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.

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.

Design Tips for SharePoint 2013 Apps on Tablets

With the growth of technology, the world is getting smaller day by day. Bigger desktops becoming bulky laptops. And these bulky laptops changing to Notebooks. Then these stylish Notebooks became Ultra books. And now the trend is moving towards Smart phones and tablets. With this modern shift of electronic gadgets applications too are getting customized. Web applications becoming Apps, “Apps” are marketing strategy to increase use of SharePoint and other technologies in wider IT markets gaining its demand for development, deployment and usage. SharePoint was first launched in 2001 for both home and at work. Now with its customized features and advance versions catering the needs of customer today. SharePoint apps going mobile and are in huge demand across the globe.

sharepoint 2013 mobile development, sharepoint portal development, hire sharepoint developerDesigning for mobile apps in SharePoint has evolved dramatically. Users now expect faster, pertaining longer to mobile experiences and catering to this is increasingly difficult. With the release of SharePoint 2013 a powerful tool has taken birth which deals with content, document and information management only when it is correctly used. SharePoint apps provide well-designed solution with its wide range of new features such as stronger search features, better cloud integration and some good developments in content and infrastructure management. The 2013 release is an important one as the 2007 version will no longer be supported, which means that users have to upgrade current versions for better use of applications and building it with more richer usability.

Richer Features of today’s Mobile Apps

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

Design Tips for a successful Mobile App

1. Responsive Design: Presenting large amounts of information on the limited real estate of a mobile screen is difficult. While there are other more-detailed interface design techniques, such as responsive tables. SharePoint deploys applications in varied screen sizes with a better and responsive design.

2. Color theme: SharePoint designs apps with a consistent look and feel of any website or brand by choosing a matching color theme. Giving it a professional look with a logo image for app’s header rather than adding it as a text-based title. So that users should be able to recognize its brand at first glance of the app.

3. Splash screen: Splash screen gives users the first impression of classy apps with creative ideas. High-resolution images give applications that wow factor it deserves. It can all happen with this new SharePoint 2013 version. It gives life to its applications and satisfies customers by meeting what they crave for.

4. Home screen navigation: This platform offers four types of navigation. Experiment with different navigation settings until you find the most suitable one for background image and icons. For example, if background contains a special texture or image at the bottom and want to emphasize the icons a grid navigation helps to achieve that. Alternatively, if an image of a real person is there it should be placed in the on the right and list navigation must be used.

5. Mobile Social Networks: Social networking use mobile apps to allow a whole new platform of communication for example Facebook and Twitter have gone mobile. Thus SkyDrive Pro is cloud storage that organizations provides for employees as part of their SharePoint 2013 on-premises and/or Office 365 SharePoint Online deployments. SkyDrive Pro access is also a capability of the new Office Mobile for iPhone as well as Android phones. One can use these apps to create new documents and edit existing ones from any smartphone directly into SkyDrive Pro folder. SharePoint is all about building various business solutions and dynamic websites with its new out-of-the-box templates. The new SharePoint user interface gives higher usability with a clean experience with easy drag and drop, quicker page loads and a focus on true accessibility to make SharePoint understandable and operable.

6. New Push Notification Feature integration: SharePoint 2013 now supports the mobile apps that aid users to receive notifications from a SharePoint based website. Any number of events happening on the SharePoint site is notified on the mobile device with new Push notification feature. One time registration with the website is required by mobile device apps. The Push notification service can be started by which mobile users receive notifications directly from the server where the app is hosted for the registered mobile device app. Also, it is vital that the Push Notification feature is activated on the site automatically changing the settings.

7. Device Channels: Use of mobile devices is the most these days, they keep running on multiple mobile operating systems. SharePoint builds optimized websites which has rich readability and easily used on all mobile devices. With Device channels integrated in SharePoint 2013, mobile users can deliver a single website in multiple views by using different preferable designs that target different devices.

8. Location: SharePoint 2013 supports new Geolocation field type that can be used in a list particularly for mobile application development. Now, it is possible to create lists location aware and display latitude and longitude coordinates via Bing Maps. Its tools are useful for building enhanced customized mobile applications. Microsoft has included all useful mobile related features in SharePoint 2013 making it a mobile-friendly platform.

SharePoint 2013 has developed new capabilities in web hosting section with its new version comprises such as serving up pages to different electronic gadgets such as tablets and smartphones based on their characteristics. It also includes several features for search engine optimization, including XML based sitemaps, user-friendly URLs and robots.txt support to define out of bounds areas for search engine crawlers.

Tablets and Smartphones are here to stay and make our lives smarter and more mobile. SharePoint being the home for every sort of business, Microsoft has addressed the problem of the poor SharePoint experience for mobile devices in previous versions, very effectively. With the new SharePoint version HTML5 coded view known as the “contemporary” view that is optimized for speedy access across various smart devices and multiple browsers. SharePoint 2013 mobile development can work wonders for you – It can help you build apps to reach out and push a message to the mobile device based on various factors with its new push notification feature. Mobile Apps designed today are more convenient and easily portable and can suffice basic business needs.

We provide SharePoint portal development services. The entire 100% of our SharePoint team is certified by Microsoft. To hire SharePoint developer from us, please reach out to us at Mindfire Solutions.

Why Executives Are Resisting SharePoint’s Social Tools?

The social tools of SharePoint have lately faced a lot of criticism from executives. It is a fact that these social tools are considered as a major distraction and well as productivity hindrance. Moreover, many executives might also believe that these tools can usher in the threats of loss of intellectual property, cyber-attacks as well as corporate embarrassment. From their point of view, these tools are probable disasters which should better be completely done away with.

top companies in sharepoint, sharepoint development india, sharepoint development company, hire sharepoint developer, sharepoint development companies, sharepoint development services, sharepoint 2013 mobile development, sharepoint portal development, sharepoint cms customization, offshore sharepoint developerMany of these concerns might be legitimate, but that should not be the reason to shun SP social tools totally. Globally acclaimed SharePoint expert Richard Harbridge, has worked with a number of companies helping them to cope up with this problem. According to him, once the executives’ concerns are understood and acknowledged, ways to reduce the risks can be demonstrated.

Major concerns of executives and means to alleviate them

1. Fear of negative comments: One of the things that executives worry about most is the situation wherein a dissatisfied employee might say something negative on the blog. Such corporate embarrassment can be avoided by adopting certain simple measures such as the addition of an approval feature within the blogs. Here the main issue is that executive or other supporting staff might not properly understand how these features can be used effectively. In that case, some amount of education will help.

2. Fear of wrong information usage: With SharePoint’s social tools, executives often dread the fact that information might fall in the wrong hands. In the executives’ opinion, loss of trade secrets and intellectual property is a huge risk. This can be addressed by amending or appending the existing policies pertaining to intellectual property, that are present in employee agreements or employee manuals. Any social technology including the intranet should not be exempt from respectful and ethical employee behavior as well as acceptable technology use practices.

3. Fear of wastage of time: According to many executives, once SharePoint social tools are introduced, a large number of people would be wasting time on what can be called as a ‘Corporate Facebook’. But it should be noted that the tools have some substantial business value which most executives do not know. For instance, each time a user shares, rates or tags a piece of content, the same is noted by SharePoint and its search relevancy is increased. This enables people to easily locate what they are looking for, thereby mitigating the risk of obsolete or incorrect content being used.

In case executives are still concerned about productivity loss, setting the employees’ expectation that, like their web browser or email, this is also a work technology, can do the desired job. In order to make the use of these SP tools by employees more effective, guidance, training or illustrations may be given on the means to utilize the technology within a work setting. Often, making use of stories to elaborate this can help immensely, particularly if the stories revolve around corporate culture or things like any practical use of the tool specific to the business.

4. Fear of viruses and cyber-attacks: Many are of the opinion that using SP social tools will make the systems vulnerable to cyber-attacks and viruses. These can be conveniently reduced by implementation of an enterprise ready social technology. A plethora of them have constraints imposed for preventing people from adding scripts as an instance to discussion boards, tags, status updates or embedded in any other social content.

5. Fear of employee harassment: Many feel that enhanced collaboration paves the way to increased employee harassment. It is significant to consider the matter of employee harassment, hence ensure that you append or amend the existing policies related to sexual harassment within employee agreements or manuals. Moreover, so far as ethical employee behavior or acceptable technology use is concerned, all social technologies including the intranet should not be exempt from the same.

The concern of your executives is valid, and cannot be denied. However, once these concerns are addressed through implementation of effective and simple safeguards, these types of situations can be done away with. And once accepted with open arms, SharePoint application development would help you leverage the power of social media.

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.

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.

Shredded Storage vs. RBS in SharePoint

SharePoint 2013 has come up with several essential as well as important features with regards to the way in which the file content is stored and retrieved in the database. Now, there has been quite a lot of discussion about the point as to whether a shredded storage is preferable over RBS in SharePoint. However, prior to deciding on the same, it would be better to look into the finer aspects of both Shredded Storage as well as RBS in SP.

sharepoint webparts development, sharepoint application development, top companies in sharepointThese days, the files in SP are split into several parts or shreds and stored in specific rows in the content database. The concept is gaining prominence in SharePoint 2013 more than the API or the office web applications. This is largely because the SP 2013 is incorporated with an excellent file-splitting capability that goes beyond an over-the-wire transfer capability. It exists in the SharePoint databases as a feature called Shredded Storage. With this particular system, the files are shredded into either 1MB or 64K chunks. The file types that are understood by SP and can interact directly with it will be transformed into 64K while the others will be sliced into 1MB.

Getting back to the comparison between this particular system and the RBS in SP, it is necessary to consider the ways in which the SS functionality creates an impact on the Remote Blob Storage (RBS). The RBS, which was introduced in 2010 and continues to exist even today, is extensively used to push the rather large files from the SP content databases to the actual file system. Basically, the main point of difference between the SS and the RBS is that while the former breaks the larger blobs into very small ones, the latter works best with the larger blobs.

If we carry out a few experiments using the Word files as well as Zip files and try out Shredded Storage and RBS respectively, we will come to the following probable conclusions:

  • To begin with, content that is grasped by SharePoint will be shredded automatically while the RBS threshold will determine as to whether the shreds will be pushed to RBS.
  • Content that is not directly understood or interoperated by SharePoint will certainly be shredded to the 1MB chunks and at the same time, will be pushed to the Remote Blob Storage, if it is enabled. The RBS threshold will not be significant in this case.
  • Content that SP understands, on the other hand, will not only be broken down but will also be recognized during the process of shredding. The manner in which the content is handled will depend upon the nature of the content as well as the rules of the media type.

Considering the obvious differences between the office documents and that of the non- integrated files, the conflict between the two systems can be resolved. Both the solutions are of help though their individual effectiveness depends upon the problems that they intend to address along with the goals that need to be fulfilled.

  • The SS solution facilitates default 64K when it comes to the integrated files and 1MB for the non-integrated files. It also reduces the growth of the SQL database, which is caused by the versioning of files.
  • The Remote Blob Storage, on the other hand, works more effectively with comparatively lesser volume of larger files as well as facilitates moving the files out of the database.

Keeping all these factors in mind along with having considered the subtle differences between the two solutions, the most desirable way to make the best use of them requires finding a balance between the operation of SharePoint and configuration of RBS. It is better to let the Shredded Storage perform its job in collaboration with Remote Blob Storage. This would help you leverage the benefits of SharePoint application development.

We provide SharePoint webparts development services. If you would like to hire certified developers from top companies in SharePoint, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

SharePoint performance sinks, swims with SQL Server throughput

When any kind of slowdown occurs within a SharePoint system, the immediate solution is to go for addition of more web servers in order to handle the load in a better fashion. However, these front-end servers are dependent upon the same back-end database server. Incidentally, it is the back end where most of the issues crop up. This is because it depends upon SQL as a file as well as a database system. The processing demands of SP brings to light the disk I/O as the most most common bottleneck. Let us discuss the steps that need to be taken for avoiding or mitigating the logjams that can hinder SQL Server throughput.

sharepoint development, sharepoint bespoke development, Sharepoint programmersIt is advisable to get the binary large objects such as the file attachments, out from the database. SQL Server as well as SharePoint render support to Microsoft’s RBS ( Remote BLOB Storage) technology. This conveniently allows putting all the Excel, Word or other documents back within the NTFS file system wherein they actually belong.

NTFS has the capability of writing and reading files rapidly. On the other hand, SQL Server needs to manage them along its database pages of 8KB, which can consume a great amount of disk space as well as server resources. To do away with this, files are kept by RBS in NTFS and pointers are also provided. This implies that the file attachments can be written to completely separate disks that the one which contains the chief database. This helps in maintaining speed by reducing disk contention.

Regular Maintenance and Premium Storage

One of the most significant performance management investments with respect to SharePoint is buying fast storage. Initially, it is good for organizations to focus on gaining momentum in planning the purchases since this constitutes one of the most costly aspects of storage. Rapid storage area networks coupled with robust drive caches are capable of rendering high quality storage performance, which is a great need of SharePoint. It is advisable to make sure that adequate amount of storage capacity is available for every data developed with respect to a SP installation.

Regular maintenance is extremely important for ensuring the efficiency of ongoing SQL server. The SP collaboration platform is able to generate considerable amount of data, especially in case of heavily used document stores wherein versioning occurs in order to track changes within documents. Moreover, manifold versions are maintained for reference purpose. Appropriate database maintenance, incorporating reorganizing or rebuilding indexes along with updating of statistics, allows SQL Server to remain clean-cut and suitable for quality performance. Moreover, database files can be defragmented as the fragmentation level starts to go beyond 7% or 8%.

Breaking it up

Owing to the inherent scalability of the web, SharePoint is able to scale without any major issues. SQL server is unable to do it in a similarly convenient manner. Because of this, managers of a number of big SharePoint environments develop manifold server farms, each having a dedicated back-end system. For instance, a company can possess a set of SharePoint servers as well as a related database for the document library across the company, for special projects, for users’ blogs and the like. This yields better results than putting everything into the same SQL Server database.

SharePoint administrators can also consider acquiring certain extra tools in addition to visiting Microsoft’s TechNet website, which presents solutions to particular performance problems and best practices to ensure speedy crawling of SharePoint environments.

Defined Performance Metrics

It is also a significant aspect to develop some measurable and reasonable performance expectations for SharePoint development. The basic formula is to try and base these upon the end-user experience. Simply speaking, acceptable performance can be defined by the maximum time a user has to wait during checking of a document accomplishing a task or accessing a blog. You can then break down these metrics into a number of prospective back-end performance metrics. This is a great means to assess the performance quality.

When user-experience metrics get defined, it is required to measure them regularly in order to identify the trends. In this way, it will be convenient to detect whenever a SharePoint system fails to live up to the organization’s expectations.

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

Extracting and Loading SharePoint Data in SQL Server Integration

Whenever it comes to the loading of SP Data in the server integration of SQL, the very first thing that developers of integration package services are bothered about is the best- possible ways in which the data can put in as well as brought out from the SharePoint list. The source of the list and the destination sample of the SharePoint offers an optimized solution with a user friendly interface. The sample also comes with an API for an efficient accomplishment of the tasks apart from the Integration Services.

Ways of Working with SP Data

sharepoint development, sharepoint bespoke development, Sharepoint programmersFollowing are some of the prominent ways in which the SharePoint data can be extracted or loaded:

  • Making use of the SharePoint APIs to add or remove items individually
  • Generating as well as submitting the XML by means of the use of the SharePoint Batch API
  • Using the Lists Web service that makes use of the same XML as the Batch API

The web services come up as great ways of transferring information to and from SharePoint without altering the platform server itself.

SharePoint Source List and Destination: Features

A discussion on the prominent features of the list source as well as destination of SharePoint is essential in this regard. Now, these actually make use of the public web services of the platform. Here is a list of features that improve their level of performance and functionality:

  • The required fields are only returned from the web application development platform
  • The somewhat large lists are divided in batches with a batch size that can be configured
  • The information of column type is utilized for the purpose of mapping to Integration services data types
  • Addition of CAML queries to the query is facilitated to separate the rows that need to be returned
  • Simple updating as well as deleting of operations from the Integration Services package
  • Integration services expressions can be used to set the essential custom properties of the source and destination
  • Supports SQL Server as well as x64 and x86 processors

Process of Using the Destination and Source

Few steps need to be taken prior to using these parts of this SharePoint development platform. The foremost thing to be done is to download the right installer package from the codeplex site. Once downloaded, the installer needs to be run. It has to be kept in mind in this regard that Complete Install needs to be selected, as this allows the installer deploy connectors for each of the version of SSIS on the targeted machine. This is followed by the final step that involves addition of the source and destination to the Toolbox.

Extracting the Information from SharePoint with List Source

The extraction is usually done through the following steps:

  • Addition of the SP connections
  • Addition of components to the SSIS data flow
  • Setting the properties of the SharePoint list source’
  • Writing data to SP by means of the SP list destination

With regards to the extraction and loading of SP information, few more factors need to be considered apart from the above. For instance, if you are looking up for a value in a SP list, the Lookup transformation in the data flow can be used to load the lookup table. Again, if you are replacing values in the data with the values found in the loop, loading the altered data back to SP can be done by including the ID from the lookup column.

There is absolutely no doubt about the point that the SP list source as well as destination sample makes getting data into and out of a SharePoint list much hassle- free. What’s more, the sample also facilitates a utility library that makes working with SP lists out of integration services simpler.

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

Things to Keep in Mind during Lotus to SharePoint Migration

Lotus Notes, a prominent application development platform, became popular in the 90s. Most of these platforms helped in catering to the varying demands of the departments. The rapid development of the platforms led to the production of a variety of applications that were implemented without proper governance. Eventually, this led to the necessity of migrating from Lotus to SharePoint.

Now, the switching from Lotus Notes to SharePoint can be carried out using various paths. The precise ways and the process revolving round the migration needs to be considered to allow this to be successful. Here is a list of few ways of migration from Lotus applications to Microsoft SharePoint.

Things to Keep in Mind during Lotus to SharePoint Migration
Migration of Standard Lists:
This is the first point that needs to be taken into account. SharePoint, at the time when it was designed, came with several templates designed to execute precisely the same job as the numerous Lotus Notes’ mostly used standard application templates. The templates include task lists, calendars, discussion databases, contact lists and more. The basic functionality is same in spite of slight differences between the interfaces.

Migration of Custom Lists: Very much like the standard lists, the most essential thing to be considered while migrating from custom applications to custom lists is that of mapping all the database fields of the Notes to the suitable custom list columns.

Migration of Document Libraries: When it comes to Libraries, there are many things common between Lotus Notes and SharePoint with slight variations. The documents are actually binary files with several associated data properties. Considering this, the binary files attachments should be extracted and put in the library. This needs to be done during the Notes database migration.

Conversion of Microsoft Word: There is no denying the point that Microsoft Office, which is the dominant standard for creation of documents, integrates closely and effectively with the SharePoint libraries apart from being easy to handle. Now, the integration of Lotus Notes and SharePoint enables building of powerful applications. Additionally, users have the option of opening, editing and saving documents from the libraries without any hassles whatsoever.

Conversion of PDF: For businesses that have large amounts of Notes Databases incorporated with rich ext documents, PDF is the most suited platform for switching. Searching of PDFs in SharePoint requires installation of a free add-on from Adobe. PDF conversion leads to a satisfactory user experience, which may not, however, be as good as the one offered by Microsoft and SharePoint integration.

Conversion of InfoPath: InfoPath is considered an essential tool for switching for certain reasons. The applications might include complicated data structures, disabling them from getting stored in a list. The applications, on the other hand, encompass complex form designs along with ranges of difficult features.

Use of Document Sets: Document Sets come up as an essential way of storing several related files in a single and logical document group. This is like storing the entire thing in a single folder. In a document set, one can version, approve as well as secure the files while also presenting them in a usable and versatile interface.

Web Part Pages Migration: Web Part Pages Migration is the best option for exercising extra control over the manner in which the various elements in the web page are placed.

Migration of Publishing Pages: The reason behind this is precisely the same as Web Part Pages Migration. The only difference is that publishing pages require separate visual layout and styling from the authors of the content.

Migration of Wiki Pages: Creating a new page in SharePoint from the create menu leads to the wiki page. Now, wiki is the most popular page type when it comes to migrating Notes content. It is easily doable with proper migration tools.

Keeping these issues and their solutions in mind would assist you in getting a successful sharepoint site migration done from Lotus Notes to SharePoint.

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