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Road Warrior: Using Office 365 on the iPad and iPhone

Sun, 26 Oct 2014 13:00:00 GMT

Microsoft is focusing heavily on mobility. Just the last 12 months, we have seen significant updates to the capabilities provided out of the box in Office 365 for road warriors who need to work on documents and content. Microsoft is becoming more open to other platforms and web standards. The openness took a leap after Nadella became CEO when Microsoft released Office for the iPad. Office quickly became one of the most popular apps in the apps store. Also with the Office 365, Microsoft is rapidly rolling out new updates including better support for mobile devices. You are no longer stuck with the feature set you got when you installed SharePoint. A significant number of the updates on the roadmap for Office 365 are mobility features and access from devices. In this post I summarize my experience with Office 365 using the devices I carry around; my iPhone and my iPad. Using native Office apps on the iPad Viewing and editing existing document is a key user story for a road warrior. I can create, open and edit documents on the iPad using the native Office apps. This includes Word, Power Point, Excel and OneNote. Of course, there are limits to the capabilities of these apps compared to the full-blown PC versions. But I am positively surprised by the experience provided on the iPad. When starting Word on the iPad, I can open documents from my personal OneDrive, my corporate OneDrive for Business or SharePoint. Often you want to edit documents you are already working on. Office synchronizes recent documents across all your devices so you can quickly continue working on a document. You can also open documents from team sites. All document libraries in the team site are show and you can open documents from the libraries. This document was created on the PC as a blog document. I then started Word on the iPad and opened it from the Recent tab. Most of the text in this document was created on the iPad and the picture below was pasted from the iPad. The final touches were done on my PC. For example, I cannot crop pictures in Word for iPad, I had to crop them on the PC. Some observations Word and Power Point on the iPad works surprisingly well. Recent documents are synced across devices and apps. This is very convenient and means you easily get at the files you have been editing on the PC on the iPad or iPhone. Frequently used documents can be pinned for easy access. SharePoint sites can be added by entering the url of the SharePoint site for easy access to all documents in a team site. I can present power points in meetings from my iPad (and even iPhone). Sites are not synchronized across devices or across iPad office apps. A nice feature would be if Office for iPad knew what sites I am following. Touch Design on the iPad In addition to editing documents, browsing for other information is also important in many scenarios. Office 365 renders a responsive touch view on mobile devices called Touch Design. The first version of this was released in November 2013. Touch Design is a touch and mobile optimised experience that gives quick access to the various applications in Office 365 such as Outlook, Yammer, Delve, One Drive for Business and Sites. Clicking Sites lists all sites I am following and promoted sites. From Sites I can navigate to a specific site. For example, in our company we have a prompted site for all the events we run. In the events site there is a team site for each event. I can go the Events promoted site, see all its subsites and go the event site to find content. If I then navigate to the event site, Office 365 renders the site in a Touch Design view. The screen shot below shows our PzlFriday event site. Tasks can be edited, see screen shot below. Documents can be edited in the browser or opened to be edited in the iPad app. Touch Design was created to allow a fast and accessible experience on touch devices such as smart phones and tablets. Already this is quite powerful. Microsoft has announced more improvements to Touch Design. From the roadmap: “Office 365 will expand Touch Design features a[...]



Microsoft announces Office Video

Sat, 22 Mar 2014 11:58:00 GMT

At the SharePoint Conference 2014 in Las Vegas Microsoft announced Office Video. Office Video was one of the major new announcements at the conference. See Impressions from the SharePoint Conference for other things I learned at SPC. Office Video brings Azure Media Services and an enterprise video portal to Office 365. Office Video will be available in an upcoming update of Office 365. Having spent half my work life with video and video conferencing (Tandberg, Cisco) and the other half with Microsoft technologies (.NET and SharePoint), I was particularly interested to learn more about this. I talked with members of the Office Video team to understand what they are doing. From a SharePoint perspective, the Office Video is a SharePoint site that serves two purposes: A front-end video portal that presents videos to users A back-end for storing and managing videos The video portal is part of the new initiative of next generation portals were you get an out-of-the-box experience. It has three 'tabs'. The Videos tab shows available videos and is search driven. It also uses the Office Graph to present relevant videos to you. The Channels tab shows videos from a set of user defined channels. The My Uploads tab allows you to upload new videos using drag&drop. In the back-end there is an asset library for each channel. The videos you upload are of a new Cloud Video content type inheriting from Document. When you upload a video, it is physically stored as file in SharePoint. There is an event receiver pushing the file up to Azure Media Services. Azure Media Services generates a thumbnail which is added to the SharePoint item alongside a reference to the video in Azure. This is implemented using a timer job polling Azure to update the item in SharePoint. Yes, they are using event receivers and timer jobs even if it runs in Office 365. These are on-prem capabilities that are not available in Office 365 for customers. I appreciate why Microsoft is doing this, and why they are not allowing these features in Office 365. I think it would be cooler if they used the same mechanisms third parties can use to extend SharePoint and not cheat J We have requirements for pushing large files uploaded to SharePoint over to Azure Blob Storage and could benefit from similar hooks J Having the physical file in SharePoint gives the benefits of SharePoint management such as permissions settings, metadata, approval workflows etc. One thing to consider is that the files will be physically stored in the content database of SharePoint. This has implications for maximum file size and the total size of all videos stored. A file can be maximum 2 gigabytes. Microsoft announced that the limit for a size collection database will be increased to 1 terabyte in an upcoming update of Office 365. I think it is good to keep a copy of the original video. I have tested other services where you need to store the original file yourself outside the service. And since Office 365 is managed by Microsoft, the challenges of large files and backup/restore are Microsoft's, not ours J For playback there is a player page with a Flash based video player. The player page also serves up comments from yammer. One of the reasons they had to use a Flash player was to support AES encryption of the video stream. The streaming relies on Azure Media Services to transcode and stream videos. This gives the benefit of a scalable video platform supporting a wide range of input video formats and streaming bandwidths. Azure Media Services is hugely scalable. It was used to serve up enormous amounts of video from the London Olympics and other big events. These events also used a content distribution network (CDN). This is not something you will get out-of-the box in v1 of Office Video. The SharePoint architecture in Office Video is very similar to the architecture Puzzlepart defined for a customer for integrating Cisco Show and Share with SharePoint and Yammer. The customer already had Cisco infrastructure and was using SharePoint and Yammer for collaboration. W[...]



Impressions from the SharePoint Conference

Mon, 10 Mar 2014 13:34:00 GMT

The SharePoint Conference 2014 took place in Las Vegas March 2-6 2014. The conferences showed that SharePoint is alive and kicking with a vibrant ecosystem around it with more than 10000 attendees from 85 countries and more than 200 exhibitors at the conference. SPC 2014 is an in-between-SPC between SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint 2015 and there were few new announcements. The most significant announcements I picked up were Codename Oslo Office Video A new major release of Office with SharePoint on-prem 2H 2015 Direction on forms in SharePoint The conference was a strong re-enforcement of Microsoft's push to the cloud and Office 365. Microsoft still has a strong commitment to on-prem. However, their development investments are on Office 365 with a subset of new features coming on-prem after being released in Office 365. Office 365 is now at 1.5 billion USD revenue per year and is the fastest growing product in Microsoft history with double-digit revenue growth. Another realization is that Office 365 is more than a branding effort and umbrella on the combined portfolio of hosted Office, Exchange, Lync, SharePoint and Yammer. The lines between these products are blurring. Where there now are very loose couplings between the products, new features are crosscutting and merging. Microsoft is increasing the velocity of rolling out new features. Being a SharePoint powerhouse also means that we need to know how to get business values from Office 365 as a whole. Codename Oslo and Office Video As a Norwegian, it was cool to see the strong position the FAST team has in Microsoft. SharePoint overlord Jeff Teper in the Monday morning keynote referred to the Norwegian connection: Norwegians write code like they win olympic medals, more per person than anyone else Of all the acquisitions of Norwegian tech companies by software giants, it seems to me the FAST integration with Microsoft has been one the most successful. FAST has managed to build a strong position in the Office team and have at the same time managed to maintain culture and identity. I got to have a talk with FAST boss Bjørn Olstad around this topic and the direction they are taking. Olstad emphasized the strong push to Office 365. Codename Oslo is a culmination of efforts in the different teams in FAST. It combines a new Office Graph (social graph) with the search index and presents information in an attractive user interface. The fast team has built a flip-board like user interface showing information that is relevant to you based on the people you are connected in various ways. Another new feature coming to Office 365 is Office Video. Office Video brings Azure Media Services for streaming and an enterprise video portal to Office 365. Having worked the first half of my life around video and video conferencing (Tandberg, Cisco) and the other half of my life with Microsoft technologies (.NET and SharePoint), I was particularly keen to see this development. What they are doing is very similar to the architecture we suggested for a customer integrating Cisco Show and Share with SharePoint and Yammer. Both Oslo and the Office Video portal manifest themselves in the top navigation of Office 365. Microsoft has some internal competition here on what should be the default landing page with both Yammer, Oslo and Office Video having landing page experiences. Enterprises probably want to control this and combine these dynamic experiences with curated content. Direction on Forms in SharePoint InfoPath is sun-setting. This was announced earlier this year. During the first day, there was a funeral procession for InfoPath headed up by Joel Olson. The first sessions on Tuesday was "Update on InfoPath and SharePoint Forms". According to the info on the conference, the future of forms is from the Access Team. One of the elements of this offering is App Forms (or Access App). The use of the name Access is a bit of a misnomer as there is no Access database. Access can be used to design the App. You design an app that contains [...]



Codename Oslo

Mon, 10 Mar 2014 13:10:00 GMT

At the SharePoint Conference 2014 in Las Vegas Microsoft announced Codename Oslo. Codename Oslo was one of the major new announcements at the conference. Codename Oslo combines the new Office Graph (social graph) with the search index and presents information in an attractive user interface. The FAST team has built a flip-board like user interface that surfaces information relevant to you based on the people you connected to various ways. The information is search driven and rank determines what gets on top. As new information becomes available, it will appear on the top in a feed-like fashion. Oslo is an application on Windows or your phone. It will also be available in an out-of-the box web portal in Office 365 with a similar look&feel. This is part of a new initiative for next generation portals. Notice Oslo in the top navigation: The information in Oslo is based on what is called the Office Graph. The graph identifies who you are connect to through what is called signals. In version 1, connections will be based on Who I send e-mail to (recipient cache in Exchange) Distribution lists in Exchange Co-authors (people who modified the same document in SharePoint) Who I share with (in v1 this will be documents you share in your OneDrive for Business) An API will also be made available in due time for third parties to send other signals to the graph and create new user interfaces. When searching for information you can enter a search query and specify a few refiners (picture from @CodenameOslo): The following refiners are available Presented to me. When you press F5 in power point, and you have a meeting in your calendar at this time, the PowerPoint client will send a signal back to SharePoint with who were in the same meeting, which is then processed in the graph. Modified by me. Documents in SharePoint you have modified. Liked by me. In v1 this is likes in the Oslo interface, later Yammer will be integrated. Viewed by me. Documents you have viewed. Shared with me. Based on documents shared in OneDrive for Business. Trending Around Me. Based on people around you in the Office Graph and what is viewed, liked and commented on. Comments are persisted in yammer. If you comment on a document in Oslo, and the document is not shared on yammer yet, Oslo will create a graph object for the document in the yammer social graph. In v1, Oslo is focused on documents. The Oslo team has also worked with the Office Video team to show videos from the video portal. Content such as news (publishing) or blog posts are not shown. When you click on a document, Oslo will dock on the left hand side of your screen and open a browser window where you can open the document and see comments on the document on the right hand side. Oslo is scheduled for release in in the second half of 2014 and the feature set is pretty much baked for v1. Currently there is no decision if Oslo will be delivered on-premises. I think this is a very interesting development from Microsoft and the most exciting news announced at SharePoint Conference 2014. See Impressions from the SharePoint Conference for other things I learned at SPC.[...]



Hook up with Puzzlepart at EnergyWorld

Wed, 29 Feb 2012 09:49:30 GMT

Computerworld is for the first time arranging an IT conference for the oil&gas sector. The conference, Energy World, takes place in Stavanger on March 1st. With a focus on current and future solutions for oil&gas I am looking forward to participate at the conference. The conference has

Puzzlepart has many years of experience in delivering collaboration solutions on Microsoft SharePoint for oil&gas customers. The solutions span from intranet/extranet collaboration, rig/mobile drilling unit management, subsea asset management, via QMS systems and knowledge management systems to project portals and public facing internet sites.

Contact me if you are in Stavanger for the conference and want to know more about what we in Puzzlepart are up to in the oil&gas sector, want to discuss business opportunities or simply say hi!




SharePoint 2010 Power User Resources

Thu, 15 Sep 2011 17:31:00 GMT

As part of my job in Puzzlepart I regularly engage with super users and power users who work for our customers. I also give training classes with our partner company Glasspaper. These users are often not developers but still they are able to configure and update a SharePoint solution. Some of the more tech savvy may even use SharePoint Designer to do customizations or create work flows. In this blog post I have collected resources that I often reference in these sessions. Some good books on SharePoint Essential SharePoint 2010. This is one of my favorites. It includes topics on planning and governance. SharePoint 2010 User’s Guide. Step-by-step instructions on how you do things in SharePoint. Professional SharePoint 2010 Branding and User Interface Design. Good book on how to brand a SharePoint site, create master pages, CSS, HTML, layout pages etc. Beginning SharePoint Designer 2010. Introduction to SharePoint Designer as a tool. Planning and Customization Manage sites and site collections. Useful info on when to create a site collection and when to create a sub site. Formulas in calculated columns. Some examples of formulas you can use to create calculated columns. Adding left navigation menu to web part pages. Useful blog post by my colleague Mikael Svenson. Sensible Document Template file management with Sharepoint. Many users are confused by how to manage document templates in SharePoint. In this blog post Mads describes how you should do it. Written for SharePoint 2007 but still very relevant. SharePoint Design An engaging user experience, a compelling design and good document templates can make a SharePoint solution go from good to great. We have the benefit of having a very talented and skilled art director on the team who also knows SharePoint and skilled developers who know how to implement this efficiently. It is also possible to cheat a bit on this as a power user and do some simple modifications yourself. Hare are some resources to get you started: SharePoint 2010 Themes and Resources for Upgrading a Custom Master Page. Covers how to change the theme from Power Point (which has it’s quirks, should get Chris to write a blog post about that!). Also covers master pages and has some useful links. Starter Master Pages for SharePoint 2010. Good starting point if you want to create your own master pages. SharePoint 2010 Base CSS Classes. Goes through the anatomy of a SharePoint page and the CSS classes in a page. SharePoint Search Document Thumbnails and PowerPoint Preview for your search results without installing FAST for SharePoint and a web part  for the purpose. Three reasons you should upgrade to FAST Search for SharePoint. Why your SharePoint 2010 Search Sucks. Info Worker VM Info worker virtual machine (Hyper-V). The virtual machines used in some of the training classes. Note! Now updated with SP1. Other? Some really good resources missing? A link that should be replaced? Please comment below and I will try to keep this list fresh![...]



ASP.NET localizer

Wed, 18 Aug 2004 19:59:00 GMT

We are looking at how to best localize the static content of a packed ASP.NET app. The current idea is to use resource files and satellite assemblies to localize the texts in the web pages. 

Most examples seem to use one big resource file for the app and manually create an ID for text strings in the resx file. Then this is wired together. Either explicitly in code by calling rm.GetString(ID) or by creating a property on the control for specifying the ID and using a framework class or inherited control that read from the resource manger.
This all seems a bit tedious.

We have looked at a tool called ASP.NET Localizer (http://www.winformreports.co.uk/features_loc.htm). It has a control you can drop onto the form. It then stores all texts and other translatable properties of the built in web controls in the resx file created for the ASP.NET page. If you change the language in the designer, it creates a new resx file for that language and stores all properties you translate in the appropriate resx file. At runtime it reads the properties for the controls from the resx file. Seems pretty cool. Thoughts?




NNUG meeting lastTuesday

Thu, 03 Jun 2004 20:56:00 GMT

Long time no see!

We had a user group meeting on Tuesday with 70 people and 3 excellent sessions. We had to start one hour earlier than usual to fit in everyting. The sessions were

  • Inge Stubdal talked about his impressions from TechEd with a strong focus on Burton.I can't wait!
  • Reidar Husmo talkedabout the experiences in creating the official Norway site based on ASP.NET, Content Management Server and more
  • Jon Jaren went deep into SQL Server and how you can tune and montor .NET apps running on SQL Server.

Another great meeting!




Edit and continue with ASP.NET

Sat, 21 Feb 2004 23:15:00 GMT

Many developers don’t realize that they can do edit and continue (EnC) when developing ASP.NET applications with Visual Studio .NET 2003. And it doesn't matter if you are using Visual Basic .NET or C#.  It's pretty close to EnC anyway. And it gets even better in Whidbey.

How? By using attach / detach in Visual Studio 2003.

Say you are deep down debugging a web app and an error occurs on your postback. Now, to fix the bug you don’t have to stop the debugger, you simply go to the debug menu and select Detach all. You can now edit the code, build, and select Debug -> Processes. Check the ‘Show system processes’ checkbox, select the ASP.NET worker process (aspnet_wp.exe) and attach.

You can now hit refresh in the browser and voila, you are back in business without having to start all over again. Note that you don’t have to start out by debugging. I often prefer to start without debugging and attach when I need to.

This gets better in Whidbey since you don’t have to compile the code-behind to a DLL.  You don’t even have to detach / attach. With Whidbey, simply 

  • Start out by debugging
  • Edit the code
  • Save the file
  • Hit refresh

Nice, or what?

At the NNUG/MSDN event I have demoed the return of Edit & Continue in Visual Basic .NET Whidbey. Someone in the audience even said they would not move to .NET before this feature is back (talking to him offline revealed that he was already using .NET).

For me this is mostly an issue with Windows Forms development where you may be deep in an application debugging. Fixing the bug and coming back to the place where the error occurred may take a significant amount of time. Windows Forms apps are not the fastest to start up ;-) and getting back to the same place and state can take a long time.

Since C# probably will not get EnC, maybe VB.NET will be the language of choice for Windows Forms development? Having done some Office integration lately and now working with VB.NET in Whidbey has put VB.NET in a new perspective for me.




Stavanger - last stop

Thu, 19 Feb 2004 10:24:00 GMT

The last stop on our NNUG/MSDN tour today, Stavanger. I am sitting here at the venue extending my talk from 45 minutes to 90 minutes because one of the speakers had to stay home (hope you get better soon Trond!). That is no problem; with Whidbey there is just so much to talk about and to show! OK, back to the demos.



MSDN/NNUG tour hit Oslo today

Tue, 17 Feb 2004 21:15:00 GMT

The combined NNUG / MSDN tour hit Oslo today and it was a blast! The headline was Yukon, Whidbey & Indigo! “-What is HOT? What is NOT?”.

400 people got to hear three speakers from the user group (Trond Brande, Arne Jørgensen and myself) in addition to Stein Møllerhaug from security company Syamantec and two people representing Accenture talking about the AltInn project which is probably the largest .NET project in Norway today. I didn’t get to see all sessions but the feedback from the people I talked to was very good.

My own session on Whidbey was great fun. A few hickups but that must be expected using Alpha code! I tried to position where Whidbey stands today, focused on Windows Forms and ASP.NET and did several demos. My presentation (in Norwegian) is available on the download area of the user group (requires registration).

Only one more stop on the tour, Stavanger on Thursday.




MVP - me too!

Sat, 14 Feb 2004 21:59:00 GMT

I checked Christian Nagel's web log, a fellow Regional Director, INETA Europe buddy and good friend and saw that he had been recognized as an MVP on his birthday. Congratulations Christian, and happy birthday!

Then I checked my e-email and found that I had also been recognized as an MVP for ASP.NET! Time to update the Affiliations section!

Andreas




The future is here now

Tue, 27 Jan 2004 11:27:00 GMT

At the last user group meeting in December we had Longhorn, Indigo, Avalon and Whidbey on the menu. This generated a lot of interest and we in the Norwegian .NET User Group (NNUG) and Microsoft MSDN is co-arranging a tour where you can learn more about the future with Yukon, Indigo and Whidbey. We are going to Bergen, Oslo, Stavanger and Trondheim. I will be presenting Whidbey in Bergen on Thursday.

Dates:

  • Bergen January 29.
  • Trondheim February 11.
  • Oslo February 17
  • Stavanger February 19

More info http://www.microsoft.com/norge/microsoftdagene/default.aspx

 




European Architecht Tour – coming to town

Mon, 12 Jan 2004 23:43:00 GMT

On Thursday Arvindra Sehmi, Clemens Vasters and others are coming to Oslo on their EMEA Architect Tour. If you are in Oslo, and haven’t signed up yet you can do so here. I am working to squeeze in room for attending this, they were very good on the tour last year!

 




PDC user group meeting today – sold out!

Tue, 02 Dec 2003 12:17:00 GMT

We have had a lot of interest for the PDC user group meeting today. So much in fact that we do not have room for everyone even though we use Microsoft Norway’s new premises with a bigger auditorium.  Good with so much interest, too bad that we don’t have room for everyone.

Sessions today: Keynote, Indigo, Avalon and ASP.NET Whidbey (that’s me).

And of course last minute laptop problems; Virus on my freshly installed XP image, and the colors don’t project properly. Andreas B from MS comes to the rescue; I can borrow his machine. Thanks!




Versioning issues with winforms controls hosted in IE

Fri, 28 Nov 2003 12:07:00 GMT

A client has a third-party application written for version 1.0 of the runtime. This is a web application using windows forms controls in the browser.

Now, we have built an app using version 1.1 of the runtime for this client.

It turns out that the third-party controls hosted in IE does not work properly on version 1.0 of the runtime.  If we install 1.1 on the client machines the existing app breaks. But we need the new runtime for our app!

To me part of the side-by-side story is that you can install a new version of the runtime side-by-side with older versions. Existing applications built on earlier version will not break. You can make applications run on older versions of the runtime by specifying the required runtime in the config file.

According to the MSDN doc, IE will always host using the latest version of the runtime:

All managed controls hosted by Internet Explorer use the latest version of the common language runtime installed on the computer. This means that in some instances the control may not run against the version it was built with if several version of the runtime are installed on the computer.

And  here:

COM applications hosted by an extensible host, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer or Microsoft Office cannot control which version of the runtime is loaded.

We have found that we can actually specify the required runtime for IE. We created an iexplore.exe.config file specifying 1.0 as the required runtime. That makes IE host using 1.0! Not the perfect solution but it works in our case.

The first big app we built on .NET for a client also used controls hosted in IE and we found that it worked well once we worked around the security issues and getting the control to communicate with IE. Using windows forms controls in the browser sort of gives you the best of both web and windows. I talked to people from this client at the last user group meeting and the app has been working without problems since it was deployed. Always nice to hear!




Post-PDC user group meeting

Tue, 25 Nov 2003 21:30:00 GMT

Our user group, the Norwegian .NET User Group, will have a meeting on Tuesday focusing the news presented at the PDC. We will have one keynote and then three sessions digging into Indigo, Avalon and ASP.NET. All sessions presented by people from the user group. I will present the session on ASP.NET 2.0.

I am really looking forward to this meeting. One day after announcing the meeting, more than 50 people have signed  up!.

Check out the details at http://www.nnug.no/DesktopDefault.aspx?tabid=100 (in Norwegian).




Moving

Tue, 25 Nov 2003 19:21:00 GMT

My blog is finding its new home here on weblogs.asp.net. I hope to make some new friends in this neighborhood!