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No Searching SharePoint Portal Pages — by default

Something I ran across the other day is that the default content index for Portal Content has an exclusion in it so that it won’t search the actual pages of the Portal.  If you have content editor web parts, or other content that you want to make sure that SharePoint does index, you’ll want to go into SharePoint and remove the exclusion for pages.  You can follow these steps to remove the exclusion

  1. Open the SharePoint Portal Server site
  2. Click on Site Settings
  3. Click Configure search and indexing
  4. Click Manage Content Indexes
  5. Hover over Portal Content, drop down the menu arrow that appears on the right, and select Edit.
  6. Click Manage rules to exclude and include content
  7. Find the entry in the list which is http://yourserver/*.aspx, hover over it, drop down the menu arrow that appears on the right, and select Delete.

The next time the portal content index is refreshed you’ll start getting content from the web part pages as well.

REST for Search.aspx

SharePoint’s support for REST (query string parameters) on the search.aspx (Portal Server Search/Search Results Page) is very powerful.  However, once you get past the basics of passing it a search string (k … short for keywords) the documentation gets a bit fuzzy.  Here’s one thing that I was able to do with search.aspx…

First, a few parameters…

Parameter Description
k Keywords – General Search
tp Type of document (I’ve found Person and Document very handy.)
s Scope — Think Search Scopes from the search drop-down list
pt Property — Any of the custom properties that SharePoint indexes. IFilters put these in.
d Date — apparently required when you’re searching for properties

So the next bit is how to encode the properties. Here are a few ASCII/Hex Codes you may need

Code Punctuation
%3a : (Colon)
%2e . (Period)
%23 # (Hash, Pound, etc.)
%2c , (Comma)

So if you want to search for the word ‘spacey’ in any text in a document in a search scope named fuzzy you would have a URL like: http://server/search.aspx?tp=Document&s=fuzzy&k=spacey

It gets a tad bit more complicated when you want to search only in a property not in the full text. First, you have to find the property you want in Manage Properties, and then you have to setup the search … When you add the property to the search you have to add a single character specifier indicating the type of the property before you start it’s name — mostly you’re dealing with Strings so ‘S’ is appropriate. Then you have to put commas after the property name the keyword Contains and another comma — all encoded of course. Next, once I search for a property I have to add a date specifier to the query. The title property is really So if I wanted to find the same thing in only the title property I’d do this: http://server/search.aspx?tp=Document&s=fuzzy&pt=Surn%3aschemas%2emicrosoft%2ecom%3afulltextqueryinfo%3adisplaytitle%2cContains%2cSpacey&2cAnd%2c&d=All

Clear as mud right? It’s not that bad, basically describing the property and url encoding all of the special characters makes it look ugly. If it weren’t encoded it would look like this..http://server/scope.aspx?tp=Document&s=fuzzy&,Contains,Spacey,And,&d=All still not pretty but certainly much more readable.

I hope this helps when you want to be able to create links to property searches.

Getting leadership and management in your organization

There’s a difference in the skills sets for leadership and those for management. Learn the difference and how to incorporate the best of both worlds in your organization.

Early in my career, I thought that leadership was what the people at the very top of the organization did and that management was what all of the people in the middle of the organizational structure did. However, while this positional view is correct in many organizations, it does not need to be that way. Management and leadership are both necessary components of a successful organization of any size.

The differences between leadership and management

The role of a leader in any organization is to set the direction. A leader is the first to envision a future position for the organization and first to evangelize that position. Leadership is about finding a point on the horizon and saying, loudly and firmly, we should go there.

Management focuses on keeping the ship upright and moving in the direction that it’s headed. It’s not about picking a point on the horizon and going there. Management is about plotting progress towards the spot on the horizon.


Why does SharePoint create a new version of a document in a document library when you edit properties?

I’m working on an article for IntranetJournal about the way that SharePoint actually uses meta data (fields) in a document library and as I was crawling through the details it occurred to me one of the reasons why SharePoint has to create a new version when you update the properties of the file.  Many people have wondered why this causes a new version to be created — including myself.  However, I believe that I’ve stumbled across the answer — Because it *IS* a new version in some cases.

In the case of Office documents, the document itself gets updated to reflect the new properties.  You can see for yourself by checking File-Properties-File Properties on the file.

It’s also storing the previous properties off if you needed to restore them, even if there is no way to see them.  (It’s not just recreating them from the properties in the document because it has the behavior of restoring the properties even for non-Office documents.)

Display a Random Item from a SharePoint List: Beta Testing

One of the annoying things for me has been trying to get a web part that would show a random item from a list.  I’ve wanted to feature projects, employees, questions/answer sets, etc. on the home page to keep it new without having to finely control what data was exposed on the home page.

I’ve completed the coding for a Random Item web part which takes a random item from a list and displays it using the formatting that the user/developer provides.  It has the ability to support previous and next buttons as well as the ability to cache the results for a period of time so that the entire page isn’t in a constant state of flux.

I’ve still got to finish the documentation and create a few example DWPs, but I’m looking for folks who are interested in beta testing the web part and letting me know what additional features it needs.

Find a Person

I was speaking with Todd Bleeker who is still very excited about the possibilities of the Content Editor web part. Then I went to a client who was having a typical problem — making it easy to find people in their organization.

The net result was that I created a web part that leverages the Content Editor web part to use the REST format of the search page to find people. I’ve made the dwp available here for those who might be able to use it.  I’m starting to see why Todd likes this approach.  It’s good for some simple things that you want to get done without a lot of coding.

Anatomy of a Software Development Role: Project Manager

The Project Management role is the first role in the software development process that isn’t on the main line. The project manager isn’t a person doing “real work.” The project management role is one that is designed to help ensure that the software development process works as it is intended. The project management role works closely with the development management role in order to facilitate, encourage and prioritize the process.

The project management role is perhaps the most clearly defined role within the software development process due to the development of project management as a profession. (If you’ve not been following the series, you might want to read Cracking the Code: Breaking Down the Software Development Roles.)

While the software industry is nascent, the project management industry is enjoying the advancement of a powerful organization in the Project Management Institute . They have assembled a guide to the body of knowledge for the project management profession that is often referred to as the PMBOK Guide. This organization has developed a widely recognized certification, Project Management Professional (PMP), which has both practical experience requirements as well as traditional testing requirements.

Open source software on the desktop — Is it right for you?

Thinking of switching to open source? Don’t underestimate what the true acquisition cost will be.

There are few topics more heated than the discussion surrounding Open Source vs. Microsoft. This discussion typically focuses on the difference between Linux and Windows as an operating system. This is, however, only one dimension of the problem. You have to consider both the operating system and the office software that most users use. You must add to that everything else you have to support that isn’t included in the basic office applications.

Comparable and compatible

One of the arguments towards placing open source software on the desktop is that it’s “comparable and compatible.” Comparable means it’s largely similar; it performs the same functions. Compatible is saying simply that it works with the recognized leader in the area (Microsoft). For instance, Linux is comparable to Windows in that it’s an operating system. It’s compatible because it can read and write files to a Windows-based server (through Samba and some configuration.)  Similarly, OpenOffice is comparable to Microsoft Office in that it offers the same basic functions. It’s compatible in that it can read and write Microsoft Office files.

The rub comes in when you evaluate how comparable and compatible the solution is. From a comparable standpoint, does the solution offer the same user experience in terms of ease of use? How much will change from what’s already familiar? How about help? Despite the challenges with the help in commercial systems, it’s substantially better than the help files that exist for open source software.

Link Tracking Beta

I finished a new web part kit over the weekend.  It is called Link Tracking, and allows you to see how frequently that users are actually using the links that are in the portal.  Most customers I’ve talked to are completely unaware of when the users are using the links on the portal, as a result it’s hard to fine-tune the number and type of links on the site.

Link tracking fixes this by recording each link as it’s clicked so you can go back and review the number of people who have used the link.

I’m looking for three beta participants with the commercial release being later this month.  If selected for the beta, I’ll give you a license to the final code when it comes out.


How to use SharePoint as a Mail Merge Source

I was looking for how to perform a mail merge using a SharePoint list as a source and found Wayne’s post asking the same question.  There wasn’t help there, however, amongst the comment was on from Yatin Purohit indicating that you could link to the SharePoint list as a table in Access and then use the Access table as a source for Word to use in a mail merge.  It’s a pretty useful technique — too bad there’s not an OLEDB driver for SharePoint lists. I suppose this will work for now.

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