30 May 2012

SharePoint MetaData Creator Improves Search And Document Analysis

Today I am proud to tell you that Business Solutions has begun developing an add-on that automatically will extract SharePoint metadata from any document uploaded to a SharePoint site. This new product will highly improve the value and usefulness of any SharePoint site. You can find a demonstration of the prototype at the end of this blog post.

SharePoint Search requires metadata

A SharePoint site is an excellent platform for sharing and storage of documents, but when it grows big it is often difficult to get an overview of the documents and find the right one among all you have stored on your site. The reason for this is that the SharePoint Search feature is not very good if you don't add metadata, like keywords, to your documents. And this is not done as often as it should be.

SharePoint metadata is too seldom added

To add metadata to documents manually is both boring and time consuming, so often people avoid doing it or do it inconsistently. The result is that the organization cannot take full advantage of their site's metadata driven SharePoint Search feature.

Automatic SharePoint metadata
To help customers get more out of their investment and make the SharePoint Search more effective, Peter Kalmstrom, CEO of Business Solutions, wants to develop a MetaData Creator. With this tool SharePoint metadata is extracted automatically, so that users don't have to add it manually.Extract Metadata icon

New button for metadata extraction

The MetaData Creator adds a new feature to SharePoint, and if you activate it a button for automatic metadata extraction is created. When you use the MetaData Creator, keywords are extracted from a text with just a click on that button. In the finished product it will be possible to define how the SharePoint metadata will be extracted, for example what type of keywords should be used.

MetaData Creator extraction button

How the MetaData Creator works

This is how the prototype functions:
  • Upload a file to SharePoint.
  • When the upload is finished a dialog is shown. Press the MetaData Creator button, "Extract Metadata".
  • Now the MetaData Creator will make a semantic analysis of the text you have selected and add relevant keywords in the Enterprise keyword field of the dialog. These metadata are then used by the SharePoint Search feature.
  • The MetaData Converter might ask you to select the correct meaning of a word. It could be a name of a town that exists in several countries or something like that.
  • Click Save.
Also for document analysis
With the MetaData Creator your future SharePoint Searches will be much more accurate. But you can also use the tool to get a better grasp of the content of your SharePoint site and get more out of existing documents.

Microsoft Certified Professional logotype

 Microsoft certified SharePoint specialist

Peter Kalmstrom has long experience of working with and developing for SharePoint, and he has earned all the available Microsoft certifications for SharePoint 2010. He also has a team of skilled developers and testers assisting him, so I am sure this new tool will be useful to many companies and organizations. The prototype is just a first step of course, and more functionality will be added during the continued development.

We welcome your input
The team always appreciates feed-back, so your comments on the MetaData Creator project are very welcome. Either leave them here as blog comments or contact us via e-mail. We are looking forward to hearing from you, and I hope you are looking forward to hearing more about the MetaData Creator in future blog articles!

29 May 2012

Meditation Helps Developer Perform

Today I am happy to introduce a guest blogger, Senior Developer Jitendra Patidar – or Jitu, as we call him. Jitu joined the team one month ago, and during that time he has shown his capacity in the work with Kanban Task Manager. Here is his story:


I completed my Bachelors of Engineering in 2008 with the branch Electronics & Communication. After that I knew I wanted to work with IT, so I begun learning .NET technology. I first got my training in one of the software companies in Indore, and then I began to work as a freelancer.
Jitu Patidar Photo

Eager to grow

During the last three years I have carried out various projects, and I have always tried to learn new things and enhance my technical skills. Therefore I am now feeling very happy to work with the team. Here I will get a chance to grow by working with the latest technologies, and I like being part of a team again.

Kanban Task Manager

My first task at was to improve the earlier rather simple settings dialog of the new product Kanban Task Manager for Outlook. I introduced a grid to make it easier to add and edit Projects, Phases and Responsibles, and when the sponsor of Kanban Task Manager asked for a way to order the Phases that became my task also.
Jitu Patidar Photo
Now it is possible to copy Projects, Phases, Responsibles and their details from for example Excel and paste it into the grid ‒ and vise versa. The grid has a datetime picker for choosing Start and End Date in the Projects tab, and the display order of the Phases can be set. If the order of one Phase is changed the remaining Phases will be adapt automatically.

Calendar Browser
Calendar Browser logotype
Now Kanban Task Manager is nearly finished, and I have begun to study Calendar Browser for Outlook. This resource booking tool will soon be updated to support the 64-bit version of Office 2010, and I will be one of the developers responsible for that work.

Family and interests
My wife is a web designer. We fell in love when we were working together on a project, and we married in November 2009.

I do meditation daily, and I find that it gives me a great peace of mind. In school I was a good cricket player, and I was captain of my team for four years. We won many cricket tournaments, and I still like to play and watch cricket. Support
When I have worked with more of the products I will assist in the second line support. This will give me a good insight in problems and questions that might arise with our applications, so that I can help solving them quickly. I look forward to meeting some of you via our online chat or in e-mails.

Jitu Patidar,
Sr. Software Developer Business Solutions

21 May 2012

SharePoint 2010 Content Types Tutorial In New Tip

When managing a SharePoint site you want to centralize the administration as much as possible, so that changes and addition are easily distributed and you don't have to repeat them many times. One way of achieving that is to use CSS files in SharePoint, just like you do on other websites, but if you use SharePoint 2010 I also suggest that you take a look at the Content Types.

Centralized management

Create new Content Type, part of screenContent Types was first introduced in SharePoint 2007, and in SharePoint 2010 they have been more elaborated. The Content Types enable SharePoint administrators to manage the settings for a category of information in a centralized and reusable way. If you for example have several subsites that use the same kind of documents, it is much easier to update templates and settings only once instead of doing it for each sub site. Content Types are inherited from the site they are created in and downwards, so often it is suitable to create a Content Type in the root SharePoint site. That is what our CEO Peter Kalmstrom does in the demo on SharePoint Content Types below.

Collection of metadata

With a SharePoint Site Content Type you can describe what metadata should be used for certain documents and how they should be presented. If you for example want to use a Content Type for contracts, you probably want to have start and end date in them and maybe also cost center and partner. The Content Type helps you formallize these details so that they can be used in several sub sites, and a change in the Content Type will reflect to all the sub sites using that Content Type. In this demo Peter shows how to create a new Content Type and how to connect it to Document Libraries in three different sub sites.

Other useful tips

When Peter is demonstrating the Content Type he also shows a lot of other SharePoint features, like to create different kinds of columns, create and modify views, save as a template, add Quick Parts, work with Web Parts and much more. He also explains how to add a shared view of all documents using the same Content Type to the SharePoint site. This can be done with the help of the Content Query Web Part available in the SharePoint 2010 Server and Enterprise versions.

Microsoft certified SharePoint specialist

Peter Kalmstrom has earned all the available Microsoft certifications for SharePoint 2010, and he is also a certified Trainer. On the kalmstrom. com website you can find many useful tips, not only on SharePoint but also on Outlook, Excel and more. Welcome to read more about Peter's tutorial on the SharePoint Content Types page!

18 May 2012

Educational Apps In Aakash2, The World's Cheapest Android Tablet

The company behind Aakash, the world's cheapest tablet, has launched Aakash 2 in two new versions where many of the earlier drawbacks are fixed. The new Android tablet sounds like a gold mine for students.
Kanak Joshi image
In January I wrote about this inexpensive Indian Android tablet and said I would have reason to come back to it. Now I have, and I thank developer Kanak Joshi who helped me with the research for this article.

Government support for Aakash
The Indian Government supports the development of the cheap Android
tablet, and that has led to the use of two names for what is
actually the same product. Aakash is the name of the tablet when it
is supplied to the Government for delivery to students across India
at a subsidized price. UbiSlate7 is the commercial version made available for all.

Two versions

Ubislate has now come in two new versions, Ubislate 7C and Ubislate 7+. They seem to be rather alike, and both are very cheap even if the price is a bit higher than for the first Aakash - around 50 EUR or 65 USD. The two versions are similar and only differ when it comes to display quality and internal storage.

Better battery and speed

The new Ubislate 7 uses a modified version of Android 2.3, with on-screen touch buttons. It is possible to use it as a phone, which you cannot do with the much more expensive iPad, but the Android tablet has no camera. The battery time of Ubislate 7 is three hours, and it is faster than the earlier versions. Ubislate 7 has WiFi & GPRS connectivity and 3G modems are supported via USB. More details can be found on the website of the developing company, DataWind.


Educational aim
As a former teacher I find it fascinating that this cheap Android tablet has so many tutorial apps included. Ubislate is primarily meant for students, to help bridge the digital divide in India, and it comes with a range of educational applications. All textbooks used in Indian secondary schools are there, just like the Wikipedia app and much more.

Long wait 
Like the former versions Ubislate 7C and 7+ has been sold out months before release, and people have been worried about when they would get their tablets. The buyers of Aakash 1 were probably disappointed when they finally received their purchases, but I hope the ones who waited for version 2 will be more satisfied.

Neither I nor Kanak have had the opportunity to test the new Android tablet, but I still wanted to tell you about it. There have been some complaints, for example about the too small touch buttons, and the price is higher than intended from the beginning. Still DataWind seems to be on the right track.

14 May 2012

Outlook Calendar TimeCard With Enhanced Meeting Request Handling

TimeCard bannerDo your team members use the Outlook calendar for time planning? Do they send meeting requests to each other every now and then? In that case you should take a look at TimeCard, the application for time reporting from the Outlook calendar. Today TimeCard has been updated with a new feature for smooth meeting request handling.

Tag Outlook calendar appointments with time reporting data
With TimeCard the team members use normal Outlook calendar appointments to report time and expenses. They just tag their appointments with Customer, Task, Project or other data selected from dropdowns, and that makes the Outlook appointments ready for reporting to the central database – still from within the Outlook calendar. To make it even easier for the team members the administrator can set some values as default, for example internal time.

Meeting request data automatically added
If one team member sends a meeting request with TimeCard data to other members who also use TimeCard, the same data is added automatically in the calendars for all the members who accept the meeting.

Say that Mr. Wachowski requests a meeting with Mr. Anderson and Mr. Smith to discuss a quotation for the ABC company. He tags the meeting request with ABC and Quotation. Mr. Anderson and Mr. Smith both accept the invitation, and that means that they will not only get the time and the place in their own calendars – with the new version of TimeCard they will also get ABC and Quotation without having to add it.

Reporting inside the Outlook calendar
No more work has to be done for the time reporting of this meeting. Everything is already there in the appointment. The reporting dialog is opened with a button that TimeCard adds to the Outlook calendar ribbon/toolbar, and with a click on another button this and all other appointments each team member wishes to report will be sent to the central database with all the data included.
TimeCard reporting dialog
Free upgrades for Members of Community
If you are a Community Member and already use TimeCard, you are welcome to upgrade your installation to get the new meeting request feature.

Is your organization a Member, but for another application? In that case you may use TimeCard too, without paying anything extra for it. We strive for a long relationship with our customers, and therefore we give free use of our products to Community Members. Just contact the sales department, and we will be happy to send you a registration key for TimeCard also.

Try it for two months
To give organizations a chance to try TimeCard with a monthly time report, we offer evaluators a trial period of 60 days with the same extensive support as we give to our Community Members. Welcome to download TimeCard for the Outlook calendar and give it a try. I am sure you will like it!

08 May 2012

Drag and Drop Tasks In Outlook With Kanban Task Manager

Kanban Task Manager logotype I have mentioned the new, fascinating project Kanban Task Manager for Outlook several times earlier in this blog, Now the application is coming together, and today I could try the "drag and drop tasks" feature for the first time.

Drag and Drop Outlook Tasks
It was a joy to finally could open the Kanban Task Manager folder in Outlook and see the nice user interface. I quickly created some Projects, Phases and Tasks to try how it was to drag and drop them, and it worked just fine! We will of course create more elaborate video demonstrations later, but II made a short demo to show how it works.

Visualize progress and blockers
Kanban Task Manager takes the idea from the traditional kanban board, where cards on a board symbolize different tasks of a project. The kanban board makes it easy to see what has been done and what is still in progress, but to manually putting up cards on a board cannot give all the advantages you get when you move the kanban board into Outlook.

More task features with Outlook
Using Outlook for task management makes it possible to do so much more, like filter for project or responsible or show tasks for several projects at the same time. And in Outlook you may drag and drop the tasks between different phases of a project instead of unpinning a card and then pinning it in another place - and maybe dropping it on the floor or loosing the pin in between!
Kanban Task Manager toolbar in Outlook

Automatic and instant synchronization
The most interesting difference between the traditional kanban board and the Outlook task manager is probably not the drop and drag or filtering but the synchronization. As soon as one team member has made a change to a task it will be visible to all other members in their PCs. This means that everyone can see how a project is making progress, and the manager or responsible may easily discover problems and blockers.

SharePoint or databases for the sharing
The immediate synchronization of tasks is made possible with one of three options for sharing and storage of tasks and settings: a Microsoft SharePoint site, an MS SQL Server database or an MS Access database. All versions are supported by Kanban Task Manager, and if you don't have any of them you can let the application create an Access database for you.

Soon you will have a chance to try Kanban Task Manager in your own team! We will allow a 30 days evaluation period of the full version, and in May I hope to tell you about the release.

06 May 2012

SharePoint 2010 Dropdowns Tutorial

Dropdowns and other kinds of selection fields are convenient when you want users to quickly add information to a form or SharePoint list. You have control over the alternatives, and it is easy to handle for everyone.

Microsoft SharePoint 2010 offers four kinds of selection fields, and the CEO, Peter Kalmstrom, has recorded a demo where he shows how to create all of them.

SharePoint alternative to database
Peter Kalmstrom has earned all the available Microsoft certifications for SharePoint 2010. He is using his knowledge to improve the Office add-ons and give them SharePoint as an alternative to a database for sharing and storage. The first product using SharePoint, HelpDesk OSP for Outlook and SharePoint, is already on the market.
Kanban Task Manager iconSoon we will release Kanban Task Manager for Outlook, and this add-on has SharePoint as one of the sharing options. More products will get the same option, because Peter considers SharePoint a strong platform for the future in a world with increased globalization where work teams are more geographically distributed than ever before.

The Tips section

Peter also likes to share his knowledge, and he has created a number of video demonstrations and articles that are gathered in the Tips section of the website. Here you can also find information about useful features in Outlook and Excel and much more.

Chioce, Lookup, Managed Metadata and External DataSharePoint column information types
The different kinds of selection fields are all chosen in the SharePoint 2010 "Create column" dialog, but only one of them can be created solely within this dialog.

The remaining three selectors require another source from where the data is fetched. This means that the Choice selection field is the easiest one to create, but the other alternatives have several advantages.

Peter explains the general benefits and disadvantages of each selection model, but he does not recommend one of them.

The decision on which selection type to use must be taken within each organization, by an administrator who has good knowledge about the available options and can judge the requirements and usage
conditions in each special case when a selector is needed.

(The image to the right is of course manipulated. You can only use one kind of selector per column.)

Not only for SharePoint 2010
Peter uses SharePoint 2010 in his tutorial demo, but I think you can find it useful even if you currently have an earlier version of SharePoint.

Welcome to learn more in the SharePoint Selection Field article in the Tips section - and to watch the demo!

02 May 2012

Spanish Easter Traditions Interesting To Blog Readers

The most read April post of the Blog had actually nothing to do with the Office applications or even our area of business – it was my Easter greeting with images from Spain.

No change of direction

I am happy to reach new readers, but this will not make me change the style of the Blog. It will continue being about the products and team members and about news in the IT business – with occasional articles on other subjects.

Unicode support
OLAP Reporting Tool logotypeMy articles are often visited for a long time after publication. A post from 2009 about the Unicode support of OLAP Reporting Tool is still read long after all the products have been given the same support of Unicode! I am not sure how to interpret that, but I know there is a great interest generally in the
statistics tool. Tips
Also blog posts about the Tips from our CEO, Peter Kalmstrom, are popular. This month we published another one: How to manage live SharePoint data in Microsoft Access. By using Access you will get enhanced functionality while still working with live data. Everything you do in Access is reflected back to the SharePoint site.

Kanban Task Manager

Once again I can see that blog readers are interested in the new project, Kanban Task Manager for Outlook. The development work is almost finished now, and the application will be sent to the sponsor next week for comments. I hope soon to show some more of it here also.
Kanban Task Manager in Outlook

Office 365 limit
When sending out the latest newsletter Peter discovered a limitation in the Office 365 mail sending that had been unknown to us. Apparently it was unknown to others too, because my blog post about that discovery had many readers in April.

Norwegian manifestation for multiculturalism

By the end of the month I wrote a much noticed article about the singing protest against the ideas of the mass-murderer who hit Norway last year and is on trial now. The blog post was published only hours after the Oslo manifestation was held, and later I heard that there were similar events on many other places in Norway and also in Iceland. I was very moved by this demonstration and I am glad that so many are interested to read about it.

01 May 2012

New Developer At Fixes Task Manager Reports

I am happy to tell you that we have yet another developer in the team. Priyanka Kokne begun working with us a month ago, and she has already proved that she is an asset to the team.

A talented artist
Priyanka Kokne with drawings imageIn the photo to the right Priyanka poses in front of two of her drawings – because Priyanka is not only a skilled developer but also a talented artist. At the bottom of this article you can see an example of what she can do with water colors.

Programmer and tester
Priyanka has a Bachelor of Engineering exam from Shri Vaishnav Institute Of Technology & Science in Indore, and she is also certified in manual and automated software testing. This combination makes her a good programmer, and we are glad that she decided to join the team after having worked with application analyze and development for other companies for a couple of years.

Kanban Task Manager Reports
Kanban Task Manager logotypePriyankas first task for has been to create the reporting application for our new and not yet released product Kanban Task Manager for Outlook. This add-on helps a team to visualize tasks and co-operate on projects.

The developers have added dropdowns for Project, Phase and Responsible to the Outlook Tasks and also made it possible to drag Tasks between different Phases. The data from Projects, Phases and Tasks can be exported to Excel, where they may be studied in different ways. For each project Kanban Task Manager offers various reports:
  • Total Tasks per Project
  • Total Tasks per Phase
  • Time spent per Phase
  • Status of Tasks per Phase
  • % Completed Tasks per Phase
  • Total Tasks per Responsible
  • Overdue status of Tasks per Phase
Priyanka has made sure the reports handle the correct data, and she has also added functionality that makes it easy to work with the data and look at them from different angles.

Badminton player
When working developers mostly use the brain, the eyes and the hands, and the rest of the body does not get much exercise. Priyanka keeps in good shape by dancing and playing badminton, and she achieved many badminton prizes at school level. She also enjoys gardening, just like me.

Priyanka Kokne water color
Welcome to, Priyanka!