Administration With PowerShell

SharePoint workflows’ aren’t as complex as I would like them. without Visual Studio, the options that you are given are quite limited, and not very flexible when you want to do something a little more complicated. The action that I wished to carry out was to edit a users properties from the workflow, however the workflow can only read user properties, and not write to them.

After searching the internet for an answer, I saw someone talking about Windows PowerShell scripts.

PowerShell in SharePoint 2010 is an administrative tool that carries out its work in a command line. This allows the administrator to carry out commands’ and is great for repetitive process’. One of the features that intrigues me the most is the ability to easily create PowerShell scripts, they can also be initiated by workflows which makes the task of editing User properties very simple, if the PowerShell can grab data from the workflow then the Powershell uses this to find the relative data and edit it accordingly.

Unfortunately I still don’t know much about this as it is only usable on SharePoint 2010, which we do not yet have. More info when I get it.


SharePoint Project Update

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.


SharePoint Online Vs SharePoint 2010 Server

We are still aware that a migration to Microsoft Office 365 is not definite, we have been hired to research the best migration options for the university. However, it appears that we have not touched on SharePoint 2010 at all in the last few months so we thought we might write a little about it today.

Today we have started to compare Microsoft SharePoint On Premises with SharePoint Online to see which has the most features. I will post the features that one system has but the other might lack, in a table here.

Feature SharePoint 2010 Enterprise SharePoint Online
SharePoint Time Jobs YES NO
Business Data Connectivity Service YES NO
External Data Column YES NO
Business Data Web Parts YES NO
External Lists YES NO
Business Data Integration with Office Client YES NO
Business Connectivity Services Profile Page YES NO
Records Center YES NO
Word Automation Services YES NO
Business Intelligence Center YES NO
Chart Web Parts YES NO
Data Connection Library YES NO
Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Services YES NO
Calculated KPIs YES NO
Dashboards YES NO
Decomposition Tree YES NO
Excel Services and PowerPivot for SharePoint YES NO
Many Search features (about 16) YES (FAST) NO
Single Site Collection Search NO YES
Secure Store Service YES NO
Web Analytics YES NO
Lightweight Public Facing Site NO YES
External Sharing NO YES
Office Web Apps NO YES

So there appear to be a fair amount of features SharePoint 2010 is capable of that SharePoint Online isn’t. However, do keep in mind that the list was extremely long and there are many features the the both of them share, this is just a minority really. Many of the features may not even be needed in the University environment, we will be looking into some of these features so we can better measure the difference between the two SharePoint options.


SharePoint Search

Searching for content using the current SharePoint 2003 Server can be a nightmare. In SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint Online the Search functionality has been greatly improved and it is also now possible to use query terms in your search criteria to refine the results returned. You can use terms such as >,>=, < , <=, and <> along with some other built in terms, for example, Write, Size and Author. This means that you could use a search string like this, Write>=”9/1/2011”, which would return all documents modified since the beginning of this month (September). This can be very handy when there is a large amount of content available on a SharePoint Site and you know some of the details about the document. You can also join multiple queries together to even further narrow your search results. More details on this topic can be found here.

Migrating in the opposite direction

After reading some blog posts we were concerned about some of the questions these bloggers had asked and never got an answer to. One of this questions was “what happens if you want to leave Office 365 for something else?”, this could be problematic as we wouldn’t want to loose all our data if we wanted to migrate back to SharePoint 2010 (When we do upgraded I don’t think we would go back to SharePoint 2003 ever again). After asking the question in the community forum I quickly got an answer. It is possible to migrate back to SharePoint 2010 but only through a migration tool such as MetaVis, Quest or AvePoint.

I’m still not sure why Microsoft are getting people to rely on 3rd party migration tools so much, even they rely on them for migrating their own systems. You would have thought they create their own migration tools, at the very least they could have made some more money from it.