Monthly Archives: July 2012

Microsoft Surface will be Available on October 26

According to forms submitted to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, the Surface tablet will become available at the same time as Windows 8 (26th October 2012).

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A Customized User Experience when Saving Email/Attachments to SharePoint

This article provides a brief introduction to how the OnePlaceMail Plugin API (Application Programming Interface) can be used to provide a user experience that is customized to your requirements and needs. This may include:

  • a simplified user interface (with less options)
  • tight integration with existing backend systems for looking up and setting SharePoint column metadata
  • using custom business logic to determine where the file should be saved in SharePoint without the user having to know
  • Change the default behaviour of OnePlaceMail

The Scinaptic website contains high-level information on the OnePlaceMail API and the Software Development Kit download (which contains a .chm help file on the API complete with example code and common ‘How to’ articles).

During the process flow of saving a file (or email) to SharePoint, OnePlaceMail defines a number of events (or hook-in points) where you can write custom code that will execute and has the ability to change/enhance/replace the standard OnePlaceMail functionality.

SharePoint is a big platform that is used to implement countless solutions. OnePlaceMail out-of-the-box does a great job in automatically detecting and supporting all the different ways you may have configured or customized SharePoint to achieve your solution. Most of the time this wide support of SharePoint’s different configuration options is all you need. There are times however where the generic “one-size-fits-all” interface of SharePoint and OnePlaceMail isn’t as streamlined as it could be if you just looked at the requirements of one specific area.

As an example, you may have setup a correspondence library where you wish to store all email related to clients. A key piece of information you will need to store on each email will be which client the email is related to. Lets assume you have your list of clients maintained in a SQL database and you’ve chosen not to connect this to SharePoint using BCS (maybe the BCS picker dialog SharePoint gives you doesn’t provide all the search and filter options you want to provide to your users?).

Wouldn’t it be great if you could have a custom user interface (just when you try to save to this library) to allow your users to search your client data in SQL, select the right record and then have the desired SharePoint columns automatically populated during the save operation. The OnePlaceMail API makes this easy.

Here’s the new flow of events with a OnePlaceMail plugin providing the custom UI for client lookup from SQL and in this case setting a value of the ‘Client Number’ column. Note it is possible to completely prevent the standard OnePlaceMail window from appearing if you are setting all required column values via the plugin.

1 – Drag/drop email to Client Correspondence library (triggering the OnePlaceMail Save to SharePoint operation)

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2 – User is presented with the custom search form to select the client

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3 – User conducts search (based on the custom search UI options) and results are returned

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4 – User selects the desired results. Note in the example plugin the columns are sortable and can be filtered – now that is is a custom form you can implement whatever rich UI you need.

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5 – Once the client is selected in the custom form, the plugin then automatically populates the Client Number column in the standard OnePlaceMail Save to SharePoint window. Note this is just an illustrative example – real world you would probably suppress the Save to SharePoint window from appearing and all the user sees is the custom client search/select form.

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This is just one simple example to give you an idea of what is possible with the OnePlaceMail API. Here’s a list of some of the ‘How to’ articles included in the API Help file which may give you more ideas for how the API could work for you:

  • Setting the Destination Location to a Library or List
  • How to Prevent Users from Changing the Destination Save Location
  • How to Hide the SharePoint node from the Navigation Tree
  • How to Set the Default Content Type
  • How to Set Default Column Values
  • How to Access Upload Files and File Properties
  • How to Get Email Properties
  • How to Set Custom File Properties
  • How to Rename an Upload File
  • How to Suppress the File Upload Window and Auto Upload Files
  • How to Access Upload Results
  • How to Persist Data Between Plugin Events

The OnePlaceMail API is available in the Enterprise Edition of OnePlaceMail.

SharePoint community leaders talking OnePlaceMail

Hot on the heels of the OnePlaceMail R6.2 release hear what the SharePoint community leaders have to say about it.

What is OnePlaceMail?

OnePlaceMail connects Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Office and Windows Explorer to Microsoft SharePoint and Office 365. OnePlaceMail promotes the adoption of SharePoint as your enterprise information management and collaboration platform.

Available in a free Express Edition and an Enterprise Edition as well.

 

image Joel Oleson (@joeloleson) – SharePoint Evangelist

When I first heard about OnePlaceMail, I thought… "Oh great. Yet another Outlook add-in for adding metadata." The reality was I had sold it short. I didn’t realize they had the ability to render web parts, I didn’t know they had the ribbon integration and didn’t realize it was so well integrated. The folder structure for dragging and dropping is drop-dead simple.

From a governance and adoption perspective, the tools and technology can really help to augment a strategy for meeting your users where they are. It provides the familiar interface of working from Outlook and bridges the gap. IT can configure the client so that it knows what sites, lists or libraries to display in the navigation. The software doesn’t even have to say OnePlaceMail or SharePoint. It can be branded as your collaboration or document solution. Now users won’t have to care about the thousands of places. They can have their half dozen folders, sites, libraries and lists.

If you’re trying to reach your users and make their lives easier, you may have found your match. Scinaptic OnePlaceMail fills a lot of gaps when it comes to meeting users where they are, trying to simplify their lives, and simply just get them using it (SharePoint).

Read Joel Oleson’s full review of OnePlaceMail

 

image Rene Modery (@modery) – MVP Office 365

Does at least one of the following sound familiar to you?

You received an email in Outlook and want to save either the email itself or its attachments to SharePoint Online (Office 365)?
You have some files in your Office 365 Team Site (or anywhere else in SharePoint Online) and want to email them to somebody else?
Or you want to send links to some files on SharePoint Online to somebody?

A free tool to help you with all this is OnePlaceMail.

I’ve been using it actively for a few months to store important emails quickly in SharePoint Online

Read Rene Modery’s article on OnePlaceMail

Using SharePoint Content in Outlook Email the Easy Way Using OnePlaceMail

One of the pain points of having content stored in SharePoint is being able to easily access and use the content in your desktop applications.

For example, you’re mid way through writing an email and you want to include a link to a file that you know is in SharePoint, better start up that browser and start clicking… It’s just not as easy as it should be, is it?

OnePlaceMail Release 6.2 has introduced some great new features to help with these issues.

Before you stop reading thinking “I don’t have OnePlaceMail and I don’t want to buy a product”; The Express Edition of OnePlaceMail is entirely free (it’s not a trial or time limited) – just download it and you’ll be happily accessing SharePoint from your desktop in minutes.

In this article I’m going to look at the different ways OnePlaceMail is now allowing you access and link to content in SharePoint in a much more user friendly way.

Inserting SharePoint Content into an Email

First let’s look at the mechanism, then we’ll explore the options.

When composing an email simply click on the Insert from SharePoint button

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Then select the SharePoint file(s) from the OnePlaceMail Insert window and choose to Insert as Link

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Job done, the links are now inserted into our email

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Inserting multiple links at once

As we saw in the screenshots above, we can select one or multiple files to insert in a single operation. During testing we ran it through inserting over 1000 links in a single operation, not that we are expecting many users to go that far but rest assured it will handle it nicely (and save you about a week over having to do it manually!)

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Insert links from search results

Not sure where that files is in SharePoint? Either you didn’t create it and put it into SharePoint, or you’ve long since forgotten where you put it. No problem, the Insert from SharePoint window provides an awesome search tool complete with hit-highlighting of results and scoping search to site-collection, site, or library/list.

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As with a browsing operation to find our files, from the search results we can select one or multiple files to insert.

Preview/verify before you insert

You’ve found the file or item in SharePoint, or have you? Want to quickly check before you insert it. Simply right-click on the item either from a browse or search and open it in a browser.

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What would you like to link to? You now have options

The standard linking mechanism within SharePoint for document libraries always uses the URL directly to the document file. I often find myself wanting to link someone to the Item Properties (i.e. the SharePoint page containing the metadata and then the user can easily open the document in one click if they want to); SharePoint simply doesn’t give you a way to do this. OnePlaceMail does, providing the options to “Link to document” or “Link to document properties”.

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These options are available to you whether you have browsed or searched to find the document using OnePlaceMail.

Smart link labels

The label of the inserted link will use the file name (Name in SharePoint) if linking directly to the document, or the Title if linking to the document properties.

Consider the following document in SharePoint

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Inserting both a link to the document and a link to the document properties results in

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I think you’ll agree this is a lot nicer than the out-of-the-box SharePoint offering of Send To | E-mail a Link

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Which results in an absolute URL that’s encoded (I chose a shallow site structure so I could fit it in my screenshot Winking smile )

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Link to document using the Static URL (Document Id URL)

If you have enabled the SharePoint 2010 Document Id feature, OnePlaceMail will automatically detect this and use the static URL provided by the Document Id feature. This allows documents to be moved or relocated without breaking links.

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Inserting SharePoint Documents as Attachments

Whenever possible I would recommend including a link to a SharePoint document in favor of retrieving the file from SharePoint and including it as an attachment to the email. There are some cases however where this is required, such as sending an email to someone outside the company who does not have access to your SharePoint environment.

Including documents as attachments is just as simple as inserting links, on the Insert from SharePoint window simply select one or more documents and click Insert as Attachment.

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Encourage the use of SharePoint and sending links rather than attachments

Most of us know we should at least consider storing a file in SharePoint and sending a link rather than just attaching the file and emailing it out.

Here’s a great use case that shows just how powerful OnePlaceMail can be in driving adoption of SharePoint and breaking bad habits.

You’re in a hurry and just need to flick an email off to your team with the sales forecast that you whipped up in Excel. You compose a new email, address it to your team and attach the Excel spreadsheet.

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Here’s where OnePlaceMail gives you a gentle nudge in the right direction.

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You are then presented with the familiar OnePlaceMail Save to SharePoint window (providing quick access to your favorite locations, recent locations, and ability to browse/search the entire SharePoint environment)

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The link is then automatically insert into the email and you are ready to send. As an added bonus the location you saved the file to has the Document Id feature enabled so the link uses the static URL provided by the Document Id feature.

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So in this quick scenario we have gone from a user who really just wanted to quickly attach a file and send it, to having the file stored once in SharePoint and a link sent out to multiple recipients, and the link uses the static URL provided by the Document Id feature to ensure link won’t be broken if the file is subsequently moved. All this with very little added effort or thought on the part of the user.

Inserting links to SharePoint list items

Documents (files) are only half the story, OnePlaceMail will just as easily allow you to browse or search for list items (e.g. Announces, Tasks, Issues or any Custom Lists that you have created).

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Inserting content from SharePoint is just one of the new features, refer to the OnePlaceMail Release 6.2 Highlights for more.

Please join the OnePlaceMail community and tell us how we can make it even better.

Improved access to SharePoint content with new OnePlaceMail Release 6.2

oneplacemail-sharepoint-outlook-office-integration-toolIt’s official, Release 6.2 of OnePlaceMail has been launched and is available now for download.

It’s been a busy few months here at Scinaptic getting this release ready, and we are excited to see how the new features are received. The new features in this release are primarily focused on making content stored in SharePoint much more accessible to the user from the desktop.

Here’s a short list of some of the goodies we’ve packed into this release:

  • Quickly and easily Insert content from SharePoint into things you are working on (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Quickly open files and items from SharePoint directly from Office applications (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint)
  • Default content type when saving email messages (overrides the SharePoint library default content type)
  • Universal use of Document Ids in URLs generated by OnePlaceMail

What I’m most proud of is not that we’ve just checked a box to say “Yes, OnePlaceMail has that feature”. With each feature I feel we have delivered an awesome UI that users are going to love. I’ve been using the 6.2 release quite a bit over the last few weeks getting this release out the door (yes we use SharePoint and OnePlaceMail heavily ourselves!) and I’ve had a few moments were I’ve used one of the new features and thought – wow – that is so much easier. I’m finding less excuses to NOT store things in SharePoint.

As with previous releases, 6.2 is available in both the free Express Edition and the Enterprise Edition.

Download OnePlaceMail Release 6.2

Read the Official Release 6.2 Highlights

If you haven’t already, please join the OnePlaceMail Community – this is our vehicle for receiving your feedback and suggestions for enhancements (you can even vote for what you’d like to see in the next release)

I hope to post some articles in the coming weeks taking a more in-depth look at the new features. Colin Wood has already posted some information related to the new features in his article Insert attachments and links from SharePoint lightning quick in Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010

Windows 8 Release Date Announced

windows-8-touch-release-date-announcedAt Microsoft’s annual Worldwide Partner Conference (in Toronto, Canada) Windows Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Financial Officer Tami Reller announced that Windows 8 is on track to Release to Manufacturing (RTM) the first week of August, with general availability by the end of October.

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