The Future of SharePoint Server

I came across an interesting article by Cameron Dwyer. In it he looks at the future of the SharePoint brand. As any SP admin knows, Microsoft has been really pushing the cloud-based technology of the 365 suite, which currently includes a limited version of SharePoint.

I’m still on the fence when it comes to cloud-based technologies. I just have a feeling that it’s too much like a car which can ONLY be repaired at an authorized dealership. I’m old-school IT – I want to be able to pop the hood and change the oil if needed.

At any rate, take a look at Cameron’s post and see what you think – he makes some very valid observations.

Is the SharePoint brand going away?

Dracula Untold: What did I think?

This weekend I was under the weather but still managed to catch Dracula: Untold with the Mrs. We’re both fans of vampire flicks like The Lost Boys and Underworld – the good, action-packed ones. I went into this film knowing that it puts more of a “super-hero” spin on the legend, and – even though I enjoy both the vampire AND superhero genres – wasn’t expecting much. I liked what I got, though. It was a thoroughly enjoyable popcorn flick, as well as a nice spin on the well-known story of Vlad the Impaler, aka Dracula. It also kicks off a new attempt by Universal to reboot their popular “Universal Monsters” franchise made popular during the 40s and 50s. You all know these guys – Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolfman, The Mummy, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon.

This review will contain spoilers, so proceed at your own risk. The film just came out, so I’m sure there’s a lot of you haven’t seen it yet. If you’re one of the brave & the bold, however, keep reading…

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Gotham: What did I think?

So I caught the pilot for Gotham last night. I really didn’t see how a TV show about Batman – but NOT actually featuring Batman – could work, but I was pleasantly surprised. If the rest of the episodes are as entertaining as the pilot, we might have a winner on our hands.

For those who don’t know, Gotham takes place roughly 15 years before Batman shows up. Newly-promoted detective Jim Gordon has returned to the city of his childhood, and is partnered with Harvey Bullock – a gruff, possibly corrupt detective who doesn’t like to make waves. Their first big case together is a doozy… the murder of Thomas & Martha Wayne. At the crime scene, Gordon promises young Bruce Wayne that he will find the man responsible and bring him to justice. Unfortunately, in the corrupt city of Gotham, that promise proves difficult.

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Replace SharePoint 2013 Branding Text

One of the more annoying things in SP 2013 (for me, at least) is the new branding text in the upper left corner. By default it simply says “SharePoint”, which IMO reinforces a bad user habit – referring to their sites as “SharePoint” instead of whatever the site is actually called. When your company has 50 sites all built on SharePoint, it quickly gets annoying to hear “SharePoint is down.” or “I can’t get to SharePoint.” That’s like saying “Word is down” because one document won’t open. Instead I usually train my users to refer to the site by its title (i.e. – “Company Intranet Portal”, “HR Department Site”, etc.) to differentiate it from any other SP sites I might be responsible for.

Replacing the branding text can be done, but it’s generally a pain and there’s no obvious straight-forward way of doing it. Several custom themes that you can download or purchase have the text removed or replaced, but there don’t seem to be many articles on HOW to replace it if you want to.

brandingtext
Once the page renders, this is actually just a plain DIV with the word “SharePoint” in it. So what I did is write a quick jQuery script that replaces that DIV with my own content, then called that script in the header of my custom master page (you ARE using a custom master page and not modifying the original, right?). Now not only can I put what I want there, I can also style it how I want using the custom class I inserted when I replaced the DIV. Here’s the script – just save it as “branding.js” or whatever you want, put it in your site collection’s style/script library, then call it in your custom master:


$(function(){

$('.ms-core-brandingText').replaceWith('<div class="ms-core-brandingText"><span class="ms-core-brandingTagline">powered by</span> SharePoint 2013</div>');

});

Simple Accordion Quick Launch

A frequent request is to have the Quick Launch menu in SharePoint expand & collapse like the tree view. This “accordion” style menu can be achieved through various methods using JavaScript and/or jQuery. One of the better scripts I’ve found for this comes from Sanna Marilka over at Bordering.NET. The script did almost everything I wanted right off the bat, but it needed a few slight alterations. The first issue was that if you clicked on a link inside the already-expanded category, the category closed instead of following the link. Brendan Horner posted a fix for that in the comments on the page, so the version below has that fix included.

The second issue is that with the fixed version of the script, the father span (ie – category link) could no longer be independently styled. So to fix that, I ended up adding the class to the actual anchor tag instead of the span under it. Now you can apply styling to the parent categories. In my example below, I’m simply adding a bullet icon to the background of the categories that have children items. Continue reading

R.I.P. InfoPath

If you haven’t heard, Microsoft announced a while back that InfoPath was going away. We’re 2/3 of the way through the year so far, and still no concrete word on what will replace it, or even if we’ll be able to migrate existing InfoPath forms. John Liu has collected some good links regarding the fiasco on his blog at the link below.

http://johnliu.net/blog/2014/2/1/infopaths-future-and-what-everyones-saying.html

Personally, I think Microsoft is shooting themselves in the foot here. They’ve spent years trying to convince people to use InfoPath for electronic forms, and now that it’s finally somewhat mainstream, they’re pulling the plug with no clear replacement in sight yet. Unless they come out with something outstanding that migrates well, I have a feeling that a lot of clients will be hanging onto SharePoint 2010 or 2013 a lot longer than they would otherwise simply for InfoPath support.

So far it seems like existing InfoPath functionality will be divided up into various Office products like Access & Word, although some functionality is going away for good. We’ll have to wait and see what they’re cooking up, but I’m not optimistic.

 

 

Color coding on a SharePoint 2013 Calendar

A common request from users is that calendar entries can be color coded for easy visual identification. SharePoint offers a limited version of this with the calendar overlay functionality. I say “limited” because you can only color by calendar or category, and you can only pick from the dozen or so colors offered in the drop-down. Mark Wilson, however, has offered a much better solution – one that lets you use any colors you want AND any string or choice column on the item. The solution is simple to implement, too – it’s just a calculated field you add to your list items and a text file you put somewhere on your site. The text file contains both the CSS styles and the JQuery script used in the solution, so it’s fully customizable for anyone who knows how.

Here’s a link to Mark’s post on the solution, with download links:

http://www.planetwilson.co.uk/sharepoint-2013-colour-calendar-v2/