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Article: Work Web Part Magic Inside of ASP.NET

Microsoft released SharePoint to the market back in 2000/2001 and, in doing so, began a shift in perception about how Web applications are built. The change was slow at first and has yet to take over the way we build applications completely; however, the change has started.
Rather than the old way of building page after page of copied content, this change moves toward a development model for Websites that focuses on reusable, connectable, and user-configurable components that are assembled quickly in different ways to create the solutions that business users need. In the Sharepoint world, these reusable components are called Web parts.
Now, ASP.NET 2.0 has integrated Web parts and the core concepts behind it: the idea that you build applications from components and not as page after page of similar functionality. This core approach to software development has the potential to accelerate your business by allowing users to assemble their own software solutions—solutions that normally they would not be able to create on their own.
In this article you’ll learn the core concepts behind an ASP.NET 2.0 Web part, how this structure relates to (and is better than) Windows SharePoint Services 2.0 (and Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server 2003), and how to build your own Web part page.http://www.devx.com/asp/Article/31696/

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Article: Creating a common lexicon for software development in your organization

While at lunch with a buddy of mine the other day he shared that he came to a startling revelation. He was listening to a presentation on Services Oriented Architecture (SOA) the day before and realized that much of his job was terms definition. Simple things like, what does the word “Enable” mean to you. What is an Enterprise Network Bus?

In software development we often use terms with one another which are poorly defined and have different meanings to different members of the team. We assume that when we say “factory pattern” the person on the other end understands us the same way they understand us when we say “cat.”  This is, however, rarely the case.

In this article, we’ll explore the need for a common lexicon (see the dictionary.com definition for details) for your software development team and look at what you need to do to create it.

http://www.techrepublic.com/article/creating-a-common-lexicon-for-software-development-in-your-organization/

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Article: The Value of Imperfect SharePoint Solutions

When we in information technology endeavor to create a solution we’ve been taught to produce complete solutions. We’re conditioned to ignore solutions that don’t completely solve the problem. We strive for that perfect round peg to put through the perfect round hole.

But reality is far from this pristine world. In the world of IT there are rarely round holes — they’re mostly round with a bit of a corner on one side. And the pegs aren’t exactly cylinders, they’re more like cones with a few deformities.

With some platforms, such as SharePoint, where we have the ability to quickly create solutions that mostly fit the problem — and create a lot of value — we should do that, create the solution that works and move on.

In this article we’ll talk about some of the imperfect solutions that you can create with SharePoint — and why they’re the right thing to do.

http://www.intranetjournal.com/articles/200606/ij_06_09_06a.html

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Advisor Summit on SharePoint, August 27th-31st, Phoenix

I’ll be speaking at Advisor Summit on SharePoint August 27th-31st in Phoenix, AZ.  The sessions will be:

  • Get your SharePoint Project Started Right – SharePoint projects can be so exciting that they skip over the requirements gathering needed to succeed. In this session you’ll learn how to get what you need to have a successful project. You’ll learn techniques for clarifying terminology and for getting the most out of prototyping. You’ll get real world tips for recovering from bad requirements. Whether your project is already off track, or you’re just getting started and are concerned, this session will help you succeed. You’ll take away a worksheet to help make sure you get all the important requirements for your SharePoint project. (SMS201)
  • Use SharePoint Portal Server Search – Locked away on your file servers, in your ERP systems, and in your custom applications is the collective knowledge of your organization. Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server (SPS) can peer into these repositories to collect all of the knowledge and make it accessible. In this session you’ll learn how to enable SPS to search all the information in the organization. You’ll learn the details of how SharePoint search works and how to configure it. You’ll see how to create advanced search criteria in SPS. If you’re struggling with search, come and learn how to get control of it. (SMS204)
  • SharePoint Backup and Restore – Critical information goes into SharePoint each day. Recovering that information in the event of a disaster is essential. In this session you’ll learn how to back up the information so you can recover it. You’ll learn about internal and third-party backup solutions. You’ll also learn to create a backup strategy that provides the most recovery options. If you can’t afford to loose your data you can’t afford to miss this session. You’ll take away a solid understanding of your backup options, benefits and weaknesses. (SMS309)

I hope to see you there!

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Article:User Interface Reusability, Part 2: Tools and Techniques

In the last article, “When Less Is More: User Interface Reusability, Part 1,” we explored user interface reuse including why it is important, how it is often overlooked, and some of the core challenges that organizations have with user interface reusability.

In this article we’ll explore the tools and techniques that you can use to build reusable user interfaces and the pitfalls you should avoid when using these tools.

http://www.intranetjournal.com/articles/200605/ij_05_30_06a.html

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File and Directory Rename tool

I’ve been migrating most of a clients files (but not all) to Windows SharePoint Services 2003 to give them version control and better access.  One of the things that I had forgotten about was that SharePoint has a much larger list of characters it doesn’t like in file and directory (folder) names.  You can look at the KB905231 for details.

I wrote a quick command line utility which will process an entire directory structure and make whatever replacements you would like in the file and directory names.  It’s useful for fixing files before they go into SharePoint but since the replacements are configuration based you could easily use it for corporate name changes or anything else where you need to do a quick set of replacements on files.  If you want to try the tool send me an email and I’ll get you a copy for evaluation.

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WebCast: Creating Reusable User Interfaces

In case you missed it, I did a web cast yesterday on reusable user interfaces.  It’s now available as an on-demand web cast at the following URL:

http://www.jupiterwebcasts.com/_archives/2006/webcast_05-22-06/index.html

 

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SharePoint Gets Search Analytics

Microsoft’s SharePoint Portal Server 2003 was sold into a large number of organizations based solely on the strength of the search tool. Organizations hungered for a way to find the data they had generated.

Structured data such as invoices, products, and shipments may have been easy to find in the applications designed for that data, but the growing mountain of documents seemed to make the unstructured information that you were looking for perpetually out of reach.

Search in SharePoint made significant progress in its ability to connect users with the unstructured information that they were seeking. But the effectiveness of searches depended upon the skill of the searcher and the alignment of the terms that the searcher used to the terms in the documents. The world of search analytics was still very foreign to most organizations. Thankfully, the next version of SharePoint Search with its focus on relevancy will also include reports that allow you to see the effectiveness of the searches users are executing.

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 is a part of the Office System and is set to debut sometime in late 2006 or early 2007. Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 includes numerous enhancements designed to improve search relevance, Internet usage, content management scenarios, and many other features which were shared this week at the SharePoint Conference in Bellevue, Wash., this week.

In this article you’ll learn about the basics of search analytics, what you can do today to improve your search results, and what to expect in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.

http://www.intranetjournal.com/articles/200605/ij_05_18_06a.html

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Move beyond mere source control to the problems source control doesn’t solve

If you’ve ever working on a multi-person development project that didn’t use some sort of source control system, you’re probably painfully aware of what it feels like to loose some of your hard earned work. Sure you may be able to reproduce the work but the feeling that you’ve already made the investment to create it once is very nagging.

Even if you’ve used source control systems you may have noticed that there are certain problems that a source control system doesn’t solve. Managing configuration files, consistency of file locations, standard coding practices, a check-in schedule, and a build process are all examples of application development problems that having a source control system with check-in and check-out won’t solve.

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Article: When Less Is More: User Interface Reusability, Part 1

With increasing pressure on software development teams to deliver more, better, faster, it is no wonder that finding ways to capitalize on reusability are more important today than ever before. We all need to do more with less and reuse is the panacea of doing more with less. Once the initial investment has been made, little or no effort must be consumed to use the work again.

While software development as an industry has focused on reuse through structured programming, object oriented programming, service oriented architecture, and several other techniques little thought or effort has been applied to the process of finding opportunities for reuse in the user interface. More often than not each application’s interface is seen as completely independent, having no need to be reused for any reason.

However, organizations of all sizes are finding needs to develop and reuse small components of applications in an effort to minimize costs, increase reliability, and allow for rapid changes to the platforms their technology lives on. This is why there is a need to create reusable user interface components. In this article, the first of two parts, we’ll explore why user interface reusability is important, how it’s been overlooked, and challenge you to develop a strategy for dealing with the need to make user interfaces reusable to reduce costs.

http://www.intranetjournal.com/articles/200605/ij_05_05_06a.html