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Preview: Jan Tielens' Bloggings

Jan Tielens' Bloggings

Joy, frustration, excitement, madness, aha's, headaches, ... codito ergo sum!


Dipping Your Toes in the SharePoint 2013 and Office 2013 Preview Goodness

Wed, 18 Jul 2012 09:54:13 GMT

If you haven’t been living beneath a rock in the last two days, you probably heard the news we released the SharePoint 2013 Preview and Office 2013 Preview. Since there is already a massive amount of content available on blogs, TechNet  etc. I’m not going to add even more with this blog post. My goal is simply to give you a limited amount of resources to quickly get you up to speed with all the news. First of all, there was the announcement two days ago by Steve Ballmer. It was broadcasted live, and you can watch it on demand again. It takes 1h, it’s entertaining, shows some high level demos (mainly of Office 2013) and is a good starting point of your exploration.   (If you are a developer, skip to the next bullet point!) After watching the announcement, you probably want to install the Office 2013 Preview. Just go to and sign up, it’s super-easy, free and the streamed install takes less than a minute. The nifty thing is that while the installation is finishing (takes like 5 to 10 minutes), you can already start the Office clients! If you are a developer and want to build apps for Office or SharePoint , I’d recommend to sign up for an Office 365 Developer Site. It includes a subscription for the Office clients too! An Office 365 Developer Site is a preconfigured SharePoint 2013 Preview site that you can use to create, test, and deploy apps for Office and SharePoint. You can deploy the "Napa" Office 365 Development Tools development tools to this site to get started developing SharePoint-hosted apps, and apps for Office documents and mail items, even if you don't have Visual Studio 2012 and SharePoint development tools in Visual Studio 2012 installed on your developer computer. After you have signed up for the Office 365 Developer Site, you can familiarize yourself with the new apps for Office and SharePoint. A good introduction to the “Napa” Development tools can be found on Jason Zander’s blog. Also check out the Build apps for Office article on MSDN. When you want to learn more about the Office 2013 Preview features, I’d recommend to check out Office for IT pros and/or What's new in Office. When you want to learn more about developing for Office 2013 Preview, check out the Developer training.   To quickly get a chance to play around with the SharePoint 2013 Preview, I’d recommend to sign up for an Office 365 Developer Site. If you already have done this for the Office 2013 Preview, you can skip this step of course. A quick rundown of what’s new can be found here. (check the What’s new sections in the navigation) If you prefer to install the SharePoint 2013 Preview on your own machine, you can download the bits: SharePoint Server 2013 Preview (hardware and software requirements) SharePoint Foundation 2013 Preview Before you start the installation, it’s probably a good idea to check out the downloadable eBook: Deployment guide for SharePoint 2013 Preview. Remember, you can always try out the SharePoint 2013 Preview on Office 365 if you don’t want to install it yourself. :-) If you are a developer, first read the Apps for SharePoint overview. Then check out the developer content on MSDN and especially the What's new for developers in SharePoint 2013 article (and also the videos). Another good general starting point is the SharePoint for developers on MSDN. When you want to learn more about developing for SharePoint 2013 Preview, check out the Developer training. If you are an IT-Pro, there is a nice resource center for the SharePoint 2013 Preview on TechNet. More in-depth IT-Pro training can be found in the SharePoint 2013 training for IT pros videos. So quite a list of links and this is just a tip of the iceberg! If you feel I missed an important link just drop a comment or contact me. Also follow me on Twitter, when you want to read when I find interesting content.[...]

SharePoint Saturday Belgium was a Big Success!

Sun, 29 Apr 2012 12:39:24 GMT

Yesterday I had the pleasure to attend and present at the SharePoint Saturday Belgium edition. The Belgium Information Worker Usergroup (BIWUG), who organized the event, deserves a big round of applause; they hosted around 200 enthusiastic SharePoint people on a free and fun event. Of course a big thanks also goes to the numerous sponsors: Xylos (for making their great infrastructure available), AvePoint, Beyond-it, Metalogix, K2, Microsoft, Spikes, Ventigrate, Aurelium, Axceler, CTG, Idera, RealDolmen, Webtrends, and Wrox.

On top of that Karine and Andy released their first public beta version of the brand new CAML Designer tool (think of it as newer, stronger and better successor of the U2U CAML Builder). You can find it on the BIWUG site.

You can get my PowerPoint presentation about the SharePoint Designer below. See you all next time, or on one of the next BIWUG meetings!

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URL Shortening For SharePoint 2010

Mon, 12 Dec 2011 20:13:51 GMT

I’m pretty sure everybody who is using SharePoint has sent a link to a document in a Document Library to somebody else (in an email message for example). So you probably know that links to documents (or list items) can become pretty long if the document is located in a Document Library on a site deeply buried in a hierarchy. SharePoint is of course not the only platform having this “issue” and the internet already solved it quite some time ago with URL shortening. From Wikipedia: URL shortening is a technique on the World Wide Web in which a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) may be made substantially shorter in length and still direct to the required page. This is achieved by using an HTTP Redirect on a domain name that is short, which links to the web page that has a long URL. For example, the URL can be shortened to or This is especially convenient for messaging technologies such as Twitter and, which severely limit the number of characters that may be used in a message. Short URLs allow otherwise long web addresses to be referred to in a tweet. In November 2009, the shortened links on one URL shortening service were accessed 2.1 billion times. So to make a long SharePoint URL short, you can copy the URL to the clipboard, got to a URL shortener, past the long link over there and copy the short URL you get in return back to the clipboard. Works perfectly, but there are quite some tedious steps to go through. Already a long time ago, when SharePoint 2007 was still the rage, I posted some code that automates all these steps. Finally I found some time to update the code to SharePoint 2010 and nicely package it in a Sandboxed Solution, so it works both for SharePoint 2010 deployed on premises as in the cloud on Office 365. The result looks as follows, in the Documents tab of every Document Library, a new item is added to the Share and Track group (the button gets enabled when one document is selected): When the Get Short Link button is clicked, a call to the URL shortener is made. The short URL is returned, together with a QR code, in a dialog for easy copy/pasting: You can download the solution (.WSP) from the Get Short Link for SharePoint CodePlex site for easy deployment. Over there you can also find the complete source code, so feel free to enhance and improve! If you feel like sharing back, let me know and I’ll try to include your enhancements in the project. A couple of remarks: I used the URL shortener because it has a nice API and some cool features (like the QR code generation). You can adjust the source code to use your own account or even another shortener. The code uses the jQuery Javascript library (because I’m still a lazy developer and I still love jQuery a lot). The latest version of jQuery is included in the solution and automatically deployed. The solution and the source code are provided “as is” and without warranty of any kind. So please test before you deploy it to your mega big and important SharePoint site. It works on my machine(s). :-) Side note: if you still follow this blog after a long period of blog-silence: thanks for your patience and welcome back. I won’t make any promises but I really would like to pick up blogging and start contributing again to the fantastic SharePoint community. Feel free to send some comments to encourage me. :-) [...]

TechDays 2011 - Check out the sessions and build your own agenda‏

Mon, 21 Mar 2011 07:42:44 GMT

Check out the live agenda and find out why you should attend TechDays 2011. Review the sessions and speakers and build your own personalized agenda. Today we already have more than 1200 registrations. Don’t lose time and register now before the event sells out! If you are attending, feel free to drop by and say hi during my SharePoint & jQuery session. :-)

(image)  (image)  

If you haven't decided yet, we give you more than just a few reasons
why you should not miss this event.


Developer Opening Keynote
We are happy to announce Scott Hanselman will be joining TechDays 2011 for the developer Opening Keynote this year.

The Main Conference

During the main conference on April 26th and 27th, six Developer and IT-Pro tracks bring you a mix of new technology and in-depth content on current technology with over 60 technical sessions planned.
With the full agenda now published, you can filter sessions and build your personalized agenda for the event.

Deep Dives (post-conference)

On the third day of TechDays, on April 28th, we host a Deep Dive day with four different tracks for developers and IT-Professionals. As a developer you can choose between two tracks that go in-depth and focus on Best Practices : Visual Studio Application Lifecycle Management and Cloud (Windows Azure). As an IT Professional you have the following two options : Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (by Corey Hynes) or Direct Access (by John Craddock).
Next to learning there is also the networking aspect of this conference. We give you the opportunity to connect with Product Managers from Redmond, meet your peers, talk to our user groups and much more.

Don't wait to register before it's too late!

PS. You can also follow the TechDays on Twitter and/or Facebook.

Saying Goodbye to U2U, and Hello to Microsoft

Tue, 30 Nov 2010 13:08:00 GMT

Last week was a very special week for me: I delivered my last course as a U2U trainer. I’ve been a full-time U2U employee for almost 7 years. During that time I had the opportunity to travel the world, meet lots of interesting people and make many new friends, while talking about Microsoft technologies. In the last couple of years my focus was mainly on SharePoint, but in my “early” years I was quite active with BizTalk, ASP.NET … as well. My career at U2U had many, many heights: having a drink while watching the sunset over the Kilimanjaro, strolling over Sunset Boulevard with my colleagues, speaking on large conferences in Belgium, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Milan, seeing the Northern Lights in Iceland …, and many, many more. But probably what I’ll remember most will be my dear coworkers: I count each one of them as a personal friend and every single one of them is an expert is his or her domain. I was incredibly lucky to have the privilege to be one of the U2U gang. Of course my time at U2U also had some lows, especially the time after we had to say goodbye to our colleague and co-founder Patrick Tisseghem who suddenly passed away. But, while never forgetting Patrick, we continued with our work and I think I may say we did quite well (especially Wim, our Director who managed to lead us through some rough times)! So I’d like to conclude with a big thanks to all the people who attended one of my courses (I never counted them, but you are probably more than 1000!) and who I worked with in the past years. And of course a big thanks as well to the U2U gang: I wish you all the best and keep up the good work.

So, what’s my next big adventure? Well I’m very happy that I’ll join Microsoft BeLux (Belgium & Luxembourg) as a Technical Sales Professional, of course for SharePoint and related technologies. So for all the people I’ve met in the past years, including my former colleagues, this is not a final farewell but I’m very sure we’ll all meet again!

Getting Started with jQuery Templates and SharePoint 2010

Tue, 05 Oct 2010 16:30:00 GMT

Yesterday evening Scott Guthrie announced that Microsoft’s contributions to the jQuery Javascript library were accepted as Official jQuery plugins. One of those contributions is the jQuery Template plugin that allows you to do (up to a certain level) something like data binding similar to the approach we know from Silverlight. The idea is to create a template (think HTML snippet with elements bound to data properties) and data bind that template with an array of objects. You can find the API documentation over here, or you can check out Boris Moore’s excellent Getting Started guide. So how can we leverage this in SharePoint 2010? Well jQuery Templates are a great match for either the SharePoint 2010 ECMAScript/Javascript Client Object Model, or the SharePoint 2010 REST API. The following example shows how to quickly display a list of Tasks on a page, by only using jQuery and the REST API in SharePoint 2010. Let’s start with a very basic Site Page that puts an empty ul element in the PlaceHolderMain Content control (notice the ul element gets a specific id set): <%@ Page MasterPageFile="~masterurl/default.master" %>   
    Next, we need to put some script references in the PlaceHolderAdditionalPageHead Content control to load both the jQuery library and the jQuery Templates plugin. For now this plugin is a separate file, in the next release of jQuery this plugin becomes a part of jQuery itself. (The demo code assumes that both files are deployed to the same location as the Site Page.)         After the script references (also in the PlaceHolderAdditionalPageHead Content control), we need to define our template, also using a script element that has the type attribute set to text/x-jquery-xml. This template is just an HTML snippet that gets created for every object of the array that gets “data bound”. In the template it’s possible to use references to those object’s properties by using template tags. For example ${Title} will get the value of the Title property of the object that gets “data bound”. In the sample below, I’m defining a template that’s basically an li element which displays some properties of a SharePoint Task item. Notice that to display the Description of the Task, I’m using the {{html}} Template Tag, because Description is a Rich Text Field thus it contains HTML itself. Finally, in a new normal script element (once again in the PlaceHolderAdditionalPageHead Content control), we can use jQuery’s getJSON function to make an async call to the REST API. The getJSON function takes as a parameter a URL to call, which will be the URL of the listdata.svc (= REST API end point) that fetches all Tasks that are not yet completed. The last parameter of the getJSON function is a callback function that will use the jQuery Templates mechanism to build a new li element for every retrieved Task item, based on the template we defined above. This is accomplished by using the new tmpl function, called on the template. The return value is an array of DOM elements, which are added to the empty ul element, defined above.