Monday, January 29, 2007

My new favourite website

I just found out about this website, but I think it's going to become a regular haunt for me. Strangely it has nothing to do with SharePoint:

Give them the name of a favourite song or artist and they will create a personalized radio station for you based on that style of music. You can rate each song they give you to help fine-tune the station. And it's all free!

Now that I think about it, it does have something to do with SharePoint. This is very similar to the Knowledge Network component that Microsoft is planning to release later this year.

This wil allow you to track down other people in your organisation that share similar attributes based on your SharePoint profile. It can even look through your e-mails for keywords to suggest to you to add to your profile.

So not only can you find out about new music that you would like, but you can also track down that other person in your organisation that is passionate about Information Architecture for legal firms.

Isn't the internet wonderful?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Grouping Documents By More Than Two Levels

We are all very used to organizing our documents by folders. We have been doing it for years in File Explorer. But it does have it's drawbacks. For example you can only organize a set of documents in one way. You might have reports that you file by region. If you wanted to see them by Customer instead, you are stuffed.

Then SharePoint came along and provided meta-data. Now we have the ability to tag our documents with the relevant properties (such as Region and Customer). We can define views based on these properties to see our documents in many different ways. We can even combine folders and meta-data so that users can continue to file documents in folders, while at the same time providing views based on the meta-data.

The "Group By" view option allows you to define a hierarchy for viewing the documents - say by Country and then by Region. But what if you need to go beyond two levels? What if you want to view documents by Country, Region and Store? This article explains how you can achieve this using SharePoint Designer and WSSv3 (most of this is the same in FrontPage 2003 and WSSv2).

I will assume that you already have a document library with the necessary meta-data. To make it more interesting, I'm going to also assume that your documents are stored in a folder structure within the document library.

  1. Launch SharePoint Designer and open your site (File - Open Site...)

  2. Open the default.aspx file in your site. We will place our web part on this page

  3. Select the Data Source Library tab in the right hand task pane

  4. Open the drop down listbox for your Document Library and choose Copy and Modify...
    Copy and Modify

  5. On the Source tab, change the Item and folder scope to RecursiveAll

    Data Source Properties - Source

  6. On the General tab give a meaningful name to this Data Source and click OK

    Data Source Properties - General

  7. Drag and drop your new data source onto a web part zone. Now click on the > button on the right-hand-side of your new web part. You will see the following menu, select Sort and Group:

    Sort and Group

  8. Use the Add >> button to specify the fields you want to group your data for. Click on the Show group header checkbox for each of the fields you move across. Click OK once you have finished.

  9. Now from the right-hand-side menu select the Filter option. Specify the filter shown below. This will make sure that folders are not displayed in your web part. Click OK and you are done.

    Filter Criteria

This works if your web part is going to be on the same sub site as the document library. In my next post I'll show you how you can do this with a document library from another site.

Note: I've noticed that once you get to four levels, the web part does not correctly group items. It basically uses the first value it finds to group all items at each of the 4-level-deep branches. If I find a fix to this, I'll let you know.

Monday, January 15, 2007

You've been tagged

Five things you never knew about me

Here are the rules - you get tagged by a colleague/friend/complete stranger, you have to blog five things that people don't know about you and then pick five more people that should do the same.

By my calculations the entire blogosphere should be tagged by February 3rd - I guess it's all part of being Person of the Year.

Ishai Sagi was so kind as to tag me, so here you go:

5. I'm not Canadian. I reckon more people ask me if I am Canadian than any other nationality. I've never even been to Canada (eh?). In fact I'm Irish. I'll admit that my accent isn't a very strong Irish accent. Some people have suggested that the Irish accent has had a strong influence on forming the American accent. Personally I think it's because I watched too much Sesame Street as a kid. So my theory is that people hear me talk and think "hmm, not quite American, he must be one of those Canadians (eh?).

4. I was going to be an RPG programmer for Microsoft. We are not talking about Role Playing Games, this is the Report Program Generator language. I interviewed for a consulting firm doing work at Microsoft in Dublin. Our university was one of the few places that taught RPG and Microsoft were running their manufacturing on an IBM AS/400 at the time (there's one thing you didn't know about Microsoft). In the end, they gave me a job working on VB and SQL projects instead.

3. My first computer was a Sinclair ZX81. I think I was 10 at the time. I remember trying to grasp concepts such as for loops and If/Else statements. I still remember the so-called "touch-sensitive" keys and the fact that you would have to wait about 10 seconds for the screen to refresh every time you pressed a key. After all, it did only have 1 KB of memory.

2. I failed Irish in school. Shameful really. The Irish language is compulsory in school up to your final exams at 18. I was shockingly bad at it. I found it impossible to spell, and the grammar just threw me completely. My poor Irish teacher put in so much effort to helping me, but he got so little out of it. The scary thing is that you need Irish to get into a lot of university courses. Thankfully, the one I wanted didn't require it. I didn't even bother studying the night before my final exam. I worked on my maths study instead (god knows I needed it).

When it came time to do the exam paper, I wrote a letter in English to the examiner, letting him know that he could go off and make himself a nice cup of tea, that I was not going to force my shocking spelling skills on him. When I got my final grades, I wasn't too surprised to discover I failed. My parents weren't that happy and they suggested that I have my paper re-checked. I declined. So now I'm not eligible to apply for any government job in Ireland, which hasn't proved to be a big drawback since I've moved to Sydney.

1. I've had Blues Harmonica lessons - note the distinction between "I've had lessons" and "I can play". I've always been a fan of the Blues, so when I saw some lessons advertised, I signed up with another friend. We gave each other Blues names - he's Magic Eight-Ball Delahunty, I'm Bleeding Gums Wilson. Despite these great names, I have yet to reach a level of proficiency where I'd feel comfortable quitting my day job and make a living busking on the streets.

My turn to tag - not that there are many people left:

Friday, January 05, 2007

Discovery Wizard for SharePoint

I just found this handy free tool on the Quest website. It will scan your network for servers running SPS, MOSS or WSS (v2 and v3) and display basic information about your servers, site collections and sites.

Discovery Wizard for SharePoint

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Large logs with MOSS

I noticed recently that the log files on my MOSS server were getting very large. These log files are located in C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\LOGS

Each log file was about 500 MB in size, and there were about 20 of them. This was not good. When I looked at the logs I noticed that I was getting a lot of messages for the general category.

So I ran the following command to turn off logging for the general category:
stsadm -o setlogginglevel -category "general" -tracelevel none

Bingo! Log files back to normal size. Some day when I have more time on my hands I'll try to find out what the messages mean.

You can also modify the number of log files MOSS generates from Central Admin:
1. From Central Admin, click Operations Management in the left panel
2. Click Diagnostic Logging
3. Modify the number of trace logs and click OK (I've set my test environment to 5)