Version history seems to be a popular topic in my circle of clients these days. While the concept of version history is nothing new, and definitely not new to SharePoint, some of the behaviors and requirements the my clients have requested have pushed SharePoint to it’s out-of-the-box limits.
First let’s talk a little about version history from a SharePoint perspective. A list or library has the ability to store multiple versions of an item. There are two types of versions it can keep track of; major and minor. Minor versions are created when an item requires approval or publishing. During it’s modification process, and until it is approved or published, it is considered a minor version. Once you approve or publish an item it becomes a major version. If you are not utilizing the approval or publishing feature, then Major versions are the default.
It is a good idea in your Governance Policy to specify a version history limitation. When you create a library you have the ability to turn on version history at the time the library is created. I do not recommend doing this as it does not limit the number of versions. It is better to access the List/Library Settings and specify the number of versions you want to keep in each list and library separately.
So why is it important to limit versions? Size. Every version maintains information in the database and will increase the size of the database accordingly. As your SharePoint environment continues to grow (and trust me, it will continue to grow) the size of the database is always a concern.
Another thing to note. If you are keeping 3 versions of a document or item, it will actually show 4 items in the list as it looks at version history as “previous” versions and your current version as the “current” version. So whenever you set the version “history” of a document or item the version history window will always display one current version as well.
Finally, when a version does drop off due to reaching the limit of the version history, that version does not go in the recycle bin. It is deleted permanently. I would like to emphasize there is no getting it back, however, being a SharePoint geek I know that while I may be able to get it back, to do so may be at a higher price than I am willing to pay. For example, I may have to restore the entire database back from yesterday, hence loosing all the work everyone did in SharePoint today. Probably not worth the cost, so let’s just assume that it is indeed permanently deleted.
Many templates (WSS or SharePoint Foundation) come with the Search box on the main page. One of the challenges with these templates is that they only perform a site wide search. The search box will not search sub-sites, people, or across site collections. You can use different templates that enable enterprise wide searching, but what if you already have an existing site collection that is already using one of these templates.
So here is an alternative. You can enable the Publishing Infrastructure on the site collection, add a search center, and disable the search box on the main site. To disable the search box you can either edit the master page (not recommended) or add the following script to the page
Is this Déjà vu? Have I blogged this before? It must just be my recollection of the many conversations I have had with clients, to SharePoint or not to SharePoint? While I am indeed a SharePoint enthusiast, I am not a believer that SharePoint is the end all, be all technology. I believe it has strengths for sure, and it has weaknesses as well. I’m not a big fan of the Blog template for blogging, and I think the Records Management capabilities are better in 2010 than 2007 but am still not convinced I would migrate my records to SharePoint just yet. That being said, SharePoint is a terrific technology for project management, team collaboration, and corporate intranets.
So the question isn’t really appropriate to ask “Should we go to SharePoint”, but rather what problem are you trying to solve. In regards to possibly cleaning up your network shared drive and putting some governance around your corporate data, then yes. In regards to statistics and dashboards, possibly. In regards to records management and retention, I would wait for the next version. But SharePoint most definitely has its purpose and based on a recent article by ZDNet it appears tens of thousands of users are migrating to SharePoint every day. Yes, I said TENS of THOUSANDS each DAY. Ultimately you will find a use for SharePoint, just don’t try to make it be the kitchen sink, it doesn’t hold water at all.
I have now had well over 50 SharePoint sites hosted by various Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) and I can tell you all kinds of horror stories as well as rave reviews. But, instead of listing all of the different providers I narrowed it down, for the sake of time, to just two; the best and the worst.
Apps4Rent – The best ISP for SharePoint that I have used to date. Their customer service is excellent, their setup is easy, the people actually seem to know a little about SharePoint (emphasize little). The only thing I don’t like is the way in which I have to add users. With some other ISP’s it was easy for anyone to add a user using the SharePoint interface. With this ISP you have to use the control panel, of which not many people will have access. This could be a deal breaker for some sites, but for me – the benefits of this ISP have outweighed this issue.
Appliedi - The WORST ISP for SharePoint that I have used to date. Their customer service is non existent, they have had their servers go down for – get this – over 5 days straight!!! And the compensation they offered was $8.95. Yeah, right! I had two dozen sites down for over 5 days – my challenge is migrating these sites off of this ISP. They have no failover capability, even though their policies state that they do. Nobody in tech support knows anything about SharePoint. They haven’t been able to get Search working for over 2 years. Trust me, if you care about your data, don’t use Appliedi.net.
SharePoint Calendars are one of my primary methods of organizing my schedule with clients and coordinating meetings, timelines, etc. for our consulting projects. One of the challenges is that the primary view (Month view) only displays one column on the page so when you are trying to get an overview of your week or month, you can see usually the Title but not the location or end time. I usually end up creating a custom column called Full Title and I display that column on each of my views. I have a few examples shown below. One of the challenges I ran across lately was wanting to show both the start time and end time. This required converting the field so, I’ve added the script text below as well.
Example #1: This calendar was our training schedule calendar that listed the courses running each week.
We wanted the calendar to show not just the Course but also the Instructor, the Location, and if the class was Confirmed or not.
Here are the columns from the list.
So I created a column called Full Title as follows:
Then I changed the view to display the new Full Title:
The challenge I had was when I wanted to show the time. So I had another calendar to manage one of our projects. In this example I wanted to display the start time and end time. When I tried to create this custom column it ended up looking like this.
So I found this script to convert the time from text to time.
SharePoint 2010 has a new feature for grouping and managing documents, called Document Sets. We have all experienced a need to work with a “group” of documents. When a company hires a new employee, there are ususally dozens of forms that need to be filled out – hence a New Employee Document Set. The challenge is that prior to this version of SharePoint there was no way to keep track of the documents together other than metadata.
It acts like a folder, but is not a folder. It is a container however, and that container can have policies, workflows, metadata that applies to the entire set of documents within the container.
Let’s use the example of the New Hire process. When a new employee starts working for your company they have to fill out their standard forms, Personal Information, Emergency Contact, W-2, etc. Instead of emailing the employee the documents and then have them exchange emails back and forth, you can use Document Sets to collect all the documents, display the review status for each of the document, create a nice Welcome Page that summarizes what the document set is about, and even use a workflow to streamline the review process. This eliminates the frequently asked question of “Is this the latest version?”, “Is this the right information?”, “Is this complete?”.
You Should Know
There is no limit on the number of documents that can exist in a Document Set.
Metadata can be shared across the Document Set.
Document Sets are based on Content Types.
Docment Sets can be versioned.
Workflows can be associated with the Document Set.
Permissions can be defined per Document Set.
Folders are not allowed in document sets.
Metadata navigation cannot be used in a Document Set.
To get a better understanding, here’s a great video.
Up until recently SharePoint was being used within an organization for internal purposes, Intranets, team sites, and file share servers. It had a somewhat difficult licensing model for public facing sites so you didn’t see as much SharePoint in the public facing world. That, however, is changing with SharePoint 2010. The licensing model is completely different and allows you to run both internal and external facing sites on the same server. Now, more than ever you will see some amazing public SharePoint sites. Here’s a good place to start http://www.topsharepoint.com/
With the vast amount of information available on the Internet these days, it can be head spinning to try and find useful information in a timely fashion. One of my challenges is having a problem right now and needing a solution – but having to sift through the Internet like a gold miner in the 1800′s trying to find gold and coming up empty handed. There was a great poll on one of the SharePoint forums this week asking people which SharePoint Web sites they liked the most for finding solutions to problems. Here’s what they came up with.
So, thanks to a good friend, and subscriber of my blog, I received a late night text asking why my blog had no cotent. If you happened to see the blog on March 12 on SharePoint Popups, that blog was not intended to publish.
This past week I taught an awesome class in Seattle and had a very diverse group of students. I have to say it was one of the best classes I’ve taught in a long time, simply due to this student diversity. I had several students who had used SharePoint for 2+ years, some who were relatively new to SharePoint, and a few who had never seen the technology what-so-ever. What I enjoyed about the class were the types of questions and the way in which the students were looking to solve real world problems.
Due to all of the questions I came up with about a dozen blogs I cannot wait to get to. So what I had done was create the blog titles and not add any content. Hence a blog accidentally published with no content. But, not to worry. As soon as I have a few minutes I am writing the following blogs.
SharePoint Cheat Sheet
What Can Excel Services Do (and Not Do)
Connecting SharePoint to Word
Top 10 SharePoint List Tweaks
The Publishing Feature of SharePoint
Serious SharePoint Implementation Mistakes
Help Desk Case Study
Content Query Web Part
SharePoint Productivity Hub
InfoPath Training Labs
Sharee’s Favorite Links
My name is Sharee English and I ama Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD), a Microsoft Certified Application Developer (MCAD), and a Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT). I started my career as a programmer, delving into Web technologies almost 15 years ago. I continued to take on challenges in my career becoming a Technical Trainer, Training Manager, Consulting Manager, and eventually Director of Information Services. In recent years, I have been concentrating on numerous consulting projects and teaching Microsoft Official Curriculum courses.
My primary areas of expertise are in Web development (ASP, ASP.NET, Scripting, SharePoint Designer) and my current love languages are C# and VB.NET. I have focused the last two years on SharePoint 2007 and have written two instructor-led training courses on the subject.
I have a Master of Arts in Management (emphasis in Information Systems), a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Computer Science and a B.S. in Mathematics. When I am not programming, blogging, teaching, or generally geeking out, I mostly hang out with my husband. Occasionally I even ride one of our ATVs around Lake Tahoe.