Monday, 20 September 2010

New SharePoint - New School

In the UK September is traditionally the back to school month. The time of year when the journey to work takes two times longer and the Internet suddenly becomes useable again. For some children and young adults it can be a scary starting a new school or going away to university for the first time. The transition is never easy and this is also true of moving from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010. You have to cope with new things like having a Homework Diary or wearing tie when you go to secondary school. Starting university means getting use to attending lectures instead of lessons and acquiring a tolerance for cheap alcohol. I myself was quite tempted by cheap alcohol after spending nearly a week trying to convert the Office Talk 2007 SharePoint Templates into a format that can be used in SharePoint 2010. I must admit to underestimating the job of redoing the HR, Safety, Training, IT, Purchasing, Finance, Projects, Reception and Media templates.

So why was the Template upgrade such a challenge? I tried first exporting to a spreadsheet in SharePoint 2007 and then creating a new list in 2010 using the spreadsheet, but with all the drop-downs and lookup fields this just added to my frustrations. Maybe I should have a considered just upgrading my whole SharePoint but as I had a number of additional third-party applications on my 2007 version this one was always going to be a step too far. So it became a very manual process and meant a few late nights. When finally all eleven templates (which for some reason Microsoft now call ‘Solutions’) it was then time to start selling the templates and to start hitting a recurring issue. Although, I had successfully tested the new Solutions on a number of SharePoint Environments (both Foundation and Server 2010) I received the same email back from a number of disappointed customers.

The error that was causing the customers (and me) frustration always read something like;
“Error creating site: "The site template requires that the Feature {a392da98-270b-4e85-9769-04c0fde26”.

To make it more interesting the code number never seemed to be the same twice. Even when I tried disabling all the Features in my original version before I saved the Template I still had users with the same issue. It was then that I found great article on the MS Adviser about how to find which ‘Feature’ was missing.

The address of this excellent article is http://msadvisor.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!B4931A324B42E0BC!609.entry and basically it just tells you how in Central Administration if you right click on the ‘Site Collection Features’ there is an option to ‘View Source’. Now it might look confusing all the code but all you need to do is find the long code that the error gave you in the Source using Find command. Then scroll up a couple of lines and you will find the name of the Feature. Knowing the name is a real help because now you can simply activate the feature in both the ‘Site Collection Features’ and the ‘Site Features’. Now I have happy customers.

So the Office Talk customers are now happily able to install the eleven brand new Department Templates and if you would like to know more about these templates just visit http://www.office-talk.com/index.php?id=151.

Today G√©rard Houllier begins life as the new Aston Villa manager today. Like moving from SharePoint 2007 to SharePoint 2010 some of the players will find it challenging having a new man in charge; especially Friedel, Warnock and Carew all players who Houllier sold when he last worked with them. Good luck Mr. Houllier I think we are in for some interesting times. Let’s start with beating Blackburn in the Cup on Wednesday. Let’s hope it is as good as last season’s game.

Hope you have all had a good look at the new SharePoint Village. If not please click the link at the top right of this blog.

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