Monthly Archives: January 2012

Microsoft’s Office 15 Now in Technical Preview

Microsoft’s next version of Office has reached its technical preview stage. The platform is being distributed to a select group of testers which for the first time includes customers; a public beta is due mid 2012.

With Office 15 Microsoft is updating the whole suite at once. “For the first time ever, we will simultaneously update our cloud services, servers, and mobile and PC clients for Office, Office 365, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Project, and Visio,”

Official Press Release from Microsoft Office Division (PJ Hough CVP)

http://blogs.office.com/b/office-exec/archive/2012/01/30/quot-office-15-quot-begins-technical-preview.aspx

 

SharePoint 15 Technical Preview Managed Object Model Software Development Kit (MS Download)

http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=28768

 

 

Advertisements

One Way To Fix SharePoint’s Outlook Problem

These quotes are taken from an article by Michael Sampson (@collabguy) talking about Outlook, SharePoint, and OnePlaceMail. It’s great to see that some of our guiding principles are shining through into the user experience.

Microsoft’s Outlook-SharePoint integration is terrible

OnePlaceMail stands against the overwhelming complexity of SharePoint, helping users adopt those features most relevant to them and their work.

One of the powerful value propositions of OnePlaceMail (other products do this too) is that it eliminates the version/migration headaches with SharePoint and Office applications. This add-on takes whichever version of Office a user has and marries it to whichever version of SharePoint the organization has.

…with the express idea of keeping both products as original as possible

via One Way To Fix SharePoint’s Outlook Problem – The BrainYard – InformationWeek.

Goodbye Yahoo! Site Explorer for inbound link analysis

I’ve used Yahoo Site Explorer for a long time for inbound link analysis on any domain. Today I found this is no more. The replacement is Bing Webmaster tools but it seems you have to be the verified site owner before you can get the stats 😦

http://www.ysearchblog.com/2011/09/14/site-explorer-transition-to-bing-webmaster-tools

Five out-of-the-box ways to get Email into SharePoint

One question I’ve been asked countless times is the native integration options of Outlook/Exchange and SharePoint in order to save or transfer email and have it stored in SharePoint.

Before I jump into the different integration options available it is important to consider that once you’ve got the email in SharePoint how easy is it to get access to? and have we lost any information in the process? Let’s face it, if we can get the email into SharePoint but can’t access it again easily what have we achieved? Each of the methods I’ll discuss have implications on how easy is it to access the saved email and how much of the email (including it’s attributes) can be accessed after it has been transferred to SharePoint.

1. Manually Save an email message to SharePoint

Process

Treat the email as a file just like any other file that you would upload to SharePoint.

  • In Outlook open an email then select File | Save As…
  • Choose a format from the ‘Save as type’ drop down. I recommend saving it in Outlook Message Format (.msg)
  • image
  • Save the email (msg file) to a local drive
  • Now browse to the SharePoint list/library through the web browser and upload the file through the native SharePoint UI.

Pros

  • Upload occurs through native SharePoint UI so you will have the opportunity to set content type, enter/select column values, apply validation, trigger custom event handlers etc
  • The email is stored in msg format so it can be opened back up in Outlook without loss of data or email integrity.
  • You are left with the item open in the SharePoint UI so you can continue working on it (e.g. start a workflow)

Cons

  • Very time consuming and laborious
  • The entire process has to be repeated for each email, can’t do multiple at once
  • No email attributes get prompted to SharePoint columns

2. Email enable a SharePoint List or Library

Process

Selected SharePoint lists & libraries can be enabled to receive incoming email on an email address that is unique to the list/library. Users can then include the email address of the SharePoint list with the recipients of an email to have the email stored in SharePoint.

Great post from Joel Olsen for more detail on email enabled lists/libraries (SP2007)http://blogs.msdn.com/b/joelo/archive/2007/10/23/email-enabled-lists-and-inbound-email.aspx

Pros

  • Quick and simple method for the user to get the email into SharePoint
  • From a governance point of view only selected lists/libraries can be configured to accept incoming email

Cons

  • Considerable administration overhead to initially setup and configure
  • Users have to know which email addresses correspond to which lists/libraries
  • Constant admin overhead to enable new lists/libraries and setup email addresses and broadcast out to the user base
  • No email attributes get prompted to SharePoint columns
  • Attachments and email are stored as separate items in SharePoint
  • User cannot get the original email into SharePoint after the fact. That is, if a user receives an email they can forward it to the SharePoint list but it is the forwarded email that gets stored, not the original email as it was received by the user.
  • Email is stored in .eml format so it cannot be easily opened back up in Outlook and viewed/worked on with full integrity
  • At the time of writing, email enabled lists/libraries are not supported in BPOS or Office 365 / SharePoint Online

Further reading

Configure incoming e-mail (SharePoint Server 2010)

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262947.aspx

Configuring incoming email in SharePoint 2010 with Exchange – Step by Step Guide

http://sharepointgeorge.com/2010/configuring-incoming-email-sharepoint-2010/

Enable and configure e-mail support for a list or library (SharePoint 2007/WSS 3.0)

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint-server-help/enable-and-configure-e-mail-support-for-a-list-or-library-HA010082307.aspx

3. Map a drive to a SharePoint Library

Process

It’s possible to map a network drive (or create a shortcut to a network location) to provide access to the content of a SharePoint library in Windows Explorer much like it is just another directory structure on a file server.

For example, I have a library located at http://vs-server82/subsite/Email

image

I can map a drive to \\vs-server82\subsite1\email

You can also just bring up the run command and enter the location in directly \\vs-server82\subsite1\email

Either of these techniques should result in Windows Explorer displaying the contents of the library

image

You can now drag and drop email messages from Outlook into the Windows Explorer window and the files will be saved to SharePoint.

image

Pros

  • If you are trying to do a simplistic transfer of multiple emails from Outlook to a single SharePoint library with no setting of SharePoint column values than this might be sufficient. I’d see it more as an ad-hoc or one-off technique to get you out of trouble rather than a technique to rely on day-in-day out.
  • Email is saved in .msg format

Cons

  • Only works for libraries (you can see lists, but due to the way list items and there attachments are stored it’s not really useable)
  • Provides a very rudimentary interface to SharePoint and you may encounter problems with SharePoint specific functionality in some libraries (such as check in, check out, validation)
  • No SharePoint column values set
  • I’ve come across several discussion threads that warn against modifying SharePoint content accessed through this technique (see further reading links below)
  • Allowing (or promoting the use of this technique) may circumvent controls that have been put in place in SharePoint for data validation and document management

Further reading

http://groups.google.com/group/microsoft.public.sharepoint.windowsservices/browse_thread/thread/318840f24128a15d/ad1b6fed50ce630a%23ad1b6fed50ce630a?pli=1

https://www.nothingbutsharepoint.com/sites/eusp/Pages/can-i-map-a-document-library-as-a-mapped-drive.aspx

4. Use the SharePoint WebDav View

Process

In the SharePoint 2010 Library ribbon there is an option to ’Open with Explorer’.

image

This will open Window Explorer and display the contents of the current SharePoint library in an almost identical way the the previous technique of using a mapped drive. Again you can drag and drop email from Outlook into the Explorer Window.

Pros

  • Similar to the previous technique but I would recommend this over the previous technique as it is using the WebDav standard for communicating with SharePoint
  • Email saved in .msg format

Cons

  • WebDav only goes so far, it’s a standard that existed long before SharePoint so as you would expect it only supports a very basic subset of SharePoint functionality
  • No SharePoint column values set
  • Known issues in an environment with a load balancer
  • Allowing (or promoting the use of this technique) may circumvent controls that have been put in place in SharePoint for data validation and document management

Further reading

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2388749

http://ballyhoo4u.com/disable-open-in-windows-explorer-on-sharepoint/

5. Use a Discussion Forum

Process

It is possible to connect a SharePoint discussion board to Outlook to obtain the ability to drag/drop email to the discussion board.

    • Ensure incoming email is enabled on your farm
    • Create a discussion board in SharePoint

image

  • From within SharePoint, open the discussion board you just created and click on Connect to Outlook in the ribbon.

image

  • The discussion board will now appear in Outlook under ‘SharePoint Lists’

image

    • You can now drag and drop emails to the discussion board from within Outlook, and they will be copied across to SharePoint
    • You can view the contents of the discussion in Outlook (emails are converted to posts). One gotcha is that if you have automatic signatures setup then the post that is created will have your signature added to it (just as though you forwarded the original email) – see screenshot below. I’m sure with some tinkering you could probably come up with a solution for this.

image

Pros

  • Simple drag/drop method for the user to get the email into SharePoint
  • User self-service (not ongoing administration required to setup/maintain)
  • Discussion board content visible from Outlook or SharePoint

Cons

  • Email is not stored in .msg file format
  • No SharePoint column values set
  • Integrity of the email message is not preserved (that is you can never open it back up in Outlook as an email)

Further reading

http://blog.mikehacker.net/2011/05/02/drag-and-drop-email-from-outlook-to-sharepoint/

 

updated-revised-new-content-cameron-dwyer-sharepoint-office365-microsoftUPDATED: There’s now more options for SharePoint 2013 and Office 365

If you are using SharePoint 2013 and/or Office 365 (SharePoint Online) there are more options available to you which are covered in the following article More out-of-the-box ways to get Email into SharePoint (2013 and Office 365)

 

Wrap up

If one of the techniques above fits your requirement then you are in luck and will be able to achieve Outlook/SharePoint integration natively. If you require more advanced functionality (such as automatic capture of email attributes to SharePoint columns, ability for user to tag or enter column values during save etc) then you are looking at 3rd party products or custom development. If you find yourself at this stage I recommend taking a look at OnePlaceMail. The Express Edition of OnePlaceMail is entirely free (no trial or evaluation period) and can be used by up to 25 users within a company. OnePlaceMail provides a far superior integration between Outlook and SharePoint/Office 365 than any of the native options and is built to address the lack (overcome the ‘cons’) of native integration options.

%d bloggers like this: