Everyone Has a Story to Tell

This post is co-written with Jim Bob Howard and you can see more of his content at www.connectorman.com

Wait. Before you read on, watch this…

Obvious to You; Amazing to Others

You have solved issues in a way that no one else has, maybe in a way that no one else could have. And chances are, there’s someone trying to solve an issue that your experience can help.

What are the top 10 tips you’ve learned from others that you can pass along to someone new?

When it comes to SharePoint, we work with a malleable tool that can serve businesses in many ways. No single person knows all the ways. It doesn’t matter how long other people have worked with SharePoint, they still don’t know everything, nor have experience with everything.

What projects have you tackled in SharePoint? Did you succeed? What did you learn?
How did you break SharePoint? Why do you hate SharePoint?

Sometimes the best teaching topic is what not to do. Thomas Edison is attributed with saying that he didn’t succeed in succeed in finding one way to make a light bulb, until he succeeded in finding nine thousand nine hundred ninety-nine ways not to make a light bulb.

Do you have a client or co-worker who could co-present with you about how you solved their issues?

When you finally overcome an issue that takes a lot of trial and error, it’s tempting to Just. Be. Done. And move on. But learning from your mistakes is just as important as learning from your successes.

Do you have a success story for how SharePoint is being used in your organization?

Maybe what you’re working one has already been accomplished. Maybe someone in your audience has done something similar to what you’re trying to do.

Do you have a project that you’re wondering if it can be done?
What are the things you WISH you could do in SharePoint?

Not everyone gets the shiny new toys as soon as they hit the market. Some of us drive old cars, have shoes older than our children, and still use a flip phone, because… well, they WORK!

Are you still on 2010 with no plans to move because it does #AllTheThings you need? 2007? 2003?

SharePoint Saturday is For Sharing

If you’ve read this far and you feel like make you do have something to offer your fellow SharePoint sufferers, please submit a topic for SharePoint Saturday Nashville. You’re among friends. You’re among cohorts. You may just make someone’s day!

How to Submit

You don’t have to have your talk completely planned out and written to submit to speak. You just need a paragraph about what you want to talk about. We call that an abstract.

Your abstract should consist of your subject and three or more sentences that would appeal to your desired audience. Look at other abstracts listed on SPSEvents.org for ideas on how to communicate what you want to present. Click on any city and then “Sessions” to read what others have written. Or follow this formula: What (are you going to talk about), How (are you going to show your topic), Why (is this important to you).

Write a Bio

Make it funny, or interesting, or promotional, but not boring. 150 words should suffice. Tell us about your non-SharePoint life, your family, and/or your hobbies.

How to Prepare to Speak

Practice – at home, lunch and learn at work, at your local user group. No one feels 100% prepared before they speak each time. That’s OK, the people who come to your session want you to do well. They’re for you; that’s why they chose your session.

Still not sure of your topic?

Here’s the list of topic for the last three SharePoint Saturdays in March. If the title strikes you as something you could do, go to the session page for that event and read the abstract for ideas on the topic. It’s absolutely OK for you to present in Nashville what someone else presented elsewhere!

A combination of SharePoint and CRM to ensure atomic transactions (Travel Agency example)
A Deep Dive into Power Apps – apps for the enterprise by the enterprise.
Always Be Releasing – Continuous Deployment With Visual Studio Team Services and Azure
An IT Pro and a developer walk into a bar – SharePoint Search happy hour
Azure Mobile App with a SharePoint backend
Become a ALM in Microsoft Office 365 App Development Ninja. Enter into the ALM for Office 365 Dojo!
CRM online & Office 365 from a business and IT perspective
Dynamics CRM – What is it, what is happening now and in the future?
Enabling Directory Synchronization and ADFS for Office 365
The New Hybrid Reality: Have the Microsoft Cloud and On Premises your way
Make your SharePoint 2013/2016 fly by tuning & optimizing SQL Server”: what every SharePoint consultant should know (lessons learned)
Making SharePoint Governance work for Businesses, IT and Users
Microsoft BI demystified : should we go for SharePoint 2016 BI or for PowerBI v2?
Monitor SharePoint usage and performance using Application Insights
OneDrive 101, what it is, what it should be for and not for.
Prepare for SharePoint 2016 – IT Pro best practices for managing your SharePoint farms
SharePoint 2016 The future is Hybrid, what you need to know about it
SharePoint and Dynamics CRM: A match made in heaven?
Sponsor (Metalogix) session: 3 Considerations When Moving to SharePoint Online
Sponsor (Nintex) session: Extending your workflows to the cloud and beyond
Sponsor (AvePoint) session: Hybrid SharePoint – What you need to know for your business security
Sponsor (Pointwork A/S) session: SharePoint Development Retrospective
The challenges of implementing document management in Office 365
-> From <http://www.spsevents.org/city/Copenhagen/Copenhagen2016/sessions>

A hacker’s dream: A recent study shows two-thirds of SharePoint users have no security policy !!
A new intranet for Goldcorp: Balancing corporate and local needs to create a connected, personalized employee experience.
Activating Governance for End Users in Office 365 and SharePoint 2013
Building an effective SharePoint team. What skills do you need?
Building on the Microsoft Graph: 0 – App in 60 minutes
Get started with building native mobile apps interacting with SharePoint
How To Decide: When To Use What In Office 365
Introduction to AngularJS in an Office 365 context
Lessons Learned from Designing Award Winning Portals
Moving the Cheese: Migrations to Office 365 and Upgrades On-Prem
Navigating the Evolving Social Capabilities in SharePoint and Office 365
Playing Outside Your Sandbox. Interacting with other systems using SharePoint BCS
Power BI V2: What you need to know!
Practical Strategies for SharePoint and Responsive Web Design
Secure SharePoint access with Azure Multi-Factor Authentication
SharePoint & The Road Ahead: SharePoint 2016 & Office 365
SharePoint 2013 Production Farm Best Practices
The importance of metadata in your company
The Power of search in SharePoint 2013
The Shopping Cart Story: A Vehicle for Six SharePoint Tricks
Thinking LEGO: Mastering the Art of SharePoint DMS Implementation
Troubleshooting On-Premises SharePoint
-> From <http://www.spsevents.org/city/Vancouver/2016/sessions>

Architect Search in SharePoint 2013/2016 to match your organization’s needs.
Catch the No Code Wave!
Content Management Using the Power of Search
Developing your own Query Magic in SharePoint Search
Effective Information Governance in SharePoint and Office 365 Environments
Establishing a Collaboration Roadmap
From Intranet to Digital Workplace: Creating Unique Employee Engagement & Collaboration Experiences with Office 365
Fun with SPA in SharePoint
Getting Started with Office 365 development
Integrating Azure Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics with SharePoint
Intro to Visual Web Parts
Introduction to Developing Solutions with Visual Studio and the Office 365 REST APIs
Migrating to SharePoint 2016 or Office 365 ! Why? What? How?
Nintex: Bring Out Your Inner Dev
No Governance as Usual
Office 365: Attack of the Clones!
PowerApps 101
Setting up SharePoint 2016 Environment on MS Azure Infrastructure Services
SharePoint 2016 Jump Start
SharePoint Designer Workflows: Nuts, Bolts & Examples
SharePoint Development With JavaScript
Spice up Your Forms and Views: Deep Dive into Client Side Rendering
Success as an Office 365 SharePoint Online Administrator
Tailor. Engage. Empower – Redesign the way work gets done – with SharePoint 2016 and Office 365
Taking User Profiles to New Heights!
Tales and Best Practices of Intranet Development on SharePoint and Office 365 Platforms
The Essentials of SharePoint Disaster Recovery Planning
The Road to Awesome SharePoint Adoption in Your Organization
The Value of Tribal Knowledge and Strategies to Increase Adoption
Tips in migrating to SharePoint On-Premise or O365, to avoid a migration headache.
To the cloud! Running SharePoint on Azure IaaS
-> From <http://www.spsevents.org/city/ChicagoSuburbs/March2016/sessions>

SharePoint 2010 Workflows on a SharePoint 2016 Farm

[This is a quick post – it will be updated with more information soon]

During a recent client meeting, I was asked if SharePoint 2010 version workflows, developed on a SharePoint Server 2013 farm, will continue to work if the server farm is upgraded to 2016. SharePoint Server 2016 has not been released at the time of this writing, but we do have the Release Candidate to test with, so I went about testing.

On a SharePoint Server 2013 farm (version ​15.0.4719.1002, which is SP1 with May 2015 CU) I created a SharePoint 2010 version workflow and associated it with a document library. I took a SQL backup of the content database and restored it as a database named Site_SP13_to_SP16RC.

On the SharePoint Server 2016 Release Candidate (RC) machine, I ran the Test-SPContentDatabase PowerShell cmdlet to check the database for any issues that might be encountered during the upgrade.

Test-SPContentDatabase 2016 RC on SharePoint 2013 Database
Test-SPContentDatabase 2016 RC on SharePoint 2013 Database
The cmdlet ended without even a peep – which is a good sign. So, I performed the upgrade and it ran without error.

Mount-SPContentDatabase 2016 RC on SharePoint 2013 Database
Mount-SPContentDatabase 2016 RC on SharePoint 2013 Database
I loaded the newly upgraded site and was greeted by an old friend…

Working On It
Working On It
…and he (Working on it) stayed a while. It took several minutes for my simple team site to become available.

The website loaded and it was ‘wonderful’ ha! (see site name).

SharePoint 2013 Site Upgraded to 2016 RC
SharePoint 2013 Site Upgraded to 2016 RC
The workflow I created on the SharePoint 2013 farm is configured to kickoff when the document is modified or a new document is added. So, I simply changed the title of the Test document that was already in the library. The workflow successfully started and did assign a task as it should. However, I noticed something on the workflows screen for the document – within the Completed Workflows section, the history of the workflow when it ran on the 2013 farm was listed. This isn’t a huge surprise, but it is really nice to see that the history is there after upgrading!

Workflow History SharePoint 2016 RC
Workflow History SharePoint 2016 RC
In summary, a SharePoint 2010 workflow (a very simple one in this case) created on a SharePoint Server 2013 site, will continue to work when upgraded to a SharePoint 2016 RC farm via database attach.

Upgrade SharePoint 2010 to 2016 Release Candidate

It is a frequent question – can I skip a SharePoint version when upgrading? For example can I do a direct upgrade from SharePoint Server 2007 to 2013? The answer is no, you can’t without having to use a migration product – which isn’t really “upgrading.” The path to upgrade SharePoint 2007 to 2013 includes an upgrade to SharePoint 2010 first.

In March of 2015, Bill Baer, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Microsoft, asked if there was any demand for skipping ahead when doing a SharePoint upgrade (a.k.a. N-2 upgrade).

My response was similar to many other SharePoint administrators and architects: Yes! Absolutely!

I recently decided to give it a shot – upgrade a SharePoint 2010 site collection via database upgrade to SharePoint Server 2016 Release Candidate (RC). As of this post’s writing, SharePoint 2016 has not been released to production (RTM), but since we have been told the RC is close to the what will be delivered in RTM, it would be a good trial.

I installed Service Pack 2 and the December 2015 CU to my 2010 farm and after the typical issues, I was ready to go.

I took a backup of the 2010 content database and restored it as a new database appropriately named SP10_to_SP16RC_Content. On my SharePoint 2016 RC server, I performed a Test-SPContentDatabase Powershell call on the database.

Test-SPContentDatabase SharePoint 2016 RC
Test-SPContentDatabase SharePoint 2016 RC

The result:

Test-SPContentDatabase 2016 RC on SharePoint 2010 Database
Test-SPContentDatabase 2016 RC on SharePoint 2010 Database

Lots of red text! It appears the test failed when seeing a table column name ‘PlaformVersion’. So, from this, we can gather that the upgrade will fail. Just to confirm, I went ahead with the upgrade.

Mount-SPContentDatabase 2016 RC on SharePoint 2010 Database
Mount-SPContentDatabase 2016 RC on SharePoint 2010 Database

SharePoint Server 2016 Release Candidate will not upgrade a SharePoint 2010 database via the database attach method. The database version required, as noted in the error message, is 15.0.4420.1017 – that’s SharePoint 2013 RTM. To upgrade to 2016 RC, you will need to first upgrade the 2010 database to 2013, then you will be able to go to 2016 RC.

Change Your Ways – Stop Using Folders in SharePoint Libraries

[This is a quick post that will be updated with more information later]

One indicator of how how mature an organization is with their SharePoint management and usage is if folders are often/always used in document libraries. This is a practice learned when using file shares and then migrated into SharePoint sites either by simply copying data straight from those shares or by users not knowing of a better way.

Thankfully, there is a better way! Using SharePoint columns, we can offer the same document organization but with added benefits of filtering, grouping, and sorting all documents in a library. Let’s look at an example of how this can be a benefit for you and your file organization. Let’s say I have my documents organized in folders in the following way:

Folders Hierarchy
Sample File Share Folder Structure

In the above example, the Shared Documents library is organized with two main folders: Clients and Suppliers. Under each folder, there are files and more folders – in this example the folders are Company names. As it happens, the same company, Company 1, is a Client and a Supplier. How would I find all contracts for the year 2015? I would have to look within each Company folder within both Clients and Suppliers. What if I wanted to see all contracts for Company 1? I would need to navigate down through Clients -> Company 1 -> Contracts -> 2015, go back and look in the 2016 folder, then go to to the Suppliers -> Company 1 -> Contracts -> 2015 folder, then go back and look in the 2016 folder. Hopefully, you can see this folder structure limits my ability to group documents in different ways without modifying the folder structure. A better way to organize the document library could be to put all the documents in the root of the library and then create metadata columns allowing the user to select Company Name, Type of Document, Year, etc.

Let’s look at a simple example of what a reorganization would look like with another group of documents.

SharePoint Document Library with Folders
SharePoint Document Library with Folders

This document library has documents in the root and within folders. For this simple example (using IE 11 and a Windows 10 computer), there is only one level of folder hierarchy, but there could be many more. If we create one library metadata column called Document Type, we can take the files out of the folders and assign the same data as the folder names.

First step in this process is to create the library column. Open the document library in Internet Explorer 11 and click the Settings button within the Library ribbon.

Document Library Settings Button
Document Library Settings Button

Next click the Create column link in the middle of the Library settings page.

Document Library Columns
Document Library Columns

Name the column Document Type and select the type to be Choice. Give the column a description if  you want, and then in the choices box type each folder name (in order that you want them to appear) on its own line. Click the OK button to save your column.

Column Choice Box
Column Choice Box

Go back to your Document Library using the breadcrumb navigation at the top of the page.

You should now see the new column to the right of your document list. The next step is to assign the Document Type to the documents. We will do this step before removing the documents from the folders so we can easily see what choice to make on each document. One way to do this is to use the Quick Edit view of the library.

The files in the root of the library will not get a Document Type in this example because they were not in a folder. You can easily go back and add an option for those if you would like – you would edit the Document Type column in the library settings.

Step 1: open one of the folders – first up in this example is Calendars.

Step 2: select the Quick Edit button on the Library ribbon.

Quick Edit on Library Ribbon
Quick Edit on Library Ribbon

Step 3: for each file, select Calendars in the Document Type column. Remember: Copy and Paste is your friend!

Step 4: once all the documents have been updated, click the View button in the Library ribbon.

Step 5: using the breadcrumb navigation, go back to the root of your document library (select the Browse link in the ribbon to see the breadcrumbs).

Repeat the steps until you have all the documents updated with the proper Document Type.

Open the document library in Explorer view by selecting the Open with Explorer button on the Library ribbon.

Open With Explorer
Open With Explorer

Within Explorer, go into each folder, and cut (using the Ctrl+x shortcut) the document. Navigate back to the root of the library in Explorer and paste the documents (using the Ctrl+v shortcut). Once that is complete, you can close the Explorer window. Reload the document library in the browser and you should now see all your documents listed with the right Document Type. Last step to the reorganization is to delete the folders!

Now you will be able to sort, filter, and group your documents more effectively. Protip: you can create shortcuts to your sorted, filtered, and grouped views. This will give your users a quick link to view that can answer the questions asked in the first example at the beginning of this post.

Files organized using folders within SharePoint document libraries is not only inefficient, but it can also cause technical issues that I will possibly cover in the future.