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.

SharePoint offers Enterprise-Level Info Sharing Platform

sharepoint development company , sharepoint custom solutions development , hire sharepoint developer The rich platform of SharePoint helps in the construction of web applications that are ‘multi-tiered’. There are three characteristics that define this development platform- reliability which means its ability for consistent performance, extensibility which enables consolidation with other applications as well as systems and scalability which enables the proper handling of growing work amount. For web application development several frameworks, languages, tools as well as object models can be used. The person who is new to this platform may find it difficult to know what to implement and where. So a developer should first understand his choices and then select the options accordingly to meet his design and architectural goals.

Capabilities

The system of SharePoint Server is equipped with the following capabilities:

  • Communities- Collaborating through blogs, wikis, etc.
  • Sites- Websites both outside as well as inside the firewall.
  • Search- The technologies as well as products include search engines that can be customized according to your needs.
  • Content- Web content management, publishing along with enterprise content management systems.
  • Composite applications- Includes infrastructure, processes, user interface as well as data access.
  • Insights- Business intelligence.

Scalable architecture can be provided by the relevant technologies along with products making it absolutely perfect for several users like employees of a huge corporation. Flexible, scalable websites can be built by its virtue; they can be maintained with ease. When building applications you can customize several capabilities for specific vertical markets.

Role in Application development strategy

While considering the role, three basic strategies are there- enterprise portal, application and intranet along with application. Among these SharePoint viewed as application is the simplest approach. In this, deployment of SharePoint is as it is. Customizations are limited to either no-code customizations or configuring through web browser.

SharePoint may also be utilized as intranet platform as well as application. According to this model, the platform is used for building of intranet applications. This often includes remarkable customizations and partners can be included as well for initial deployment. After completing the deployment, in-house customizations can be limited to configuration through browser or no-code solutions with help of SharePoint Designer.

SharePoint can be adopted as an enterprise portal, acting as a core component of the application development strategy. This model will allow you to have an experienced as well as full-fledged software development team. You along with your development partner can also experience close relationship by virtue of this platform. Other considerations additionally associated with this approach are:

  • Maintaining the skills necessary within the development team.
  • Enforcement as well as development of coding standards specific to SharePoint for external development partners along with internal developers.
  • Robust approach needs to be established for ALM or Application Lifecycle Management like defining the standards, process as well as procedures for creation of SharePoint solutions. They can then be moved through production environments, UAT, integration as well as development.
  • In case of regional SharePoint farms engaged in global deployment, standards and efforts must be coordinated across diverse development teams.

Right applications for SharePoint

To use SharePoint for application development platform, you should try and determine when SharePoint can be used and when it cannot be used. Every problem can be solved by this platform but it may increase complexities in maintenance along with application development and cost as well. Things may become tricky in case of upgradation to SharePoint’s latest release due to heavy customizations. So some key considerations are:

  • Management of unstructured information is best suited by SharePoint.
  • There is no point in using this if things like content, search, insights, communities, composites or sites are not used.
  • It is best for creation of multiple examples of websites based on common templates.

Thus, in short this platform is not only great for enterprise level information sharing but for lots of features like file-sharing, web-publishing and collaborating, all under a single server. Business efficiency and productivity can be improved with the help of the easy to use and powerful infrastructure which boasts of capabilities for the development of websites, portals, content management systems, intranets and such other business intelligence implementations. You can hire developers from top SharePoint development company in India who can help you build mobile apps within allocated budgets and time schedules.

We provide SharePoint custom solutions development services. If you need to hire SharePoint developer from us, we would be glad to assist you 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.

Top 10 Content Migration Tools to SharePoint Platform

SharePoint is a web application platform developed by Microsoft in the year 2001, and since then working wonders in proving to be the best technology for handling huge data. SharePoint is very unique amongst information management systems in that it is rarely purchased with any specific purpose in mind. It is mostly bundled in with other products when an IT department negotiates an enterprise agreement with Microsoft. This technology is useful in building sites, content, applications and search.

sharepoint cms customization, sharepoint development company, sharepoint deployment planning servicesSharePoint development allows innovative tools and facility for the development of incredible website that has immense capability to manage various documents and files in an neat and appropriate manner. With the growth of companies, it has become tedious and difficult to manage various files, documents and their positions. SharePoint technology offer immense ease in the management of different files and documents and allows sharing these to main website. SharePoint from the house of software legend Microsoft is used in the creation of large information portals of businesses and companies.

Advantages of using SharePoint

  • It offers a central platform to share work from a central place.
  • It allows to develop and store content through document library.
  • It helps to control complete business processes of an organization.
  • Offers search elements, which helps to collect the information in a short span of time.
  • It allows participating individually in decision making process of a company.
  • Helps in easy development of a website as well as in the maintenance process.
  • It helps in work-flow integration, backup system, branding and consulting activities of an organization.
  • Helps in the development of various applications that are useful for various task processing in an organization.

There is so much to learn and various new features to be discovered and what certainly will be interesting is how quickly businesses transfer to the new platform. Taking those steps will gain immediate benefits in your current environment in order to ensure you are ready to quickly take advantage of the new SharePoint 2013 features.

Some of the core features of the SharePoint 2013

It brings an enhanced user interface with customizable fields and much improved functionality. Its health and appointment management, human resource integration, policy, request and claims management is great. It provides customizable reporting, cache service, expense tracking, revenue tracking and patient check-in. Multiple fee schedules with auto-schedule follow-up, data import/export HIPAA Compliance and tracking the provider’s productivity well.

Migrations are long, complex, risky and expensive projects and it’s difficult to prepare current environment properly to ensure that one is set for a successful migration now and in the future. On top of that, everything one does in the environment should be implemented with an eye on how it will impact SharePoint platform as it evolves. Migrating custom code becomes very costly and time consuming, with the high risk of data loss. Analyzing present environment to identify and address pre-migration issues and planning SharePoint migration strategy with confidence. This will deliver system efficiencies in the short term, ensure high performance and slash migration timelines and in new environment.

Top 10 SharePoint Content Migration Tools

1. Davinci Migrator: It gives the ability to identify potential problems before they occur. Migration estimates help to build realistic schedules. And Davinci reduces risk, lowers the cost and shortens the time necessary for SharePoint migration. Davinci also lets to put site and SharePoint content migration decisions into the hands of the end users responsible for the content using Microsoft Excel. Reliable migration of documents from older ECMS to SharePoint 2010 or SharePoint 2013. From any SQL Server based ECMS (EDRMS, DMS, CMS) with files stored on a network drive or share. ECMSs like DOCs Open, Worksite, FileNet, Hummingbird DM6, etc.

  • Migrate all versions and metadata (including managed metadata)
  • Migrate to SharePoint libraries and folders
  • Apply document level security if desired
  • Currently in use on migration projects totaling about 2 million documents
  • Good for small migrations too with a cost effective pricing scheme.

2.Idera Migrator: SharePoint migration suite is the most comprehensive solution available for SharePoint content migration. It goes above and beyond traditional SharePoint migration solutions enabling you to visually architect and organize content and metadata during migration, to improve search, eDiscovery, usability and manageability. Idera SharePoint migration suite is designed to be used over and over again, with no services required, in a wide variety of scenarios including:

  • SharePoint platform upgrade – migration from or between SharePoint 2003 to 2007 to 2010
  • SharePoint site consolidation
  • SharePoint farm/site collection/site reorganization
  • Rolling out new sites and applications from development through testing and staging to production2

3. Tzunami: It is leading SharePoint Migration tools which has been developed specifically to respond to all SharePoint migration requirements. It enables advanced migration from multiple sources. Saving total-cost-of-ownership, the solution easily moves content to advanced SharePoint systems from a wide-range of sources. Such as File Shares Migration where migration is from folder structures and files from any file share (local or network drive) to SharePoint 2007 Platform. Migrating Exchange Public Folders to SharePoing 2007 List and Libraries. Migrating Livelink content into SharePoint 2007 Platform, Xerox DocuShare content into SharePoint 2007 Platform, EMC Documentum Content into SharePoint 2007 Platform, eRoom content into SharePoint 2007 products. Hummingbird Document Management content into SharePoint 2007 Platform and for migrating Hyperwave content into sharePoint 2007 Platform and lotus notes databaser and applications into SharePoint 2007 Platform.

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4. Quest: All new social features, business intelligence capabilities, and search improvements are improving with each new edition and new version of SharePoint. Quest Migration Manager for SharePoint comes into play from migration 2003 to 2007 then to 2010 and finally 2013. With each move it serves better with richer quality of the products. Whenever there is migration there is filtering and scheduling.

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5. Vital-PathPathBuilder: Enterprise Application Integration for Content Management (EAI-CM) platform that quickly and seamlessly integrates more than 40 content repositories with SharePoint. Enables users to interact with content and data from any third-party repository without leaving the SharePoint environment. Synchronizes permissions and security between native repository and SharePoint.

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6. Xavor Migrator: SharePoint sites, libraries, lists, web parts and permissions can be easily migrated or can simply be re-arranged or re-structured using this powerful migrating tool.

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7. Vyapin Migrator: It builds an intelligent document migration solutions for Microsoft SharePoint. It is a pioneer in developing document migration solutions, starting from the very beginning when SharePoint was first introduced by Microsoft. It introduced a document import kit for SharePoint 2010 which is a powerful, easy-to-use tool to migrate documents and their associated metadata from file systems & network shares into Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 / Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS 2007), Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 and Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services v4.0 / v3.0 (WSS v4.0 / v3.0).

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8. Proventeq Migrator: It is a content nigration suite which helps in migrating web content, documents and other digital assets from a wide range of sources (structured or otherwise) to Microsoft SharePoint 2007, Records Center and SharePoint 2010. The CMiS migration process follows the Data Migration ETL (Extract Transform & Load) principles for separation of extraction and transformation from the load into SharePoint. This separation of stages means that the migration can progress in an iterative manner even though SharePoint system may still be under development or configuration.

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9. PCVITA Express Migrator: It is a comprehensive solution for enterprise to migrate content to SharePoint as part of SharePoint migration strategy that goes above and beyond other traditional SharePoint migration software, thereby allowing to have visually architected migration. This provides an effective and simple solution for enterprise to migrate their business-critical data from different repositories (File Share, Public Folder, File System, Lotus Notes, and SharePoint etc) to Microsoft SharePoint Server. The SharePoint migration product granularly migrates the content while keeping all the associated meta-data & permissions intact.

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10. MetalogixMigrator: It also can migrate content into SharePoint from just about any source system. From one SharePoint version to another (2003, 2007, 2010, WSSv2 or WSSv3), from various Enterprise Content Management systems (eRoom, Stellent, Livelink) and from file systems, Exchange public folders, blogs and websites. Migrate SharePoint Sites, Lists and Libraries between servers with full fidelity, Upgrade from SharePoint 2003 to SharePoint 2007, Plan migration to SharePoint 2010, Re-organize or re-template SharePoint content, Manage upgrade with zero downtime. Simplifies the process of migrating eRoom content to SharePoint. All interactions with eRoom and SharePoint go through supported, remote APIs. As a result, you can complete all migration operations from any client machine. Consolidate multiple corporate file shares, web-based document sources, and personal drives into a centrally managed SharePoint repository. It also enables organizations to rapidly migrate content from popular blog platforms to SharePoint 2010. This product supports Microsoft’s vision of SharePoint as both an enterprise content management platform and a social computing platform. To get maximum benefits of Sharepoint, you may consider hiring services of a certified SharePoint development company to assist your development needs.

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We provide SharePoint deployment planning services and also help you leverage the benefits of SharePoint cms customization. To speak to one of our certified developers today, please contact us at Mindfire Solutions.