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.

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.

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.

SharePoint tackles all the diverse concerns and issues of file mismanagement

Microsoft refers to the SharePoint server as a business collaboration platform for enterprises as well as the web. Since it is effectively integrated with MS Office, SP has become an ideal solution for a number of organizations who are well-versed with the Office products. It efficiently tackles the different issues and concerns arising out of file mismanagement. Moreover, the enhanced capabilities of SP with respect to worker collaboration coupled with its reliable security option has turned SharePoint into an advanced enterprise level platform. Let us check out the different benefits that SharePoint offers making diverse tasks easy to handle.

sharepoint cms customization, sharepoint development company, sharepoint deployment planning services1. Enhanced content management: From placing data within SharePoint to management of manifold websites showcasing many iterations of the data, enhancements have been realized in the content management services of the program. One of the striking features is the ability to take the data from any Word document, then conveniently paste it into SharePoint. After that, the Word formatting code is modified into the proper XHTML. Following this, it can be uploaded across multiple sites, the versions can be changed when the original is changed. Moreover tools are available to put your content across a range of electronic devices.

2. Consolidated functionality: It is a fact that so far as organizations are concerned, the staff is going to use much more than a single program or functionality. The BCS or Business Connectivity Service upgrade makes SharePoint capable of interacting conveniently with data that is available in other formats like Excel spreadsheet or Word document.

3. Rapid development of sites: Although every website is different, there are a number of features which are reused across a majority of the websites wherein just the content and layouts are different. The design of the SharePoint platform is able to comprehend this and offers developers predefined functions as well as assets such as the Design Manager, which streamlines the design procedure, turning it into a decision making one.

4. Enhancements in end user functionality: Even if a program is loaded with every power and functionality in the world, its bottom-line usefulness would be questionable if your staff is unable to use it for carrying out their duties more proficiently as well as quickly. Whenever a business is undergoing financial expenses for purchasing a corporate license for a program, it is evident that it is looking for a software that would provide the appropriate tools for carrying out the job and also refine them to ensure interactive intuition with the users. In this respect, it can be said that SharePoint has come up with greatly enhanced functionality with features like layout as well as drag-and-drop improvements which interact with MS Office theme for conveniently empowering every employee.

5. Improvements in data analytics: In the present age, information is everything. The new Excel BI and PerformancePoint services in SharePoint Server 2013 renders information in an understandable and accessible manner. Each important and measurable statistic is tracked and displayed in formats which are convenient to read, such as visual graphs and scorecards.

Managing Browser File Handling

Along with the above-mentioned features that help SharePoint in tackling the concerns of file mismanagement, there is also the Browser File Handling property which is available in the following locations:

  • The property is present in each web application
  • Each List comes with the Browser File Handling Property
  • The property is also available in each document library

Out of these, only the property pertaining to the web application can be managed through the web interface. The Document Library and List level properties can only be accessed through code.

Sometimes there are issues in uploading huge files to SharePoint. Usually, the maximum file size for uploading is 50 MB. Often when we try to cross the limit, error messages such as “An unknown error occurred”, “Request Timed Out”, “HTTP 404- Page Not Found” might be displayed. These problems can be tackled through increasing the web application’s maximum upload size, increasing the setting for connection time-out in Internet Information Services, and such other methods.

On the whole, SharePoint is very interactive and dynamic facilitating collaborative management of content through a browser. To get maximum benefits of Sharepoint, you may consider hiring services of a certified SharePoint development company to assist your development needs.

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.

Shredded Storage vs. RBS in SharePoint

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

SharePoint performance sinks, swims with SQL Server throughput

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

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

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

Regular Maintenance and Premium Storage

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

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

Breaking it up

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

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

Defined Performance Metrics

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

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

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

Extracting and Loading SharePoint Data in SQL Server Integration

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

Ways of Working with SP Data

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

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

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

SharePoint Source List and Destination: Features

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

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

Process of Using the Destination and Source

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

Extracting the Information from SharePoint with List Source

The extraction is usually done through the following steps:

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

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

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

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