Monthly Archives July 2011

Now, my skills in JQuery are very minimal, never really used it much but I have just started picking bits up so I’ve decided to start using it where I can, so there is probably an easy way round this that I am unaware of.

In previous blogs we have described the difficulty in editing the public facing website outside of the sandbox tools,and  not being able to locate let alone edit the root.master page. Since then we have discovered more permission settings that were only available to Tim, we now have majority access to the files containing the public facing site, including root.master. I thought this might be a nice time to add some JQuery in after opening the master page in advanced settings and inputting/referencing the JQuery library I clicked save, Sharepoint Designer asked me if I was sure as this would change it from the site definition (I was aware of this, after all, I did just add some extra code in). Before adding any actual JQuery into the site pages I decided to check the site in the browser, it didn’t load, for some reason it wont accept any variation of the root.master page, it has to be to the site definition so I was forced to reset the root master page. Now I could create an entirely new master page mimicking the root master, but this would be time consuming and quite annoying.

There must be a better way to add Java into the site as recreating the root master doesn’t seem like the right way, it shouldn’t be so difficult, the only thing I am wondering is if it would be any easier for the Enterprise version of 365 as the P1 plan claims that no IT professionals are required, so obviously that leads to very little customization beyond the sandbox.

RE

Rob and I have been working to create an example team site using sharepoint online hosted by Microsoft as part of the Office 365 service. We have made slight modifications to the theme and css file to give the site a clean, simple and professional look to match the green corporate identity the company has. However, we were unable to brand the header and footer to the site, this part of the site is generated at the server and cannot be changed. Part of the limited customisation is due to the version being used, Small Business. This version is designed for those small businesses that would not ordinarily have dedicated IT staff and has been made simple enough so that almost anyone could set up a sharepoint with ease.

We have given the the site the functions a small business is likely to need from employee databases, finance reports and absence recording to document libraries for storing company policies and other project documents and web databases for product ranges.  For absence reporting we have used a list to record the information that can be easily exported to MS Excel so that further analysis can be carried out on the data. To improve the user experience rather than typing directly into the list, a pop up form will appear to enable the user to input the information – a much easier and interactive way.

We have also implemented user groups and permissions to enable the Management team to have access to every part of the site and a Staff group, which has a limited view on certain sections of the site. For example there is a section on the site called Management, which contains all managerial documents such as employee records, financial documents and absence records, this section of the site is only accessible to users of the Management group.

We have also integrated web databases to complete the truly cloud experience, enabling users to access all business data from almost anywhere at anytime. These were easily to create and upload to the Team Site, meaning that businesses with no dedicated IT staff should find it easy to set something like this up. It all depends on what the business requires the database to do, so it could get more complex, depending on the specification. The only problem we have experienced using web databases so far is that reports do not currently work, although this should be resolved in the general release, code does not appear to be allowed on web databases and macros seem to have limited functionality. We have also created many lists to house public contacts, absences, word excel and powerpoint documents, and announcements to be used as a method of updating a team with business news. Announcements are a really useful tool within small businesses as many of the staff can often be part time, so they will frequently miss out on vital communication, this way they can all be kept up to date wherever they are.

Next we will be looking at the external site, also provided as part of the Microsoft Office 365 service and using that to reach the clients to the business.

Over the last few days Rob and I have come across some issues using the Small Business version of Office 365. The main problems arise when you wish to customise the  Team Site. You are however able to make certain modifications to the master page and the css files. But you do not seem to be able to edit the default headers and footers of the pages. The default Microsoft headers and footers are bright orange, and no matter how you customise the css file, the orange headers and footers just do not go. There are some .ascx files referenced in the master pages that could be related to the default header and footer, but there is no way to view these files or edit them that we know of at this time.

We have also been experiencing a ‘403 Forbidden’ errors. These have been occurring sporadically when clicking on links, and it’s not just happening on specific links. This issue has been ongoing over the last couple of days, and as of yet there has been no explanation of this issue. There has not even been any acknowledgement of this problem in the service health within the admin options.

In an article by Ed Bott, who attended the Office 365 Launch Conference, asked a few questions at the launch, one of which stood out to me. He asked about the development roadmap of the system and in particular SharePoint Online. As it stands SharePoint Online does not have the same feature set as the standalone on premise version (SharePoint Server 2010). John Betz (Microsoft’s Director of Online Services) is quoted as saying that Office 365 will be updated every 90 days, and that their ultimate goal is for SharePoint Online to have the same feature set as SharePoint Server 2010.

For more details check the article at: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/office-365-three-questions-for-small-businesses/3503?tag=search-results-rivers

In an article by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, he suggests that if many people were to move to web based systems for work and not just Office 365, bandwidth may become a problem in the future especially with the web already saturated with many video sites streaming content to its users. For Steven’s full article see: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/networking/office-365-8217s-potential-fatal-flaw-not-enough-internet-bandwidth/1204?tag=search-results-rivers