SharePoint 2013 App Model- A weapon for SharePoint developers

With the release of SharePoint 2010, people started clamoring for app stores. Considering the requests, when SharePoint 2013 was released, it included app stores as well. Broadly, the store is of two varieties- public which is the primary store marketed by Microsoft and corporate which is a locked down, local store. For the apps, there are three broad categories:

custom SharePoint development, SharePoint development services, SharePoint site branding expertsAuto hosted- Auto hosted apps run on SharePoint Online and Office 365. It contains server-side components.

SharePoint hosted- This app does not have any server-side components. Everything that is needed for the functioning like libraries, lists, etc are deployed within SharePoint environment.

Provider hosted- These apps have server side components and they are contained usually within ASP.NET applications to which separate environments must be provided for hosting them. SharePoint 2013 App Model serves as a great weapon for SharePoint developers due to the multitude of advantages that is offered to mainly the users. Administrators and third parties also reap benefits with their usage.

Use of popular languages, technologies and programming model- Web acts as a platform for apps since the building process is same for both. In fact the development process is the same for any kind of device- whether computers, mobile phones or tablets, making you more productive as well as efficient. Any language such as JavaScript, .NET, PHP, HTML can be used in conjunction with any web development tool. The logic, user interface and data can be distributed in separate components so your needs may be fitted.

Cloud App Model- A Cloud App Model has been introduced, enabling the creation of apps. By virtue of the model, the apps are easy to use, install, upgrade, manage as well as remove. This can be used by hosted, cloud-based as well as on-premises environments, thus offering you a variety of options for hosting the app. Your very own web stack can be chosen as well.

Isolated apps- This feature is perfect for those people who worry about security. Here, isolation is used by the app model so that the app can be separated from main domain. Apps are deployed in their domain to their website, which protects further from unauthorized access to sensitive data. By virtue of this, on-premises environments that want to utilize Public SharePoint Store can be adopted; in fact, it helps drive the adoption process. They cannot offer total security but they do protect from certain breaches.

Familiar but flexible web experience- SharePoint websites and apps have same user experience but they are a lot more flexible, fitting seamlessly into SharePoint websites in various ways like as webpage’s part, as full-page immersive experience and custom actions of UI by extension of menus and ribbons.

App integration for Office- SharePoint Applicationss can be integrated with Office apps that are based on Office 2013’s web-based extensibility model. SharePoint Apps may be Office 2013 document template’s part.

Application lifecycle- The app lifecycle here is very user-friendly, with users being able to add as well as update apps by their selves. Additionally, when an update to app is released by a developer, users get notification about the existing update and accordingly they can decide whether and when the upgrading may be done. If the user does not want to use the app, then they can simply uninstall the app’s instance along with all related data getting deleted by that.

SharePoint apps are loved by users as they are offered easy ways for addition of new functionality to the entire system used by them. For the system administrators, control is the biggest advantage that they get. Operating topically managed locked-down store allows them to offer additional functionality to their users with full belief in the pre-approved apps. Central store indicates best use of advertising as well as marketing efforts for the third parties. In each case, it is a win-win situation. Great scope is offered for future development as well as growth which will no doubt attract developers, opening up several possibilities. Custom SharePoint development teams can help you build projects within allocated budgets and time schedules.

We provide SharePoint development services. If you would like to talk to one of our certified SharePoint site branding experts, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

Solid tips for improving your SharePoint team site homepage

When creating SharePoint team site, a home page is created which can be modified so that it meets the needs of the team better as well as looks great. The looking good aspect is also related to usability as a site must not compromise on user-friendly aspect when it is modified. The website can display announcements, calender items, tasks, etc or may be added with images or texts. To make any kind of changes to the site you have to be logged as a user with the necessary permissions for editing or modification of the pages. This means that the person must belong to the Members group of the site.

Some tips for better site

custom sharepoint development, sharepoint 2010 development, hire sharepoint developerWhile designing new websites the top navigation should be consistent as well as concise. The navigation which is also known as global navigation should include something around top 5 elements which will be most essential for your needs along with usage. Some good examples are links to subsites or pages. In fact, navigation inheritance should be used from parent site unless it is a private site and it must be totally isolated. The links should not exceed nine as it will appear to be too confusing as well as cluttered.

Right or left scrolling should be avoided anyhow. Consistently scrolling back and forth for viewing or reading the website’s contents can prove to be very frustrating for users. Extra wide parts can be moved into footer or header zones. While designing the website the varying screen resolutions should be kept in mind. Mostly in offices, the resolutions are set at 1280 x 1024 pixels while some laptops are wider so it should be tested in narrow windows to check if its working correctly or not.

The navigation at left could and must be changed according to your position at the website. The position is relative and top level sites can have links to calenders, discussion boards, custom lists, etc. The hyperlinks must be configured properly. You can force the links to open in new windows which will keep the main site open in background; users can easily return there simply by minimizing or closing the window.

The home page should be such that it catches attention as well as conveys meaning or purpose of the site. It is difficult but not impossible. For that you have to keep the content uncluttered and succinct. Important information should be placed “above the fold” or in the space of content which can be seen on screen before having to scroll down. Since screen resolutions of different browsers are different the placement can be tricky. Colors or effects and images should be effectively used so that attention is drawn to main content. Do not be too gaudy and use too many colors, text sizes and fonts.

How to edit

To edit or modify the home page you have to browse home page; click Page tab located in Ribbon which will display editing options. Click Edit and do all the changes that you want. Now the cursor needs to be placed anywhere inside the page body’s rectangular boxes and the content can be edited and applied. Even styles can be applied. After that save the changes by clicking “Stop Editing”.

If you want to add links, web parts, images or tables to the home page then you have to follow these instructions:

  • Click Edit button as mentioned previously to start the editing process.
  • The Ribbon has an Insert tab which should be clicked. Place the cursor where the item needs to be inserted from Ribbon. The cursor should be inside the rectangular box in the body of the page.
  • Click on the item that you want to add- whether it be table, web part, hyperlinks or image and select their variety accordingly.
  • Click Edit; choose Stop Editing and your changes will be saved.

Remember that when a visitor enters the site it should be able to answer questions like what, why, what the site has and what can it give to the user. When you do custom sharepoint development, you get exactly the right thing which you precisely need.

We provide SharePoint 2010 development services. We have expert SharePoint team with 100% certification ratio. To hire SharePoint developer from us, please reach out to us at Mindfire Solutions.

Top 6 Benefits of MS SharePoint Services for Document Management

Despite being launched by Microsoft as a web development platform, SharePoint is widely used by enterprises to manage their records, documents and content. The latest version of SharePoint also comes with a set of innovative features that enable businesses to work with distributed teams. An organization can use these features to build websites and intranet sites to completely manage documents and share information with the members of its distribute team, along with generating a variety of reports to facilitate decision makers. If you are yet to migrate to SharePoint 2013, it is time to understand some of the significant benefits of MS SharePoint Services for document management.

6 Reasons Why Microsoft SharePoint Services for Document Management

custom sharepoint development, sharepoint application development, hire sharepoint developer1) Improved Productivity of Team: SharePoint 2013 comes with a set of simple yet effective collaborative tools to connect all members of a distributed team. These features also enable users to access required information and business resources at once. Along with organizing documents and getting important notification, the users can further use the collaborative tools to coordinate calendars and build team workspaces. The platform also comes with innovative features to create wikis and blogs. At the same time, the offline synchronization capabilities make it easier for users to access information on their mobile devices.

2) Easy to Maintain Content Integrity: While adding, updating and modifying documents professional find it a daunting task to maintain the integrity of content. The enhanced document management features of SharePoint make it simpler for users to maintain the integrity of content and documents stored on team sites. In addition to seeing revisions to documents and restoring the previous versions, a user also has option to activate relevant document checking options before editing the content. The document-level and item-level security features further contribute towards maintaining integrity of document.

3) Quick and Simple Navigation: Each user wants to access the information he needs in an instant. It is also essential for a content management system to allow users to navigate the team sites at their own pace. The Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 comes with improved menus and views. The features make it simpler for users to navigate among and within SharePoint sites. At the same time, they also have option to integrate the productivity tools in Microsoft Office system to access the document more quickly. While working within Microsoft Office system files, they can still access the SharePoint features to create sites along with adding, editing and modifying documents.

4) Customized Solutions to Boost Business Processes: Most organizations opt for content management systems that can be customized according to their business processes and specific needs. The simple and easy-to-use features of SharePoint enable enterprises to seamlessly migrate to the new platform. At the same time, an enterprise also has option to deploy custom Windows SharePoint Services by using a set of application templates. As the application templates are designed to perform specific tasks and complement particular business processes, the customized solution can be developed and deployed without requiring any extra time.

5) Easy Storage and Recovery of Documents: Microsoft has further designed Windows SharePoint Services with improved features to store and retrieve the documents and business data. The document management system is designed with features lie custom metadata, version history, check-in or check-out functionality, and customizable views. Also, it includes a completely revamped recycle bin functionality that enables users to recover the content easily, along with optimizing backup and restoration.

6) Complete Security for Business Information: While enabling its employees to access business information at their own pace, an organization must optimize the security of information resources. The administrative controls provided by Windows SharePoint Service help enterprises in securing their information without investing additional funds. The features further reduce the complexity associated with site management, provisioning and support. Along with setting permission at document or item level, an organization can use the features to manage storage limits, site lifecycle, site membership and permissions.

On the whole, many organizations migrate to SharePoint document management services to deliver user experience that is familiar, simple and consistent. The platform is also effective in simplifying how the members of a distributed team interact with documents, content and business data. Also, an organization can avail its broad capabilities to create customized websites, intranets, content management systems and similar tools that can be used to take better decisions. Custom SharePoint development teams can help you build projects within allocated budgets and time schedules.

We provide SharePoint application development services. We have expert SharePoint team with 100% certification ratio. To hire SharePoint developer from us, please reach out to us at Mindfire Solutions.

SharePoint Development: Why it is not always smooth sailing

Microsoft has launched SharePoint 2013 with a set of innovative features to complement the requirements of all types of enterprises. Along with developing a variety of solutions, organizations now have option to build customized SharePoint apps according to their specific needs. However, an organization must consider some key factors while migrating to the new technology. In addition to providing adequate training to its employees, an enterprise also needs to identify the important challenges associated with SharePoint development. The understanding of these challenges will further make it easier for the business to migrate to the latest version of the content management system.

Most Challenging Aspects of SharePoint Development

custom sharepoint development, sharepoint webparts development, sharepoint developers1. Adequate Product Knowledge and Planning: Often SharePoint development projects are affected negatively due to lack of adequate product knowledge and planning. Along with being too large and bulky, the technology is also complex. Microsoft has further included features to make it usable for a number of purposes like a rapid web application development framework or content management system. So the developers must understand all aspects of the product deeply to become experts. So an organization must be ready to allow adequate time to the developers and SharePoint site administrators to gain in depth knowledge of the technology.

2. Enhanced and Specialized Skill: Unlike other application development, SharePoint development requires specialized and extended skills. Along with understanding various aspects of the distinct platform, the developers also need to be proficient in C#, Visual Basic or similar standard managed-code languages. At the same time, the programmers must understand HTML, CSS and XML, along with ASP.NET and other web languages ad frameworks. When the developer understand a wide variety of web technologies, it will be easier for him to write the exact code or assemble the features to achieve predefined objectives of the organization.

3. Extended Development Time: Most developers consider SharePoint 2013 to be innovative and out of box. But the outcome of several surveys have also highlighted that additional development time is required to develop the ideas. In addition to implementing exact ideas, additional time is also required for customizing the solution according to the specific requirements of the enterprise. However, an organization can overcome this challenge by active planning and encouraging collaboration among IT and other departments. An active plan will further help enterprises in reducing the amount of time and funds required to build a tailor-made SharePoint solution or application.

4. Performance of Customized Solutions: The complex and highly customizable nature of the platform further makes it difficult for programmers to debug custom SharePoint solutions. Along with deciding the performance problems, a project leader also needs to identify the interactions and components responsible for such problems. The reason behind the poor performance of the SharePoint solution can be tracked down by checking application, web server traffic, SQL Server and similar logs. At the same time, the developers also need to consider the indexing time and performance counters to track down the issue. So there are chances that the Unified Logging System (ULS) provided by the framework may not track down the performance issues due to the large number of moving parts and components.

5. Post-Development Requirements: Most organizations ignore the post-development task associated with SharePoint development. In addition to building a robust and customized solution, an enterprise also needs to ensure that the system is managed and administered effectively. The custom solution needs to be supported with adequate documentation. At the same time, it is also essential for the organization to implement a strategy to maintain hardware and databases, and restore or backup procedure. An organization can also consider setting application deployment guidelines and infrastructure policy. The rules will make it easier for the staff to understand the support and maintenance required to optimize the performance of the SharePoint solution.

An enterprise also has several options to address the issues associated with SharePoint development. It can always adopt some widely used SharePoint development best practices, along with considering outsourcing the project to a competent development company. Custom SharePoint development teams can help you build projects within allocated budgets and time schedules.

We provide SharePoint webparts development services. If you would like to talk to one of our certified SharePoint developers, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

8 ways to avoid SharePoint deployment disaster

With increasing business opportunities, newer challenges surface. One of the biggest challenge faced by organizations across the globe is managing information effectively. Every large and small enterprise, an independent professional, manages information effectively which is one of the keys to successful operations and survival in tough times.

custom sharepoint development, sharepoint application development, sharepoint developersPeople are adopting to electronic data than paper work. Organizations that adopt electronic document management systems are showing greater signs of having a better grip over business processes in tough times. And with SharePoint getting regarded as the “Information Operating System” for organizations, it seems organizations of all sizes using Microsoft products will start implementing SharePoint because of the tremendous value they see in the platform. However, not all sharepoint deployments run smoothly. Here are solid 8 ways you can avoid and mitigate risks associated with the deployment process.

8 ways to mitigate risks in SharePoint deployment:

1. Loss of data content in the event of a disaster: Content or Data is King. It is very important for a company to deal with their customer data well without messing it up. Else answering customer calls and having to tell them that all their data is gone because the archive room just caught fire is like putting business to fire. The best way to protect business documents against any disaster is to implement a document management system that not only helps to manage paper based documents, but also digital files. Documents will outlive wear and tear which is caused by manual handling and adverse weather conditions. Digital files are easy to back up -and retrieve within minutes than searching from a pile of files physically.

2. Time and cost overruns: Paper archives are simply too time-taking to handle as a source of information in the long run. It is very difficult to fetch information from a physical document library that causes a whole range of tasks connected to a business process to queue up, which will lead to project delay and cost escalations. Physical labor and staff to manage all of this can be avoided thus saving. And other things being constant which might be lowering costs and translating into a neater bottom-line.

3. Communication gaps: Most business processes involve stages of conception, iteration, research, decision and execution and then a follow up review. Multiple departments are involved in the entire exercise. When the source documents are not at the fingertips of every stakeholder in this business process, it can hamper smooth communication of ideas and relevant data. This in turn leads to another serious risk.

4. Poor or wrong decisions: Communication gaps imply that employees may not be armed with complete data for them to carry out their task as expected. This is true especially when some members of the team have the requisite documents in their possession while others do not. Decision makers are faced with time bound goals that they must achieve. If a business decision is made in a hurry and with incomplete data or without the required inputs from the entire team, it could lead to a loss in terms of revenue, market share or other such performance indicators.

5. Lost opportunity to delight customers: When customer-facing staff have all the documents they need on a single application, But if the source documents have to be retrieved from a box file in another corner of the office building, don’t expect the customer to stay on hold or wait patiently for long – you have just lost an opportunity to create a “Wow!” customer experience. Electronic document management can come to rescue. Having all information the customer needs means a ‘First Contact Resolution’ and no repeat calls for the same issue – something every business wants to achieve 100 per cent of the time.

6. Losing the competitive edge: Businesses that have an EDMS in place are far better placed to succeed in today’s digital age. Lower costs, better communication, quick turnaround times (TAT), improved productivity and quality levels – all these make an organization highly competitive and give their rivals a run for their money. Not having a sound EDMS means one could lose out on these performance indicators and consequently competitive edge over a period of time.

7. Employees Are More Mobile and Loss of reputation: When a company’s document management policy lack leads to a serious strategic or tactical error, it could result in the company’s reputation being seriously damaged. This can jeopardize the organization’s position in the market in the long term and have a cascading effect on other areas of operation. In the past, SharePoint users were often perceived to be safe within a secure perimeter working inside a corporate network, protected by layers of security such as email and endpoint security.

Employees now are increasingly mobile or remote. In the past, SharePoint users were often perceived to be safe within a secure perimeter, working inside a corporate network, protected by layers of security such as email and endpoint security. Organizations realize their business is at risk as employees are often outside the corporate network, protected by only one layer of protection their endpoint security. This is unreliable since endpoint security may become outdated when the mobile user is outside of the network.

8. Failing to comply with legal requirements: Laws such as a HIPAA require the maintenance of records in an organized way so as to be secure and accessible. Managing files and documents without scanning them is undoubtedly tougher than managing documents in electronic formats like the electronic documents are easily created, managed, stored, modified, shared, maintained and transfered than paper documents. Without a EDMS, an organization will have a tough time to organize its information repository so that it complies with applicable laws.

All the above 8 points can be easily controlled and risks can be avoided by switching to electronic document management. These discussed are just some of the situations that could happen to businesses who don’t adopt EDMS: delaying implementation of an EDMS can have a ripple effect in each of these areas. As with everything else, the hardest step is the first step toward change. Organizations worldwide who have taken this step have seen their operations transformed, getting a return on investment (ROI) that is worth the resources invested by them. Custom SharePoint development teams are can help you migrate from diverse technologies to latest versions of SharePoint including 2013 version while sticking to the allocated budget and time schedules.

We provide SharePoint application development services. If you would like to talk to one of our certified SharePoint developers, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

Is SharePoint 2013 assisting SharePoint Mobile Explosion?

Few years back when you were not allowed to bring in pen drives to work because it was seen as a security threat to organization data to today when you are asked to bring your own device, we have surely come a long way. This decade is seeing the new concept – BYOD (Bring your own device) to work in action. This radical concept is changing the way enterprises used to work. Mobile devices are the preferred ones as smarter approach to consume information on the go. Tablets and smart phones are setting trend and considered as the advanced computing concept working anytime anywhere. Data management is no longer a desktop problem. Security is no longer something that’s about managing desktops. The mobile revolution is changing for the better and SharePoint 2013 has made a lot of improvements in all types of business sectors for enhancing business data, its security and deploying apps in all the more customized way.

custom sharepoint development, Sharepoint 2013 development, sharepoint developersMany applications in SharePoint are being launched as enterprises struggle to balance a need for security with demand for access. Large projects involve hundreds of people and several million documents and generate a huge amount of intelligence with raw data, internal communications and processes. The new mobile innovations and web-based technology related to collaboration has prompted capture of data which can be shared with project members anywhere. Every data aspect contributes to the overall intelligence factor within the organization.

Managing explosive data volumes hence becomes essential for every enterprise. The rapidly increasing information needs to be attended to with effective tools of archiving and purging. And one can leverage the large body of intelligence from multiple sources for effective collaboration.

By enabling SharePoint mobile features one can only enhance the user experience and also support the already-existing advantages of an effective SharePoint program:

  • Improving employee responsiveness and decision-making
  • Faster internal issue problem-solving
  • Increased productivity
  • Faster customer service

With the explosion of tablets and smartphones and increasing downloads of touchscreen-based mobile apps, the importance of mobility is evident. These smart devices can be totally different from each other in many ways – from screen size to usability and functionality, making it impossible to optimize a website for a single device. Companies are looking to develop and execute on strategies that provide a first-class experience for all devices right from PC to all kinds of mobile devices.

SharePoint is proving to be a very useful tool and a powerful web content management platform which has gotten better with the latest 2013 release. It has out of the box features which provides a new HTML5 contemporary view, but even that was limited in terms of what Web Parts might be displayed. Device channels are built into the publishing template as a way to support designers with flexibility to build around smart phones or tablets, but with industry techniques around Responsive Web Design.

The SharePoint Mobile ecosystem has never been richer with nearly a dozen third party apps across all smartphone devices, with a much richer consideration for security and edge support without requirement for Office 365 subscriptions. Responsive websites in SharePoint adapt the layout by using fluid grids, flexible images and CSS3 media queries. Media queries are useful for applying different CSS styles to different screen resolutions. Microsoft provides Office support for apps on these competitive tablets, there is a preview program for home and business that asks the user what kinds of devices they own from Blackberry to the particular type of Android Tablet.

With the release of SharePoint 2013, vast improvement is visible in its mobile capabilities, as well as some cool new mobile features. Let’s take a detailed look:

  • One of the new features that have emerged from SharePoint is the SharePoint Newsfeed app which brings social to what appears to be all devices. The app provides a rich, optimized experience that enables users to view and interact with their newsfeeds on Windows Phone, Windows 8 and iOS (iPad and iPhone).
  • The new app allows users to post to all newsfeeds on SharePoint sites as well as carry out all the usual “social functions” that can from desktop — including the option to follow people, mention, share documents and follow hashtags. It can use either the SharePoint Server 2013 or SharePoint Online. This functionality requires no configuration or customization and again, like the social functionality, can be deployed using either SharePoint Server 2013, or the online version.
  • Microsoft has promised to make SharePoint 2013 as accessible as possible to all users. This new version comes with new HTML5 based browser, offering content views for specific site templates. In this case, it means a lightweight rendering layer that is easy to navigate and touch friendly, making it easy to use on preferred screen or mobile browser. The navigation has been designed to simplify moving from one part of the site to another and perform basic operations across SharePoint. This functionality requires no configuration or customization and can be easily deployed using either SharePoint Server 2013.
  • BYOD (Bring-Your-Own-Device) strategies by offering different customizable viewing capabilities via the web development path in Design Manager. A new feature that appears in SharePoint 2013 called device channels in Design Manager will enable designers to render publishing sites in a number of different ways and comes with different designs for different devices. Content, including images, can be changed while keeping the same URL across a whole range of different devices as well as accommodating a number of different touch target screen sizes of the different gadgets.
  • FileLocker also aims to deal with that through simple integration with SharePoint. It can encrypt for all data stored inside SharePoint. Its core functionality at the moment includes not only end-to-end encryption, but also file editing in the cloud and document preview with plug-ins for AutoDesk, as well selective file sharing.
  • For enterprises, the real bonus is that it comes with native apps for not just iPhone and iPad, but also for Android and Windows Phone. Optimized mobile browser experience has a lightweight browsing experience for users to access SharePoint content, it allows three different views such as classic, contemporary and full screen user interface.
  • Push notifications developers can now create notifications that send updates to a mobile device when specific activities occur on a SharePoint site.
  • Its location supports a new geolocation field type that can be used for mobile app development.
  • Office web apps has the viewer for Microsoft Office documents provides enhanced experiences when interacting with documents and has been optimized for mobile devices navigation models and content exclusions across tablets and smartphones.

The above features have made everybody realize how important it is to move their data to SharePoint 2013. It brings some useful enhancements that have the power to transform the level of understanding to any business. Making some amazing customized mobile apps with this new powerful SharePoint new edition is picking up as a trend. Custom SharePoint development teams are can help you migrate from older versions of SharePoint to SP2013 within allocated budgets and time schedules.

We provide SharePoint 2013 development services. If you would like to talk to one of our certified SharePoint developers, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

Comparing SharePoint 2013 with previous versions

SharePoint can be an extremely powerful tool, a well-designed solution for content, document and information management – a well-designed solution. SharePoint 2013 is an excellent improvisation which is increasingly mobile, increasingly social and all that promotes a greater collaborative atmosphere within the organization. With SP2013, it is possible to integrate social capabilities, organize, share and synchronize content properly. Now users can share their ideas and opinion with their colleagues continuously. SharePoint has been very popular technology in the web world which can be beneficial for enterprises and excellent platform for sharing content with others.

custom sharepoint development, Sharepoint 2013 development, hire sharepoint developersWith the release of SP2013, there is a wide range of new features at disposal such as stronger search features, better cloud integration and infrastructure as well as content management. The 2013 release is an important one as the 2007 edition will no longer be supported, users have been upgrading to 2010 or 2013 versions nowadays. The SharePoint Connector supports SharePoint 2007, SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013. SharePoint Connector 1.8 supports all the above three versions.

Microsoft thinking beyond 2013

Microsoft is happy about SharePoint 2013 to get a better understanding of what’s new. In developing the product, it has taken care of the main obstacles for organisations deploying the 2010 version. SP2013 is specially designed keeping in mind app scalability for large business enterprises. It has been targeting all knds of business sectors with its new features and functionalities.

Comparison with SharePoint 2010:

  • No Internet Explorer 7 support.
  • With the purchase of Yammer, there is more emphasis on social media.
  • Licensing: Internet sites no longer require an expensive licence, the cheaper standard server licence means that customers can host their internet and intranet on the same platform, reducing costs and providing more flexibility.
  • Records and document management: no real change.
  • Greater adoption of internet and open standards, enabling broader device support and integration with other services.
  • Users can have SharePoint on premise, in the cloud, or a hybrid of both.
  • The core ‘Search’ capability, based on FAST technology, is much richer.

Striking Features of SharePoint2013 which makes it stand apart:

Support for mobile devices

Mobility adoption is increasing within organizations and it is the topmost trend. The new version of SharePoint offers a rich platform for mobile development. Contemporary view which is HTML coded view provides a quick access across various mobile platforms like iPhone, Android, and Blackberry.

Improved BI Capabilities

SharePoint 2013 offers extended capabilities to generate business intelligence reports. Its ability to provide big data reports and BI solutions has been expanded with the new version. Also, the integration between SharePoint and Excel has also been improved for a smooth functioning. It offers a better Power Pivot program that makes it possible to work with plenty of rows and columns in memory, making it convenient for use. It is used to generate extensive reports that reflect the organizations growth and provides insights into the business.

Cloud reality

SharePoint 2013 is geared for the cloud, which is great, but there are still a few things to watch for. Cloud apps reduce infrastructure costs and risks. Now users can spend more time in quality management and performance improvement. With this new version, it is easy for the users to keep a track of updated technologies. Now you can deal with complex and long programs quickly.

On premise

Running SharePoint onsite means that one can add more functionality or have better integration with other line of business systems. It also means that it has more flexibility over compliance features such as Public Records Act requirements.

Private cloud

Using a private cloud means that one can have predictable bandwidth and performance, but it also means that storage and disaster recovery costs are more obvious. This means that one can have a clear separation between infrastructure and application administration.

Search

Search on SharePoint 2013 is a real highlight. It is much richer than internet or Google-type results.It also provides a facility wherein it is possible to view the outline of a document while scanning through the search results. And the fact that Search has now been integrated with the ‘Term Store’, which helps standardise company language across documents, means one can now refine search results even more. Other great features include the ability to preview content whenever its hovered, meaning that one can preview a PowerPoint presentation without opening it. The ‘bad’ is that Search requires more server resources and requires an enterprise licence for certain advanced Search features.

New content features

The ability to drag and drop files into a webpage

  • End users can “share” files with others more simply
  • Better developer support
  • New database storage reduces the overhead of versioned documents
  • With Office Web Apps one can now edit documents on iOS devices
  • Much more flexibility around images
  • Video support improvements.

Infrastructure management

You can now take a more flexible approach to infrastructure management with SharePoint 2013. This means that you can take a hybrid on-premise and cloud approach. This is great for small to medium businesses that might not have the beefy bandwidth that you would need to run SharePoint completely over the internet, but by purchasing “Apps” hosted in the cloud these “Apps” will appear to be running on your server.

There are some technical traps to be aware of however:

  • Most customers will want to virtualise the SharePoint servers but they are resource intensive so should not be run on over committed hosts
  • Beware of remote access requirements, which can cause slow access
  • There’s no need to keep scanned and read-only files in SharePoint – it’s an expensive form of storage – it’s better to have a link to these resources in SharePoint
  • Don’t underestimate the technical skills that SharePoint needs.
  • Some of the SharePoint features require that other infrastructure and client components are all on the 2013 version. Fortunately SharePoint 2013 still allows to run 2010 sites, which means that one can leverage some new features like search, while continuing to use 2010 document libraries for Office 2010 users. This ability to run both in parallel is a key feature introduced in 2013 to help reduce the upgrade pain.

The new version SharePoint 2013 customizations helps control and manage all the different aspects of the web portals in a splendid way. SharePoint webparts enables to add dynamic functionality to the site, and enables to create different layouts for the mobile platform. Microsoft has already started receiving good vibes about SharePoint 2013 because businesses have started adopting to the new version. Custom SharePoint development teams are can help you migrate from older versions of SharePoint to SP2013 within allocated budgets and time schedules.

We provide SharePoint 2013 development services. We are glad to share that all our SharePoint developers are Microsoft certified. If you would like to talk to one of our developers before you take the decision to hire SharePoint developers from us, we would be glad to assist you at Mindfire Solutions.

Improve Your SharePoint 2013 ROI with Office Web Apps Server

Office Web Apps Server offers browser-based file viewing as well as editing services with respect to Office files. It operates in combination with services or products that render support to the Web app Open Platform Interface protocol. Also called hosts, the products incorporate SharePoint 2013, Exchange Server 2013 and Lync Server 2013. Services can be provided to manifold on-premises hosts by the Office Web Apps Server farm, which can be scaled out from a single server to a number of servers as the organization grows.

custom sharepoint development, sharepoint cms customization, sharepoint developersCurrently OWA is a stand-alone product, offering convenient deployment and management. When it comes to deployment of SharePoint 2013, there is no need for the optimization of the SharePoint infrastructure for supporting Office Web Apps. Updates to the OWA server farm can also be applied separately, at a frequency different from that applicable for SharePoint.

Some other striking improvements may be expected with the current version of OWA server which will be successfully making the external and internal users happy as well as increasingly efficient, so far as creation, collaboration or editing on Office docs. in SP is concerned. A few of these improvements are enhanced feature fidelity, cross platform browser support, a user interface familiar to that applicable for Office client applications, co-authoring and integrated sharing, document previews within libraries or search results, amongst others. In addition to the enhanced features of licensing and interface, OWA catering to external users has now become more budget friendly, with respect to licensing requirements. Before discussing on the integration of OWA with SP 2013, let us consider some of the general ways to maximize SharePoint ROI.

A look at how to maximize SharePoint ROI

1. Elimination or consolidation of duplicate documents, dead websites and legacy systems: Keeping sites that are almost obsolete, content that finds no use currently or duplicate items is simply a wastage of space which calls for redundant work on the part of the SharePoint tool. Saving of disk space through identification of data redundancy as well as unused sites can lead to significant cost saving.

2. Being well-versed with the built-in functionalities of SharePoint: Besides being a store house of content, SP comes with a plethora of functionalities for collaboration, enterprise content management, business intelligence, social engagement as well as search driven application creation. It is always advisable to be competent in leveraging the key functionalities, namely Enterprise Search, Dashboards, Portals, Workflows. This will bring down the number of custom applications as well as the cost, effort or time for their development and maintenance.

3. Creation of a centralized SP “control center”: SP governance must cover everything from content management to hardware and infrastructure. Organizations must go for a centralized team that can provide support for app development or maintenance as well as infrastructure along with a training and administration team for rendering support to departments and projects.

4. Deployment of a compliance policy empowered by monitoring and auditing tools: Users should refrain from accessing or uploading documents which contain sensitive data. Hence organizations should design as well as enforce a compliance policy loaded with customizable auditing and monitoring tools to efficiently manage the system as per the regulations.

Integrating OWA with SP 2013

Given the means for maximizing SharePoint ROI, saving of cost, effort and time becomes all the more easy once OWA is integrated with SP 2013. After the establishment of an OWA farm along with the configuration of SharePoint 2013 for the consumption of its services, some major integration points will be noticed, especially within search results and libraries. When “new document” is clicked in the document library, four choices pertaining to document type will pop up, namely OneNote notebook, PowerPoint presentation, Excel workbook and Word doc. Herein the user is capable of choosing the desired category of office document for creation within the browser. Following this, the selection opens the associated Web App, namely OneNote, PowerPoint, Excel or Word.

Another integration point that helps in time saving is Document Preview that appears in Search Results. With the help of Document Preview, the user is allowed to conveniently work with complete Word Document or PowerPoint files. The preview also comes with another new feature which is the potential to download the file as well as print it to PDF or embed the file somewhere else.

Moreover, Document Previewing is available in document libraries now. This feature is sure to save the users’ time because in this case there is no need to manually open every document.

These integration aspects of SharePoint 2013 and OWA will cut down on the time users usually waste in searching for the requisite information. In addition to the capability of previewing office documents, every Office Web App comes updated and renders a subset for the Office client application feature enabling the user to create, view, edit as well as collaborate on Office docs. Custom SharePoint development teams can help you build projects within allocated budgets and time schedules.

We provide SharePoint cms customization services. If you would like to talk to one of our certified SharePoint developers, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

Developing Your Company’s Extranet: In-House, Hybrid or Private Cloud?

Intranet is gradually turning out to be a prerequisite for organizations and this is mostly because it enables centralized and effective information sharing as well as management. However, an intranet is not sufficient when it comes to connecting the management, suppliers, customers as well as partners in the best- possible way. Creating a direct extranet SharePoint site comes up as a possible solution to this problem. While developing your company’s extranet, you have a few options to choose from. These options are In-house, Hybrid and Private Cloud. Here is a brief discussion about these three modes along with the factors you have to consider in the process of implementation of the extranet.

In-House Deployment

sharepoint application development, custom sharepoint development, sharepoint developersSharePoint, the popular web application development platform, already poses certain challenges with respect to connecting with the external users. You need to consider as to which third party solution needs to be installed for the purpose of offering the end-users with the sign-in as well as password reset capabilities. Now, the forum-based authentication is usually more preferred over the claim-based authentication.

Deploying an in-house SP extranet for your business requires you to spend substantial amount of time and money. The assistance of the infrastructure experts is extremely essential in this regard. Taking this into consideration, organizations are found going for the other options with respect to the site hosting that help in quick accomplishment of projects apart from remaining within the stipulated budget.

Public Cloud Deployment

Public Cloud Deployment or signing up for the SP hosting services on a platform called SaaS is a cost- effective option for businesses as, it is considered a low cost model. As far as the basic collaborative features are concerned, the hosted SP foundation solution offers unlimited access for users, hence, facilitating addition of multiple external users. However, licensing is a better option if you are looking for the highly advanced SP server features.

On the flip side, connecting the on-premises intranet with the extranet located in the public cloud hosting platform is not a feasible option. Even with a recognized provider by your side, data security would come across as a major point of concern.

Hybrid or Private Cloud

It is obvious for anyone to prefer the private cloud hosting solution for the extranet because it comes up with excellent flexibility along with control of on-premises deployment. Again if you are looking for low cost and scalability, a public cloud solution such as Office 365 is preferred. Private Cloud hosting is indeed the best- suited option for the small to mid-sized organizations attempting at combining the intranet and the extranet. At the same time, a hybrid deployment including the process of having two sites on one farm is also facilitated.

Now, running a hybrid solution implies keeping the intranet in-house while hosting the extranet in the cloud. The challenge lies in allowing internal users to move from intranet to extranet and also the other way round. SharePoint’s newest claims feature enables choosing the claim type characters while making the connection between farms actually more hassle- free than with SP 2010.

The good thing is that even though you start with two different environments, that is, the intranet and the extranet, connections can still be made and content published from the on-premises intranet to the extranet hosted somewhere else. In fact, it becomes simpler to move the complete intranet to a similar private cloud. Cross-site publishing enables two sites to connect easily while also making it easier to implement with least amount of involvement on part of the SP administrators.

All said and done, your company’s extranet will certainly be of substantial benefits provided you make the right choice and take the right decision. This would help you leverage the benefits of SharePoint application development.

We provide custom SarePoint development services. If you would like to talk to one of our certified SharePoint developers, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

Sharepoint or Websphere? How to decide for your business?

A crucial tool in online sharing of Office documents, SharePoint goes a long way in convenient implementation of business processes, collaboration facilitation, content management, providing access to information and so on. Again, WebSphere is a middleware and a software framework which hosts web applications based on Java. Now, when the time comes for you to decide between SharePoint and WebSphere, it is worth taking a look at the benefits offered by these two.

Benefits of SharePoint Development :

custom sharepoint development, offshore sharepoint developer, sdps provider india, sharepoint 2013 mobile development, sharepoint application development, sharepoint custom solutions development, sharepoint portal development, sharepoint site migration, sharepoint web parts development, sharepoint development1. Enhancement in team productivity: SharePoint allows users to connect business partners with the requisite information and resources. It enables you to coordinate calenders, organize documents, receive notifications or updates by means of communication features like announcements and alerts. Moreover, new templates can be used for creation of blogs and wikis.

2. Data management: SP has enhanced management capabilities making room for activation of document checkout and revisions prior to editing. Moreover, document security is also provided to do away with information breach.

3. User-friendly interface: SP comes with improved menus as well as view, which aid in simplifying navigation amongst team sites. It is also able to integrate with other available productivity tools, like Microsoft office programs which facilitate creation of workspaces, editing of documents, viewing notifications along with updating calenders.

4. Convenient implementation of services: Team workspace can be conveniently created in SharePoint. Again, organizations aiming for a customized interface for their teams can go for application templates for addressing specific business processes or tasks.

5. Creation of collaboration workplaces: With the help of SharePoint, companies can deploy tasks without putting any administrative effort, from a single-server to different enterprise configurations.

6. Information security: SP offers advanced administrative tools that ensure data security, while mitigating the cost. You can also manage memberships, establish new tasks as well as control manifold workplaces online.

7. Integration with office applications: Integration of SharePoint with common Office programs guarantees accessibility to scalable applications.

The major setback of SharePoint is certainly unghosted pages, wherein it is not possible to update or edit documents.

Benefits of WebSphere Application Server:

I. Support for Enterprise Java Open Standards: WAS renders support to open standards through the J2EE 1.3 specification. Designers, integrators and application developers making use of J2EE 1.3 obtain freedom from the limitations posed by a proprietary platform provided by a single vendor. It is possible to deploy a solution based on J2EE on any application server that is J2EE-compliant.

II. Expansion of maintenance and development capabilities: WAS version 5.0 comes up with expanded and simplified development as well as maintenance potential. Particularly, VisualAge for Java has been replaced by WebSphere Studio Application Developer version 5.1 as the tool for development of J2EE applications. WebSphere Studio, developed across the open source Eclipse platform, paves the road to scalable and open standards-based software development.

III. Streamlining deployment: By rendering support to J2EE, WAS version 5.0 enables the packaging of all application components within a single EAR, which can then be deployed on manifold WAS v5.0 instances. This enables organizations to recognize the “write once, deploy anywhere” commitment of J2EE.

IV. Improvement in productivity: WAS version 5.0 facilitates speedy development of Web services applications along with other enterprise messaging through programmable, built-in adapter technology. With this, users are equipped with the ability for deployment of web services across manifold communication protocols, like JMS, HTTP and the like.

V. Extension of the enterprise: Organizations possessing the WAS v5.0 enterprise extensions are well equipped to provide support to service-oriented architectures (SOAs). In short, SOAs empower organizations to link software components for creation of new business applications like an application for customer order processing. One of the major advantages of SOAs is that developers need not spend lots of time in composing new code for creation of new business processes. Instead, they leverage standard protocols like Web services, for connecting components in order to come up with new applications.

VI. Flexible management abilities: WAS offers a new administration model which incorporates a Web-based interface that can be managed by administrators from any Web browser, thereby providing increasingly flexible management potential. A dedicated machine or a client applet install is not required for administrative purpose.

VII. Enhancement in availability, scalability and reliability: So far as WAS is concerned, cluster as well as workload dynamics are used for providing a high level of availability, scalability and reliability. The components and configurations render support to the ability of deployment of high-performance Web environments. For elimination of a single point of failure, organizations can go for clustering through the dispatcher as well as content-based routing components, Edge Side Includes caching and multitier load balancing.

Hence, SharePoint and WebSphere have their own benefits. It is upon the organization to decide on the one to go for, based on its business needs and requirements.

We provide SharePoint application development services. If you would like to discuss with a certified SharePoint programmer from our team, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.