Blog

Dec 14
On Demand: SharePoint in 2017

​​Just passing this on.  Dux Raymond Sy, who now works at AvePoint, has been producing some really good content.  Here are a couple of on-demand sessions about what's ahead for SharePoint in 2017:

What’s Next for SharePoint in 2017 with Microsoft’s Mark Kashman [Video Interview]

(14 Minutes)

Welcome back to another episode of Dux Quax as we recap all the goodness that Microsoft brought in 2016 and look forward to what’s next for SharePoint in 2017.

With the release of SharePoint 2016, the addition of SharePoint Integration with PowerApps and Microsoft Flow, and now with the announcement of SharePoint Feature Pack 1, there has been a tidal wave of SharePoint news this year! What better way to make sense of all the hype and to find out what’s next for SharePoint in 2017, than to sit down with Mark Kashman, Senior Product Manager on the SharePoint Marketing Team at Microsoft?

Talking SharePoint 2016 & SharePoint Roadmap In 2017 with Microsoft’s Adam Harmetz

(11 Minutes)

Hi, ya’ll! Welcome back to another episode of Dux Quax as we recap all the goodness that Microsoft brought in 2016 and look forward to what’s coming on the SharePoint roadmap in 2017.

We’re very excited to bring you more exclusive interviews from Microsoft HQ in Redmond! In this episode, we catch up with Adam Harmetz, Group Program Manager for the SharePoint Team at Microsoft and discuss what happened in 2016 and what’s next on the SharePoint roadmap.

Jul 26
What to Do When Internet Explorer 11 Crashes Loading SharePoint Page

I began having this problem a few months ago, where I would go to certain SharePoint sites (usually SharePoint Online) using Internet Explorer 11, and it would abruptly crash.  IE would try to recover, twice, then give up and leave the page unloaded. 

Going to the same page with Firefox, Chrome, or Edge, the page loads fine without error. 

Finally I narrowed it down.  The IE "appcrash" raises an event in the Windows Application Log.  The failing component was a DLL (ucrtbase.dll).  This is a client-side issue; the error does not occur on the SharePoint server (i.e. in SharePoint Online you won't get an error page with correlation ID).

Here's the error, for reference:  

Log Name:      Application

Source:        Windows Error Reporting

Date:          7/19/2016 2:58:35 PM

Event ID:      1001

Task Category: None

Level:         Information

Keywords:      Classic

User:          N/A

Computer:      <your client hostname>

Description:

Fault bucket 116204039757, type 5

Event Name: BEX

Response: Not available

Cab Id: 0

 

Problem signature:

P1: IEXPLORE.EXE

P2: 11.0.10586.494

P3: 5775e39f

P4: ucrtbase.dll

P5: 10.0.10586.0

P6: 5632d166

P7: 0008468b

P8: c0000409

P9: 00000007

P10:

 

I googled "ucrtbase.dll" and found a forum post where people were talking about it.  Turns out this has to do with the Calendar App/webpart, which doesn't get along with an add-on called "SharePoint Export Database Launcher" (although I've seen it crash on pages that don't have a calendar web part). 

There are two approaches to fixing it: Do a full "Repair" on your Office 2013/2016, or else go into Internet Explorer Add-Ons and disable the "SharePoint Export Database Launcher" add-on.  I did the repair, but it didn't fix it.  But then I disabled the add-on and that did the trick. 

This isn't really a fix, just a workaround.  I'm not really sure what the add-on is supposed to do, but it's got a pretty nasty bug. 

Note that "SharePoint Export Database Launcher" is a hidden add-on for IE11. You must change Show: Currently loaded add-ons to Show: All add-ons from there you can attempt to disable it.

Jun 08
AKSPUG is Going on Hiatus in July 2016

Hi All, 

Greg Burns here.  After the meeting on 6/8/16, we are going to take a break for a while.  The reason is that I am moving to Washington state in July.  My mother is ill, and I'd like to be close to her.  My employer is being cool about it, so I will be relocating to the Seattle office near the beginning of July.

No, this doesn't mean the end of AKSPUG; I'm perfectly capable of running the group from there (and I'll hopefully be traveling back and forth to Alaska whenever needed).  I'll continue to help organize; I can record meetings and post to YouTube, write blog posts, give help to whoever asks, and help people get in touch with each other.  

But it does mean we might be transitioning to a virtual group, unless someone else is interested in hosting meetings.  We will get it figured out, one way or another, within a few months.  In the meantime, enjoy the summer!

Make no mistake, my passion is still with the Alaska SharePoint community.  There are over a hundred AKSPUG members from all walks of life, from casual users to admins and developers.  And we will continue to bring you news, learning, support, and community events for as long as SharePoint is still a thing.  

Thanks, 

Greg Burns, akspug@gmail.com

President, Alaska SharePoint User Group

Jun 08
6-8-16: K2 Platform Advanced Forms and Workflows with Oleg Kuzmin

Topic for the June 2016 meeting:

K2 Platform: Advanced Forms and Workflows to Build Business Apps in SharePoint and Beyond

This month, AKSPUG welcomes Oleg Kuzmin from K2, who will be speaking about Advanced Forms and Workflows using the K2 platform.

We are hosting this meeting as an evening "SharePint" event, and it will be held at Lone Star restaurant in their Alamo room. Food is available to be ordered (at your own expense).  

This event has ended.  Watch Now on YouTube!

Abstract:

K2 business apps help you streamline processes — expense claims, customer onboarding, travel authorizations or any other process you use at work. They connect people, data and systems to drive substantial time savings and offer full traceability on every process. Bring products to market faster, gain critical approvals quickly, meet regulatory and compliance demands with full confidence. K2 enables you to build apps the way you want, with components like forms and workflow.

For additional information please see the following links:

Anatomy of a K2 Business App: http://www.k2.com/platform/business-process-improvement-apps

K2 for SharePoint: http://www.k2.com/sharepoint-workflow

K2 Technical Features: http://www.k2.com/downloads/k2-technical-features


 

Speaker: Oleg Kuzmin, K2

Oleg Kuzmin is a technical specialist with K2. He works as part of the sales team supporting Pacific Northwest states (Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana).

Prior to joining K2, Oleg worked as a service design engineer and project manager on several contracts with Microsoft (SharePoint Online Dedicated and the internal Service Engineering teams). His exposure to SharePoint started during his 4-year stay in Calgary, Canada where he worked as an IT consultant on multiple enterprise content management (ECM) and business process automation (BPA) projects for Canadian oil & gas companies.

Oleg lived in Anchorage for 13 years, some of the IT solutions he worked on are still in use in the native corporations in town and on the North Slope.

 

Watch Now on YouTube!

 
Jun 07
Remote Desktop Session Obscured by Black Boxes

This is unrelated to SharePoint, but I thought I'd share it here anyway because it took me a long time to track down the answer.

Recently I noticed that, when in a Remote Desktop window, large sections of the screen would be obscured by big black artifacts. I don't have a screenshot to share, but it was driving me crazy. 

It always seemed to obscure inactive areas of the screen, so I figured it was something to do with caching or bandwidth preservation.  The problem seemed to be affecting Microsoft's Remote Desktop Connection Manager, but not the built in Windows Remote Desktop client (MSTSC.exe).

I did some research and found a setting right in the Experience options for the MSTSC client: "Persistent Bitmap Caching":

If you uncheck that, the problem goes away for MSTSC sessions. 

But if you're using Remote Desktop Connection Manager, there is no Persistent Bitmap setting, so no way to disable it.  I found a blog post that explained you have to go to the cache folder for RDCM, and manually delete the cache files. 

Go here:
C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Terminal Server Client\Cache

…and delete all files.  I did this, and it cleared right up. 

 

This was good news for me because I found it very irritating and I thought it might be due to some recent driver update that snuck in via Windows Update.  I still don't know what might have triggered this but at least now I have a workaround.  And so do you.

 

Jun 07
Troubleshooting the Drop-off Library

I worked with an Office 365 customer on a problem with the SharePoint Online Drop-Off Library not correctly routing documents.  We were able to resolve the issue via a workaround. 

Background:

The SharePoint Drop Off library is a custom "Content Organizer" library that allows users to save to a single location and documents will automatically be routed to other locations in the site collection.  When saving a document, users are prompted to provide additional information, e.g. company name.  The Drop Off Library has a set of rules that will move the document to the correct library and subfolder based on these metadata. 

 

Problem:

  • When a user creates or uploads a document manually to the Drop Off Library via the website, the document is correctly routed to the correct library and subfolder.
  • When a user creates a document using Office 2013 desktop application and saves it to the Drop Off Library, the document is routed to the correct library but is not saved to the correct subfolder.  Instead it will be moved to an arbitrary subfolder: the first alphabetical name it finds (e.g. instead of moving to the "Contoso" folder, it would be moved to "AdventureWorks" instead). 

 

Reproducible:

Yes.

 

Isolation:

  • We determined that the problem lay in one of the metadata fields associated with the content type used by the Drop Off Library.  This is a lookup field that is pulling its values from a SharePoint list elsewhere on the site. 
  • When saving the document to the Drop Off Library, in the Office 2013 desktop app, the Document Information Panel is shown to the user, prompting them to enter required metadata. 
  • For some reason, when the Office desktop app is used to select a value from this dropdown, it is incorrectly saved to the Drop Off Library.  My guess is that it's saving both the ID and the Name properties in a delimited string, which the Content Organizer rule isn't parsing properly. But that's a guess.

 

Cause:

This is probably a bug.

 

Workaround:

  • We switched to using a Managed Metadata term set instead of a SharePoint List, and added a Managed Metadata field to the custom content type.  Although this type of field isn't compatible with older versions of Office (i.e. 2007 and below) the customer confirmed they're all using Office 2013 so it should not be a problem.  
  • After making these changes, we were able to create and save a document from Excel 2013, saved to the Drop Off Library, set the value in the Managed Metadata field, and have it successfully route to the correct subfolder in the destination library.
May 19
More Licensing Info About SharePoint and Project Server

​In a previous post (Some Licensing Info for SharePoint 2016) I covered some of the then-current info about SharePoint 2016 and speculated about how Project Server would be licensed.  But what I didn't know: Project Server installation files are included with SharePoint 2016 binaries.  Since Project Server is no longer a seperate product, does it require a seperate license?

I think I can put that to rest.  Yes, Project Server has an additional cost.  To activate Project Server, you have to run a PowerShell command to install a product key.  You have to pay a base license plus any user CALs. 

Per Microsoft:

Project solutions for on-premises are available through Microsoft Volume Licensing. Project Server 2016 is licensed using a Server/CAL (Client Access License) model. PPM solutions require a Project Server 2016 license for each running instance of the software, and CALs are required for each person or device accessing a Project Server. Learn more about Project Server licensing here.
  • Project Server 2016 helps organizations get started, prioritize project portfolio investments and deliver the intended business value.
  • Project Server CAL 2016 is required for each user or device accessing Project Server 2016.
  • Project Professional 2016 enables you to collaborate with others to easily start and deliver winning projects.
    • Project Pro 2016 Includes a Project Server 2016 CAL.
  • Project Standard 2016 enables you to keep projects organized and on track.
If you are purchasing fewer than five copies of Project Professional 2016 or Project Standard 2016, you may purchase them through resellers and retailers, such as the Microsoft Store.
 
General Terms and Conditions: Your use of Project is governed by your license with Microsoft. For licenses acquired through Volume Licensing, the terms and conditions for how you can use the software are defined in the Product Use Rights (PUR) and the Product List documents. For copies of Project purchased through retailers, you must accept the End User License Agreement.

Ref: https://products.office.com/en-US/project/microsoft-project-licensing

I did some playing around with the Microsoft Licensing Advisor and came up with some numbers.  I make no guarantees about accuracy, but this is a public tool provided by Microsoft so I have to assume the numbers are legitimate. 

To implement Project Server, you need SharePoint Enterprise, which also requires SQL Server.   Then each user needs a Project Server CAL and SharePoint Standard and Enterprise CALs, which are "stacked", i.e. you need all of them. 

Here is a very rough estimate assuming a corporate customer using Open License and Software Assurance for all products. 

  • SQL Server 2014 Standard (Core Edition), with 4 cores: (2 x $5,378 = $10,756.00)
    • This allows unlimited users on a single OSE. 
  • SharePoint Server Enterprise License ($10,197.00 each)
    • This is the base SharePoint server install
  • Project Server License ($8,497.00 each)
    • This is the base Project Server install, which enables the Project Server service app
  • SharePoint Standard CAL ($184.00 each)
    • This entitles user to access Standard features in farm, such as Search
  • SharePoint Enterprise CAL ($162.00 each)
    • This entitles user to access Enterprise features in farm, such as PerformancePoint
  • Project Server CAL ($329.00 each)
    • This entitles user to access Project Server features, such as PWA
    • Note: if you own Microsoft Project Pro 2016, this counts as a "device" CAL, so you'd be covered.

So the bare minimum you could expect for all the servers and CALs you'd need to for Project Server (and one user) would be around $30,125.00.  

Disclaimer: whenever you think you know Microsoft Licensing, you're probably wrong.  I strongly recommend you work with someone who knows all the ins and outs of licensing.  I'm sure there are lots of deals and programs that bring that price down quite a bit for some customers.  But I think I'm in the ballpark. 

Comparison between SP 2013 and SP 2016

I put together a comparison spreadsheet of all the on-prem editions of SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint 2016, as of 5-19-2016.  Click here to download.  It's the same info as this page from Microsoft, but mine uses conditional formatting so it's easier to compare. 

May 19
What Microsoft means when they say "Zero-Downtime" Patching

​Whenever I'm rattling off the list of features in SharePoint 2016, few things cause an IT guy's eyes to light up like the prospect of "zero-downtime" patching.  I mean, the name says it all, right?  Finally a system you can patch without scheduling an outage!  With SharePoint 2013 in particular, these outages can be fairly extensive unless you take some steps to mitigate it.  So, yay!  Right?

Mmmmmaybe. 

I discovered early on, testing in my lab, that "zero-downtime" doesn't apply to all scenarios.  You have to have a redundant architecture for this to work.  So if you have a single-server farm, a SharePoint patch will still take everything down.  True, the process has been improved, so it won't be down for as long, but the downtime is not zero.  What Microsoft expects is that you have:

  • Redundant Web Front End servers, configured with a load balancer
  • Redundant App servers for each role
  • Redundant SQL instances

 

More info here!

SharePoint Server 2016 Zero-Downtime Patching demystified

Install a software update for SharePoint Server 2016

May 17
What's Coming for SharePoint Online and SharePoint 2016

SharePoint features are being overhauled in SharePoint Online and SharePoint 2016.  These changes should be rolling out, starting this quarter and throughout the year.  If you are using Office 365 and want to get a taste before anyone else does, you will want to enable "First Release" to see these changes show up.  (Even so, I haven't seen any of the new stuff yet).    Periodically, features added to SharePoint Online will be distributed to SharePoint 2016 via downloadable "Feature Packs". 

 

Here's some light reading for your Tuesday morning!

 

Blogs:

SharePoint MVP Benjamin Niaulin gives us a friendly overview of what's coming in these blog posts:

 

Office Team:

A little more detail, lots of Microsoft-ese

 

Office 365 Roadmap (SharePoint-related items)

Drink from the firehose!

 

Launched

  • Office 365 Video - Choose Your Own Thumbnail
    • It will be possible to select one of several auto-generated thumbnails to represent your video. Thumbnails come from throughout your video. You, too, will be able to manually upload your own graphic image to represent a video.
  • Office 365 Video - Upload your own subtitle files
    • We'll support uploading subtitle files in the webvtt format. You can upload a different subtitle file per different language. We'll also do work to attribute the text in the subtitle file back to the original video so you can find videos from enterprise search based off what's said in the video.

 

Rolling Out

  • SharePoint Online - modern document library experience
    • This document library update builds on the core value people have come to depend on for years, adding a new user experience and capabilities, designed to bring consistency for working on files throughout Office 365 while maintaining the full power of SharePoint document libraries. "Pin to top" helps increase visibility and discoverability for important items. You, too, can "add a link" to bring an item that is located outside the document library. To help you find and manage items, you can sort and filter columns, plus new, real time full-text search results appear directly in the document library experience, plus quick, inline metadata management. And finally, when the team needs to bring in files from OneDrive for Business, or publish files between document libraries, users can click Move to and Copy to move and copy files when they are needed in other locations across Office 365, without generating unnecessary versions of the same files.

 

In Development

  • Excel Online improvements
    • Support editing and refreshing of workbooks containing Power Views and inserting PivotTables.
  • Office 365 Video - Owner and People Metadata
    • Beyond title and description, Office 365 Video will now track and display who uploaded the video initially. You, too, can associate various people who are in the video to enhance the discoverability of the video and highlight main speakers. This not only provides visual feedback on the player page, it also helps feed an additional layer of information to the Office Graph to inform other people about new content close to relevant people in their network.
  • SharePoint API partial file upload support
    • This feature will allow large files to be uploaded through the use of our SharePoint APIs in chunks. This will allow the files to be uploaded in multiple transactions to avoid timeouts and provide more reliability to your large file uploads.
  • SharePoint home in Office 365
    • The new SharePoint home page web experience enables you to easily get to, find and discover important sites and portals throughout your intranet – online, on-premises and everything in-between. Today, many Office 365 users use the "Sites" page – the 4th most clicked tile in the Office 365 app launcher.  We are modernizing this experience and transforming it into a true home for SharePoint. What was the 'Sites' page is now the 'SharePoint home' and the "Sites" tile becomes the "SharePoint" tile - same logo, redesigned for a modern, responsive user experience. Clicking into the SharePoint Home displays the recent sites and portals you are most active in and following, recommended sites per the Office Graph, plus company-wide sites promoted by your company. From the SharePoint home, you, too, can create new sites - simple and fast. We've made huge improvements in the time it takes to create a site (targeting seconds to create), the flow & integrated value so that it naturally leads to the creation of an Office 365 Group in Azure Activity Directory (AAD), as well as establishing compliance controls for site classification.
  • SharePoint mobile app for iOS           
    • Your intranet in your pocket, spanning Office 365 and on-premises SharePoint. The new SharePoint mobile app enables access to sites, portals, documents, lists, people and beyond – all stored and managed in SharePoint and SharePoint Online. You can also have multiple accounts, and can easily switch between them. This new app is infused with intelligence from the Office Graph to help you navigate more quickly and smarter to sites, content and people that matter to you the most. The Sites tab takes you to your Sites, Recent sites and Followed sites where you can keep up with site activity, navigate using quick launch, or see recent files. The Links tab takes you to sites and portals programmed for everyone in the company. And a People tab, giving you access to the people you work with and visibility into what they are working on. And Search is available throughout with clean results filtered by sites, files and people. The SharePoint mobile app comes first to iOS, followed by versions for Windows and Android in H2 CY 2016.
  • SharePoint Online – Client-side Web Part for Existing SharePoint Pages
    • Enabling client-side web parts that take full advantage of the SharePoint ecosystem, but are developed by using client-side JavaScript based templating technologies. We will first ship this set of client-side web parts: image / image carousel, embedded video, ListView, document hook); this will be able to included in pages built with the new SharePoint Framework.
  • SharePoint Online - modern lists experience
    • Over the years, customers use Lists for everything from tracking engineering bugs to managing event sessions or even to cataloging the t-shirt sizes of everyone on a team; a key tool for sharing data and building lightweight processes. The core of value and power of Lists goes unchanged. This update to SharePoint Online Lists brings a new user experience, aligned to the look and feel to new modern document libraries experience. You'll first notice an updated top quick actions for commonly used Lists tasks. Lists, too, then become much more mobile friendly via modern mobile browser across devices, and a great experience when navigating Lists via the new SharePoint mobile app.
  • SharePoint Online - SharePoint Framework 
    • A new user experience (UX) development framework for SharePoint Online that consists of JavaScript libraries and modern REST endpoints that enable 1st and 3rd party developers to create client-side applications on top of SharePoint sites. These applications use JavaScript templeting framework (e.g. REACT / Angular) and interact with the site through Modern REST APIs to build beautiful experiences such as List Views, Team Site Capabilities (e.g. Video Portal) etc..
  • SharePoint Online - Site activity and insights on the Site Contents page
    • The SharePoint Online 'Site contents' page is being redesigned to help site owners, members, and visitors understand the activities occurring within the site, provide visibility on top-viewed content, a site map, and site tips. Think of this as site-level activities and analytics. The new Site contents page provides clear access to add lists, document libraries, subsites and apps. There, too, are now quick buttons to access common actions and deeper site settings, plus you have the ability to return to "Classic SharePoint" which maintains access to previous "Site Contents" user interface.
  • SharePoint Online – Webhooks on SharePoint Document Libraries
    • Unlock the Webhooks development scenario through the Microsoft Graph. These WebHooks set of APIs allow developers to get notified with changes from SharePoint lists and document libraries in a performant and reliable way.
  • Sites Tile Page Update - Recent and Suggested Sites
    • The Sites page, when a user clicks on the "Sites" tile in the app launcher, will get improvements. There will be a new section on the page called "Recent sites" - giving you a list of Office 365 sites you've recently visited, plus an update to the query that drives the "Suggested sites" section of the page; this now will leverage the Office Graph to provide a great level of relevancy to the sites being suggested to users.
  • User Activity Reports
    • User activity reports will allow you to audit SharePoint and OneDrive for Business user actions such as views, edits, deletes, downloaded files, and sharing of files. These reports will be available in the Compliance Center.

 

Previously Released

  • 1 TB for OneDrive for Business
  • Customizable SharePoint Online navigation bar
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP) in SharePoint Online
  • DLP in SharePoint - Policy Management
  • Document deletion policies for OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online
  • First Release: Select People support for SharePoint & OneDrive for Business
  • MDM for OneDrive for Business
  • ODATA v4 support for SharePoint Online APIs
  • Office 365 Groups : files improvements
  • Office 365 Groups Notebook
  • Office 365 Groups: files quota management
  • Office 365 Video - Channel Recycle Bin
  • Office 365 Video - Deploy in US Government zone (GCC) & China datacenters
  • Office 365 Video - Improved upload experience
  • Office 365 Video - Insert video from SharePoint edit page ribbon
  • Office 365 Video - Video Viewer Statistics
  • Office 365 Video - Yammer settings per channel
  • OneDrive for Business Sync for Mac
  • OneNote Class Notebook Creator
  • REST API Batching for Apps for SharePoint
  • SharePoint CSOM API improvements
  • SharePoint Online encryption at rest
  • SharePoint Online storage usage model
  • SharePoint Online uses Exchange Web Services to send mail
  • SharePoint Online will start to transition to using TLS to send email securely in our datacenters
  • Site folders in OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online document libraries
  • Smart Search for OneDrive for Business
  • Storage and file upload improvements for Sites and OneDrive for Business
  • Touch Design Enhancements for SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business
  • Unlimited external sharing in SharePoint Online

 

Have an opinion? 

Discuss this topic on the AKSPUG Google Group!

Mar 16
Why Office Online Server is "Essential"

​A couple of interesting posts from the Microsoft Product Line Architecture (PLA) Team, and RedmondMag.com:

PLA Blog: Why Office Online Server is Essential

RedmonMag.Com:  Office Online Server Deemed 'Essential' for SharePoint 2016

Basically, it comes to this: since Excel Calculation Services has moved out of SharePoint and into Office Online Server, you'll need to run both in order to enjoy the full BI capabilities of SharePoint.

Why the move?  RedmondMag.com writes:

Microsoft's PLA team explained one of the reasons for the switch, which has to do with enabling document rights management protections:

Excel Services in SharePoint Server 2013 provided a way to interact with workbooks with data models in a browser, refresh them, work with Power View in a browser as well as PivotCharts, PivotTables and calculated fields. But, you could not create or edit a workbook from the browser or view it if it had rights management applied. For that, you needed Excel Web App and you had to make a choice of which to use.

Note that OOS is still in preview, with no release date announced.

 

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