Online Training On SharePoint

Monday 3 February 2014

Retirement for InfoPath Forms

The InfoPath forms on SharePoint which we have used from long time for creating the interactive forms are getting retired. Microsoft has decided that they are retiring InfoPath and investing in new forms technology across SharePoint, Access, and Word.

Few important points to understand with this are:
1. InfoPath Forms Services in SharePoint Server 2013 is the last release of the InfoPath Form Service. Also the InfoPath 2013 is the last release for the Desktop version.
2. Microsoft will release a detailed migration strategy going forward.
3. The support for InfoPath 2013 desktop client and InfoPath Forms Services for SharePoint Server 2013 will continue through 2023.

The above information should be taken into account if you are planning significant investment in InfoPath forms.

Saturday 7 December 2013

Various options for SharePoint 2013 Deployment and Comparision

SharePoint 2013 has given lot of flexibility and options in terms of hosting. You can have SharePoint 2013 sites with the following deployment options:

1. SharePoint 2013 sites in Office 365
2. SharePoint 2013 in Windows Azure
3. SharePoint 2013 on Premises Deployment

Though these options gives lot of flexibility they make life difficult to determine which option we should adopt. I am putting few parameters and the rational behind them which can help you to understand these different deployments better and take a decision:

SharePoint in Office 365
SharePoint in Windows Azure
SharePoint On Premises Deployment
This replicates Software as a Service Model. Microsoft has hosted the servers and the software and we as users can just utilize this after buying the subscription. 
This replicates Infrastructure as a Service Model. Windows Azure platform provides the infrastructure (servers) and app services  needed to host a SharePoint 2013 farm. 
This is the traditional model where you own all the servers and software. You need to do the capacity planning, patching and backing up the data.
This is based on Subscription model. This requires no additional licenses.
User buy the Windows Azure subscription which includes the server operating system. After that they also need to pay for SQL Server, SharePoint 2013 Server License & SharePoint 2013 Client Access License. There are other costs as well such as storage, network etc. So we need to pay full attention before you finalize this option.
Here the user needs to pay for all the licenses such as Server Operating Systems, SQL Server, SharePoint 2013 Server License & SharePoint 2013 Client Access License.
This model is little restrictive on what you customization you can do. Users can only use SharePoint designer based customization or use the Apps for Office and SharePoint.
Customizations are not limited.
Customizations are not limited.
  • This is with rich feature set and which are always up to date as Microsoft deploys the patches immediately.
  • You can have a secured external site
  • You can host a basic public facing internet site.
  • Setting up Farm is quite quick and there is no commitment which required. 
  • Scale up/down is quite flexible.
  • We can focus on application and leave all the troubles related to data centre and infrastructure.  
  • You have full control on the entire platform and solution.
  • You can create highly complex solution.
  • Single sign on is easy. 
  • Legacy solutions with 3rd party components that depend on hardware and software that are not supported on Windows Azure IaaS.
  • Tricky to set up single sign on. 
  • Organizations do not prefer to store confidential data external data centres. 
  • If the apps needs integration with some internal apps it may not be possible.   
  • Legacy solutions with 3rd party components that depend on hardware and software that are not supported on Windows Azure IaaS. 
  • Setting up single sign on is tricky. If the internal user name can not be stored in the Windows Azure Active Directory
  • Require lot of resources for Farm design and maintenance. You need to make sure servers are patched up, data is backed up etc. 
  • We need to set up own disaster recovery.

Monday 8 April 2013

Farm Solutions, Sandboxed Solution and Apps in various SharePoint Technologies

Various versions of SharePoint provides different capabilities to create solutions on SharePoint and these technologies are continuously evolving. I am trying to put the journey here and then will compare between these technologies so that we can take a correct decision on which model should be selected and when.

The below diagram depicts the journey of SharePoint and how the solutions are evolving:

Now some time it is not an easy decision to decide which model we should be selecting for our business needs and I would say that there is no perfect answer for this. I will try to summarize few parameters which can help you to decide the best technology:

SharePoint Farm Solution
Sandboxed Solution
Apps for SharePoint
Solutions are small to large scale packages used to customize or enhance SharePoint sites. They are also called full trust solutions.
Sandbox solutions are similar to Farm Solution with a limited capabilities. They are called partial trust solution.
Apps For SharePoint are stand-alone applications that provide specific information or functionality to a SharePoint site.
SharePoint Farm solutions are hosted within the SharePoint Farm and they are executed within the main SharePoint worker process
Sandbox solutions are also hosted within the SharePoint Farm but they are executed in sandbox worker process (SPUCWorkerProcess.exe).
Apps run completely outside of the SharePoint server, and their custom code executes either within the context of the client browser or on
other servers that are not running SharePoint such as Web servers in the cloud.
Mostly a farm solutiona requires a Farm Administrator to do the deployment and mostly restarts the IIS on all the WFEs, which causes a disruption in the service.
Deployment of Sandbox solutions is a lot easier and straight forward and a site collection administrator uploads and activates a sandboxed
solution.Though after activating the sandboxed solution it can create some unwarrented effects on the site.
The apps are uploaded in either the public SharePoint app store or to an organization's private app catalog. Once they are made available in a SharePoint site a user can install them on the local SharePoint Site.
Farm solutions can be installed for any scope such as at Farm, Web App, Site Collection, Site level.
Sandbox solution scope is limited to Site Collections in which they are activated.
app are installed within the same scope of the SharePoint site or at the Tenancy Scope. The tenancy scope is just to make sure that all the tenant site can install the app at the site level.
Physical Files Location
The content of a farm solution goes into the config DB and on the file system depending on the solution content.
The Sandboxed solutions are stored in the content db of the site collection. No content goes in the file system.
The components for an app resides in multiple places:
Externally: Remote components are persisted in databases, servers, or cloud-based services, that are external to the SharePoint farm.
In SharePoint: SharePoint components, such as list templates, modules, workflows, site pages, Web Parts, and custom content types, are
persisted within the SharePoint content database.
Coding Options
In Farm Solutions the Server side object model can be used. The data acces is unrestricted.
In Sandbox Solutions the Server side object model can be used but it is restrictive in nature. The solution can only access content from
the site collection in which it was deployed.
Business logic in an app for SharePoint can access SharePoint data through one of the several client APIs included in SharePoint 2013 such
as .NET Framework client object model, Silverlight or JavaScript Client Object model code, REST endpoints & Mobile client object model. The
server object model can not be used in the Apps for SharePoint.
Integration with Other Apps
Limited options and need to use BCS (Business Connectivity Service), Web Services.
Similar to Farm Solutions.
Multiple options for the integration from Services to actually implementing a fully customized applications against different products SDK as this is technology independent. We can consider a server in the SharePoint farm, an external server such as a server in the cloud, a client computer, and a mobile device.

Hope this helps to take a good decision.. Feedback Welcome!!
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