course.  Apart from a few other minor mistakes we are in good shape and that’s not my view it’s the view of the class !

David Severn

The SharePoint 2010 Pilot Starts Tomorrow


Tomorrow is the day we start to find out about our new SharePoint 2010 course. No matter what we think of it, the ultimate judges are the attendees.

Today we set up the classroom and carried out the final tests. We had a few  small glitches which we fixed and now we are ready. I will be sitting at the back of the class making notes. At the end of each day our attendees fill out a detailed evaluation form. After this Karen, Dux and I review these with a view to identifying any areas of the course that need adjustment.

We are looking forward to sharing the results!

David Severn


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