Thursday, 21 October 2010

About SharePoint Has Moved


Thank you for following my SharePoint Blog, with a hint of Aston Villa, on The blog has now moved to be hosted on WordPress to allow for more videos, pictures and audios of my 'Brummie' voice.

Please visit to find the latest postings including SharePoint TARDIS with a hint of Doctor Who and a real wedding celebration.

Happy SharePointing.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

SharePoint - Review It !

As you may have noticed from my photograph on the right I am a touch follically challenged but still last weekend I visited the hairdressers. It was slightly later on Saturday morning than usual because I had been watching Soccer AM which meant that for once there was a queue waiting, so I had to take a seat. However, I was delighted to see a copy of the football magazine Four Four Two even if everyone thinks this formation has had its day. I was soon engrossed in reading the magazine and about how England were going to win the World Cup in 2010 and that Ivory Coast could reach the semi finals. Soon I realised how out of date this May edition was in October. It made me think about how important it is to keep your SharePoint sites up to date.

SharePoint has the advantage over the printed word of being dynamic and hopefully up to date. It is important that individual departments do have Super Users who are responsible for continually checking the information is relevant and frequently changing. It is no good having a photograph of Rosie from Reception marrying her childhood sweetheart when she is now divorced shacked up with Tom from Packing. Also having a list of qualified First Aiders that include Ken and Harry who were made redundant in 2008 is also not acceptable. Your SharePoint needs to be monitored and frequently updated. It needs to reflect your company today. It is easy to create all your new documents in SharePoint but equally important to remove the ones that are no longer relevant.

Office Talk the SharePoint Specialists (ok company I work for) offer a one day workshop with the Super Users every six months to review the SharePoint Sites and see how they could be improved. If you would like us to hold a Workshop for you please drop an email to If you are using WSS 3.0 you might want to ask about upgrading to SharePoint 2010 Foundation but remember you will need 64-bit servers. There are lots of ways you can enhance your SharePoint 2007 sites though and easily add video, audio and lots of new Web Parts. Have a look at the Web Part section at the new SharePoint Village to see some of the great new Web Parts including a ‘Holiday Request System’ from Pentalogic.

It isn’t just your SharePoint that might need revamping. After two terrific years and nearly 100 posts on Blogger I have decided that it is time for a change and from next week ‘About SharePoint’ will be moving to WordPress. Now, first thing I know people will say is why not SharePoint? A fair question and really it comes down to three factors; Cost, Ease of use and SEO tools. I could easily write a whole blog on comparing WordPress with SharePoint but this has already been done by Bill Senser in his superb article “WordPress versus SharePoint, another big smackdown”.

So why am I changing from Blogger to WordPress? I suppose I want to try and keep up with other SharePoint Bloggers like Veronique Palmer who have videos, podcasts and pictures in their blogs. The chance to have some of my favourite funny videos (like this ‘Silly Walks’ one) embedded in the text is part of the appeal. So next week all being well this blog will contain more pictures, videos and hopefully get more readers. Don’t worry the address will still be the same and there will still be lots of mentions of the great Aston Villa FC.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

SharePoint Themes - Kitchen Full of Foam

I start this week’s SharePoint blog with a warning to you all; If you run out of dish washer tablets only put washing-up liquid in dishwasher if you have lots of towels at hand.
SharePoint 2010 is certainly proving a popular version of Microsoft fastest ever selling Server Product but it isn’t without its frustrations. One of these frustrations (ok annoyances) that regularly get debated at the Office Talk premises (near Birmingham) is the theme choices. Now Microsoft will argue that you now have unlimited choices of themes you can use as you have the option to change the colour of every individual section of the page. They even fanfare that you can do this with PowerPoint yet I would love to know how many people have actually used PowerPoint to create a theme. It might have helped it Microsoft had actually made the great themes that come with PowerPoint compatible with SharePoint 2010, but they didn’t. So why am I moaning like Victor Meldrew? Is it because I have a kitchen full of thick white soapy foam after my dishwasher mishap or is it because I miss the old-fashioned SharePoint themes of 2007?

In SharePoint 2007 you had ten distinctive themes. Ok they weren’t the best and probably only five were actually useable unless you were colour blind or high on drugs, but they were different. When I created the ten department site templates for SharePoint 2007 (WSS and Server) I was able to Showcase them each in their own individual style. Ranging from the trendy black one ‘Reflector’ which I used for the Project Manager one to the bright green one which I used for Purchasing, everyone was different. Keeping SharePoint simple was always fairly easy because as a SharePoint Consultant it was usually easy to find a theme that closely matched the company’s corporate colour scheme. Then everything changed in 2010. Ok maybe for CSS whizz kids it is possible to quite easily create new and imaginative colour schemes but for most they are just left with fairly drab looking SharePoint sites. As you will see in the other blogs I have written on SharePoint 2010 there are many great enhancements to SharePoint 2010 compared to its older sibling but, why didn’t they either create ten new colourful distinctive themes or just leave us with the old ones?

As I said you can still create great themes if you have the talent and time in SharePoint 2010 but it might be worth looking for companies that specialise in creating SharePoint themes especially if you are using SharePoint for your web site. One that I would recommend having seen many examples of their work is the interestingly named Pink Petrol. Often wonder why owner Sam Dolan chose the name Pink Petrol maybe it was to show that things can be any colour you want them to be. You can find out about Pink Petrol and see some of the examples of the themes Sam has created at SharePoint Village ‘the One-Stop-Shop for SharePoint’. But come on Microsoft please give us back our colourful if old-fashioned themes from2007.

Regular readers might be surprised at the lack of mentions of Aston Villa in this week’s blog well this is because it is an international break this weekend. Now, to tackle the kitchen floor before risking opening the dishwasher door, or should I just moan about Kevin Davies being named in the England squad?