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Solution Development at the Speed of SharePoint

Posted by Andy Campbell on Fri, Sep 30, 2011 @ 17:09 PM
In a meeting the other day, an experienced senior officer told a group of his colleagues that he'd just been through the fastest software development experience in his career. What he could have also said is that the majority of the solution was created by his own staff, who had been trained to do exactly that.
 
His office needed a document clearance tracking system to manage executive correspondence. The whole effort took about a month, and about 90 percent of that time was taken in clarifying the processes for clearance, not the software configuration. Total incremental cost for the system? About $10,000.
 
Equally as important, because the solution was designed and developed by the professional staff who have to use it, the risks of implementation drop dramatically. Moreover, it is being implemented in an organization of slightly over 20,000 people where 19,000 are registered SharePoint users. Yes, the proficiency is uneven, but the overall SharePoint literacy is far higher than it is in comparable organizations.
 
Bottom line - when properly implemented SharePoint is a capability that creates a core shift in the ability of an organization to innovate and collaborate.
 
~Andy
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Topics: SharePoint, Collaboration, Federal, executive correspondence, correspondence tracking, innovation, document clearance

How to Move a SharePoint 2007 Site

Posted by Cynthia Miller on Mon, Sep 26, 2011 @ 12:09 PM

Individual SharePoint sites can be copied to a new location on the same server or to a different SharePoint server using the export/import flags in the STSADM utility. To run the STSADM command you must be a member of the local Administrators group on the SharePoint server.

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Topics: stsadm, export, import, moving SharePoint sites

Add a FaceBook LikeBox to a SharePoint 2010 Web Part Page

Posted by Janetra Meyers on Thu, Sep 15, 2011 @ 14:09 PM

Add a FaceBook LikeBox to a SharePoint 2010 Web Part Page 

1. Navigate to the is URL, http://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/plugins/like-box/

2. Type in the URL of the FaceBook Profile in the entry box

3. Type in the desired width - The changes are instantly viewable in the Preview Pane

4. Click on the 'Get Code' Button

5. Select the code in the pop up and copy it

6. Open up a blank text file, and create an empty HTML page

<html>
<head>
<title></title>
</head>
<body>

</body>
</html>

7. Paste the code from the pop up in Step 5 in between the BODY tags

8. Save the HTML file to the hard drive

9. Open up a SharePoint 2010 Web Part Page

10. Add a Content Editor Web Part to the page

11. Upload the HTML file from Step 8 into a SharePoint Document Library

12. Copy the link to the uploaded HTML page

13. Paste the link into the URL entry box for the Content Editor in Step 10 (Edit the Web Part)

14. Click 'OK'

15. The LikeBox is viewable on the Web Part Page

 

 

~Janetra

 

 

 

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Topics: SharePoint, Facebook, Plugin, Social, LikeBox

SharePoint Designer 2010 Workflows - the Define Workflow Lookup Dialog box

Posted by Sue Hernandez on Tue, Sep 13, 2011 @ 13:09 PM

The “Define Workflow Lookup” dialog is one of the most potentially confusing dialog boxes while using Workflows in SharePoint Designer 2010. It is used, for example, when you are comparing any value to any value in a condition, doing a variable or list lookup to set a variable's value, or after a Task operation to copy or compare the values resultant from that task.

This dialog works very much like a SQL Select statement:

SELECT [Assigned To] FROM Tasks WHERE Tasks.ID = 2

Let’s go through the different parts of this dialog.

Data Source

There are several choices you can use for the first dropdown box in the “Define Workflow Lookup” dialog. Using our SQL Statement analogy, these are like the tables that you choose from:

SELECT [Assigned To] FROM Tasks WHERE Tasks.ID = 2

  • Current Item
    This choice allows you to retrieve values from the columns in the list you’re running the workflow on, and specifically on the very item that the workflow is currently running on. Selecting this choice will keep the dialog short and only ask you for the field you want to return, and how to return the field.
  • Workflow Variables and Parameters
    If you have any Initiation Parameters or Variables in which you have data stored, this is where you would retrieve that information. . Selecting this choice will keep the dialog short and only ask you for the parameter or variable you want to return, and how to return it.
  • Workflow Context
    This choice allows you to choose Association information about the workflow, such as who associated the workflow with the list, and whether to start the workflow on Item Creation or Item Change. You can also choose some information about the workflow, such as when it was last run, who the current user is, or what the URL is to the item or to the Workflow Status page. Selecting this choice will keep the dialog short and only ask you for the field you want to return, and how to return the field.
  • Association: History List
    This choice allows you to retrieve information from the item’s workflow history by looking directly into the Workflow History list associated with that workflow. Selecting this choice will expand the dialog and make you choose which item you want in that list by specifying a field and value to use to search for the right item.
  • Association: Task List
    This choice allows you to retrieve information from the Task list associated with that workflow. For example if you used the “Collect Data from a User” action, that would have created a task for a user; you then look at the associated Task list to retrieve that data after. Selecting this choice will expand the dialog and make you choose which item you want in that list by specifying a field and value to use to search for the right item.
  • Current List
    This choice allows you to retrieve information from the current list that you’re running the workflow on, but from an item other than the one you’re running the workflow on (Current Item). Selecting this choice will expand the dialog and make you choose which item you want in that list by specifying a field and value to use to search for the right item.
  • User Profiles
    This choice allows you to retrieve information in a user’s profile; for example, if you wanted to find a manager’s manager. Selecting this choice will expand the dialog and make you choose which person you want by specifying an Account Name (only).
  • [Other Lists and Libraries in your site]
    This choice allows you to retrieve information from any list in the same site where you’re running the workflow. Selecting this choice will expand the dialog and make you choose which item you want in that list by specifying a field and value to use to search for the right item.

Field From Source

This second dropdown in the “Define Workflow Lookup” dialog is simply the choice of the field (or parameter or variable) that you want to get from the source you chose in the first dropdown. This Field (or parameter or variable) is what is used as the return value. Using our SQL analogy, this is the field that you selected:

SELECT [Assigned To] FROM Tasks WHERE Tasks.ID = 2

Return Field As

This third dropdown is very often disabled. However I have seen it enabled, for instance, when you choose a field that represents a person. In that case you can choose to return the person in the following manners:

  • As String (comes through as ID Number and then User Name – ex: 116;#Susan Hernandez)
  • Display Name
  • Email Address
  • Login Name
  • User Id Number

Find the List Item / Field

The first dropdown in the bottom section is the field from the source you chose above that you want to use to filter out exactly which item to retrieve. In our SQL analogy, it is the field immediately after the WHERE statement:

SELECT [Assigned To] FROM Tasks WHERE Tasks.ID = 2

Find the List Item / Value

The last text box (or sometimes dropdown) is where you choose or type in the value that you want to find from the field you chose immediately above (Find the List Item / Field). Note that you can press the button to use yet another lookup to find the value to use. In the SQL analogy, it is the value that you are comparing to in the WHERE statement:

SELECT [Assigned To] FROM Tasks WHERE Tasks.ID = 2

 

~Sue

 

 

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Topics: SharePoint Designer 2010, Workflow

Search CNN using Bing from a SharePoint 2010 Web Part Page

Posted by Janetra Meyers on Mon, Sep 12, 2011 @ 08:09 AM

Search CNN using Bing from a SharePoint 2010 Web Part Page

Very easy to implement:
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Topics: Search, SharePoint Web Part Page, Content Editor Web Part, Bing

How to Find a Person Quickly in the All People View

Posted by Sue Hernandez on Fri, Sep 9, 2011 @ 09:09 AM
If you go to many large site collections, you may see pages upon pages of people in your All People view.
 
This view is important, as it allows a user to be managed at the Site Collection level, by a Site Collection Administrator.  This is also helpful if you want to see if a user has an Email address associated with their profile, in that specific site collection (assuming the administrator has added E-mail to the view display).
 
If you have too many people, and you need to find someone, simply use the Filtering capability of the List View.
 
 
As in the picture above, hover over the dropdown that is to the right of the column which you wish to filter on (usually Email or Name).  Click Show Filter Choices.
 
You will then see a long list of names.  When you're looking for the person in mind, keep in mind they could be listed as the following different formats:
  • User Display Name
  • DOMAIN\UserName
So don't forget to search in both places in the alphabet to find your user.
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Topics: Permissions, People and Groups

AKG & The Cherry Blossom Breast Cancer Foundation- Fundraising News!

Posted by Caeli Aiken on Thu, Sep 8, 2011 @ 12:09 PM

As a sponsor of the October 9th, 2011 Cherry Blossom Breast Cancer Foundation Run/ Walks,  AKG  is proud to announce that we have raised over $5,800 of additional funds for these events!!

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Topics: Cherry Blossom Breast Cancer Foundation, Community Outreach

How to add Email Address to your Groups and All People Views

Posted by Sue Hernandez on Thu, Sep 8, 2011 @ 08:09 AM
You may sometimes experience problems with Workflows not sending emails if a user's Active Directory account is missing an email address at the time that the user is added to a Site.  That will mean that the user profile information in that Site Collection is without an email address.
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Topics: Workflow, Permissions, People and Groups

Congratulations to Susan Hanley for winning AKG's iPad2 with a Tweet!

Posted by Ariella Beard on Wed, Sep 7, 2011 @ 14:09 PM

Thank you to all of our Twitter contest participants!

Congratulations to our Lucky iPad2 and Gift Card Winner Susan Hanley @SusanHanley on Twitter!

Make sure to Follow AKGSHAREPOINT on Twitter for best practices, technical SharePoint tips and tricks, and quality opinions from certified SharePoint experts! Also keep an eye out for future contests and prizes by following us on Twitter!

~Ariella

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Topics: Twitter, iPad 2, AKG contest

How to Publish a SharePoint Blog from an existing Word 2007 Document

Posted by Cynthia Miller on Wed, Sep 7, 2011 @ 10:09 AM
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Topics: sharepoint blog, Word 2007, blog post template

AKG’s Susan Hernandez Presents “Advanced SharePoint Designer 2010 Workflows” at the SPUG of DC this Thursday!

Posted by Lindsay O'Bannon on Tue, Sep 6, 2011 @ 14:09 PM

Join AKG’s Susan Hernandez this Thursday as she presents  “Advanced SharePoint Designer 2010 Workflows” at the SharePoint Users Group (SPUG) of DC Monthly Meeting!

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Topics: SharePoint Designer 2010, Advanced, Workflows, SPUGDC

Solution Development at the Speed of SharePoint

Posted by Andy Campbell on Mon, Sep 5, 2011 @ 10:09 AM
In a meeting yesterday, an experienced senior officer told a group of his colleagues that he'd just been through the fastest software development experience in his career. What he could have also said is that the majority of the solution was created by his own staff, who had been trained to do exactly that.
Read More

Topics: SharePoint, Collaboration, Federal, executive correspondence, correspondence tracking, innovation, document clearance

SharePoint 2010 Workflow Basics - Other Workflow Concepts (Part 3 of 3)

Posted by Sue Hernandez on Fri, Sep 2, 2011 @ 09:09 AM

Other Workflow Concepts

Using SharePoint designer 2010 introduces new functionality you didn’t have in 2007, as well as using some of the same terminology, such as the action of Publishing, or the terms Steps, Conditions, and Actions.

Save vs. Publish

When you save a workflow, you are saving it in draft state, where you can come back to it later, but your users will not be able to use the workflow on the sites.  To use a completed workflow on the site, you simply press the Publish button to make it live.

The workflow will check itself for errors, save the workflow, create any necessary forms needed for the workflow, and then finally publish it to the site.

Else-If Branch

The term Condition as used in SharePoint Designer workflows is like the programming term of an IF statement.  The Else-If branch works just the way it does in programming – it provides a second set of conditions to match against.  For example, to switch logic based on the color chosen, you might enter the following:

If field ‘Color’ equals ‘Red’
     // Perform some actions
Else If field ‘Color’ equals ‘Blue’
     // Perform some actions
Else
     // Perform actions that hit any other color other than Red or Blue

With Else-If branches, you don’t have to use the same comparator twice – i.e. you don’t have to compare different values to the same field:

If field ‘Sub Total’ is greater than or equal to ‘500.00’
     // Perform some actions
Else If field ‘Shipping and Handling’ is greater than ’25.00’
     // Perform some actions
Else
     // Perform actions that hit any other condition than the ones stated

Parallel Block

By default, when you add actions and conditions to the workflow, they are run one after another – in serial.  However, you can use a Parallel Block if you want conditions and actions to run at the same time.

You would use this functionality when you don’t wish for the operation to pause the workflow – for example, when assigning a task.

Impersonation Step

Impersonation Steps are placed in the workflow in the same way that you would place regular steps.  They have conditions and actions within, just the same.  However, the actions within the Impersonation steps will run as if it were the identity of the user who authored the workflow.

CAUTION:  Using this feature gives the users of the workflow rights they wouldn’t normally have.  They may be able to add list items to a list they don’t have rights to, for example.  Use with extreme care.

There are some actions, as you’ve already seen, that only run under the elevated privileges of the Impersonation Step.

Publishing Globally

If you have full control permission at the top-level site on which you are working, you can choose to publish a workflow globally.  Publishing globally places the workflow into the Global workflows catalog, making it reusable on every site within the site collection.

Initiation Form Parameters

There might be times when you wish to ask your user for information that isn’t stored anywhere, or to have your user choose from among several options presented to them, both of which will determine the course of the workflow.  Initiation Forms and their parameters allow you to query the user for that information.

When you click on the Initiation button, you are given the choice to add one or more parameters that are questions you are asking your users.  For each parameter you wish to have, you will type in the name of the parameter, you will choose the type of field it should be (i.e. Text, Number, Date, etc.), and the default value, if any.  You also specify whether each parameter will be allowed to have nothing filled in (“Allow blank values”).

The form that is used to present the questions to the user is automatically created when you publish the form.  If you are running SharePoint Server 2010, then all of the forms that are automatically generated are using InfoPath 2010.  The forms are then later customizable in InfoPath.

Local Variables

Variables give you a place to store values, such as storing information to pass between steps, holding interim calculations, holding item IDs of items you create, etc.  Information held in variables are accessed in the workflow in the same manner that initiation form parameters are accessed – the difference between the two are that variables are internal and not exposed to the users.

You can choose from among the following data types for your variables:

  • Boolean
  • Date/Time
  • Integer
  • List Item ID
  • Number
  • String

Association Columns

Columns (i.e. fields) called association columns can be declared within reusable workflows.  When the workflow is deployed to a list or library, the association columns get added to that list or library as well.

Start Options

The start options are found in the Workflow General Settings page, which can be reached by pressing the Workflow Settings button on the Ribbon.  Start options give you three choices:

  • Whether or not you wish to allow users to start the workflow manually
  • Whether or not to start the workflow automatically every time a new item is created
  • Whether or not to start the workflow automatically every time an item is edited.

Keep in mind, that when you set the workflow to automatically start, no Initiation Form is presented to the user, and if you have any initiation parameters they are set to their default values.

~Sue


 

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Topics: SharePoint Designer, SharePoint, SharePoint 2010, SharePoint Designer 2010, Workflow

SharePoint 2010 Workflow Basics - Actions (Part 2 of 3)

Posted by Sue Hernandez on Thu, Sep 1, 2011 @ 10:09 AM

Workflow Basics – Actions

Steps, Conditions, and Actions are the building blocks for any workflow using SharePoint Designer 2010. 

Actions

Actions represent some processing you want to happen, such as Sending an Email, Checking in an Item, or Collecting Data from a User.

Actions can be run in parallel (performed at the same time) using a Parallel Block.

Actions are broken up into the following categories:

  • Core Actions
    • Mostly manipulation of a particular piece of information such as a variable or list field.
  • List Actions
    • Work on an entire list item at one time.
  • Task Actions
    • Manipulate the associated Tasks list and pauses the workflow until complete.
  • Document Set Actions
    • Work on complete document sets all at once.
  • Utility Actions
    • Let you perform functions such as working with string values.
  • Relational Actions
    • Includes one action – finding a user’s manager.

Core Actions

Action

Description

New in 2010?

Add a Comment

Does not actually do anything – this allows you to place comments to describe what it is you’re doing in that area

Yes

Add Time to Date

Allows for addition or subtraction of Minutes, Hours, Days, Months, or Years to a Date field.

No

Do Calculation

Allows for simple arithmetic functions such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and determining a remainder on two values in the workflow.

No

Log to History List

Enables you to write items to the hidden History List – is very useful for showing where you are in a workflow process.  Use often.

No

Pause for Duration

Causes the workflow to wait a specified amount of time* before proceeding to the next action.

No

Pause Until Date

Causes the workflow to wait until a specified date and time* before proceeding to the next action.

No

Send an Email

Sends an HTML email to a user or set of users.

No

Send Document to Repository

Sends the document to another repository – for example another document library in a different site collection that functions as an archive.

Yes

Set Time Portion of Date/Time Field

Overrides the time portion of a Date/Time lookup value.  It leaves the Date the same but changes the time, and stores the result in a new variable.

No

Set Workflow Variable

Directly sets the value of a variable or Initiation Form Field.

No

Set Workflow Status

Sets the status of the workflow to Canceled, Approved, Rejected, or a custom status you define.

Yes

Stop Workflow

Stops the execution of the workflow immediately.

No


* The timer job that runs this usually runs every 5 minutes by default.  You will not get a precise amount of time, but rather that constitutes a minimum amount of time.

List Actions

Action

Description

New in 2010?

Add List Item Permissions*

Specify Users and/or Groups and give them a specific level of permissions on any item in the site.

Yes

Check In Item

Checks in and sets Check In Comment.

No

Check Out Item

Locks an item to the person who performs action (Checks Out the document).

No

Copy List Item

Copies items between two compatible types of lists (i.e. doc lib to doc lib).

No

Create List Item

Creates a new item in any list in the site and returns the ID of the new list item into a variable.

No

Declare Record

Declares the current item as a record, which (depending on settings) will protect the record from being edited or deleted.

Yes

Delete Drafts

Deletes all minor versions (drafts) from the current item.

Yes

Delete Item

Removes the specified item from the list or library.

No

Delete Previous Versions

Deletes all versions that are not the current version of the item.

Yes

Discard Check Out Item

Undoes the check-out and reverts back to the state it was in before being checked out.

No

Inherit List Item Parent Permissions*

Inherit the permissions of the item’s immediate parent.

Yes

Remove List Item Permissions*

Specify Users and/or Groups and remove a specific level of permissions to any item on the site.

Yes

Replace List Item Permissions*

Replace the permission level of the specified item on the site.

Yes

Set Content Approval Status

Changes the status of the content approval of the current item and sets the comment.

No

Set Field in Current Item

Sets the value of the specified field to either a hard-coded value or a lookup value.

No

Undeclare Record

Undeclare the current item as a record – makes the item behave as any other items in the list or library.

Yes

Update List Item

Enables you to change the fields of an existing item in the site.

No

Wait for Change in Document Check Out Status

Waits for the document to be in a certain checkout state, such as Checked Out, Checked in, Unlocked by document editor, or Discarded.

Yes

Wait for Field change in Current Item

Pauses the workflow until a field in the current item matches a particular condition.

No


* Only available within an Impersonation Step.

Task Actions

Action

Description

New in 2010?

Assign a Form to a Group

Lets you create a survey that everyone in a group must complete before the workflow continues to the next action.

No

Assign a To-do Item

Creates a standard task that must be completed before the workflow continues to the next action.

No

Collect Data from a User

Lets you query a single user with custom fields which the user must complete before the workflow continues to the next action.  The ID of the task created is assigned to a workflow variable.

No

Start Approval Process

An entire tasking process based on the built-in Approval workflow template.  This intense action allows you to define various pieces of the process using the Task Process Designer.

Yes

Start Custom Task Process

Similar to the Start Approval Process action, this however lets you define the process from scratch.

Yes

Start Feedback Process

An entire tasking process based on the built-in Collect Feedback workflow template.  This intense action allows you to define various pieces of the process using the Task Process Designer.

Yes


Utility Actions

Action

Description

New in 2010?

Extract Substring from End of String

Copies the specified number of characters from the end of a string and saves the result in a new variable.

Yes

Extract Substring from Index of String

Copies a part of the string from a certain place within the string and saves the result in a new variable.

Yes

Extract Substring from Start of String

Copies the specified number of characters from the start of a string and saves the result in a new variable.

Yes

Extract Substring of String from Index with Length

Copies a part of the string from a certain place with a certain length within the string and saves the result in a new variable.

Yes

Find Interval Between Dates

Determines an interval in Hours, Minutes, or Days, between two dates and saves the result in a new variable.

Yes


Relational Actions

Action

Description

New in 2010?

Look up a Manager of a User

Retrieves the manager of the specified user from the User Profile database.

Yes

 

Document Set Actions

Action

Description

New in 2010?

Capture a Version of the Document Set

Creates a new version for the Document Set.

Yes

Send Document Set to Repository

Sends the document set to another repository – for example a document library in another site collection.

Yes

Set Content Approval Status for the Document Set

Changes the content approval status and sets a comment.

Yes

Start Document Set Approval Process

An entire tasking process based on the built-in Approval workflow template, which works on an entire Document Set.  This intense action allows you to define various pieces of the process using the Task Process Designer.

Yes

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Topics: SharePoint Designer, SharePoint, SharePoint 2010, SharePoint Designer 2010, Workflow