Beware SharePoint 2013 Search Results and the ListUrl Property

beware-caution-sharepointI was recently looking into the results returned by SharePoint 2013 under the scenario of alternate access mappings. Essentially this boils down to the same SharePoint content being available on different host URLs.

Here’s an example:

I can have a single site which I initially create on http://ourintranet, through the magic of alternate access mappings I can make the same SharePoint site also accessible on http://extranet.mycompany.com

SharePoint serves up exactly the same content irrespective of the URL host the user come in on. In the address bar of the users browser, the host portion of the URL remains constant as they navigate through the site e.g. if the user came in on http://extranet.mycompany.com they would not be switched over to the http://ourintranet host at any time.

These alternate access mappings carry across to search as well. The way this works is that the search processes will crawl the SharePoint site and index content based on one of the URLs (either http://ourintranet or http://extranet.mycompany.com, best practice is to use the access mapping of the default zone). When search results are requested the SharePoint server will find the matching results in it’s search index and then apply alternate access mappings to any of the URLs being returned so that even though the content was crawled and indexed with the URLs starting with http://ourintranet, if a user comes in on the http://extranet.mycompany.com URL and performs a search, then all search results will also use the http://extranet.mycompany.com access mapping.

Now to the issue with the ListUrl property being returned by search. This property simply misses the whole alternate access mapping transformation when the search results are returned and the value is read straight from the search index. Therefore the ListUrl property is fixed with the URL host that the search crawler is configured with. This means that when a user comes in on http://extranet.mycompany.com and performs a search, the ListUrl property will give back a result starting with http://ourintranet. Obviously this is not good and your users may not even have access to the content via the different access mapping.

Here’s an environment demonstrating the problem.

The initial site collection is created on http://vs-server38:83

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The site collection is then extended (which creates the alternate access mapping) http://vs-server38:84

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Through a browser we can now access the same site on http://vs-server38:83

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or on http://vs-server38:84

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The search content source is configured to crawl the content based on the default http://vs-server38:83 URL.

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The screenshot below shows the results of performing a search query (via PowerShell) on the URL http://vs-server38:83. As you can see all URLs returned begin with http://vs-server38:83

06-sharepoint-aam-listurl-search-results-cameron-dwyer-search-results-on-port-83

 

This screenshot performs exactly the same search query only it uses the alternate access mapping of http://vs-server38:84. This time the issue is evident. The Path, OriginalPath and SiteName properties all return URLs that have been mapped to the alternate access URL I used. Note the ListUrl property still returns the http://vs-server38:83 based URL.

07-sharepoint-aam-listurl-search-results-cameron-dwyer-search-results-on-port-84

 

Delving further, each managed search property has a property called UseAAMMapping that seems to be the flag that tells SharePoint that the property contains a URL and need to apply alternate access mapping transformation when results are returned. Looking at the UseAAMMapping property through PowerShell we can see that the ListUrl property does not have this flag set while the other URL based properties (that work correctly) do have this flag set.

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Running Fiddler with OnePlaceMail – Fixing “The requested site does not appear to have claims enabled or the Login Url has not been set” message

Here’s a workaround to get Fiddler working with OnePlaceMail and SharePoint 2013 where you normally get the following error message in OnePlaceMail as soon as Fiddler is enabled and capturing traffic:

“The requested site does not appear to have claims enabled or the Login Url has not been set”

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I went investigating why introducing Fiddler breaks OnePlaceMail and was able to track the problem down to a single call to the native SharePoint 2013 People web service and in particular the IsClaimsMode method of the People web service. Under the default SharePoint 2013 install (Claims mode with integrated Windows NTLM or Kerberos Authentication) this web method return False without Fiddler and True with Fiddler running.

Using Fiddlers AutoResponder feature we can set up a rule to listen for calls to the IsClaimsMode method of the People web service and return a fixed response from a local file instead of getting it from the SharePoint server.

The particular Fiddler AutoResponder rule matching I used requires one of the later versions of Fiddler, here’s the version I was using: v4.4.9.2

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First you need to get the following “response” file onto your computer so Fiddler can use it to respond to any calls made to the IsClaimsMode web service. Here’s the contents of the response file:


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<soap:Envelope xmlns:soap="<a href="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/">http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/</a>" xmlns:xsi="<a href="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance">http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance</a>" xmlns:xsd="<a href="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema">http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema</a>">
   <soap:Body>
      <IsClaimsModeResponse xmlns="<a href="http://schemas.microsoft.com/sharepoint/soap/">http://schemas.microsoft.com/sharepoint/soap/</a>">
         <IsClaimsModeResult>false</IsClaimsModeResult>
      </IsClaimsModeResponse>
   </soap:Body>
</soap:Envelope>

It’s pretty simple, the web service really only returns a value of true or false. The condition the problem occurs is when the real web service gives back a true when it should be false.

In my example I’ve placed the file on the following path:

C:\Users\cdwyer\Documents\Fiddler2\Captures\sp2013people.asmx.xml

Now start up Fiddler and select the AutoResponder tab and check the following options:

- Enable automatic responses

- Unmatched requests passthrough

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Click Add Rule and put the following match rule in (this will identify any web service calls to the IsClaimsMode method:

Header:SOAPAction=”http://schemas.microsoft.com/sharepoint/soap/IsClaimsMode

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Now in the action to execute line choose Find a file… from the drop down

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Select the AutoResponder file we created in the earlier step

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The AutoResponder tab should now look like this

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Using OnePlaceMail with Fiddler running should now work without raising the error.

Is the SharePoint brand going away?

The big push from Microsoft over the last few years has been towards the cloud, and in the SharePoint area this means Microsoft wants you on Office 365 instead of on-premises SharePoint servers.

None of this should shock you, Microsoft has been yelling it loud and clear for some time now, and the message came through loud and clear at the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas this year (my key takeaways from the SPC14). It has now been announced that was the last SharePoint conference and starting in 2015 a conference combining SharePoint, Lync, Exchange, Project, Office365 will run instead.

Here’s some interesting stats pulled from Google trends.

trends-office365-vs-sharepoint

Office 365 (blue) vs SharePoint (red) – Shows interest in SharePoint slowly declining while interest in Office 365 has been rapidly increasing to roughly double that of SharePoint.

Microsoft’s Office 365 offering is compelling now they are starting to realize the benefits from combining multiple services into a single integrated offering. I don’t necessarily think Microsoft is trying to kill SharePoint off, it’s just drifting towards the background a bit in the noise of Office 365. When you look at Office 365, there are quite a few products that were thrown into the mix… SharePoint, Exchange, Yammer, Office Online, OneDrive, FAST. Trying to combine and integrate these products and leverage their combined power, Microsoft is heading towards talking about the tangible objects and features rather than the technology.. what do I mean by that? We start hearing terms like Conversations which may be a mixed thread of Email/Lync/Yammer all shown together, we start to talk of Documents whether they be stored in SharePoint and viewed with Office Online Apps, Office Desktop apps or accessed via OneDrive. It seems the technologies themselves are losing the focus and the rather the functionality they provide is coming to the fore (and I think this is where the rub comes for those hanging on to SharePoint on premises), this really awesome functionality is not provided by one product on it’s own, but rather when they are integrated together and the only way to get the highest level of integration and deliver this value is in Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud. So is SharePoint going away? I think it’s just becoming part of something bigger, and over time the functionality might just be called Sites or Workspaces or Places or Groups in Office 365 but it will essentially be the SharePoint of today powering the functionality delivered in the Office 365 of tomorrow.

 

trends-office365-vs-google-apps-cameron-dwyer

Office 365 (blue) vs Google Apps (red) – Office 365 is competing with Google for taking business apps to the cloud and looking at Office 365 vs Google Apps or Google Docs these stats show a pretty fierce battle underway.

 

trends-office365-vs-google-docs-cameron-dwyer

Office 365 (blue) vs Google Docs (red) – Office 365 is competing with Google for taking business apps to the cloud and looking at Office 365 vs Google Apps or Google Docs these stats show a pretty fierce battle underway.

Getting Started: The Basics of Using PowerShell with SharePoint

I’m a SharePoint guy, and certainly no PowerShell expert. I know enough PowerShell to get things done in SharePoint from time to time. I can often go months without using PowerShell and talking to colleagues I don’t think I’m alone in the SharePoint community.

So if you are just starting out with using PowerShell to do something with SharePoint, or it’s been a while and you need a refresher on the basics then you’ve come to the right place.

Before we get started I’m writing this article based on SharePoint 2013 running on a Windows 2012 server.

The ground rules

1) Run your PowerShell scripts from the SharePoint server itself

It is possible to run PowerShell against a remote SharePoint server rather than on the server itself, but it requires some setup on the SharePoint server side and let’s face it, it’s not basic. If you need to do it you need to be searching for “Remote PowerShell in SharePoint”.

2) Use Windows PowerShell ISE (not SharePoint Management Shell)

PowerShell needs to be executed/run at a PowerShell Console or PowerShell Window – this window looks like a standard Command Line window and I don’t find it too inviting.

Instead of the SharePoint 2013 Management Shell, I use the Windows PowerShell ISE.

sharepoint-powershell-getting-started-cameron-dwyer-windows-powershell-ise

Why? It’s like comparing Visual Studio with Notepad. The ISE is an environment for developing PowerShell scripts that gives you nice syntax highlighting, debug with breakpoints, intellisense and more. It’s more like a development environment than a command line. I think you’d agree it looks slightly more advanced.

sharepoint-powershell-getting-started-cameron-dwyer-powershell-ise

3) Ensure the SharePoint PowerShell snapin is loaded

When using the “SharePoint 2013 Management Shell” (the ugly black one) it automatically loads a “snapin” which is basically a PowerShell extension that gives you a series of commands for working with SharePoint objects. When you use the Windows PowerShell ISE it has no idea of SharePoint, so you need to load the SharePoint snapin manually. The simplest way to do this is just to add the following code snippet to the start of all your scripts.

if((Get-PSSnapin "Microsoft.SharePoint.PowerShell") -eq $null)
{
      Add-PSSnapin Microsoft.SharePoint.PowerShell
}

 

4) Save a script to file before you try to run it

Windows PowerShell ISE will have trouble running a script if you haven’t saved it to disk yet. PowerShell scripts are saved as files with a .ps1 extension.

 

5) Talk to SharePoint via the SharePoint PowerShell Cmdlets

Here’s a reference of all the SharePoint 2013 PowerShell Cmdlets you can use to work with SharePoint.

 

Your first script

Pre-flight checklist:

  • Start Windows PowerShell ISE
  • Add code snippet for loading the SharePoint snapin
  • Save the script as a .ps1 file

sharepoint-powershell-getting-started-cameron-dwyer-first-script

You can now start cutting and pasting examples from the internet and modifying them to work with your environment. The following 2 lines get a handle on the SharePoint website at the URL http://vs-server12 and then output the ID of the website.

To run the script and see if it work, click the Run button.

sharepoint-powershell-getting-started-cameron-dwyer-run-script

Any output from running your script is shown in the output window below the script editor.

sharepoint-powershell-getting-started-cameron-dwyer-output

You’re on your way, just remember you can only access the SharePoint server on which you are running your scripts. Accessing remote SharePoint servers is possible but you need to do special magic stuff to make that happen Smile

 

If you encounter an error along the lines of:

Get-PSSnapin : No Windows PowerShell snap-ins matching the pattern “Microsoft.SharePoint.PowerShell” were found.

You’ve ignored ground rule 4 and the pre-flight checklist by forgetting to save your script before running it (yes, I still do this too).

 

How to fix issue with opening Visual Studio solution from tfspreview.com by moving it to visualstudio.com

This problem arises if you were using Team Foundation Services (TFS) Online while it was still in preview. You will be accessing TFS on a URL such as: https://mycompany.tfspreview.com A recent change has been made to TFS Online that prevents you opening solutions using this URL. When you try to open an existing solution (that you have already synced down to your development machine ) you will see the following error message in Visual Studio:

image

Attempting to “Go Online” with the solution, or disconnect from TFS and reconnect using the same tfspreview.com address will result in a security credentials prompt that accepts your credentials but just sits there blank. BTW trying to login to the tfspreview.com URL in IE also results in this blank page behavior, in Chrome it gives a slightly better redirect error.

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What Microsoft want you to use instead is the visualstudio.com address instead: https://mycompany.visualstudio.com.

This is simple if you just want to access TFS in a browser. Simply use the new address, but how do you get Visual Studio to start using the new URL to connect for a solution you already have on your dev machine?

Here’s the process that’s worked for me across Visual Studio 2012 and 2010.

Remove the existing TFS Connection from The Team Explorer

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Now Add a TFS Connection using the visualstudio.com URL

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Open the TFS Source Control Explorer now you are connected using the new visualstudio.com address

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Select the solution folder for the solution you have synced to the local workspace on your development machine. Right click the solution folder and select the Get Specific Version… option from the context menu.

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Ensure you check the option to “Overwrite all files even if the local version matches the specified version”. This will effectively pull all files for the solution from TFS again even if there has been no change made to the files. This has the side effect of fixing the binding of the files so that after the sync the files will now be bound to visualstudio.com instead of tfspreview.com.

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Once the sync has completed you should see the following message:

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Click Yes, and you will get a dialog letting you know of any offline changes.

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That should be job done. Your Solution Explorer should now show the TFS icons indicating the source control state of all the files and you’ve now left the tfspreview.com URL behind.

Other links referencing this issue:

http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/vstudio/en-US/4c887b08-60fe-40fb-8e25-81ab4c267003/cant-connect-to-tfspreview-in-vs11-but-can-via-ie?forum=TFService

 

How to bulk upload/copy a folder structure and files to SharePoint

So you’ve got a bunch of files nicely arranged in a folder structure sitting on your computer or a network drive that you want to copy up to a SharePoint library and preserve the directory structure. On the surface this is a daunting task as you can’t just give SharePoint your folder structure and tell it to do the work for you, so what are your options.

 

Option 1: Manually via SharePoint IU

Recreate the folder structure in SharePoint and upload the files via SharePoint UI in batches doing a multiple file upload to one destination folder at a time. Not much fun for anyone, but it can be done.

 

Option 2: Commercial Tool

Try a 3rd party tool. Yes they will probably cost you but will get the job done and probably with a few extra bell’s and whistles like applying metadata to SharePoint columns during the process. Some of the key companies to take a look at would be:

 

Option 3: Open Source Tools

There are some open source projects going around that claim to handle these types of bulk uploads, here’s a couple that look interesting:

http://spbulkdocumentimport.codeplex.com/

http://spfileupload.codeplex.com/

 

Option 4: Script it Yourself

PowerShell is an awesome way to get things done quickly in SharePoint, I’ve written these scripts in the past that show you how to create folders and how to upload documents to SharePoint. With a bit of extension and effort you could roll your own scripted solution.

https://camerondwyer.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/how-to-import-upload-an-entire-folder-of-files-to-sharepoint-using-powershell/

https://camerondwyer.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/sharepoint-powershell-how-to-create-sharepoint-library-folders-for-loadperformance-testing/

 

Option 5: Explorer View

The old ‘Open Library in Explorer View’ option in SharePoint may get you out of trouble if the directory structure and number of files is fairly small. Simply use the Explorer View to open the SharePoint library up in a Windows Explorer window and then copy/paste or drag/drop into the Window and the magic will start to happen

 

Option 6: OneDrive for Business

Now this is my preferred option for getting the job done, and the reason for writing this blog post! To achieve this one, browse to your library in SharePoint and click on the sync button to have the SharePoint library sync’d via OneDrive to your local machine.

bulk-upload-folder-structure-sharepoint-cameron-dwyer-onedrive-sync-button

After the sync has completed the SharePoint library (and it’s content including any folder structure) is now represented as a folder structure that you can easily get to through Windows Explorer.

bulk-upload-folder-structure-sharepoint-cameron-dwyer-onedrive-local-library

Now it’s just a matter of copy/paste or drag/drop your local folder structure (that you want to copy to SharePoint) into this folder in Windows Explorer. Here is my folder structure I want to copy up to SharePoint.

bulk-upload-folder-structure-sharepoint-cameron-dwyer-folders-to-upload

So I can just copy the “My Folder Structure” folder and paste it into the SharePoint sync library location. This is super quick because it’s just copying between 2 locations on your local hard drive.

bulk-upload-folder-structure-sharepoint-cameron-dwyer-onedrive-sync

Now the real goodness happens. OneDrive will sync the entire folder structure including any content files up to SharePoint in the background. You will notice that the folders and files you have just pasted have a tiny icon in the left corner. This will display a green tick when the item has been created in SharePoint. This is awesome, your computer is still free to use, there’s no lockup. If you need to shutdown before the sync is finished, it will just pick up from where it left off. OneDrive’s mission in life is to keep your local folder in sync with the SharePoint library, and it will work tirelessly in the background to do this.

Another powerful advantage this method has over many of the other options I provided earlier is that it will work with Office 365 which you just can’t reach some of those other methods.

Now my disclaimer before I get people throwing virtual rotten fruit at me. I’m not suggesting you use this method to move an entire network drive to SharePoint. Yes, I advocate you should take the opportunity to clean up the data on your network drives and not just move the problem to SharePoint. I also believe in the use of metadata to classify content rather than using folders. Having said that, there are valid instances when you do need to perform an upload of many files and preserve the folder structure in SharePoint and I think the OneDrive approach is a pretty cool tool to add to your arsenal.

SharePoint PowerShell How To: Create SharePoint List Items (in Root and in Folders) for Load/Performance Testing

SharePoint PowerShell How To Series – Foreword

I often find myself scratching around the local drive of my development machines for remnants of PowerShell scripts to generate list & libraries in SharePoint with all sorts of different folder hierarchies to test the performance of code I’m working on to ensure it scales well once the folder & item counts start getting up to high numbers. So rather than keep scratching I’m going to start posting my scripts as I create and use them so I can find/reuse them later on and someone else might find them useful as well. I’m sure they won’t work under all scenarios and situations (and they are not designed to). They are just quick scripts that serve a specific purpose to me at the time and you may be able to tweak to fit your needs.

Create list items in the root of a custom SharePoint list

Script description: Creates 10,000 list items in the root folder of the “OnePlace License R7” list of the site located at the URL “vs-server38”.

#Add SharePoint PowerShell Snapin which adds SharePoint specific cmdlets
Add-PSSnapin Microsoft.SharePoint.PowerShell -EA SilentlyContinue

# Script settings
$webUrl = "http://vs-server38"
$listName = "OnePlace Licenses R7"
$numberItemsToCreate = 10000
$itemNamePrefix = "License "

# Open web and library
$web = Get-SPWeb $webUrl
$list = $web.Lists[$listName]

# Create desired number of items in subfolder
for($i=1; $i -le $numberItemsToCreate; $i++)
{
$newItemSuffix = $i.ToString("00000")
$newItem = $list.AddItem()
$newItem["Title"] = "$itemNamePrefix$newItemSuffix"
$newItem.Update()
write-host "Item created: $itemNamePrefix$newItemSuffix"
}

#Dispose web
$web.Dispose()

Create list items in a folder of a custom SharePoint list

Script description: Creates 10,000 list items in the “OnePlaceDocs” folder of the “OnePlace License R7” list of the site located at the URL “vs-server38”.

Note: this assumes you have already created a folder called “OnePlaceDocs”in the list.

#Add SharePoint PowerShell Snapin which adds SharePoint specific cmdlets
Add-PSSnapin Microsoft.SharePoint.PowerShell -EA SilentlyContinue

# Script settings
$webUrl = "http://vs-server38"
$listName = "OnePlace Licenses R7"
$subFolderName = "OnePlaceDocs"
$numberItemsToCreate = 10000
$itemNamePrefix = "License "

# Open web and library
$web = Get-SPWeb $webUrl
$list = $web.Lists[$listName]

# Get handle on the subfolder
$subFolder = $list.RootFolder.SubFolders.Item($subFolderName);

# Create desired number of items in subfolder
for($i=1; $i -le $numberItemsToCreate; $i++)
{
$newItemSuffix = $i.ToString("00000")
$newItem = $list.AddItem($subFolder.ServerRelativeUrl, [Microsoft.SharePoint.SPFileSystemObjectType]::File, $null)
$newItem["Title"] = "$itemNamePrefix$newItemSuffix"
$newItem.Update()
write-host "Item created: $itemNamePrefix$newItemSuffix"
}

#Dispose web
$web.Dispose()

Others articles in this series:

What’s the difference between a UX designer and a UI designer?

I love this infographic, quickly sums up the differences (and similarities) between a UX designer and a UI designer.

[Click the image to see full size]

UX-designer-vs-UI-designer-difference-and-similarites-Infographic

Solving the “Boot Failed. EFI SCSI Device” error when installing Windows 2012 Server on Hyper-V

I’ve installed Windows 2012 server on a few Hyper-V images in the past but ran into an error that looked unfamiliar. I created my Hyper-V machine, configured it with a dynamic hard drive, added a DVD and mounted the Windows Server 2012 ISO making sure the DVD drive was top of the boot order and started it up.

cameron-dwyer-install-windows-2012-server-hyperv-boot-failed-EFI-SCSI-Device

I was then presented with a black screen an the error message:

Boot Failed. EFI SCSI Device.

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Here’s the long winded explanation from the Senior Program Manager of the Hyper-V team (John Howard).

The short answer: It’s because the virtual machine was created as a Generation 2 machine rather than Generation 1.

cameron-dwyer-install-windows-2012-server-hyperv-specify-machine-generation-2

To get past this error simply hold down a key as you start up the virtual machine. You’ll notice at the top of the error screen it says “Press any key to boot from CD or DVD…..” the issue is that it doesn’t wait for you to press a key, just make sure you have a key held down when it gets to this point and you should see the Windows Boot Manager prompt allowing you to boot to the DVD image.

cameron-dwyer-install-windows-2012-server-hyperv-boot-failed-EFI-SCSI-Device-Windows-Boot-Manager

Then hey presto you’ll get a successful boot to DVD and the Windows Setup window you expected.

cameron-dwyer-install-windows-2012-server-hyperv-boot-Windows-Setup

A remote SharePoint Navigation tree control designed to scale to large Enterprise environments

The SharePoint Navigation tree (for remotely browsing/navigating SharePoint) is a central component in the OnePlaceMail product. It is used in all major operations such as Save to SharePoint, Open from/Insert from SharePoint, Preview SharePoint content, Managing favorite SharePoint locations. Being able to quickly find the right location in SharePoint, directly from desktop applications, is one of the key reasons OnePlaceMail has been adopted so openly into organizations. Core to this capability is the OnePlaceMail Navigation tree.

Dynamic browsing

The primary purpose of the tree is to allow you to browse your SharePoint environments.

cameron-dwyer-sharepoint-remote-navigation-tree-sharepoint-connections

Here’s the features we baked into the tree at a low level to ensure we could build a scalable tree for enterprises.

  • Support multiple SharePoint servers in the same tree (accessing them all at the same time)
  • Support any mix of SharePoint servers at the same time (2007, 2010, 2013, SharePoint Online, Office 365, on-premises or hosted)
  • Zero configuration – just give the tree a URL to SharePoint. The tree will figure out what type of server it is and the best way to communicate with it. Those irritating things like security are also hidden away (if possible you just don’t see any security prompts). Worst case the tree will ask you to login if it needs credentials.
  • What a user see’s in the tree is driven 100% dynamically by SharePoint security.
  • All communication with SharePoint is done asynchronously (in the background). This means the tree is silky smooth and responsive, even if the SharePoint server isn’t.
  • Optimized client/server communication – minimum data payload and real-time loading at each level of the tree as nodes are expanded
  • Large SharePoint environments sooner or later come up against SharePoint throttling and threshold limits. We designed with these in mind (think libraries with thousands of folders or document sets)
  • Support for browsing over sites/libraries/folders where user only has read only access to allow saving of content into a lower level folder where user has contribute access

Advanced node filtering

As the SharePoint environment grows it is quite typical for a certain level of the tree structure to grow in line with some business process being modelled. Here are some examples:

If you create a site per project (or client) you end up with a lot of sites at a particular level in your SharePoint environment. Similarly you may end up with lots of libraries in a site, or the one we come across most frequently, a large number of document sets within a library.

For the user trying to find a location at this level, it creates a situation where they are forced to scroll through a long list to find the site/library/folder/document set they are looking for. What we have implemented in our navigation tree, is a type-ahead filter on any node in the tree. This will start filtering all nodes below by the characters as you continue typing. In the example below a document library is used to store legal matters. One document set is created for each legal matter, and this particular library has over 10,000 legal matters (document sets). As you can see in the screenshot, just by typing “77”, the legal matter document sets have been filtered from 10,000 to 10 (not bad for 2 keystrokes). We’ve also made the filter type configurable so it can perform a “starts with” filter or a “contains” filter. This filtering is available at all levels, on all node types in the tree so use it to filter a long list of sites or libraries as well and folders.

cameron-dwyer-sharepoint-remote-navigation-tree-filter-sharepoint-folders

 

Recent locations

If you’ve been somewhere in SharePoint recently, then there is a good chance you’ll want to go back. The navigation tree will automatically remember recent locations so you can quickly get back to them. These recents aren’t just static locations, you can expand them and filter them just like any other node in the tree.

cameron-dwyer-sharepoint-remote-navigation-tree-recent-sharepoint-folders

Favorites

The organisation can only structure SharePoint in one single hierarchy (essentially in a tree). This one global structure of SharePoint rarely fits with how individuals see SharePoint. What we’ve done here is to allow a “My OnePlaceMail” area in the tree where a user can bookmark their own favorite locations from anywhere across any of their SharePoint environments. We’ve also given them the ability to create folders to organize and arrange these favorite SharePoint locations. What this delivers to users is the ability to setup a mini tree of SharePoint that reflects how they see SharePoint. This gives efficient access to just those areas of SharePoint that are relevant and removes the clutter of other areas of SharePoint. Similar to recents, these aren’t just static locations, you can expand them and filter them just like any other node in the tree.

cameron-dwyer-sharepoint-remote-navigation-tree-favorite-locations

Create New Folders and Document Sets

What good is a tree that doesn’t grow! Based on SharePoint settings and security you can simply create folders and/or document sets directly within the tree using the context menu on the tree node. This isn’t limited to a simple input for folder name. The screenshots below show the creation of a custom Legal Matter document set and completion of properties for the new document set (all dynamically read from SharePoint – zero configuration).

cameron-dwyer-sharepoint-remote-navigation-tree-create-folder

cameron-dwyer-sharepoint-remote-navigation-tree-create-document-set

Search for locations rather than browsing

Sometimes the browse metaphor for navigating SharePoint just isn’t very efficient, rather than browse we have given the option to also use a search metaphor for finding locations in SharePoint, this works well in certain scenarios:

  • Large SharePoint environments
  • Areas of SharePoint where you are not familiar with the hierarchy structure
  • When you know the exact location in SharePoint and search is faster than navigating to it
  • Finding locations to save to
  • Finding a site collection (as site collections have different top level URLs you often cannot browse them, you have to know the top level URLs to begin with). If you create a new site collection per client/customer/project and therefore have a large number of site collection, being able to find the site collection quickly via search in the tree is brilliant
  • Finding locations across site collections

A key concept here is in the navigation tree we are searching for locations within SharePoint not content. To explain that a little bit, consider your conventional search via the SharePoint UI. This is designed for finding content e.g. documents, files. The navigation tree displays SharePoint hierarchy (or locations such as Sites, Libraries & Folders) not content. So unlike a normal SharePoint search for content, in the tree we are actually trying to find the location or container in which to store content or in SharePoint terms:

  • Site Collections
  • Sites
  • Lists
  • Libraries
  • Folders (within a list or library)
  • Document Sets (within a library)

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Search scoping

The scope for the search is dynamic based on the selected location in the tree when the search is performed. For example, if you select the “Intranet” site collection in the tree, then only the “Intranet” site collection is searched. Likewise if you select a specific document library, then only that library is searched. This scoped searching works to restrict scope to a site collection, site, library, or folder/document set.

The converse of performing a search restricted to a scope is to perform a “farm wide search”. This performs a search across all site collections in the farm and as it returns locations it can be used to find site collections themselves.

Switch from search result to browse

The search feature for finding location works really well but what makes it simple awesome (just my opinion) is that we’ve allowed you to take a search result and then switch back to the browse navigation metaphor to explore that location further. This is really, really powerful. For example you may have a SharePoint environment where you create a new site per project and there are tons of these project sites scattered across multiple site collections. You can now do a simple search in the tree to find the site then drill down within the site to find a document library (which is actually where you would want to save or open files from).

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The capabilities of the Navigation Tree make it scalable to fit any SharePoint environment from the very small to the very large and deliver a slick, modern, responsive interface to SharePoint. The tree control continues to evolve with each release of OnePlaceMail and we certainly have big plans to take it forward even further.

Download an evaluation of OnePlaceMail Enterprise and give the tree a go for yourself (it’s a client only 3 minute install)

 

This article was written based on OnePlaceMail Release 6.6 – read other highlights of this release

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