SharePoint 2013 and Regional Settings: Adventures in Time Zones

It’s a simple enough question to ask and answer. In almost every introduction to a foreign language, it’s one of the basic phrases we learn. We’ll leave aside the irony that we almost never ask the question of another person, because of mobile phones, tablets, and myriad ways which we can answer that question ourselves. As developers, we’re often given the task of producing output that includes some date value, usually in a grid or table that provides the user with information about when a particular thing happened. 

So far, pretty easy stuff. But I was recently asked to provide users with that information displayed in local time, with some users were scattered over a plethora of timezones. This led to some interesting discoveries I thought I should share below. So grab your sonic screwdrivers, absurdly long scarves, throw the switch on your TARDIS and allons-y!

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The SharePoint 2010 Mobile Redirect Nightmare

I recently had to address a very simple sounding request that turned into a nightmare. The SharePoint 2010 mobile view is ugly and difficult to customize (as shown in the image below) and so I wanted a SharePoint 2010 list to redirect to a separate page if a mobile client was used to access it. I only had access at the site collection level. This seemed like a very easy thing to put in with a bit of JavaScript, and if that didn’t work, SharePoint had a built-in mobile redirect system that I assumed could be used. This blog post is being written to discuss how difficult it is to bypass SharePoint 2010’s mobile redirect system and to solicit feedback on other options to try.

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Extending Active Directory & Integrating into SharePoint 2013 (Part 1)

If you’ve managed, administered, or developed on SharePoint, chances are at some point you’ve already encountered or resisted working with the User Profile Service (UPS) Application. There is no secret that UPS is one of the more complicated service applications available in SharePoint to configure, but is the effort worth the reward? I’m here to say yes. UPS has a lot to offer (beyond required for My Sites) and this blog will hopefully give you some insight into one use case for UPS that you can relate to. This blog will be a 3-part blog series broken down into the following sections:

  1. Extending Active Directory with Custom Attributes (the current post)
  2. Configuring ADFS 3.0 with SharePoint 2013
  3. Configuring User Profile Services to support Custom Attributes

Let’s dive into the business scenario I was recently faced with and how we used UPS to address the challenge.

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Your cacheHostInfo is Null: How to Fix It

The Distributed Cache service is one that gets relatively little attention because it’s installed by default on every server in your SharePoint farm and you would probably not know if it were having a problem (unless you paid very close attention). Recently, I had some time on my hands and went looking for trouble so to speak. My SharePoint 2013 farm was serving pages and life was good, but still I decided it was time to take stock of what was running where and if I could make some improvements. Among other things, I noticed my Distributed Cache service was only running on one of my 11 SharePoint servers in the farm. A closer inspection of the Event Viewer on servers not running Distributed Cache revealed a relatively common problem: cacheHostInfo is Null.

I say this is a common problem because it seems like a well-covered topic on the Internet, but I never came across a single page that ran this issue to group. I found many helpful hints, but decided this topic needed an end-to-end solution. Today, I cover how I approached the problem and the solution I found. 

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Correspondence Management with SharePoint and EasyBox

SharePoint provides a powerful document management system and integrates easily with SharePoint Designer, or in more complex instances, Windows Workflow Foundation (WF), to create highly configurable business process automation systems. With SharePoint’s ubiquitious presense in medium to large businesses and the federal government, SharePoint has become a common and attractive option for automating full-blown corrospondence management solutions. The problem lies in the leap from automating document driven processes to auditing those proccesses. 

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Easy Dynamics Demos EasyBox at SharePoint Saturday DC

Easy Dynamics Demos EasyBox at SharePoint Saturday DCThis past Saturday, June 13, 2015, Easy Dynamics Corp was proud to sponsor and attend 2015 SharePoint Saturday DC at the Microsoft office building in Chevy Chase, Maryland. We enjoyed meeting and speaking with conference attendees about our first commercial product EasyBox, the only secure messenger for SharePoint. Use cases as correspondence management systems and as SharePoint adoption aides seemed to get the most user interest. We had a laugh with Adam Levithan, Product Manager at Metalogix Software, about interesting ways to spark conversations at our booth, as he suggested asking “What is your favorite soda?” Mine is Orange Fanta!

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Creating a Workflow with SharePoint Designer

In my ever expanding blog series on entry level/power user SharePoint WorkFlows, this blog will address how to automate business processes that are too complex for the OOTB SharePoint Workflows. For this, we will require the help of SharePoint Designer. SharePoint Designer is a tool which helps to make low or minimal code SharePoint customizations without involving IT.

There are some prerequsites in order to make workflows in SharePoint Designer, such as you need Designer rights to a SharePoint site and you need to download the (free!) SharePoint Designer. In this blog, I demonstate a common and practical scenario in the everyday business cycle: creating a workflow to automate the process to requesting time off.

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Practical Implementation of a Three State WorkFlow in SharePoint 2013

The third post in my ongoing series of “Simple Workflows with SharePoint 2013” will demonstrate the practical implementation of the Three State WorkFlow to automate a routine business process. Before going further, make sure to read my second post as prep for this one. To get started, I will assume that you have set up a Three State WorkFlow and chosen the option to trigger it automatically after creating a new item, event, or task. Now SharePoint will instantly assign it to the specific task or event (as shown in the picture below).

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How to Create a Three State WorkFlow in SharePoint

There are many different scenarios in an everyday work environment which can benefit from automated SharePoint WorkFlow. If a repetivite task needs to be completed on a consistent and auditable basis, it’s likely to be a good candidate for a workflow process. Some examples include expense approval, form creation, or time approvals. This blog post will delve into the process of creating a three state workflow to streamline daily tasks. Continue reading “How to Create a Three State WorkFlow in SharePoint”

Creating a Simple Workflow in SharePoint 2013

SharePoint document and list item workflows are an excellent way to automate repeatable business processes with SharePoint 2013. Workflows allow users to create a model of how a business process should be carried out, and then to automate and audit that business process. There are several different ways to create SharePoint Workflow. The easiest way to create workflows on a document or list item is the out of the box one;if your business process is too complex for these then you can create complex workflows in SharePoint designer or Visual Studio.

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