We have some news on the SharePoint project. Michael and I had our monthly review meeting a couple of days ago, where it was revealed to us that instead of moving forward wind Office 365 we will most likely be implementing SharePoint 2010 with Exchange Server 2010. This direction is being taken due to the uncertainty behind Micosoft Office 365 such as the unreliable up time (Microsoft are under investigation by the Advertising standard agency claiming they can’t meet their advertised 99% up time) and the uncertain costs behind the educational version of SharePoint, we also already have the SharePoint lisencing fees.
For the last couple of days we have been helping in filling out a Business Case document, the document had to review all options that the University could take, including the unfavourable options. This included staying with SharePoint 2003, migrating to SharePoint 2010 or migrating to Office 365. We wrote the down side to staying with SharePoint 2003 and the benefits to migrating to SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint Online. We will hopfully hear something back soon.
In the mean time we will both be looking into migration even further so we can start to create a plan as early as possible.
I think i might have found the solution to the SharePoint issue
After asking around the office, I have discovered that SharePoint 2003 MAY be running service pack 2, if this is the case then the solution may be simply to upgrade to Service Pack 3 and install any hotfix’s that are available. It appeared that a handful of people have had a similar issues (not exactly the same but similar) and their issues have been fixed by upgrading.
It is clear from issues such as this that we NEED to upgrade to either SharePoint 2010/Online, it is a much easier platform to use and manipulate.
After some research around the SharePoint 2003 issue, I have come to believe that the problem with the RTE error is not the browser but the operating system. I know this might sound strange as it should not affect the operation of SharePoint on the browser. If this is the case, I have seen a number of fixes for this on the internet, they mostly involve a hack. I will test this theory more when I get to work tomorrow (I have been researching from home today)
I was wrong
Michael and I have been presented with a challenge involving SharePoint 2003, to attempt to resolve a very strange compatibility issue. A content editor is used to input text and images into a SharePoint site, it uses a Rich Text editor to format the text, for some reason the Rich Text Editor (RTE) will work perfectly fine using Internet Explorer 7, however it will not work in any newer versions of Internet Explorer or any other web browser. This is a very odd Error as it is assumed that Microsoft would try keep it compatible with future updates.
Along with the Microsoft SharePoint research, over the next few weeks we will be looking into this issue and will attempt to resolve it.
Although we are still unable to put this into practice as we do not yet have the Enterprise version of Office 365, Rob and I have been looking at the program itself. The program, unlike previous versions, is split into two. The first is InfoPath Designer and the other is InfoPath Filler. InfoPath Designer, as the name suggests, is the program used to design and build the required form and collate the data. InfoPath Filler is the client side program used to complete or ‘fill’ in the form. It is also possible to create forms that will display in a web browser. In the Small Business version of Office 365, web based InfoPath forms are not compatible, however, it can still be done using this, the client based app. In order for this to work, you must deploy the Client Filler app to all users who will require it.
Building the forms seems relatively easy. All of the tools that are available to use are nicely displayed in the ribbon toolbar, as with all other Microsoft Office applications, and can be easily added to the form design.
We had been tasked to re-create an existing form using InfoPath 2010 in the hope of creating a form that looked cleaner and simpler to use compared to the current one. Creating the form was very straight forward using the tools provided in the ribbon tool bar. After adding all the required fields, we added a button control to handle the submission. In this instance we set the button to process the form and send the contents in an email to the person dealing with the information. The first problem we came across was making it compatible with the outdated portal (SharePoint 2003). After a little research we discovered that you could in fact save the form in a compatible 2003 version. However this only made the form compatible to be used with InfoPath filler and not to be displayed on the webpage of the portal as we had hoped. A little more research found that SharePoint 2003 did not in fact support web based forms. This again put us in a position that meant we could not test a web based form.
From this little test we have found that using InfoPath forms is not the best method combined with the current SharePoint 2003 Server unless you are prepared to deploy InfoPath Filler to all machines for people that would require it. We will continue to work with this feature when access to an Enterprise version is available.