20 November 2014

SharePoint Solution For Customized Archiving Released

SP Archive for SharePoint logotypeToday we have released a new SharePoint Solution – SP Archive. The application lets organizations archive SharePoint data in a customized way, to avoid problems with SharePoint list items limits, and as SP Archive saves the list items to a database it is also suitable for backup.

Jitu Patidar Senior Developer Jitu Patidar is our guest blogger today. He has been responsible for the development of SP Archive, and he will tell more about our new Solution.

Problem: SharePoint list limits
SharePoint lists have a limit of 5000 rows. When you exceed the list limit you will have problems, so some kind of archiving is necessary. That is why we have developed SP Archive. We wanted to give users of SharePoint Solutions a better archiving option than the workflow we had offered earlier.

Solution: Archive to database
When it comes to archiving, a database has considerable advantages to a SharePoint site. Databases are built to handle many items, while SharePoint in the first place is built for sharing.
SP Archive database choice
Because of the database benefits we decided to let the first version of our new Solution archive to Microsoft Access or SQL Server. Next version of SP Archive will give a possibility to archive to SharePoint lists also, for those who prefer that.

Customized Archiving
From the start we decided that SP Archive must let users decide exactly what items and fields should be archived, and the selection must be easy to make and change. We also wanted to give the possibility to use several databases with SP Archive, for example different databases for different lists or SharePoint sites.

We created a Settings dialog, where SharePoint sites and lists are added to SP Archive and an Archiving dialog where users select first SharePoint list, then fields and finally items to archive. The selection of items is simplified by numerous filtering options.

Excel reports
Excel 2013 iconWhen the selection is done, there is a possibility to export the selected items and fields to an Excel sheet. It gives a quick overview of the data you have exported. Attachments can be included in the archiving to the database, but they are not included in the Excel export.

Archive or backup
When you archive old or unused SharePoint list items to a database you probably don't want to keep them in SharePoint, because of the 5000 items list limit. But we have not developed SP Archive to automatically remove the archived items from SharePoint. Instead we give the option to either remove the items or keep them in SharePoint, and that way SP Archive may be used for backup of SharePoint list items too.

SP Archive remembers
We think people often want to archive items from the same list in the same way, and therefore we have made SP Archive remember the field selection and filter option choice. This way the archiving or backup will be very quick after the first time.

Small team
SP Archive is a comparatively small-scale solution, so we have only been two developers working actively with the development. Junior Developer Ankit Raghuvansi made much of the actual coding under my supervision. But the whole team has studied SP Archive, and their comments and enhancement suggestions have been very valuable. Thank you all!Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint logotype

Subscribe or get for free
If your organization already subscribe to a SharePoint solution, you don't have to start a new, separate subscription to SP Archive. HelpDesk OSP icon From today SP Archive will be included in your current subscription, so please contact us and we will send you a key.

Should your organization not be using a SharePoint Solution yet, TimeCard icon you are welcome to subscribe to SP Archive. Because even if we developed SP Archive for our subscribers, this solution is beneficial to all SharePoint users!

Try SP Archive! download icon Whether you are a Community Member or not, you are very welcome to download SP Archive and evaluate the solution for 30 days without any obligations. If you have questions, I am here to assist you together with my colleagues in the Support team.

Jitu Patidar
Senior Developer Business Solutions

11 November 2014

SharePoint 2013 Search Tutorials on

SharePoint icon SharePoint 2013 comes with a very capable search engine. Much can be achieved with just the standard features, and admin with some extra knowledge can enhance the search possibilities further. To encourage exploration and use of the SharePoint Search I am planning a series of tutorials on this subject.

How SharePoint Search works
The SharePoint search engine crawls through the content sources and builds an index of the words used in all files and items. The search engine also records where those files are stored and which users are allowed to read the information.

When a user performs a search, the search engine compares the searched words with the index and returns the appropriate items, sorted by relevance. But even if these basics are the same for all SharePoint versions, there are differences in how to get there.

Office 365  ̶  convenience
In SharePoint Online, which is included in Office 365, the Search is already configured, and SharePoint Online users can just start searching their content without bothering with search configurations and crawling options.

I recommend SharePoint Online for smaller businesses, as it is easier to start using than the on premise versions. The drawback of that convenience is that you have much less control than what you get with a SharePoint on premise installation.

SharePoint on premise  ̶  control
When you start using a fresh SharePoint 2013 on premise, the SharePoint Search does not work at all. Just like many other features in SharePoint on premise, the search engine first has to be configured. The advantage of the manual configuration is that you have control over the features and can customize your SharePoint, but the administration of SharePoint on premise of course requires more knowledge than the online version.

Crawl options
When configuring the SharePoint Search for a SharePoint 2013 on premise installation, you have three crawling options to be aware of:
  • Incremental crawls: described as finding all additions, removing most deletes and updating most of the security rules for items in the index.
  • Full crawls: find all changes, but take a long time to run and cannot run in parallel with incremental crawls. A full crawl is especially needed after information architecture changes, such as adding or changing content types, managed properties or indexes.
  • Continuous crawls: similar to incremental crawls but run faster, update the index quicker and can be run in parallel with full crawls. Without advanced configuration you will usually get a 15 minute freshness on your index with this option.

    The continuous crawls are part of the enhanced Search feature in SharePoint 2013, and this is also the mode used in Office 365 SharePoint Online.
In the demo below I show how to set the crawling schedule for SharePoint 2013 on premise search engines. For more info and a step by step instruction, please refer to the Tips article on how to configure SharePoint Search.

Peter Kalmstrom
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

05 November 2014

From Skype to Lync

Microsoft Lync logotypeCommunication is a key factor for business success, and as I have wide experience from Microsoft’s communication platform Lync I have recorded a demo of the most interesting features.

You can watch the demo below and also in a new Tips article on the website.

Similar to Skype
Microsoft Lync is a communications platform with many similarities to Skype. However, while Skype is used by individuals all over the world, Lync has been developed primarily for business use.

I was a Product Manager at Skype from 2005 to 2010. At that time Skype and Microsoft were competitors, so even if my major area was the Skype toolbars, another task was to keep track of Lync capabilities.

Lync connects
Virtual connections
Lync gives secure communication between customers, colleagues, suppliers and partners over the internet. It is compatible with many different devices, so it allows users to work from wherever they want.

Document and Program sharing
For the last few years I have been teaching Lync as part of my Office 365-courses, and my students are often impressed by the Lync possibility to share documents and programs online. Both parties can of course see the document or program, but that is not all because both can actually work on it too.

Lync discussion
The enhanced Lync conversations also include a feature that has become my favorite: the whiteboard. In the demo below I am showing how to use the whiteboard to discuss a floor plan. The whiteboard discussions will be even more useful if you also record them, and that is another Lync possibility.

In the Tips article about Microsoft Lync we give an outline of all that is described in the demo below. I hope you will find it useful!

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions