20 July 2016

New Senior Developer For Services

Today I am happy to introduce Mohammad Nadeem, Senior .NET Developer. Mohammad Nadeem joined the team in April, and he has proved to be a valuable team member. So far he has mostly worked with custom projects, but he will of course be included in the development of our standard SharePoint and Outlook products too. Here is his presentation:
Nadeem Ansari
During my eight years of extensive IT experience in .NET based enterprise and web applications, I have successfully deployed a wide range of high performance, cutting edge solutions to end customers with state of art.

I joined the team because I enjoy working with new ideas and concepts and wanted to learn more about the latest technologies, like PowerShell and SharePoint.

My work is my hobby, but apart from that I am a certified gym trainer and I play football and cricket. Some people call me a fitness freak! Like many other developers I find chess, open world HD video games and brain teasing puzzles fascinating, but I am also interested in poetry.

My favorite poetry line is "Kar buland khud ko itna ki khuda khud bandey se puche bata teri raja kya hai" (Raise yourself to such a level that God will ask you what you wish.) These words by Muhammad Iqbal guide me in life. I want to become a successful, well known person, not by earning a lot of money but by blessings from people I can help.
Nadeem Ansari
Together with some friends I have formed a group that performs voluntary social work. I believe that we live not for ourselves but for others. All people deserve equal rights, and I have always wanted to help those who are poor.

Ever since I did my engineering in Computer Science at the RGPV University, I have understood that I have strong interpersonal skills. I also know that I can come up with creative solutions to problems, something that is highly appreciated in my kind of work.

I think those qualities have helped me fit well into the team, and I am looking forward to conquer any future challenges together with my new work mates.

Mohammad Nadeem Ansari
Senior .NET Developer Business Solutions

12 July 2016

Outlook Kanban Boards With New Views And Icons

Kanban Task Manager for Outlook logotypeThe Outlook editions of Kanban Task Manager will soon be updated with new views and indications for overdue tasks and percent completed.

Four editions
The kanban style software for project and tasks management comes in four editions. Two of them are for Outlook, workgroup and single editions, and two are for SharePoint. The editions work on two different platforms, but we try to keep the features as similar as possible. This is especially important as the Outlook workgroup edition can synchronize with both SharePoint editions.
Kanban Task Manager in Outlook
Kanban view
By default each Outlook task is shown as a color coded card on a kanban board with phases for the work process. These cards can be filtered in various ways, and they can be dragged to another phase and dropped there. New tasks can be created directly in the kanban view, and existing tasks can be opened and edited.

New icons
The coming updates of the Kanban Task Manager Outlook editions will give users more graphic information on the task cards. When a task is overdue, it will be indicated with a red left border on the kanban card.
Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint Overdue icon
When users fill out the % Completed field in the task, the value will be shown with an icon on the task in the kanban view. The high priority task in the image below is nearly finished.
Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint Completed icon
Month view
Next version of Kanban Task Manager will have more views. The Month view gives two options: calendar and timeline. Here you can see when tasks are planned to start and end and which tasks are in the pipeline for the coming month, the current month – or whichever month you select.

In the timeline, the time slots can be dragged to change the start and due dates, and tasks can be edited or created.

Project View

In the Project View each project will be visualized in the form of a pie chart, so that it will be easy to see  how many tasks there are in each phase of each project. Only phases that have tasks for the specific project are shown.
Kanban Task Manager Project view in Outlook

Phase Columns

To allow users with few phases and big screens to use their horizontal space better, we will finally add a possibility to use more than one column of tasks in the same phase. In the image below there are many incoming tasks that are waiting to be moved through the phases. Therefore the "Not Started" phase has been given 2 columns, which shows more tasks with less scrolling and gives a better overview.
Kanban Task Manager for SharePoint with two columns in the first phase

Work with the workgroup edition of Kanban Task Manager for Outlook V5 has already begun, and when it has been released it will be a quick job to update the single edition too. We will soon give you a chance to try the Kanban Task Manager Outlook editions.

Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

05 July 2016

SharePoint Templates Manager For Desktop Office

Templates Manager logotypeTemplates Manager for SharePoint was released as late as October 2015, but it has already become popular among evaluators and subscribers. Now we will soon release a client application, where users can select the SharePoint templates in their local Office applications.

Publish to all site collections
Most companies and organizations use templates to give their documents a consistent look and content, but SharePoint has no easy way to distribute templates to the whole farm or tenancy. With Templates Manager administrators only need to click on a button to publish all changes in the templates library to the whole organization, so our product enhances SharePoint in an important way.
Word 2013 icon          PowerPoint 2013 icon          Excel2013 icon
Desktop and browser
When files are stored in SharePoint libraries they can be edited either in each user's own Office installation or in the browser, with the online version of the Office application. So far Templates Manager has only supported the online version, but now we are developing a client setup.

With such a client installation, users can choose which version of the Office application they want to use in each case. The templates from SharePoint will be present in the desktop too.

First run
The first time a user opens Excel, Word or PowerPoint after the client has been installed, he or she will be asked to enter the SharePoint login details. Once this is done, the client knows where to search for templates every time an Office application is opened, and all the Excel, Word or PowerPoint templates from the Templates Manager SharePoint installation will be displayed to the user.

Templates Manager Client is still in the early development phase, but I hope to come back soon with a demo that shows how it works.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

29 June 2016

100 % Online Education

SharePoint iconIn the middle of June I held a one week course in Stockholm on SharePoint Server 2013 Core Solutions. If all goes according to plan, that was my last lecture where I was actually standing eye to eye with my students, who are mostly IT-professionals. From now on I will focus on online teaching and books.

Rewarding student input
I have been teaching in periods from 1989, and since I left Skype in 2010 I have been able to meet the demand for my lectures to a higher extent than before. I like to teach, and I have found the student input very interesting and informative.

The on-premise teaching however has a drawback that has been increasingly troublesome: the travelling that has kept me away from my home and office for weeks and disturbed my engagement in the products and services. That is the reason I have decided to stop lecturing.

Tips section and YouTube channel
YouTube iconIn parallel with my teaching on advanced IT courses, I have recorded video demonstrations. They are published on the YouTube channel, and in the Tips section of the website, and they have proved very popular. I will certainly continue producing more such demos.

The YouTube channel has nearly 7000 subscribers when this is written. Even more people prefer the Tips section, where they not only find the demos but also step by step instructions and more info about the subject for the demo.
SharePoint Online from Scratch cover           Excel 2016 from Scratch cover
Since last year I have published two books in Kindle and paperback format: Excel 2016 from Scratch and SharePoint Online from Scratch. They have sold well, so it is evident that there is a demand for these kind of books that start with the very basics but also include information for advanced users.

It is my ambition to write more books, and the next ones will probably be about the SharePoint features Flow and Power Apps. They are both new Microsoft products, and so far there is very little documentation on them out there.
Kate Kalmstrom image             Rituka Rimza image
Clever assistants
I am not doing everything on my own. Valuable help is given by my mother Kate Kalmström and by Rituka Rimza at the office in Indore, India. They edit my demos and books and write the Tips pages, and without them none of it would have been as good as it is.

I look forward to concentrate more at the work I do from home, but I will still travel to meet customers and hold workshops when requested. These are part of the Services, and I surely don't want to miss them.

To stop lecturing has not been an easy decision, but now when it is taken I feel confident that sticking to online education will make my work with the SharePoint and Outlook products more focused and still satisfy my teaching vein!

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions

22 June 2016

Study Manager for SharePoint V2 Released

Study Manager banner Last week I told you about the new features in Study Manager V2, and today I am happy to announce that the new version of our tuition solution for SharePoint has been released.

SharePoint learning management system
Many teachers and instructors create their own study material. With Study Manager they can present such material in a structured way in SharePoint, and a group of teachers can collaborate around a subject and give students a set of exercises with self correcting tasks. They can also see statistics on each student's progress.

Image task type, test option, show answer
As I wrote about the new Study Manager features in the earlier blog post, I will not repeat that description here. On the website you can find a lot of documentation on Study Manager, like manual, slideshow and video demonstrations. Below is a video version of the slideshow.

Instead of talking about the new features once more, I will mention one of our services: installation assistance.

The development of  Study Manager V2 has been sponsored. A sponsorship gives the sponsor the requested features at a low cost, because takes on part of the development cost. In return we get a better product to sell, so a sponsorship is a win-win for both parties.

12 installations
Most products have standard fees for one installation, but at sponsorships and multiple installations we set the fee for each customer, depending on the requirements. In this case the sponsor wanted 12 installations, so that each subject could have its own Study Manager site collection.

You may of course ask for an installation quote even if you don't sponsor development. We know exactly how to do, so we can install our products much faster than anyone who is new to it. Time is money, so you might very well gain from it!

Free upgrades are always included in the download iconSubscriptions, and we recommend current users to upgrade Study Manager. There are only four steps to perform, and they are of course listed on the Study Manager upgrade page.

Try Study Manager
Do you want to create a SharePoint learning center? Do your students want to study from home, or are they in another location? Study Manager is suitable for schools, businesses, yes, any organization that uses SharePoint and needs to educate students or employees. download icon You are welcome to try Study Manager for 30 days without any costs or obligations. Install Study Manager in a new SharePoint site collection, and it will become a center for learning, cooperation and discussion.

By Peter Kalmström
CEO and Systems Designer Business Solutions