Friday, 27 November 2009

All you want for Christmas is SharePoint

Maybe I am getting old, as I approach my 43rd Christmas, but I have given up on my annual campaign to keep Christmas in December. So today I am offering a Free ‘Christmas Planner’ SharePoint Template to all of you.

Here in Bilston (in the heart of the Black Country) the first signs of festivity of the year started the day before Bonfire Night with the first sighting of Christmas lights in two of the houses. I am expecting this weekend to see a dramatic increase in the number of these (some might call tacky) outdoor Christmas decorations. How long before I spot the first inflatable Polar Bear or ‘Winnie the Pooh’ of the year flying above the streets of Bilston.

No, I have decided to join in and update (and hopefully improve) last year’s successful ‘Christmas Shopper Template’. Just send an email to me with the Subject saying ‘Happy Christmas Office Talk’ and I will send you back a SharePoint Template that works with both WSS 3.0 (free version of SharePoint that you can download if you have Server 2003 or higher) and MOSS. The ‘Christmas Planner for SharePoint 2009’ includes a ‘Present Buying Organiser’, lots of useful Christmas links including last posting days, a Christmas Planner, a ‘What I want for Christmas’ (that is you not me, as I just want the Villa to win the FA Cup), a list of useful Online Christmas Stores and much much more. Have a look it’s free so you have nothing to lose.

So what to me indicates that it is now Christmas time and that it is time to send out this Christmas Template. Well, I have seen the ‘Holidays are coming’ Coke advert, my wife has tasted her first Ginger Latte at Starbucks (I should get sponsorship for this) and the German Market with the famous singing reindeer head has arrived in Birmingham. So Christmas is really with us now and on Sunday at Church we will be lightening our first Advent Candle.

Next week I will be writing a 25 Advent SharePoint Tips, but I thought I would share one with you now that could add a touch of festive cheer to your SharePoint Home Site.

Many companies include on their Corporate Home page links to other systems their users use most days. These could be SAP, Citrix, Webmail, HR system etc. Well, try adding these using the ‘Content Editor webpart’ (my personal favourite)and putting a festive background on them.

1. Find some suitable logos for your applications and add these to a Picture Library in SharePoint. Also find a festive picture that you think might make a suitable background for these logos and also add this to the Picture Library.

2. After inserting the ‘Content Editor Webpart’ then click ‘Rich Text Editor’ and even though web designers think it is old fashioned insert a two row table with about four columns.

3. Using the picture icon on toolbar insert a picture of each of the application logos in each of the top boxes.

4. Use the hyperlink icon on toolbar to add the appropriate URL to each of the logos so they open the right application.

5. In the box below each one write a short label for the application.

6. Centre all the boxes.

7. Close Rich Text Editor and then open Source Editor

8. In the table section add a style entry for background-image and point this to the URL of your festive image. If you are not familiar with adding background images to tables using html this article will help

Hope you find that useful if you have any difficulties please contact one of the SharePoint Consultants at Office Talk on 0121 3680055.

So all that remains now before you begin your Christmas preparations be it buying presents from Argos or inflating large Polar Bears is for you to send an email to with the subject ‘Happy Christmas Office Talk’ and wait for your free ‘Christmas Planner’ Template to arrive.

I just have to prepare myself for four vital football days for the Villa. First they play nine goal Tottenham, then we have the draw for the 3rd Round of FA Cup and then on Tuesday we are up against the team that my Office Talk colleague Frank Faulds supports Portsmouth in the League Cup Quarter Final.

Up the Villa!!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

SharePoint - Knock Three Times

I used to look forward to Fridays, but that is different this week after my rear-end (well, my car's rear end) has been bumped three times in recent weeks. At least it isn't Friday 13th tomorrow (which is considered unlucky in the UK), it was last Friday though when I was banged from behind for the third Friday in four weeks. Ok the middle one was me reversing into my Office Talk colleague, Frank Fauld's car. But not all bad things come in threes and in this week's blog I am going to show you a classic SharePoint 1-2-3.

1. Windows SharePoint Services (WSS)
Why are people always wary of things that are free of charge? Like the fluffy rabbits advertised in the local shop window or the newspaper given away outside the tube station by the man in the raincoat. People almost seem to think that because they don't have to pay anything for it then it can't be any good. But the excellent Windows SharePoint Services is available completely 'free' as a download for anyone who has Windows Server 2003, or Server 2008. Yet I read last week a statistic that less than 30% of companies with Windows server have downloaded WSS 3. I wonder how many percent of drivers have had three bumps in four weeks after none in twenty years?

If you are one of the 70% who haven't downloaded WSS then don't be embarrassed just click the link below to get it downloaded now and it won't cost you a penny.

Free SharePoint

2. SharePoint Designer
Again it is a freebie that is well worth downloading. With SharePoint Designer you can create Master Pages, create Workflow, add CSS and link webparts together. It does a lot more than you expect and lets you really customise your SharePoint. If you want to download SharePoint Designer now is your chance.

Free SharePoint Designer

3. SharePoint Projectbreak (created by me)
There are many add-ons available for WSS (or MOSS) and these are often usually priced for the smaller budget. The Site Template 'Projectbreak', which enables Consultants, Designers, Developers and Architects to easily manage all of their Chargeable Customer Project work, costs under £80. Projectbreak can be used to record all Project work from the planning stage to the final chasing for payment.

Click here to find out about Projectbreak

So that is my SharePoint 1-2-3 and I hope you find them useful. For the football fans reading I would I also have a Youtube football 1-2-3. If you haven't seen the Dragan Stojkovic goal yet it is probably one of the best goals ever.

1. Manager Stojkovic scores

2. Thierry Henry's

3. Wayne Rooney Skip Shot

Perhaps I should keep the car in the garage tomorrow.