Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Cloud Computing - Announcing Azure Services Platform and Microsoft SharePoint Services


Ray Ozzie opened the PDC 2008 by anouncing Windows Azure - Microsoft's big solution to Cloud Computing.



To learn more about Azure go to - http://www.azure.com/


http://blogs.msdn.com/sharepoint/archive/2008/10/27/pdc-2008-announcing-azure-services-platform-and-microsoft-sharepoint-services.aspx

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/windows_azure.php


http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/microsoft_azure_redefine_os.php


One problem is the name, I think it sounds too much like Azureus - http://azureus.sourceforge.net/

Azure http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sky_blue "Commonly it refers to a bright blue, resembling the sky on a bright, clear day"

"The term azure derives from the Persian لاژورد (lazhward), which was the name of a place in modern Turkestan known for its deposits of lapis lazuli (“stone of lazhward”). The word was adopted into Old French by the twelfth century.
From the French it was adopted into English as a near synonym for "blue". The first recorded use of azure as a color name in English was in 1374."

Other than the name, this is exciting stuff people and likely to be the way to do work in the not too distant future.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

What are you working on Sezai ?

You may know me from my work with MOSS 2007 WCM Internet sites - which I enjoy working on a lot. MOSS 2007 is an AWESOME platform for powering an Internet site - no matter what the nay sayers say.

I have been involved in quite a number of varying and complex Internet website projects in the last few years - and I have learned quite a bit in the process.


So what is the next Internet site I am working on?

I'm NOT working on a WCM project!!!

I am working on a custom Document Management System. I am building a system to migrate a paper based Business Excellence Framework system into SharePoint.

What is a Business Excellence Framework or BEF ?

Read up on it here - http://www.saiglobal.com/Improve/ExcellenceModels/BusinessExcellenceFramework/default.htm



I must mention - if you come across an organisation that implements a BEF as a management system they are EXCELLENT candidates for SharePoint implementations.

Why?

They are already VERY organised and follow structured methods, including workflow, so they already have their act together and it makes a big difference implementing business processes - as their processes ARE ALREADY DEFINED AND PROVEN TO WORK !


Compare that to implementing SharePoint for a disorganised organisation - and yeah SharePoint won't automatically instill a sense of process and organisation if they don't have that in place already.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

PhotoSynth of the 2009 MVP Award Trophy

I bought a new Sony CyberShot Digital Camera yesterday and thought I'ld test it out by snapping some pics of the MVP Award and creating a PhotoSynth of it.

Check out the Synth Here - http://photosynth.net/view.aspx?cid=00D9A997-BBF7-425A-8A42-318FBD75E36F

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Designing SharePoint Implementations - Visio Templates and Stencils for SharePoint

When building any system for an enterprise it is best practise to initially scope the project to gather requirements and then commence writing a Functional Specification. The same should apply to SharePoint projects, no one should let you to start development without first designing and planning what you intend to build (I hope! ).

When designing and planning a system, a picture really is worth a thousand words. Good diagrams and illustrations can make a seemingly boring specification document into something that looks visually stunning and very appealing to the eye, more importantly good diagrams can impress project stake holders. A good looking diagram can also convey a lot more information to the reader with a lot less reading.

So what diagrams do you need?

The success of a SharePoint implementation depends a lot on the Infrastructure that is setup to support it. I have seen implementations result in failure in the past, not due to the SharePoint or development side of things, but because the infrastructure was poorly planned and cannot support the load that results from regular use of the system. So to help plan out the logical infrastructure you should check out this page on at Spence Harbar's blog - http://www.harbar.net/archive/2008/09/17/Investing-in-Logical-Architecture-Design-Samples.aspx

and this -
http://www.sharepointblogs.com/stopcollaborateandlisten/archive/2008/02/11/visio-shapes-for-moss-2007-amp-wss-v3.aspx

Every SharePoint site collection is made up of a hierarchy of subsites. So to help document the structure of a site collection before you even start creating a site you need a Site Map diagram which clearly documents the hierarchy of subsites in a site collection. You can then go into further detail and list out any specific lists or libraries in the site and if needed annotate these libraries with information related to their use and security access. Have a look at this Visio Template on Maxime Bombardier's blog.

http://blogs.msdn.com/maximeb/archive/2007/10/27/updated-visio-stencils-for-sharepoint-2007-site-structures-documentation-version-0-2.aspx

With the site map defined you then go in for a little more detail – in order to convey the functional differences between various pages in a site, you should put together some Wireframes of any important pages such as the home page and landing/welcome pages for subsites. Any highly custom pages containing custom web parts or server controls are also good candidates for producing wireframes. Any custom forms such as list edit forms or custom page layouts in edit mode that use custom field controls are also good wireframe candidates. Wireframes are excellent for conveying what each specific page does in the site and lets project stakeholders visualize the layout of pages – they may have ideas and preferences for laying out screens, it’s better for them to request these changes in the design phase instead of much later on when they’re already developed. Have a look at this Visio template -

http://www.siolon.com/blog/sharepoint-wireframes/
http://www.siolon.com/wp-content/uploads/MOSS.vst?PHPSESSID=0ceb4003a8538463cd82af9c27608202

and this one -

http://blogs.msdn.com/roberdan/archive/2006/03/05/543967.aspx

If your SharePoint implementation makes use of any custom workflow, then it may be worth illustrating these in a diagram as well. You can put together nice workflow diagrams to illustrate how workflow functions in the site. Have a look at these Visio templates -

http://www.nickfinck.com/stencils.html or any others that lets you document workflow process flow

Awesome - so now you have a set of diagrams clearly illustrating the logical infrastructure, site map / site structure, wireframes of important pages and how workflows… well - flow. A bunch of diagrams alone is not going to be a good spec. So you need to put these all together and start writing one.

If you are looking for a great example of a functional specification which makes use of nice Visio diagrams have a look AT THIS AWESOME FUNCTIONAL SPECIFICATION I came across prepared by Microsoft Consulting Services.

http://solshare.net/files/folders/funcspecs/entry1328.aspx
http://solshare.net/files/folders/1328/download.aspx


Happy documenting!

Always takes ages for me to make these diagrams and move shapes around though :(

I would also much rather be coding :)




If you come across any other nice Visio templates or stencils online - or any other good examples of Specifications for SharePoint Projects then please post a comment here to let me know about it !

Update -

Check out Jeremy Thake's Diigo http://www.diigo.com/user/jthake/visio for some more templates.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

I am a Microsoft MVP !











That's right - I got the news yesterday from Nick Ellery Aus/NZ MVP Lead - I have been awarded the MVP Award for 2009 which makes yours truly the only SharePoint MVP in Perth and Western Australia

It's been quite a journey working with SharePoint and it's great to get this award, I can now look back at all the time and effort I spent learning, working, blogging, writing and presenting with SharePoint over the last few years and it feels like it was all worth it. I thank my wife Tanya for being so patient with me spending so much of my spare time learning and messing around with SharePoint.

Now that I have won the award I need to do more to pass on my knowledge to others to make their time working with SharePoint a little easier.

SO yes this blog has been RESURRECTED!!! Stay tuned for some long and detailed posts... Might be a few days before the first one, they take time to write :)









I also started at my new job last week - I now work for Ignia - http://www.ignia.com.au/ Microsoft Gold Partners in Perth (so nice to be back on the terrace again). I am excited about this job as there's some really awesome projects lined up, but more importantly there's heaps of opportunity to grow and learn from some really capable and specialised .NET, CRM and SharePoint people.