Tag Archives: Announcement

I’m speaking at the International SharePoint Conference

Yep, its that time again and one of the biggest, most innovative and best SharePoint conferences is back for another year.

This conference has been through a few iterations in its time going by the names “SharePoint Best Practice Conference” and “SharePoint Evolution Conference” but they have now dropped those for a more simplified “International SharePoint Conference“.

The conference is held in London, Westminster  (April 23rd – 25th) and this year promises to be an absolute cracker! The best thing about this year’s conference is that they are doing “Solution” tracks, following a single thread from concept all the way through. This will involve all angles from IT Pro, Developer, Information Worker .. and really helps to tie together all those pieces that make up a single complex problem. For the first time you won’t have a session saying “well .. this next bit is really important but we don’t have time ..” at this conference they will make the time, whether they need 3, 4 or even 6 sessions to get through the whole problem.

One of the best quotes comes from the organiser, Steve Smith (@SteveSmithCK):

As you can see it is very exciting and different unlike any other agenda attempted by a SharePoint conference.

For example: A total of 10 solutions over the three Information Worker tracks based on different real world scenario’s with one solution alone covering 7 sessions to completion and speakers working together over the sessions to build the solution.

A lot of people have asked me how I have been able to build such an agenda. The answer is pretty straight forward. unlike most SharePoint conferences that are run by conference events companies Combined Knowledge actually understands SharePoint and we know the people out there who are specialists in those subject areas to come and talk on it, we have been working with SharePoint for 10 years and over those years I have had the privilege to meet some very smart people in the SharePoint world and therefore I personally build the agenda and along with some specialist from each track we are working with the speakers to make it happen.

I also look at the current maturity model of the product and what type of content people are searching for and then finding the best way to deliver that content in a format that people will enjoy watching and listening to as well as learn from it. In my opinion that is the only way you can truly deliver a conference that provides the attendees with the knowledge needed to take away and use in the real world.

The Agenda and Speaker List looks amazing .. if you haven’t bought a ticket yet then you are most definately missing out!

I’m speaking too …

And this year I have my own slot talking about Real World: Building a global Business Intelligence Extranet, from End Users to Support and Operations.

This is basically a combination of technical and logistical problem solving involved at my main project over the past 12 months delivering a global Business Intelligence extranet in SharePoint 2010.

The main thing here is that we are not just talking about the technical problems (like multiple languages and scalability) but more about the operations and admin side of things, like how do you track and manage security for thousands of databases and thousands of users at the same time?

There is also the problem of processing and updating tens of thousands of OLAP cubes every month, and add to this other third party BI tools (which sit alongside Excel Services, PerformancePoint Services and Reporting Services) and you have a big challenge on your hands.

Well, I certainly hope to see you there. Even if you don’t make to my session (there are loads of great session tracks on all three days) then grab me during one of the breaks, or one of the SharePints afterwards and I’ll be happy to chat.

Update – Publishing Features “not supported” on Office 365 Public Websites

This has been a bit of an on-running saga for many of you in the community and I have to admit I’ve found it as confusing (and sometimes frustrating) as the next person.

I have had an Office 365 Community forum thread running for a while now which originally stated that this was allowed:

“If there’s a feature in your site that’s able to be activated, you’re still within the terms of your agreement if you activate it”

This was initially great news, although the euphoria was short lived as I finally got in touch with Mark Kashman (Senior Product Manager on the SharePoint Team at Microsoft, specialising in Office 365 and SharePoint Online).

We had a bit of an email dialog  and the crux of it has been updated in the community thread linked at the beginning of this post. The details have been included below:

“The SharePoint Online public-facing website does not grant use rights to leverage the publishing portal components in Office 365. These features are only supported for intranet sites within the private site collections you create from the SharePoint Online Administration Center. For now, the public-facing site is configurable by use of the Site Designer ribbon tool. Microsoft only supports what Site Designer enables.”

As disappointing as this is I have to admit I’m not entirely surprised, and hopefully this will be addressed at some point in the future. In fact Mark goes on to say:

“The feedback from this thread, and companion posts in and outside of the Office 365 Community site, are important in helping guide planning for how Microsoft may offer web content management (WCM) driven public websites that can leverage the SharePoint’s powerful publishing infrastructure components and are licensed appropriately. I, too, will take the action item to add additional clarity on this same point within the next update to the SharePoint Online service description here: go.microsoft.com/fwlink

Now, I have asked the question .. does this mean we are not allowed  to activate these features, or Microsoft simply won’t support our environments if we do this?

I am hoping for a response soon, and will update you when I know more! Watch this space…

How to enable Anonymous Access to a blog site on your Office 365 public website

This has been plaguing the forums for weeks now .. if I had a pound for everytime I’ve seen someone complaining about blogs on Office 365 .. I’d have .. erm .. about £15 ..

But seriously, this is something that a lot of folks have been complaining about .. but no more! 🙂

One thing that definately surprised me is that you can set anonymous permissions through Sandbox Solutions! This means that we can write our own custom code to enable full anonymous access for comments, categories and posts 🙂 So I’ve done just that.

A link to download a Sandbox Solution can be found below. Just upload the WSP to your public website site collection, activate it, and drop the new “Hatch Solutions” web part onto the home page of your blog 🙂

NOTE: For those who aren’t interested in how this works, and just want the web part, you can grab the WSP package here.

This installs a Web Part. Place this webpart on the home page of your Blog site, and hit the big button… it should do all of the work for you.

Important: You don’t need to keep the webpart on there. Once you’ve checked it is working you can remove the webpart and remove the WSP from your Solution Gallery!

Regional Settings –  There have been numerous reported issues regarding regional settings (as the code looks for lists called “Posts” and “Comments”). Currently this WSP only works when your SharePoint Site regional settings are set to English.

So what are we doing?
This is really quite simple. The SharePoint API exposes the list permissions for anonymous users through an SPList property called AnonymousPermMask64. This is an enumeration of SPBasePermissions values which effectively describe what access anonymous users have.

The reason this doesn’t work by default for anonymous users is because the “ViewFormPages” permissions is not included by default!

So our code is quite simple:

// get the “Comments” list
SPList list = SPContext.Current.Web.Lists[“Comments”];

// check if it has unique permissions

// make sure people can edit their own items
list.WriteSecurity = 2;

// grant permissions to anonymous users
list.AnonymousPermMask64 =
  (SPBasePermissions.Open |
   SPBasePermissions.OpenItems |
   SPBasePermissions.ViewFormPages |
   SPBasePermissions.ViewListItems |


So all we are doing there is granting some additional permissions (ViewFormPages, ViewListItems and AddListItems) for anonymous users. Then we just rinse-and-repeat for Posts and Categories (but remember to remove the “AddListItems” bit!! otherwise anonymous users would be able to create new blog posts!).

That’s it! I have a (short-lived) demo running on my current Office 365 site: www.hatchsolutions.co.uk/Blog/

Note – depending on how much spam and rubbish ends up on there, I will probably delete it sooner rather than later. I’ll try and remember to update this post after I have.
To make this easy for you I have built a Web Part which you can download and install (link at the top of this post) which does all of the work for you.

So that is all you should need .. happy blogging folks!! (all we need now is a decent blog template with things like CAPTCHA.. )

CKS:Sandbox 1.0 is now live!

For those who haven’t heard I started this project off a few weeks ago because I was frustrated with the complete and utter lack for any meaningful Sandbox Solution management in SharePoint 2010. Well, the fruits of my labours are now complete and the first major version of the CKS: Sandbox Tools Edition has now been launched!

If you want to download CKS:Sandbox, are looking for more information including install instructions, screenshots or documentation about how it works, then go visit our site: https://ckssandbox.codeplex.com/

What does CKS:Sandbox actually do?
Well, its main function is as a large library of Solution Validators. All of the source code is available (through CodePlex). The tool kit itself contains loads of goodies which are listed below:

CKS:Sandbox Version 1.0 includes the following functionality:

Validation Functionality
The highly configurable validation engine runs using SharePoint Solution Validators. This allows you to customise a set of rules that are checked each time someone tries to Activate a sandbox solution anywhere in the SharePoint Farm.

  • Fully configurable Validation Rules allowing you to check Sandbox Solution Packages for:
    • Validate specific solutions using their unique Solution ID
    • Assembly Public Key Tokens to only allow specific SNK files to be used during development
    • Assembly names using wildcard matching.
    • You can validate the Type Namespaces for each type in the assembly, using wildcard matching, such as “Microsoft.SharePoint.*
    • You can specify Blocked File Types by file extension (such as JS or XAML)
    • You can validate the content of each file in the solution using RegEx or Wildcard matching (such as blocking <script> tags)
  • You can set the default Validation Behaviour allowing you to Allow All or Block All for the different Validation Rule types
  • You can enable / disable Enforce Validation and choose whether to block solutions when a solution fails validation

Error Mesages and Emails

  • You can enable / disable Email Notification and receive emails to a configurable email address when a solution fails validation
  • Standard “CKS” error messages and pages are provided with the tool and displayed to end users if a solution is blocked during activation
    • You can use your own custom error messages by providing a URL to your own ASPX pages

Admin Tools

  • The Manage Sandbox Solutions page allows you to view every single Sandbox Solution currently installed in your farm;
    • Grouped by Site Collection, showing the Name, URL and current Resource Point Quota
    • Provides a link to the Site Collection Solution Gallery where it is stored
    • Shows the Solution ID, Title and Description information
    • Shows the Activation status of each Solution, and how many Resource Points it has currently consumed.

Finally a quick thank you Wes Hackett, of the CKS:Dev team, for the CKS introduction!

New look and feel for martinhatch.com

Well, its that time of year I suppose. I finally got around to giving my blog a bit of a freshen up.
It’s nothing too fancy .. a simple and clean white/grey style which is hopefully a little easier on the eye than my old red one (which I suppose was really a throw-back from my days working at Content and Code .. when everything we produced was a shade of red – their corporate colours).

What  else have I changed?

The main thing is the width has been increased from the downright lousy 740px width (an old blogger.com template I originally used) and up to a much more healthy 990px (which should be suitable for pretty much all modern browsers running 1024×768 or higher).
[Edit]It was set to 1000px, but this was causing horizontal scrollbars, so I made it 10px thinner[/blog]

I’ve also moved some of the navigation elements around, hopefully it makes it easier for you to find things, and there is a navigation bar at the top (which currently just consists of a “Blog” and “About Me” links but it was taking up too much real-estate on the right-hand side).

I also have a brand spanking new logo header. This was a bit of a cheeky freeby from fellow tweeter Dave Coleman. His son (also on twitter as CommandoUK) is starting up as a graphics designer and was offering some free blog / website headers to get his portfolio up and running.

Well, I was interested and he knocked up the logo header you see on there today 🙂 I like it quite a lot .. it oncorporates the main logo from my company site (https://www.hatchsolutions.co.uk/) as well as some funky colours which happen to mimic my Alienware M15X laptop colours (yeh … I know .. it’s a gimicky laptop which allows you to change the colour scheme of the keyboard and stuff ..)

Anyway, let me know if you like it (or not I suppose!). Thanks for visiting and hope you enjoy my next few posts.

Got more CKS: Sandbox stuff coming up, some Office 365 stuff and probably some SharePoint BI posts on the way too!



Attending SPRetreat #2 :)

Well, I snuck in last minute, but I’m managed to book myself a place at the March 2011 SPRetreat London session (Saturday March 5th).

This is the second SPRetreat, and once again joins Andrew Woodward (@AndrewWoody) as the expert in Unit Testing, Test Driven Development and usage of TypeMock Isolator with SharePoint development techniques.


Big thanks to:
Wes Hackett for organising and Content and Code for sponsoring the venue.
Typemock for providing a great product (Isolator) and for donating 2 full licenses as prizes worth almost £1,000
21apps for organising and providing the food.
Really looking forward to this 🙂

Now an MCPD in SharePoint 2010!

Well, I had a few days spare as my new contract hadn’t started so was pondering what to do, and decided to sit the two developer based SharePoint 2010 Exams.

There are two of them in the new development based certification track for SharePoint:

The first exam will grant you an Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist and the second one the new Microsoft Certified Professional Developer.

I am very pleased to report that I passed both exams (yay me!) and can now proudly sport my new certification logos:

Microsoft Community Contributor Award 2011

Well, I got a very nice surprise today as I have been awarded the Microsoft Community Contributor Award for 2011.

This is an award given to people to “recognize notable contributions to Microsoft online community forums such as TechNet, MSDN®, and Answers”.

For those not aware there are fantastic SharePoint forums on MSDN (https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/category/sharepoint2010) and I can typically be found browsing the Development forum, answering the odd question here and there, so I am well chuffed to be recognised in such a way.

As well as my funky new logo / badge (below) I have also been awarded a Safari Books subscription for over 400 online Microsoft Press books! 🙂 Which is extremely awesome.

So thank you to whomever put me forward for this, thanks to Microsoft for the recognition (and the prize) and thanks to the SharePoint community in general for making this product (and the community itself) so brilliant in itself!

Content and Code wins Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards

Its that time of year again, and the Microsoft WPC (Worldwide Partner Conference) is almost upon us (Washington D.C., USA, July 11th-15th).

But before the conference kicks off Microsoft has announced the award finalists and winners, and Content and Code has won two categories:

  • Microsoft Worldwide Partner of the Year, Information Worker Solutions, Enterprise Content Management (link)
  • Microsoft Country Partner of the Year, UK (link)

I am incredibly proud of Content and Code for winning these awards, not least because the award was attained through the RNIB project which I worked on (along with a fantastic team at both Content and Code and the RNIB!). This is a great achievement, and I’m both proud and privileged to have worked on that project, and for Content and Code themselves!

To top this off, Content and Code won Microsoft Worldwide Partner of the Year, Information Worker Solutions, Portals and Collaboration for 2009, so this now makes 2 years running that Content and Code have won a Worldwide Partner of the Year recognition!

The official announcement can be found on the Worldwide Partner Conference site.

SharePoint 2010 Exams Announced

A few days ago Microsoft announced several new SharePoint 2010 exams that will be coming soon to a testing centre near you…

IT Pro Track

Passing both of those exams will earn you the new certification:

MCITP: SharePoint Administrator 2010
(Microsoft Certified IT Professional)

Developer Track

Passing both of those exams will earn you the new certification:

MCPD: SharePoint 2010
(Microsoft Certified Professional Developer)

Unfortunately there are no upgrade paths from SharePoint 2007 (which makes sense, as the structure has changed).

Of course, the exclusive Microsoft Certified Master will continue to run including SharePoint 2010.

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