SharePoint 2013 App Model- A weapon for SharePoint developers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Solid tips for improving your SharePoint team site homepage

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

Some tips for better site

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

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

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

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

How to edit

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

15 free SharePoint tools to make IT admins smile

SharePoint is a rich tool and offers extensive features for a better, customized and organized work flow. It enables to make processes easier and swift that enables organizations to make the best out of their employees. It is the best CMS that enables to manage huge amount of content effectively.

sharepoint site migration, sharepoint developers, sharepoint development companyWe live in a competitive world and latest technologies emerge to enable to deliver the best results possible. SharePoint is Microsoft’s tool that enables to build richer attractive websites. It is considered to be the most popular collaborative tool that provides all the necessary tools to manage people and content effectively. This platform makes it easy for employees of an organization to share ideas and engage smoothly in knowledge sharing activities.

Some of the free tools which helps admins while customizing their websites are as follows:

1. Microsoft’s SharePoint Administration Toolkit 2.0 (for 2010 and 2007 versions)

Microsoft bakes a bunch of nice things into this little add-on, including a kit that generates test loads to check how well any SharePoint deployment runs. It includes another important addon for the Security Configuration Wizard so one can harden the profile of deployment through Windows Server 2008. The SPDiag 3.0 utility is most useful. It grabs a heap of statistics from all the servers in a SharePoint farm, interprets them and presents them in a very neat and customized report.

2. ManageEngine’s Free SharePoint Health Monitor Tool

For smaller SharePoint deployment, this lightweight tool gives just an overall rollup of SharePoint farm’s health status at a glance. The ManageEngine Free SharePoint Health Monitor fits this bill nicely, giving a conveniently efficient dashboard view where one can see the details about the memory, CPU and disk space usage for each server running SharePoint. It can be drilled down into the SharePoint workload itself to see the response time, service status, Web server (Internet Information Services) process details and even SQL Server details such as buffer cache hit ratio, cache memory and free pages.

3. IntLock’s CardioLog Analytics Free Edition

If systems have a quarter of a million page views or fewer per month, one can use this free tool to help which finds out the sites employees are using, how long they are typically engrosed with those websites and what areas of those websites are most used. It installs quickly and is compatible with all kinds of versions of SharePoint, even the latest new SharePoint 2013. One can easily upgrade to the paid version where the free edition has all of the same features, with the only differences being the page view tracking limit and allowing for web-based support.

4. Microsoft’s SharePoint Designer (for 2007, 2010 and 2013)

Designer is like the FrontPage web design tool of the SharePoint world. One can use it to customize the look and feel of SharePoint websites, create and modify simple workflows and personalize a SharePoint deployment at ease. If one have a large SharePoint deployment with multiple versions running at the same time, one must use the Designer version specific to the particular SharePoint edition.

5. Idera’s Free SharePoint Admin Toolset

This is a combination of seven tools in one, a site monitor is present to check up on any SharePoint sites one manages, a space trends report to track using disk space on deployment for folders, libraries and websites, a handy accelerator that essentially rebuilds the database indexes on the SQL Server instance managing SharePoint deployment, a clean report to show how much SQL database space deployment is consuming, a permissions analyzer to show what users can access which specific websites and libraries, a smart tool to compare the configurations of site collections to see where they are different and a quick admin tool that brings together most frequently used links to SharePoint Central Administration. A very smart tool set to make tasks easier and smart way to deal with.

6. Idera’s Free SharePoint Performance Monitor

To have a detailed information at what is happening under the hood of any SharePoint farm, this great tool Idera’s Free SharePoint Performance Monitor is used. This tool gives a holistic overview of the performance statistics and metrics for SharePoint itself, the SQL Server instance on any given server and information about the host’s operating system and memory configuration. The tool also can be configured to send simple e-mail alerts when one of the performance indicators does not work. One can also monitor multiple websites at a time for their deployments and one can generate nifty graphs and charts about connections, requests, response time, pages, disk usage and many more.

7. McAfee’s Network Discovery for Microsoft SharePoint

It is a good SharePoint-specific inventory tool. If one has overall responsibility for a network, one might not even know if one of departments has deployed a SharePoint server. The McAfee Network Discovery Tool for Microsoft SharePoint will scan the network to find SharePoint 2003, 2007 and 2010 environments and then display the results of its scan in a nice neat HTML report that shows in detail which servers have been deployed and what version they’re running.

8. Axceler’s ViewPoint for SharePoint

This is a great tool for visualizing in a convenient table form exactly which users have what permissions on any given site. This could be very useful in an auditing scenario or any environment where permissions can tighten without granting full access to users needlessly. One can choose to work from the graphical dashboard, to run and print reports to provide to management or to work through with any administrative tools. It works with both SharePoint 2010 as well as SharePoint 2013 deployments. It even requires full SharePoint administrator permissions to do its job properly.

9. Quest’s Server Administrator for SharePoint

This great tool is suitable on SharePoint 2007 and 2010. It lets to see which parts of farm configuration are affecting the security, performance and availability of deployment. It helps to build PowerShell scripts to maintain environment. It also helps with a migration to SharePoint 2010 from 2007, required to get to SharePoint 2013 as well, by showing which parts of deployment are ready for the upgrade and which are not. And it provides an intelligent rating to show what is most important to upgrade before one begin against what would simply be “nice to have.”

10. SharePoint SUSHI

SharePoint SUSHI is an open source project hosted on CodePlex that essentially takes the most common administrative tasks and puts them in one convenient tool. SUSHI, which bills itself as a “Swiss army knife for SharePoint,” stands for SharePoint Utilities with a smart and useful interface. One can view the lists and sites of any given user can access, which is really helpful for looking at effective permissions, upload user photos as profile images, back up and restore sites; apply a theme to a group of sites with one click and much more.

11. Clockwork Software

It is SharePoint Migration Tool, reliable migration of documents from old 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 such as Hummingbird DM6, DOCs Open, Worksite, FileNet 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 totalling about 2 million documents

– Good for small migrations with a cost effective pricing scheme.

12. Metalogix

It 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.

13. PCVITA Express Migrator

It is SharePoint comprehensive too designed 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. It provides an effective and simple solution for enterprise to migrate their business-critical data from different repositories (Lotus Notes, File Share, File System, Public Folder and SharePoint etc) to Microsoft SharePoint Server. The SharePoint migration product granularly migrates content while keeping all the associated metadata & permission intact.

14. Vyapin

A powerful tool for developing SharePoint application for migrating documents, NTFS permissions, data and their associated metadata properties from network file shares, file servers and local hard drives to Microsoft SharePoint 2013, Office 365 (SharePoint Online), SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2007. Here are the list of functions it provides such as migrate folders and files into SharePoint libraries from various file servers and network shares. Carry forward default file properties, including custom Office document properties to the respective documents in SharePoint. Automate entire migration process, with the ability to correct and rectify migration errors using the pre-migration validation tool. Migrate content from file shares to on-premise SharePoint servers and SharePoint Online in Office 365 (Standard) environment using a single application.

15. Tzunami

This Deployer tool offers a cost-effective solution for migrating and consolidating multiple content sources into SharePoint. It supports almost all versions of SharePoint, from SPS 2001 to SharePoint 2013. Automating the entire process of migrating unstructured content. SharePoint offers multiple benefits for enterprises big and small. It is for this reason that enterprises are stressing on this particular technology for enabling them to function optimally. It enables to increase employee productivity and enables them to remain more focused with their work. It can function as an effective content management system, document management tool and collaborative platform. Businesses have profited much more with this awesome tool and it has enabled to enhance business initiatives. To get maximum benefits of Sharepoint, you may consider hiring services of a certified SharePoint development company to assist you in your development needs.

We provide SharePoint site migration services. If you would like to talk to one of our certified SharePoint developers, please get in touch with us 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.

7 Steps to Selecting the Right SharePoint Support Partner

A consistent increase is noted in the number of companies investing in SharePoint application development. However, each organization also explores option to optimize the performance of the SharePoint application. In addition to developing and deploying the application properly, it is also important for a company to provide consistent and quality support. If you are planning to outsource the SharePoint application support, it is important to select the right partner. Along with comparing the cost of support services, you also need to consider on a number of important points to ensure that your SharePoint application gets consistent and customized support.

How to Choose the Right SharePoint Support Partner?

SharePoint bespoke development, certified sharepoint developers, SharePoint site migration1. Skills and Innovation: Similar to other tech support partners, your SharePoint support partner also needs to possess adequate knowledge, skills and platforms. At the same time, you must evaluate the nature and type of the services offered by the company to ensure that these are effective in optimizing the performance of your application. In addition to adding value to your existing team of developers, the company must be effective in providing fresh and innovative ideas to the overall IT functionality.

2. Solid Working Relationship: When you are hiring a SharePoint support partner, the company will work with your team over a longer period of time. Therefore, it is important to check the services offered by the company to ensure that a solid working relationship can be built. Along with checking the compatibility of the company with your existing team, you also need to check if the company is ready to offer customized support according to the needs and objectives of your organization.

3. Professional Accreditations: When you are outsourcing SharePoint support, it becomes essential to hire the best professionals. Along with the qualification and experience of the members of the support team, you also need to check if they are Microsoft certified. As each professional has to work hard to obtain Microsoft certification exam, the team consisting of such accredited developers can provide higher level of service by identifying your specific requirements.

4. Location of the Company: You have option to choose from several local and offshore SharePoint support service providers. Similar to other companies, you can avail high quality yet cost-effective support for your application by outsourcing the project. But the offshore company will require you to work with a distributed team. Also, there are chances that you have to implement a comprehensive strategy to overcome the constraints related to language and time zone. It is also a good idea to discuss with your in-house team about their willingness to work with an offshore company.

5. A Concrete Service Level Agreement: Once you decide to hire an offshore company, it becomes essential to ensure that it will assist your team in resolving any problem without causing any delay. At the same time, you must hire a service provider who agrees to sign a concrete service level agreement drafted according to your specific business needs. The service level agreement will make it easier for you to avail consistent and high quality SharePoint support, in addition to evaluating the service based on key performance indicators.

6. Credibility and Reputation of the Support Partner: The websites of the companies offering SharePoint support will help you in understanding the nature and type of services offered by them. However, you cannot hire a partner without checking his professional credibility and reputation. It is always a good idea to contact the existing clients of the company to gather information about the quality and promptness of the support service provided by the company. At the same time, you also need to evaluate the information gathered from various resources to ensure that the company has adequate manpower and financial strength to become a long-term support partner.

7. Cost: The hash economic conditions have made it essential for companies to avail high quality SharePoint support on a budget. So you must compare the prices charged by each shortlisted company. However, it is also important to do a cost and benefit analysis by keeping in mind the value the company will add to your existing IT system and functionality. As each service provider promises higher ROI, you can always ask the company to prove its claims. When a support partner agrees to deliver higher ROI, it will remain more committed to optimize the performance of your SharePoint application.

While selecting a SharePoint support partner, you cannot ignore the significance the feedback and recommendations of other users. It is a good idea to search the web to read the information shared by other companies related to the quality and reliability of SharePoint support provided by each of the shortlisted companies. If you are contemplating a SharePoint site migration project, you can put the points above into action to find a reliable development partner.

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

7 Critical Quality Assurance Steps to Take in SharePoint Scanning

Each edition of Microsoft SharePoint comes with loads of innovative features and functionality. In addition to being a web publishing platform, SharePoint is also used widely by enterprises to manage content and documents stored on their intranet and the web. But each company has to make and implement a comprehensive strategy to migrate to SharePoint smoothly. An organization can easily migrate to the innovative content management system, if it does not have any paper record.

custom sharepoint development, sharepoint webparts development, sharepoint developersBut the companies with loads of paper records must implement a comprehensive SharePoint scanning strategy. Along with scanning each documents, file and folder, the strategy also needs to consider how to sort and store the scanned records logically. At the same time, the strategy must consider a number of quality assurance steps to optimize SharePoint scanning.

SharePoint Scanning Best Practices

1. Automate the Scanning Process: Similar to other manual process, SharePoint scanning is also prone to several types of errors. So you must use innovative technologies to automate the collection and storing of data. You also have option to choose from a variety of tools like Database Lookups and Advanced Data Extractions to make the data collection and entry process flawless. Along with eliminating errors, the tools will further make it easier for you to store the data at a much faster pace.

2. Check the Scanning Hardware: The documents can be scanned using several types of scanning hardware available in the market. But you must check the hardware to ensure that it is designed with double feed detection feature. The feature will ensure that the each page is scanned by eliminating the chances of pages getting struck while going through the feeder. As you have option to choose from several scanners, it is important to pick the right device after evaluating the pros and cons of each system.

3. Make the Scanning Task Specific: Many professionals do not understand the requirements and significance of SharePoint scanning. So they often ignore to check the quality of the scanned images and documents. You can always improve the quality of scanning by making the entire process task specific. Instead of deploying a dedicated employee to scan all documents, you can divide the task among several employees. When the task is assigned to specific employees, they will scan the documents properly while checking the quality of both data and images.

4. Check the Quality of Image and Data: You can always optimize the SharePoint scanning by introducing a QA system. Under the QA system, each image and information will be checked by an independent person, before storing these in the database. As an alternative, you can even consider using an interface that is designed with dual view feature to see each side of a document, folder batch or image structure. At the same time, the interface will also use a spreadsheet to ensure that the all each document is scanned and sorted in an exact and logical way.

5. Use Count Validation: When you are converting existing business data stored on papers into digital format, you must remember that there are always chances that some documents, pages and folders may remain non-scanned. So you must use a validation interface to ensure that each page, document and folder is scanned and counted properly. In addition to physical to digital validation, the interface will further ensure that the prepped or poorly stacked papers are scanned without skipping any record.

6. Check the Way Documents are Stored: Along with scanning each paper record, you also need to ensure that the digitalized records are sorted and stored logically. When the information are sorted and stored in a logical order, it will be easier to access the details immediately in future. Similarly doing QA while scanning the documents, you can further consider introducing QA of the end resting place. The second level of QA will ensure that the data are stored in the right rules. Also, the data will be stored according to the right rules, and in right data fields.

7. Improve Quality through Reporting: Many enterprises use a dual stream output to optimize the scanning and storing of paper record. Along with storing the images and metadata in the repository, you must feed the data and scanning statistics into a reporting DB. The reporting DB will make it easier for you to track the entire scanning process, and ensure that all documents are digitalized. The reporting will further help you in identifying the missing documents and exceptions.

Many organizations outsource SharePoint scanning to save time, effort and money. If you are planning to outsource the project, it becomes essential to keep the above mentioned factors in mind. It is also important to hire a company that has adequate experience in scanning, classifying and storing a wide variety of business records using SharePoint. Custom SharePoint development teams with proper experience in scanning can help immensely in this.

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.