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Category: SharePoint Longhorn

A new chapter: You can go home again

A new chapter: You can go home again

8 years ago Jill and I moved from Austin, TX to New England as newlyweds to start our new life together. I had just accepted a new job with Raytheon to work on a technology that was completely foreign to me. I had spent the previous 10 years of my career focused on relatively known commodities, but when I jumped into SharePoint it was a total unknown to me. Little did we know then the amazing road that was ahead of us. Every year has been another milestone:

2007: married & moved to Massachusetts
2008: Max was born
2009: bought our home and moved to New Hampshire
2010: Sam was born
2011: Left Raytheon for Sentri
2012: Sentri acquired KMA
2013: Polycom acquired Sentri and I left Polycom for Atrion
2014: Awarded SharePoint MVP
2015: …

heading to Texas

This week I accepted an offer to be the Office 365 Advisory Services Manager for Rackspace , a position that is moving us back home to Texas. I am thrilled to take on a new challenge that is focused completely on Office 365 and couldn’t be happier to be joining the amazing team at Rackspace and get to partner with the ever amazing Jennifer Mason Roth on our Office 365 offering.

For our family this change is semi-sweet as we truly love our life in New Hampshire, our friends, and the family that we have built over the past 8 years. We have built & strengthened bonds here that will last our lifetime and we will be back regularly to visit. I cannot imagine a morning during baseball season that Sam won’t be waking up and asking “Did the Red Sox win last night?” before he even says good morning to us. He has told me that he is excited that we are moving to where the Texas Longhorns play though. Max is excited to learn to play “Deep in the Heart of Texas” now in addition to “Yankee Doodle”.

I will miss the amazing people that I have been lucky enough to work with for the past 2 years at Atrion . The team there continues to be strong & growing. I know that they are going to keep doing amazing things for our customers. The opportunities that I have had during my time at Atrion have allowed me to grow both personally & professionally. I look forward to continuing the relationships that I have developed over the past 2 years.

I will also miss the New England family of SharePoint communities that have embraced me so thoroughly over these past 5 years. I am excited that part of my world at Rackspace includes getting to continue my dedication to the community and I will be back for SPSBoston, helping to run the 5th annual SPSNH, and speaking at SPTechCon during the rest of the year and hopefully for many years to come.

The next few months are going to be crazy as I dive head first into my new world at Rackspace and we relocate the family to Texas. I will be at Ignite working the Office 365 Developer booth for Microsoft during my first official week at Rackspace. Be sure to stop by and visit me to hear about all of the great stuff that Microsoft is doing to enable Devs in the Office 365 world.

Planning a SharePoint Saturday: A recap of #SPSNH

Planning a SharePoint Saturday: A recap of #SPSNH

We are now almost a month removed from SPSNH and it has been just enough time for the glow to start to fade and for life to start getting back to normal.  The event was wildly successful and somehow managed to receive nothing but positive reviews.  There were a few things that I noted that are worth mentioning:

1.) Drop off between registration and attendance was between 30-40%. 

2.) Doing 6 keynotes instead of 1 made the day interesting, but did not draw people in for the early sessions the way that a big name keynote might have.

3.) Planning 3 tracks (ITPro, Dev, End User) at 2 different skill levels (Beginner & Advanced) and keeping the tracks consistent in the same room so that people weren’t hunting for their next session was a BIG hit.

4.) Todd Klindt is a freaking rock star.  This isn’t something that we learned, but it was certainly reinforced.  The dude stepped up to deliver a session he had never seen until 5 minutes before when someone called in sick for the first timeslot & then presented to a standing room only group later in the day.  Todd’s heroic efforts win the booby prize with Chris McNulty coming in a close second for taking on an extra session with only a day’s notice.  The edge went to Todd because he had less prep time. 

5.) Bags and paper collateral are passé.  Give people a jump drive with digital collateral.

6.) Varying things up between 2010 & 2013 was very positive.  The people who came to hear about 2013 wanted some 2010 as well & the folks who wanted to hear about 2010 were interested in some about 2013 too.

7.) Hot coffee available all day is a MUST.

8.) Speaker gifts instead of speaker shirts.  We gave a nice warm jacket with the SPSNH & NHSPUG logos on them and I am still getting twitter comments about how much the speakers enjoy them.  Plus, SPSRED “borrowed” our idea and their speakers loved them too smile

All in all, I am happy to say that SPSNH was a great success and we are looking forward to doing it again next year.  There are things that we will look to do differently, but with a second SPSNH under our belt I think that we have a pretty good thing going up here in the “Live Free or Die” state.

My presentation from SPSNH can be found here. The slides that Todd presented on 5 minutes notice can be found here. (I had done a webinar the week before, so this was my deck from that)

My pictures from the weekend can be found here on my SkyDrive.

spflogging_32

Hooray, it’s a book!: “Developing Business Intelligence Apps for SharePoint”

Hooray, it’s a book!: “Developing Business Intelligence Apps for SharePoint”

book

Over the past year I have been spending my night’s & weekends working on a book with my co-author, Dave Feldman, and I am proud to say that we have completed our draft of “Developing Business Intelligence Apps for SharePoint”

Through the book you will learn to create dynamic Business Intelligence solutions for SharePoint, using Microsoft Visual Studio LightSwitch, SQL Server 2012, and other tools and technologies. This hands-on book shows you how to create data-rich BI applications with SharePoint faster and with more capabilities than previously possible. You’ll learn the entire process, from high-level concepts, to low-code development and deployment, to setup and configuration.

  • Quickly build a robust schema and applications with Visual Studio LightSwitch
  • Leverage PowerPivot v2 to build a business intelligence semantic model
  • Create reports with Excel Services, Report Builder, and Power View

The happy thing about our book is that we saw the CSOM model of SharePoint 2013 coming down the road and architected our solutions in the book so that they are relevant to both the 2010 & 2013 platforms (and hopefully many versions of SharePoint to come).

The book is available for pre-order on Amazon now and will be available via O’Reilly Early Release.   Dave & I will be at the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas where O’Reilly will have a form of the book available (not quite sure if it will be a few chapters or what at that point, but there will be something!). 

I will say that Dave & I were warned by Andrew Connell & Scot Hillier when we started talking about writing this book that taking on a book project is much like having a child.  9+ months of long uncomfortable sleepless nights to give birth to something that you hope goes on to do good things in this world (I am paraphrasing a bit here… basically they both said it was going to suck something awful, but we would be happy when it was all over).  Well gents, you were right on all counts.  The fun part is that while I have 2 kids and sort of had an idea of what something like that was going to be like, Dave’s wife is pregnant with their first child and is due this SUNDAY.  Needless to say, we are glad to be done before Baby “Cookie Monster” Feldman arrives. smile

Holy time gap in posting!

Holy time gap in posting!

It has been almost 6 weeks since my last post and it is time to bring to light what has been going on in my world during that time. 

While I am not someone who discusses my employer regularly on my blog, I joined Sentri 6 months ago and couldn’t be happier.  Especially in light of recent developments.  Some of you may have noticed the press release, twitter storms, webcasts, etc about Sentri’s acquisition of the KMA SharePoint Practice.  Over night my small practice grew to more than 4 times its size and was endowed with even more dynamic, and highly talented people. 

Anyone who has ever lived through the M&A process can tell you that it is a nail biting & hair raising process as you never know if things are going to move forward or if Murphy is going to stick his head up and yell “GOTCHA!”

In the weeks since my last posting life has been extremely interesting and exciting preparing for and then finally working through the details of integrating two different SharePoint Practices into one.

Needless to say since I am writing this post, we are in the lucky 17% that went into the M&A process and came out the other side smiling.  I am sincerely thrilled to be working closely with Mike Gilronan (check out his take on this here), Derek Cash-Peterson, and the entire Sentri SharePoint team.

As for my commitment to the SharePoint community, it remains as strong as ever.  I have added a Speaking Engagements section to my blog so that you can find out where and when I will be speaking next.  This week I will be speaking at the NYC SPUG on Wednesday March 7th, 2012 at 6pm.

And now back to posting content…. smile

When was the last time I deployed that SharePoint solution?

When was the last time I deployed that SharePoint solution?

Ever have trouble remembering when you last deployed a specific solution?  Now, none of us would ever allow an environment to be uncontrolled and let people willy-nilly install solutions, but in the real world sometimes things slip through our well controlled documentation and we need a hand.

For those of us with more than 5 farm solutions hunting and pecking for the last installed date can be problematic.  One of my colleagues (at this point I am forgetting who, so if it was you take a bow) helped me write a script to grab the information from SharePoint.

Here is the script:

a

This will output the information to a text file on your C: called solutionlog.txt.  Remove the “ >> c:solutionlog.txt “ and it will display onscreen like this:

b

If you are in an environment that has continuous integration coming out of TFS or another like service, you can schedule this and have it email you the output on a regular basis. 

 

spflogging

Breaking the silence–a personal note

Breaking the silence–a personal note

Some people have noticed the unusual lull in my posting.  Others are probably wondering why in the world they are still reading after the title doesn’t have anything to do with SharePoint.

The out of the norm silence is due to several things happening in my personal world, which I normally try to keep out of my blogging, but since this has a direct correlation to my SharePoint community involvement I have decided to share it here.

Since my vacation at the beginning of July I started to recognize that my involvement in the community and my desire to be more involved in SharePoint not just inside of my employer were not well aligned with my current career path.  My employer, while supportive, was not overly interested in my SharePoint community involvement and combined with other internal factors I realized that it was time for me to consider my career options.

Like anyone who is considering a major life change I turned to my friends and family for advice, but I also reached out to my friends and trusted advisors in the SharePoint community and the response was overwhelming.  The support and advice that I received from colleagues around the community was amazing.  I am hard pressed to think of another group of professionals that are as impressively supportive and helpful of people (that they may have never actually met in person) as the SharePoint community.

With the decision made that it was time for a change, I returned home to find a new SharePoint Users Group was starting in my area and I immediately dove in.  Now one of the organizers for the group we have made strategic moves to improve the community interaction here in New Hampshire, such as moving the meeting date and time out of conflict with our sister User Group down in Boston and getting some top quality talent to come and speak to our members.  We have also gotten sponsors for raffles, giveaways, and a new SharePoint Foundation 2010 site hosted by FPWeb.net that will come online later this month.  For more information about NHSPUG visit our site at http://www.granitestatesharepoint.org/

I also got involved with SharePoint Saturday New Hampshire, which is this coming Saturday, September 24th in Manchester, NH at the Southern New Hampshire University Campus. You can still register for SharePoint Saturday New Hampshire by visiting our site at http://www.sharepointsaturday.org/nh/default.aspx

All of that made me feel great and really reconnected me with the community, but I still had to figure out what I really wanted to do from a career perspective.  That’s where LinkedIn came in.  I have always seemed to get between 5-12 linked in requests per week from recruiters and always ignored them.  I decided that it was time to hear what some of them had to say.  So I responded to 5 of them.  Almost instantly I got a call from a woman named Debbie Strevens from Workbridge Associates who claimed to have connections to every person in a power position in the Greater New England area and would find me the exact right for for me.  I chuckled a little bit internally after the call thinking, “Wow, she has some pitch but there is no way she can be for real.”  Turns out, she was. 

A few months prior I had gotten some great advice from Christian Buckley of Axceler, whom I have come to respect and value as a friend and community contributor (and hopefully soon to be SharePoint MVP), which was “Sit down and write my own job description.  Before you look for a new career opportunity, know what you want.”

I gave my job description to Debbie and in just under two weeks I had numerous competitive offers.  After much soul searching and long discussions with my wife I accepted an offer from Sentri, Inc. to be their new SharePoint Practice Director.

While it was hard leaving what I had put my blood, sweat and tears into at my previous employer, I have been warmly embraced by Sentri and am truly excited to be working with a dynamic organization that is whole heartedly committed to Microsoft technology.  Sentri’s president, Philip Green, is famous for saying “At Sentri we put all our eggs in one basket, Microsoft Software.  Fortunately, this is one very, very safe basket.  We are Microsoft Technology Experts.”  It’s a pretty compelling statement to someone who has dedicated their career to Microsoft Technologies.

Sentri has embraced and is fostering my commitment to the SharePoint community, encouraging my blogging (which will be cross posted on the Sentri site soon), speaking, and activities with the User Groups and SharePoint Saturdays.

I am excited to be on a new career path that will allow and encourage me to follow my passion.  Expect more regular & diverse content in the weeks and months to come.

SPFLogger–A whole new way to look at SharePoint 2010 Logs

SPFLogger–A whole new way to look at SharePoint 2010 Logs

One of the most amazing, and little talked about, features of SharePoint 2010 is its new logging database and the power that comes along with it.  About 4 months ago I noticed a gap in the market and started talking to 2 friends of mine, David Feldman and Cornelius J. van Dyk, making the statement “I think that this would make for a really neat winforms app.”  After some brain storming we decided to take the idea a different direction and use Silverlight 4 RIA Services.

The tool in its initial beta offering is fairly simple, yet elegant.  It gives the user a very concise view of their NTEvent Logs, ULS Logs, and Timer Job Logs.  Rather than having to write T-SQL against the Logging Database’s views, we provide an easy to use Silverlight interface to quickly and easily view the log entries, complete with filtering and some basic analytics for NTEvent Logs and Timer Job Logs.

This was my first foray into development and coding, as almost all of my career in technology has been spent on the ServerOperationsArchitecture site of the world, and this was an eye opening and career life changing experience.  I got to work with 2 of my very good friends on a project that I am very passionate about, and I have been overly supported by my amazing, wonderful, beautiful, and ever patience wife, Jill, and my 2 amazing boys, Max & Sam, as I have dedicated my every waking free moment to this project.

Tonight, after 4 long months, I clicked the button to release SPFLogger to the CodePlex community.  Please go check it out and give us feedback so that we can continue to grow and evolve this into something great.  It is currently licensed under a dual license which allows for personal use under GPL version 2.0 and a custom license for commercial and closed source applications.  Basically we wanted to keep people from using our code to make money without giving some to us, but we want people to be able to use it!

The link is http://spflogger.codeplex.com.  We really hope that you love this tool as much as we do.

spflogger

Developer Dashboard activation and parameters… up to the elbow…

Developer Dashboard activation and parameters… up to the elbow…

Activating through PowerShell

In doing some research I have had some difficultly finding a single good resource for how to turn on the Developer Dashboard using PowerShell and what the parameters are for doing so.  Here is what several hours or pouring through numerous resources has turned up, and I am sure it is not 100% complete:

Code to turn on the Developer Dashboard

image

This will turn on the icon at the top right hand corner of your masterpage for anyone with Designer or higher rights. 

devdashboard_icon

Optional Parameters

Who can see it?

image

Some Mask Settings

EmptyMask = allows everyone to see the developer dashboard
FullMask = requires full control policy or site owner permissions to see the developer dashboard
AddAndCustomizePages = default mask setting

There are many more options for Mask Settings which can be found by reviewing the SPBasePermissions list on MSDN.

Options:

1.) Allow everyone to see the Developer Dashboard
    a.) set EmptyMask and remove icon from Masterpage
    b.) append ‘?Developer Dashboard=true‘ to the end of any page you want to see the developer dashboard on
2.) Allow only people with Full Control (policy holders or site owners) to see the Developer Dashboard
    a.) set FullMask
    b.) give the supporting team a full control policy or grant one-off permissions
3.) Leave this setting alone and anyone with Designer or higher rights will see the icon

Is there any more data I can get than this?

image
 

TraceEnabled gives the additional section at the bottom of the developer dashboard which gives you:
    1.) Request Details
    2.) Trace Information
    3.) Control Tree
    4.) Session State
    5.) Application State
    6.) Request Cookies Collection
    7.) Response Cookies Collection
    8.) Headers Collection
    9.) Response Headers Collection
    10.) Form Collection
    11.) Query String Variables
    12.) Server Variables

There is a TON of data here that you might not see otherwise, and you only see it if you expand the section at the bottom called:

trace info

If you aren’t interested in seeing any of this data or allowing your users to see any of this data, just do not execute this option as the default is set to false.

If you are still stuck in 2007 mindset

Here is the corresponding STSADM Command:

image

A Quick Note from the Author

All of the above examples have used OnDemand as I believe that is best option, however you can replace OnDemand with Off or On as you see fit, this is just how I am writing it.

Grab a copy of the PowerShell code referenced about from my SkyDrive here.

Now powered by SharePoint Foundation 2010

Now powered by SharePoint Foundation 2010

Since my world is already mostly SharePoint 2010, I figured it was time to move my blog from Blogger, which has been a great starter experience, to something I am more familiar with, SharePoint Foundation 2010.  I am blessed with many friends who had offered me space on their servers rather than needing to stand up another on at my house to worry about, and I finally took one of them up on the offer.

In the coming days you can expect some new content, but for tonight I am just excited to put the finishing touches on my conversion from Blogger to SharePoint.

Set-SPManagedAccount syntax for password resets

Set-SPManagedAccount syntax for password resets

Working with the PowerShell command for Set-SPManagedAccount this morning I found that the TechNet bulletin for this command has an inaccuracy with regard to password changes. 

When trying to reset a password from PowerShell I followed the syntax and used:

Set-SPManagedAccount –Identity domainaccount AutoGeneratePassword true

I got the following error:

Set-SPManagedAccount : A positional parameter cannot be found that accepts argument ‘true’.
At line:1 char:21
+ Set-SPManagedAccount <<<<  -Identity domainaccount -AutoGeneratePassword true
    + CategoryInfo          : InvalidArgument: (:) [Set-SPManagedAccount], ParameterBindingException
    + FullyQualifiedErrorId : PositionalParameterNotFound,Microsoft.SharePoint.PowerShell.SPCmdletSetManagedAccount

Turns out that the command has been changed and there is now no need for the “true” flag as the default is now “true” but you get the opportunity to choose (unless you pass the -confirm:$false flag)

The result of passing the command without the “true” looks like this:

Confirm
Are you sure you want to perform this action?
Performing operation “Set-SPManagedAccount” on Target “USsvc-ssaspfarm”.

[Y] Yes  [A] Yes to All  [N] No  [L] No to All  [S] Suspend  [?] Help
(default is “Y”):


If you select “Y” the system will change the password for you with an automatically generated password.  If you want to validate the change an easy way to do it is to follow my previous blog post, http://sharepointlonghorn.com/how-to-get-your-managed-account-passwords-when-they-are-changed-automatically-by-sharepoint-2010/, to view the passwords before and after you run the command.