SharePoint24x7 It's all about SharePoint.

13Jun/110

Get Ready for the SEA SharePoint Conference 2011

Posted by Joy

SEA SharePoint Conference 2011

SEA SharePoint Conference 2011

I just received the good news about the SEA SharePoint Conference 2011. Plans are underway for SEA SharePoint Conference and I'm very excited to go this year as well.

If you were there last year, I assume you have already decided to come this year and let me help you to book your calendar. Go ahead and book 08th – 09th November for the greatest SharePoint Conference in the region. If you didn't get the chance to be there last year, here you have got another great opportunity. In nutshell, SEA SharePoint Conference is the largest gathering focused for SharePoint Products & Technologies which runs over 02 days to provide great technical/ business sessions delivered by reputed speakers.

Come and join us to know more about what you can do with SharePoint.

Keep your eye on http://www.sharepointconference.asia/ for more details.

16Apr/110

Article – Business Connectivity Services (BCS) Part IV – Creating an External List

Posted by Joy

Last article demonstrated how to create an External Content Type (ECT) using SharePoint Designer 2010 and set various options such as Limit Filter and Wildcards.

In this section, we will use the same ECT we created earlier and combine it with External List concept to surface the Employee data coming from the LOB system.

There are multiple ways of creating an External List and connecting it with an existing ECT to surface data within SharePoint. I will discuss the 02 most popular mechanisms.

Creating an External List using SharePoint Designer 2010

This is the easiest way in which you can create an External List and connect it with an ECT at the same time. Let's create an External List using SharePoint Designer 2010.

Exercise 1 – Open an existing ECT

Let's open the NorthwindEmployees ECT we created last time.

  1. Fire-up SharePoint Designer 2010 by navigating to Start -> All Programs -> SharePoint -> Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010.
  2. Click Open Site to bring up Open Site dialog box.
  3. Enter the URL of the SharePoint site we created the ECT for Site name: and click Open.
  4. Select the External Content Types from the Site Objects pane and wait until it retrieves all the existing External Content Types. After a few seconds, you will see the ECT we created last time.

    NorthwindEmployees ECT

    NorthwindEmployees ECT

  5. Click the NorthwindEmployees ECT from the right-hand side External Content Types pane to open the ECT and its properties.

    ECT Summary Page

    ECT Summary Page

Exercise 2 – Creating an External List using SharePoint Designer 2010

  1. Observe the ribbon and its options for the ECT.
  2. From the Lists & Forms group in the ribbon click Create Lists & Forms button.

    Ribbon for ECT

    Ribbon for ECT

  3. Create Lists & Forms for Northwind Employees dialog box will show up for you to configure the new External List. Provide a name for the new External List by filing List Name: field. I provided "Employees List" for this example.
  4. Optionally you can select Create InfoPath Forms check-box to generate InfoPath for all the list view pages (Read List.aspx, DispForm.aspx, etc…) instead of creating ASP.NET pages.

    Creating the External List

    Creating the External List

  5. Click OK to create the External List. After few seconds, you will see the section External Lists in the ECT summary page with the new External List we created.

    Creating the External List

    Creating the External List

Creating an External List using Web Browser

This way we can create the External List by using standard web browser application and using options in the SharePoint site.

  1. Open your web browser and navigate to the SharePoint site which we created the ECT.
  2. Select Site Actions -> More Options… to open Create dialog box.
  3. Select the External List from the List Templates section and click Create button.

    Creating the External List

    Creating the External List

  4. Provide a name for the External List by filling Name: field. I provided "Northwind Staff" for this exercise.

    Creating the External List

    Creating the External List

  5. In the Data source configuration section, click "Select External Content Type" button to browse all the ECTs available in the current site collection.

    Select the ECT

    Select the ECT

  6. Select the Northwind Employees ECT from the External Content Type Picker dialog box and click OK.

    Browse for the ECT

    Browse for the ECT

  7. Now you will see that Data source configuration is filled with the ECT information automatically and click Create button to create the External List.

    Creating the External List

    Creating the External List

View LOB data using the External List

Now that we have created an External List, or may be 02 if you tried both the options, it's time to look at the way it surfaces external data within SharePoint. It's very easy to do that.

  1. From the Quick Launch, select the name of the list you created.
  2. Try viewing individual Employee items, updating Employee records, deleting Employees records and inserting new Employee records using SharePoint External List.
External Data coming through the ECT & External List

External Data coming through the ECT & External List

Displaying an item with InfoPath Form

Displaying an item with InfoPath Form

Editing an item with InfoPath Form

Editing an item with InfoPath Form

Inserting a new item with InfoPath Form

Inserting a new item with InfoPath Form

14Mar/112

Article – Business Connectivity Services (BCS) Part III – Creating an External Content Type (ECT)

Posted by Joy

Here you get the long awaiting Part III of my BCS article series. Having discussed what BCS is, terminology and the solution types, it's time to create a simple solution. Let's create a simple solution which brings/ surfaces data coming from a SQL Server database within in a SharePoint site.

Scenario

Northwind has implemented an intranet portal using SharePoint Server 2010 and it is becoming very popular among the business users/ information workers. One of the business users has learnt about the powerful capabilities of SharePoint 2010 release in the area of integrating with legacy systems. He sends an official email to the IT department of Northwind inquiring about the possibility of integrating their LOB system with SharePoint so that they can manage their Contacts, Prospects, Leads, etc… efficiently using their intranet postal interface.

Solution

IT Manager has realized the importance of the request and now he needs to deliver the solution using BCS which is part of SharePoint 2010. IT Manager decided to develop a simple solution using SharePoint Designer 2010 to make it simple and fast for both business users and the developers.

I navigated to SQL Server Management Studio (Start -> All Programs -> Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 -> SQL Server Management Studio) and expanded the Databases node. I further expanded the Northwind database and its Tables folder to see all the tables available.

As the 1st step, I decided to provide access to Employees data available in Northwind database using SharePoint 2010 site. I executed the following SQL statement to see all the data available in the Employee table:

Employees data in SQL Server

Employees data in SQL Server

Let's develop our 1st BCS solution to integrate Employees data into a SharePoint 2010 site.

Exercise 1 – Creating an External Content Type (ECT)

  1. Fire-up SharePoint Designer 2010 by navigating to Start -> All Programs -> SharePoint -> Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010.
  2. Click Open Site to bring up Open Site dialog box.

    Opening your SharePoint site in SPD 2010

    Opening your SharePoint site in SPD 2010

  3. Enter the URL of the SharePoint site for Site name: and click Open.
  4. Select the External Content Types from the Site Objects pane and wait until it retrieves all the existing External Content Types.

    External Content Types in SharePoint

    External Content Types in SharePoint

  5. Select the right-side panel to activate the Ribbon menu options and click the External Content Type from the New group in the ribbon.

    Creating a new ECT

    Creating a new ECT

  6. You will get the New external content type tab/ page and that's where you will configure your External Content Type to communicate with the Northwind database.
  7. Let's first fill the details for the External Content Type Information section. Place cursor for the Name and provide a meaningful name for the External Content Type.

    External Content Type Information

    External Content Type Information

  8. Press Tab to navigate to next field and you will see Display Name is populated automatically based on the Name field. Place the cursor and change the Display Name if you wish. I gave a space in-between to read as "Northwind Employees" which is easy to read.
    External Content Type Information

    External Content Type Information

    External Content Type Information

    External Content Type Information

  9. Select an appropriate option for the Office Item Type. If you are planning to surface data within Office applications such as Outlook you need to specify the Office Item Type. If you have no plan to surface data inside Office applications you can keep the default value which is Generic List for the Office Item Type. You can use Appointment as the Office Item Type if the underlying data coming from the LOB system need be shown in the Calendar pane in Outlook. If you are brining data which can be shown in the Contacts pane in the Outlook such as Employees, Customers, Students, Dealers, etc… then you can use Contact as the Office Item Type.

    Select Office Item Type

    Select Office Item Type

  10. For this demo select the Contact as the Office Item Type.
  11. Next select whether you want to have the Offline Sync for external list Enabled or Disabled. For this demo, keep the default value which is Enabled.
  12. After finishing the defining External Content Type Information, your screen will look something similar to the following.

    Creating a new ECT

    Creating a new ECT

Exercise 2 – Defining External Content Type Operations

  1. Click the link Click here to discover external data sources and define operations link in the External Content Types Operations section to define the external system information and the operations.

    Defining External System Information

    Defining External System Information

  2. You will be taken to the Operations Designer for the Northwind Employees External Content Type. Click the Add Connection button to bring the External Data Source Type Selection dialog box.
    ECT Operations Designer

    ECT Operations Designer

    Data Source Type Selection

    Data Source Type Selection

  3. Select SQL Server as the Data Source Type and click OK to bring up the SQL Server Connection dialog box.
  4. Fill up the SQL Server Connection dialog box as shown below by providing Connection Properties and click OK:
    1. Database Server: - provide the name of the SQL Server. In my case, I'm providing (local) since the database is hosted in my local machine.
    2. Database Name: - provide the name of the database. In this demo we are connecting to Northwind database.
    3. Authentication – select what authentication mode to be used. Select Connect with User's Identity for this demo and other options for this are:
      1. Connect with User's Identity – this will take the currently logged-on user's identity for the authenticating to the external system.
      2. Connect with Impersonated Windows Identity – this allows us to have a common windows account setup for authenticating to the external system and all the requests goes through this account just like using a Service Account.
      3. Connect with Impersonated Custom Identity – this helps us to setup Secure Store Services (SSS) and configure Single-Sign-On to authenticate to the external system. With SSS, we can create and configure different Secure Store Target Applications and map the login credentials between SharePoint and the external system. If we are going to this option, make sure to create and configure the Secure Store Target Application beforehand and provide the Target Application ID for the Secure Store Application ID: field.
  5. Defining SQL Server Connection

    Defining SQL Server Connection

  6. Data Source Explorer will show up Northwind data source and expand it to see all 03 possible way of communicating with the external system:  
    1. Tables – allows us to directly connect with a table object in SQL Server.
    2. View – allows us to connect with a view instead of a table.
    3. Routines – allows us to connect with a Stored Procedure in SQL Server instead of a table.

      Data Source Explorer

      Data Source Explorer

  7. Expand the Tables node and then you will see all the tables from the Northwind database. Expand Employees table and then Columns node to see how SharePoint Designer 2010 has retrieved schema information from the underlying database system.

    Data Source Explorer Expanded

    Data Source Explorer Expanded

  8. Right-click the Employees table and select Create All Operations to fire up the All Operations wizard. This wizard will guide us on configuring what information we need to bring to SharePoint and how they get mapped to Office properties if we have decided to do so, etc… If you don't wish to provide all the CRUD-Create, Read, Update, Delete operations to the external system through SharePoint, you need to select the appropriate options from the below screen. If you want to provide only the Read operations, generate only Read Item and Read List operations.

    Generating CRUD Operations

    Generating CRUD Operations

  9. Click Next in the welcome page of the All Operations wizard.
  10. Parameters Configuration page will show up next and as the 1st step we need to select what are the columns we need to bring into SharePoint. Best practice is to avoid all the optional data fields and select only the mandatory fields to minimize the performance issues. As you can see below, I have selected the fields which are interest to my demo and make sure you double-check with your requirement.

    Selecting Fields for ECT

    Selecting Fields for ECT

  11. Next we need to setup properties for each column and select the column from the left-side Data Source Elements pane and set the properties from the right-side Properties pane. Select the LastName from the Data Source Elements and change the Display Name:, Office Property: & Show In Picker: properties.

    Setting Properties for Fields

    Setting Properties for Fields

  12. Repeat the same for the rest of the fields except selecting the option Show In Picker:. Leave Show In Picker: as unchecked.
  13. Click Next to bring up the Filter Parameters Configuration page. Click Add Filter Parameter to add a filter.

    Filter Parameters Configuration

    Filter Parameters Configuration

  14. As a best practice, we will add a Limit filter to limit the no of records travels from the external system to SharePoint. Select the newly added filter from the left-hand side Filter Parameters pane and click (Click to Add) from the Properties pane to configure the Filter:. This will brings up the Filter Configuration dialog box. Provide a name for the New Filter field. Select Limit for the Filter Type: and click OK.
    Setting up Filter Parameter

    Setting up Filter Parameter

    Setting up Filter Parameter

    Setting up Filter Parameter

  15. Once you are back in the Filter Parameter Configuration screen, give a value to Default Value: to provide a default value to the Limit filter and press Tab. I gave 100 and you can provide a reasonable value.

    Setting up Filter Parameter

    Setting up Filter Parameter

  16. Next, let's add a Wildcard filter parameter to provide users with wildcard searching capability against Last Name value. Click Add Filter Parameter button again and select the LastName for the Data Source Element: from the Properties pane. Click (Click to Add) link to configure the Filter:. Configure the Filter: as shown in the following screen and click OK.

    Setting up Wildcard Parameter

    Setting up Wildcard Parameter

  17. Click Finish to finish the Filter Parameter Configuration wizard.
  18. When you are back in Operation Designer, you can see External Content Type Operations section has 05 operations generated for us to use.

    External Content Type Operations

    External Content Type Operations

  19. Click Save to save the External Content Type to the Site Collection.

    Save the ECT

    Save the ECT

  20. Verify that the new External Content Type is created by navigating back to External Content Types form the Site Objects pane.

    After Creating the ECT

    After Creating the ECT

Now that we have created and configured our External Content Type to communicate with Employee data in Northwind database in SQL Server and we are ready to integrate it with SharePoint 2010 site.

In my next article, I will discuss the process of creating an External List and how to surface Employee data within SharePoint site coming via NorthwindEmployees External Content Type.

10Feb/112

Article – Business Connectivity Services (BCS) Part II – Terminology & Solutions Types

Posted by Joy

In the previous article, we discussed what BCS is, the evolution of BCS, investments areas in BCS in SharePoint 2010 release and BCS features by SKU. In this article we are going to get familiar with the BCS terminology which will help us going forward and will learn about the different solution types we can deliver with BCS.

BCS Terminology

It's always better to get the right terminology in place when we deliver solutions using BCS. They are:

  • Business Connectivity Services (BCS) – the umbrella term Microsoft uses to name this set of technologies which help us surfacing business data from external systems such as SAP, Oracle, Siebel, PeopleSoft, Dynamics, etc…
  • Business Data Connectivity (BDC) – the plumbing components which provides the runtime for both server and the client. This provides the actual connectivity runtime for SharePoint and Office clients.
  • External System – the legacy system which hosts business data. Examples are, SAP, Dynamics, Siebel, PeopleSoft, SFDC, etc…
  • External Content Type (ETC) – the building block of the BCS solutions. It's a reusable collection of metadata and it encapsulates connectivity information, data definitions and behaviors. This is stored in a dedicated database called Business Data Connectivity service database.
  • Model – the XML representation of the actual external data business entity such as Customer, Product, Order which BDC will transport using ETC.
  • External List – brand-new list template which provides same look and feel of the SharePoint lists and libraries along with support of CRUD operations against business data in external systems. These lists don't live in Content Database and have tighter integration with Office clients such as SharePoint Workspace and Outlook.

BCS Solution Types

Solution we deliver with BCS can be categorized in to 03 main areas and they are:

  • Simple solutions
  • Intermediate solutions
  • Advanced solutions

Following diagram will help us understand the same.

BCS Solution Types - Source: Microsoft

BCS Solution Types - Source: Microsoft

Simple solutions

Simple solutions are the solutions which leverages out-of-the-box capabilities of BCS using SharePoint and Office. This type of solutions does not require code and can be implemented by business/ power users. This helps organizations to free developers and IT Pros from having to build such solutions but IT Pros can still have the control over the actions performed by these solutions.

An example would be a power user creating an External Content Type (ETC) using SharePoint Designer 2010 to bring Employee data from HRS system and surface the same information using External List. Further end-users can take employee data offline by syncing the external list with either Outlook or SharePoint Workspace.

Intermediate solutions

Sometimes these types of solutions are referred as intermediate declarative solutions. That is mainly to indicate that even in this category we don't have to write any code.

An example would be adding a workflow to the same earlier employee data set we brought from the HRS system using External Content Type (ETC) and External List and adding Custom Actions to appear in Edit Item menu, customizing the look and feel of the View, Edit, New Info-path forms generated out-of-the-box.

Advanced solutions

Sometimes these types of solutions are referred as advanced code-based solutions. It clearly showcases the message of level of coding required to provide such solutions.

An example would be adding code-behind for Info-path forms to provide advanced validation, extending out-of-the-box Business Data web parts to provide advanced functionality, creating .NET assembly connector to aggregate data from multiple external systems. Or it can be an end-to-end solution in which you build the custom .NET assembly connector to bring data provide advanced validation/ business rules on the fly and display data in a custom user interface component.

These types of solutions are created using Business Data Connectivity Model project type in Visual Studio 2010. Visual Studio 2010 provides bunch of nice designers and skeleton code for developers to rapidly develop BCS solutions.

9Feb/110

Article – Business Connectivity Services (BCS) Part I – Introduction

Posted by Joy

Business Connectivity Services (BCS) is not something new in SharePoint 2010. This has been there from the SharePoint Portal Server 2003 (SPS 2003) and through Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS 2007). I assume everyone is familiar with the Business Data Catalog (BDC).

What is BCS?

Simply put, BCS is a platform feature of SharePoint 2010 which allows us to integrate business data from legacy/ Line-Of-Business (LOB) systems such as PeopleSoft, SAP, Siebel, etc… This integration technique allows us not only to surface business data but also to write-back to business data systems.

Evolution of BCS

Microsoft first introduced BDC in year 2003 and it was delivered as a premium feature as part of the Enterprise CAL. In this 1st release of BDC, Microsoft provided the capability only to surface LOB data within SharePoint. Also the implementation semantics were very primitive compared to other related technologies. What was meant by that is integration between SharePoint and LOB data required intensive coding exercises.

Integration Options in SPS 2003 - Source: Microsoft

Integration Options in SPS 2003 - Source: Microsoft

As you can see from the above figure, developers were required to write lot of codes to surface LOB data within SharePoint. Following was the feedback we received from both customers and System Integrators (SIs):

  • Need a way to reduce the integration code – it required intensive ADO.NET code to implement the solutions.
  • Much deeper integration of data into the places users work (Office System) – ability to surface data in Office clients was very limited though Office is the familiar tool among Information Workers.
  • Improve structured data search – though we could surface data with BDC, we were not able to search same information via SharePoint Search.
  • Need a way to centrally manage security, auditing and connections – there was no single screen in which we can manage all the aspects of the BDC solutions.

Based on the above feedback we received Microsoft did some enhancements to the BDC infrastructure and provided the 2nd version of it with MOSS 2007. With BDC in MOSS 2007, we were able not only to surface data but also to write back to LOB systems. But to be honest, write back was very reliable and promising with SQL Server back-end and with other database management systems, developers had to take a challenge most of the time.

As you can see from the following figure, implementation semantics shifted from intensive code to declarative fashion. This eliminated the need of writing intensive code.

Integration Options in MOSS 2007 - Source: Microsoft

Integration Options in MOSS 2007 - Source: Microsoft

Following is the feedback we received from both customers and SIs for the 2nd release of BDC:

  • Read is nice, Write back should have been more powerful – though Microsoft introduced write-back facility, it was at a very primitive level and didn't meet the industry standards. In short, lot of developers didn't even want to consider BDC as a way of write-back mechanism to LOB data.
  • Lack of tooling support , need an easier way to create, debug and maintain application definition XML files – though implementation mechanism shifted from .NET code to XML declaration, there were no rich tools provided by Microsoft to help developers to generate the required XML. Developers had to either write it manually or invest on 3rd party tools such as BDC Meta Man.
  • We wish it was baked into the platform – BDC was offered as a premium feature with SharePoint Enterprise CAL and lot of customers had to go all the way up to Enterprise to get this feature when they could have easily settled with WSS 3.0 for rest of the things.
  • Wouldn't it be nice to have offline capabilities – BDC didn't support Information Workers to take data offline and manipulate them on the go and sync them back to the server when they are back online. BDC couldn't cater roaming users.

Based on the above feedback we received for the BDC, Microsoft decided to re-engineer the entire technology to cater all of the customer feedback. Following is the architecture of new BCS technology:

Architecture of BCS in SharePoint 2010 - Source: Microsoft

Architecture of BCS in SharePoint 2010 - Source: Microsoft

Based on the feedback on 2007 release, Microsoft has invested in 03 main areas in this release of BCS and they are:

  • Presentation
  • Connectivity
  • Tools

Presentation

Microsoft has enhanced the end-user experience of working with external data by investing heavily on SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010. Some of the main features of the presentation investments are:

  • External List – this is a brand-new list type we see in SharePoint 2010 and this list template allows us to create a new list associating with an External Content Type (ETC). External Lists looks and feels like any other normal list in SharePoint 2010 and this list allow all the CRUD operations against the external system.
  • External Data Column – in MOSS 2007 we had a column type called Business Data Column and this has been re-engineered in this release to form the External Data Column. We can add a new column to an existing list or library based on this to bring data from an external system.
  • External Data Web Parts – SharePoint 2010 provides 05 web parts named Business Data Item, Business Data List, Business Data Related List, Business Data Actions and Business Data Item Builder that can be added to any SharePoint page to display external data.
  • Enterprise Search – SharePoint 2010 Search allows users to search data available in external systems within the SharePoint Search Center.
  • Office 2010 – SharePoint Workspace (SPW) and Outlook clients provide the capability of connecting to External Lists and take external data offline and sync them later. Word client allows creating or editing documents with data coming from lists and libraries as external data columns.

Connectivity

BCS provides both read and write capability with the new connectivity infrastructure. This facility has been extended to Office clients as SharePoint Workspace, Outlook as well. New connectivity infrastructure allows reading/ writing capability to ADO.NET databases, WCF/ Web Service Services and any other custom data sources through .NET assemblies.

Main player in this connectivity infrastructure is the Business Data Connectivity (BDC) which has 02 implementations for the Server (SharePoint) and Client (Office) and they are almost identical.

Tools

This is one of the major limitations in the 2007 release of BDC and in this release BCS provides an integrated tooling experience that scales from simple no-code solutions to complex code-based solutions including powerful packing and deployment. The tools provided are:

  • SharePoint Designer 2010 – allows us to bring data from Databases and WCF/ Web Service Services. All the CRUD operations can be generated using a simple wizard. Allows surfacing external data within SharePoint and Office.
  • Visual Studio 2010 – allows us to aggregate external data from multiple external systems by creating a .NET assembly connector. Allows us to execute custom business logic/ rules. Surface external data into other Office applications which are not supported out-of-the-box using VSTO.

BCS features by SKU

Though BCS is a part of SharePoint platform, depending on the SKU, the features of the BCS varies. Following table will show how BCS features vary depending on the SKU:

BCS Features by SKU - Source: Microsoft

BCS Features by SKU - Source: Microsoft

24Aug/108

Article – Office Web Apps Part VI – Configuring and Consuming Word Viewing Service

Posted by Joy

We have already discussed about the OWA features and the deployment with SharePoint 2010. Word Viewing Service is one of the brand-new Service Application which gets deployed as a part of OWA setup and it will facilitate users to work with Office Word documents via browser.

Let’s talk more about Word Viewing Service and its features.

Configuring OWA Service Applications

The OWA installation adds the following 03 service applications to the list of service applications in SharePoint 2010:

  • Word Viewing Service application
  • Excel Calculation Service application
  • PowerPoint Service application

Every Service Application part of OWA is implemented based on the new Service Application Model concept and has the following components to support its functionality:

  • Service application
  • Service instances
  • Service application proxies

SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard (PSConfig) and Farm Configuration Wizard will configure the above components depending on the services we have selected to consume within in the farm.

Configuring Word Viewing Service

Let’s examine the default configuration for Word Viewing Service application and how we can alter them depending on the requirement.

  1. Go to SharePoint 2010 Central Administration site and select Manage service applications link from Application Management group.
  2. Page will show all the Service Applications installed currently within the farm. Scroll down until you see the Word Viewing Service application instance and its application proxy.

    Word Viewing Service application

    Word Viewing Service application

  3. Select the Word Viewing Service application name and you will be prompted with a page where you can configure the settings of Word Viewing Service application.

    Word Viewing Service application and Proxy

    Word Viewing Service application and Proxy

  4. In case if you don’t get the page to manage the Word Viewing Service, alternatively you can select Word Viewing Service from the list of Service Applications and select Manage option from the Ribbon.

    Managing Word Viewing Service

    Managing Word Viewing Service

  5. Word Viewing Service application settings page will be displayed as follows.

    Word Viewing Service applicating Settings

    Word Viewing Service applicating Settings

  6. You can change the values for Word Viewing Service application as per your need and save them to take effect within your farm. You can configure what file formats are supported by Word Viewing Service, whether you want to enable or disable embedded fonts, etc…

Consuming Word Viewing Services

Having configured Word Viewing Service with your own settings, let’s examine how we can really consume it.

  1. Upload a Word document to your document library.
  2. Select the Down Arrow which is next to the Name of the document you just uploaded and it will show you the Edit menu for the document. Select the View in Browser option.

    Consuming Word Viewing Service

    Consuming Word Viewing Service

  3. SharePoint will contact Word Viewing Service and it will render the Word document into images and open it in the browser. 
    Consuming Word Viewing Service

    Consuming Word Viewing Service

  4. You can experience a subset of Word viewing features such as paging, searching and zooming. Following figure shows how we can use Find feature to search content and how search query highlighting helps us.
    Word Viewing Service - Search

    Word Viewing Service - Search

  5. Click Edit in Browser to experience authoring features. You will see the Word ribbon and it contains most of the common authoring options for us to author Word document via browser. Home tab of the ribbon contain most of the document authoring features we need such as Font formatting, Paragraph formatting, Styles, etc…
    Word Viewing Service - Ribbon

    Word Viewing Service - Ribbon

  6. Insert tab helps us to insert tables, pictures from both clip art and from computer.
    Word Viewing Service - Ribbon

    Word Viewing Service - Ribbon

  7. View tab helps us to switch between Editing View and Reading View.
    Word Viewing Service - Ribbon

    Word Viewing Service - Ribbon

  8. Following figure shows the way ribbon gives us additional options based on the context we are working. Try inserting an image and select the image to see Picture Tools ribbon which allows us to manipulate the image.
    Word Viewing Service - Ribbon

    Word Viewing Service - Ribbon

  9. After you are done with your changes, you can click File | Save to save your document or File | Open in Word to open the document in the full-blown version of Word (if it’s installed in your machine).
    Word Viewing Service - Ribbon

    Word Viewing Service - Ribbon

28Jul/100

Article – Office Web Apps Part V – Configuring Document Library for OWA-Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote

Posted by Joy

Having installed and configured OWA and Word Viewing Service, Consuming Word Viewing Service is super easy and let’s examine the same. This is same across all the service applications come with OWA. You will follow the same set of steps to configure your document library for consuming OWA for all-Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.  

  1. First we need to do a little configuration to our Document Library. It will decide when to consume OWA features for the documents hosted within that document library.
  2. Navigate to the document library’s Library tab in the ribbon. Select Library Settings option in the Settings group to navigate to Document Library Settings page.

    Configuring Doc Lib for Office Web Apps

    Configuring Doc Lib for Office Web Apps

  3. Select Advanced settings link to bring up the Advanced Settings page.

    Configuring Doc Lib for Office Web Apps

    Configuring Doc Lib for Office Web Apps

  4. Advanced Settings page for the selected document library will have a section for configuring when to use OWA and Word Viewing Service when opening Word documents.
    • Selecting “Open in the client application” option will always look for the locally installed version of Word client to open the documents. Users can always use Document’s Edit menu (which will drop down when selecting down arrow next to the document Name) and “View in Browser” option to consume OWA and open the document in browser.
    • Selecting “Open in the browser” option will allow SharePoint to communicate and consume Word Viewing Service application of OWA and it always opens in the browser using OWA even when user clicks the document Name from the document library.
    • Selecting “Use the server default (Open in the browser)” is the same as the previous option.

      Configuring Doc Lib for Office Web Apps

      Configuring Doc Lib for Office Web Apps

  5. Select “Open in the browser” option and click OK to finish configuring the document library process. Now onward all the Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents will start consuming OWA and opening in browser. 
27Jul/101

Article – Office Web Apps Part IV – Configuring Word Viewing Service application

Posted by Joy

We have already discussed about the OWA features and the deployment in SharePoint 2010. Word Viewing Service is one of the brand-new Service Application get deployed as a part of OWA setup and it will facilitate users to work with Office Word documents via browser.

Let’s talk more about Word Viewing Service and its’ features.

Configuring OWA Service Applications

The OWA installation adds the following 03 service applications to the list of service application in SharePoint 2010:

  • Word Viewing Service application
  • Excel Calculation Service application
  • PowerPoint Service application

Every Service Application part of OWA is implemented based on the new Service Application Model concept and have the following components to support its functionality:

  • Service application
  • Service instances
  • Service application proxies

SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard (PSConfig) and Farm Configuration Wizard will configure the above components depending on the services we have selected to consume within the farm.

Configuring Word Viewing Service

Let’s examine the default configuration for Word Viewing Service application and how we can alter them depending on the requirement.

  1. Go to SharePoint 2010 Central Administration site and select Manage service applications link from Application Management group
  2. Page will show all the Service Applications installed currently within the farm. Scroll down until you see Word Viewing Service application instance and its’ application proxy.

    Configuring Office Web Apps

    Configuring Office Web Apps

  3. Select the Word Viewing Service application name and you will be prompted with a page where you can configure settings of Word Viewing Service application.

    Configuring Office Web Apps

    Configuring Office Web Apps

  4. In case if you don’t get the page to manage the Word Viewing Service, alternatively you can select Word Viewing Service from the list of Service Applications and select Manage option from the Ribbon.

    Configuring Word Viewing Service Office Web Apps

    Configuring Word Viewing Service Office Web Apps

  5. Word Viewing Service application settings page will be displayed as follows.

    Configuring Word Viewing Service Office Web Apps

    Configuring Word Viewing Service Office Web Apps

  6. You can change the values for Word Viewing Service application as per your need and save them to take effect within your farm. You can configure what file formats are supported by Word Viewing Service, whether you want to enable or disable embedded fonts, etc…
26Jul/100

Article – Office Web Apps Part III – Verifying OWA installation and configuration

Posted by Joy

Verifying OWA installation and configuration

Perform the following steps to make sure OWA has been installed and configured successfully in your existing SharePoint 2010 Farm.  

  1. Go to SharePoint 2010 Central Administration site and select “Manage server in this farm” link. It will show you something very similar to the following screen and observe the new entry called “Microsoft Office Web Apps” under SharePoint Products Installed column. Observe 02 new services-PowerPoint Service and Verify Office Web Apps listed under the Services Running column. This confirms that we have installed Office Web Apps successfully.

    Verify Office Web Apps Setup

    Verify Office Web Apps Setup

  2. Come back to SharePoint 2010 Central Administration site Home page and select link “Manage services on server”. You will see something similar to the following screen. Notice PowerPoint Service and Word Viewing Service and confirm their status. They should be in “Started” status. This confirms that we have configured the OWA in our farm successfully.

    Verify Office Web Apps Setup

    Verify Office Web Apps Setup

Activating OWA in your Site Collection

Final step is to activate the OWA feature within your Site Collection to enable OWA features in your site. Perform the following steps to do it.  

  1. Browse to your site collection and go to Site Settings page by selecting Site Actions -> Site Settings link
  2. Go to Site collection features page by selecting "Site collection features" link from the Site Collection Administration section

    Verify Office Web Apps Setup

    Verify Office Web Apps Setup

  3. You will land in the Site Collection Feature Administration page. Find the "Office Web Apps" feature and click the Activate button to activate the feature. It will activate the Office Web Apps feature and confirm the same as follows.

    Verify Office Web Apps Setup

    Verify Office Web Apps Setup

Testing OWA using the Word Viewing Service

Now that we have installed, configured and verified the deployment of OWA and it’s time to test it. Let’s test OWA with the help of Word Viewing Service which allows us to access, view, edit and share Word documents via browser.  

  1. Navigate to your site collection and go to Shared Documents document library or any other document library where you have some Word documents uploaded.
  2. Select the Down Arrow which is next to the Name of the document and it will show you the Edit menu for the document. Select the View in Browser option.

    Verify Office Web Apps

    Verify Office Web Apps

  3. If everything was setup properly, it will take few seconds and load the Word document within the browser using Word Viewing Service which is a part of OWA.

    Verify Office Web Apps

    Verify Office Web Apps

  4. Notice how Silverlight can improve the user experience with OWA. As we discussed in the previous article Silverlight will improve the performance of loading documents into the browser and it will improve the clarity of the document.

    Verify Office Web Apps

    Verify Office Web Apps

  5. This is how it looks after Silverlight is installed.

    Verify Office Web Apps

    Verify Office Web Apps

  6. Click on the "Edit in Browser" option at the top of the document.

    Verify Office Web Apps

    Verify Office Web Apps

  7. Observe the authoring features of OWA.

    Verify Office Web Apps

    Verify Office Web Apps

Conclusion

Now that you have installed and configured Office Web Apps successfully in your SharePoint 2010 Server and now it’s time to play around with all the features of OWA.

26Jul/100

Article – Office Web Apps Part II – Installing OWA in an existing SharePoint 2010 Farm

Posted by Joy

In the previous article we discussed what OWA is and benefits of using OWA within an organization. We further discussed why SharePoint 2010 is recognized as the best deployment architecture for deploying OWA. 

In this article I have demonstrated the steps required to deploy and configure OWA within an existing SharePoint 2010 Farm. These configuration steps are the high-level configuration options we perform to configure OWA within the farm and each service within OWA has its own set of configuration to perform when we subscribe to them. I will be discussing each and every service and their configuration options in detail in future articles. 

Requirements

 Following are the prerequisites for deploying OWA: 

  • Hardware
    • 64-bit Processor
    • Minimum 4 GB of RAM – though you can install on server less than 4 GB RAM, you will encounter lot of time-outs
  • Software
    • Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 or Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
    • Browser
      • Internet Explorer 7 or 8
      • Firefox 3.5 on Windows, Mac or Linux
      • Safari on Windows or Mac

Installation scenarios

Depend on the state of your server, there are few different installation scenarios and the order and number of steps will vary depend on the installation scenario. 

Your SharePoint 2010 Server can be: 

  1. Not yet installed SharePoint 2010
  2. Installed SharePoint 2010 but have not yet run the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard
  3. Already installed the SharePoint 2010 and have run the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard

I assume most of you are familiar with installing SharePoint Server 2010 and you have already setup a testing or development server at least to try out all the new features of SharePoint 2010. 

Order and no of steps required to setup OWA for scenario 1 and 2 are more or less same and I will discuss them in a future article. 

Let’s focus on the 3rd scenario and take the existing SharePoint Server and install and configure OWA to experience the OWA features we discussed in the previous article. 

OWA deployment has 3 main phases: 

  1. Installation
  2. Service activation
  3. Feature activation

If you are looking for a detailed list of all the steps and their order we can list them as follows: 

  1. Run OWA setup and post-setup configuration
  2. Start the service instances
  3. Create the service applications and proxies
  4. Activate the Office Web Apps feature
  5. Optional – in case if we are going to use PowerPoint Broadcast Slide Show, create the PowerPoint Broadcast site

Deploying OWA - You have already installed the SharePoint 2010 and run the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard

Perform the following steps to install and configure OWA in an existing SharePoint 2010 farm. 

  1. Login to SharePoint 2010 Server with a user who has local admin privileges.
  2. Double-click the Setup.exe and initiate the OWA installation wizard.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  3. Enter the product key and click Continue.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  4. Accept the Software License Terms by clicking the check-box and click Continue.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  5. Leave the defaults for the Choose a file location and click Install Now to start the installation.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  6. Installation begins and wait until it finishes the installation.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  7. When it’s done with the installation, it shows the following page.  Make sure you check the check-box “Run the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard now” and click Close.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  8. Then SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard shows up and click Next and click Yes for the warning.
  9. Select “Connect to an existing server farm” and click Next.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  10. Summary page will be displayed with the name of the database server and the SharePoint configuration database name. Click Next to initiate the configuration.
  11. It will take few minutes to complete the configuration.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  12. Once the configuration is done, the “Configuration Successful” page will be displayed. Click Finish to finish the configuration wizard.
  13. It will open up the SharePoint 2010 Central Administration site and prompt you for the following. Select “Start the Wizard” option.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  14. You will be prompted with the following page which displays all the Service Applications you have already configured during SharePoint Server 2010 installation and configuration. As you can notice all of the settings of this page disabled except “PowerPoint Service Application” and “Word Viewing Service”. Make sure you have selected both of them and click Next.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  15. You will be asked whether you need a new Site Collection with all of these new settings. If you wish to create a new Site Collection, continue and fill the following form and click OK. If you already have a Site Collection, click Skip.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  16. SharePoint will start configuring the new Service Applications-PowerPoint Service Application and Word Viewing Service and it will create Service instances, service proxies as a part of this configuration process.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup

  17. Once it’s done -  creating Service instances and proxies for the new two  Service Applications, following page will be displayed and click Finish to go back to Home of SharePoint 2010 Central Administration site.

    Office Web Apps Setup

    Office Web Apps Setup