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Design Tips for SharePoint 2013 Apps on Tablets

The discussion on the tips for designing for the SharePoint 2013 Apps on tablets should essentially begin with the concept of minimal viable product. The idea is to enhance the user experience with Office 365 and Microsoft Office. Enterprises seem to be on the lookout for continuously updating the products to gain a strong competitive advantage and engaging in viable business in Office 365.

SharePoint site branding expertsWith the increase in the number of mobile devices and tablet users, it has become necessary for the SP 2013 apps to stay accessible as well as work effectively on these devices. Here is a list of tips on designing excellent SP apps for the tablets.

Always Go For Responsive Design
Whenever it comes to designing SP 2013 applications for tablets, a responsive design is a prerequisite. Now, for those working on a publishing site or planning to render it with a great look and feel, a responsive web design is must. Now, for those not using a custom master page as a basis for compatibility with other apps, a responsive design might not appear to be that suitable.

Maintain the Minimum Possible Width
Although the base resolutions vary depending on the landscape mode, majority of them have a width of 980 pixels. While the meta tags, JavaScript and CSS allow for control over the zoom behaviors and view port to a significant extent, it is always better to ensure that the columns in the tabular layout look impressive. This would also keep the initial investment to be made by the enterprise pretty low.

Make Efficient Use of CSS
The detailed pages for the varying entities in the form of matters and clients comprise a table at the top along with a set of tabs at the bottom, displaying related data. It is the entity as well as the data that work together in determining the number of columns in the header. On the other hand, for the clients, the columns denoting the phone numbers, address and notes are hidden especially, in cases where there is no data.

Now, these tables pose challenge because of the fact that both the width of the browser as well as the one that is required to display particular data within the table vary. The solution lies in using the base of 980 pixels, which renders a lower bound. Also, with a vertical alignment at the top, padding is explicit while word-break is natural.

Derive Benefits Out of the ‘Focus on Content’ Button
The ‘Focus on Content’ button appears at the upper right hand corner of the page. This is quite a beneficial feature and using it optimally can actually lead to an effective designing of SP 2013 applications for tabs.

Not Putting any Options in the Quick Launch Section
The pre-dominant belief is that while using a tablet, focus should always be laid on the content. However, it is better not to put any important option in the ‘Quick Launch’ section for this section can not be viewed by the tablet users and hence, the app will be of little significance for them.

Avoid Adopting the Minimal Download Strategy
The minimal download strategy is fine for those in any app web. However, this feature calls for some serious compatibility issues in certain browsers. The minimal download strategy can be disabled using the CSOM.

Prefer a Dynamic Sizing of Dialogs
While much of the discussions so far have been done with, height is also a matter of concern when it comes to using a dialog framework. It is always essential to go for dynamic alignment and setting the options depending on the natural height of the page.

With the above-mentioned tips and strategies, one can certainly develop suitable SharePoint 2013 apps for tablets. And while looking for SharePoint services India, make sure you are reaching out to companies who have solid credentials and have proven expertise in application development in SharePoint and have equally strong domain expertise as well.

We provide Sharepoint migration services. If you would like to know more about the expertise of our SharePoint site branding experts, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

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Design Manager in SharePoint 2013 Designer – A Detailed Introduction

Understanding the Design Manager
Design Manager is primarily meant to help the users of SharePoint create custom designs and achieve the respective goals if they want SharePoint 2013 to represent the brand of the organization. It comes up as a particular feature in SP 2013, paving the way for a completely customized, pixel-perfect outcome using the familiar web designing tools. As a publishing feature, it is available in the publishing sites in both Office 365 and SP server 2013.

This extremely useful feature allows the creation of visual design for websites using the web designing tools and HTML editor. Only HTML and CSS can be used after which the design has to be uploaded into SP. Basically, it enables management of each aspect of a custom design.

So, designers using this excellent feature will have to precisely undertake the following activities:

  • Grasping and understanding the main SP design concepts
  • Creating a mock-up of the design in CSS and HTML
  • Implementing the same utilizing the Design Manager feature

SharePoint 2013 developmentImplementing a Design by Means of the Design Manager
It is essential for the SharePoint 2013 users to be aware of the usage of the feature in implementing designs. On looking at the feature, one gets to see a series of links representing the high-level tasks to be performed. Following is a step-by-step sequence in which the task of implementing a design is executed with success:

Prior to Making Use of Design Manager
Even before you start using the feature, you have to create an individual design or use a ready-made website template. While mocking up the sites in HTML and CSS, you will come across certain HTML files implementing designs for the particular way in which you want the different pages to appear. You also need to take the necessary SharePoint permissions, more particularly, you have to be at the Designer permission level to use the feature.

Management of Device Channels
Before starting right away with the task of designing your site exploiting this essential feature, you need to take into account the specific devices to be targeted and the kind of user experience on each of them. Once you have considered the specific device channels, it is time to use multiple ways in rendering a single publishing site by means of mapping varying designs to equally varying devices.

Now, the device channels, which are created as well as stored in the SP list, have ranking and therefore, the order of the same also matters. The inclusion rules are also processed accordingly.

Uploading the Designed Files
Once the designing is done, the designer can use any HTML editor of his preference and work with files locally on the specific computer. However, these files need to be uploaded to the Master Page Gallery of the SP site so as to enable the feature to convert, preview and at the same time, polish the already created design.

The best- possible way to upload as well as continue working on these files is by mapping a drive on the computer to the Master Page gallery of the SP site. This paves the way for a folder on the computer to be connected to the Master Page Gallery. The result is that one can work on files that are present on the server in SP 2013 provided that they are local files.

Editing the Master Pages
The next task is to create a fully branded master page containing all of the functionality of SharePoint that one wants. The steps through which the editing is done are:

  • Conversion of HTML file into a SP master page
  • Previewing the master page while also facilitating fixing of the possible issues
  • Addition of the SP snippets to the master page

Editing Display Templates
In the event of using the on-premises installation of the SharePoint server, one has the option of using the Content Search Web Part along with a few other search- driven web parts. This helps in the display of the results of the search queries as content on the pages. Now, the search-driven web parts make use of the display templates for two main purposes. These are firstly to map managed properties returned in the search result items to properties that are available for JavaScript. This includes any custom JavaScript that one chooses to implement. The second purpose is to make use of CSS and HTML to find out how these properties are displayed.

Editing Page Layouts
The process involving the creation of page layout in Design Manner is somewhat different from that of creating a master page. First, a page layout needs to be made using the .aspx file and HTML file. Following this, the associated HTML file has to be edited from the mapped drive in the HTML editor. The feature ensures that the page layout is created in a manner that the correct set of page fields get added to the page layout.

Apart from the above-mentioned steps, creating themes and composed looks, publishing and applying the designs and creation of the package of the same are the final steps to be taken when it comes to using Design Manager in SharePoint 2013 development projects.

We provide SharePoint CMS customization services. If you would like to know more about the expertise of our SharePoint developers, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

How To Control App Token Lifetimes in SharePoint 2013?

SharePoint has emerged to be one of the most beneficial web application development platforms these days. The newer versions of this platform have turned out to be of immense use for the business enterprises as, they assist in the successful accomplishment of several tasks and necessitate much less time and efforts. Now, developers are trying out more innovative ways of exploiting SharePoint so as to derive the maximum advantages out of this already useful platform. Controlling the app token lifetimes in SP 2013 is one area of concern that is emphasized upon to a significant extent.

SharePoint development companiesThe first question that arises in this regard is where one can control the app token lifetimes. However, when considered on a broader platform, it will be seen that the place of control is actually not so significant and that a highly advanced app like TokenHelper can be of substantial help. There are around one or two JWT tokens that are created if one goes by the IssueToken method. It is usually one when the app only token is being used and two tokens for the application and the current user. However, in both the events, the JsonWebSecurityToken is created and the parameter that is used to create the same determines as to how long it is valid.

It is for the app token that the TokenHelper makes use of a constant, which is known as TokenLifeTimeMinutes. By default, this constant has a value of 1,000,000, which leaves no scope of worrying except in cases where one wants to limit it. Now, for the user token, the constant is hard- coded by default for making use of a lifetime of 10 minutes. The values can be found as well as changed into whatever you want just with a little drilling into the IssueToken method.

With a deeper look into the code, it can be seen that the TokenHelper incorporates a delegate that is invoked in what is known as the GetClientContextWithAccessToken method. This method plays the important role in adding a bearer token to any particular request that comes into the SharePoint from the particular app of the user.

Now, if the user sets a breakpoint on that specific line of code and eventually step through the request from the app, none of the token ‘setup’ functions creating the ClientContext will be resulting in an HTTP call. At this point, the ExecuteQuery method has to be called on the ClientContext object. The request goes over the wire, the delegate fires and finally, the token is added to the request. While one can cache the access token obtained in the high trust app, there may not always be a justified reason behind doing so.

On the other hand, caching the app tokens is beneficial only at the time of using the relatively low trust apps. When such is the case, one has to save one or more trips to ACS for the purpose of accessing token at the time of caching them. In events where there are multiple users or several requests, the process helps. The only thing that one needs to be aware of in this regard is the right ways of caching the tokens for the low trust apps.

This is just a brief overview of the overall process of controlling application lifetimes in SharePoint 2013 along with a discussion about the use and benefits of the high trust as well as the low trust apps. However, it is a task that needs to be taken up by only the experts and pros in the field, who are aware of the processes and can therefore, adept in handling the same to produce faster results in less time.

You can hire developers from top SharePoint development companies in India who can help you build products within allocated budgets and time schedules.

We provide SharePoint CMS customization services. If you would like to know more about the expertise of our SharePoint developers, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

Tips for Effective Migration to SharePoint 2013

In the recent times, with Microsoft launching SharePoint 2013, a large number of businesses are considering migration to this new edition to enhance their business processes. In fact, this new version of SharePoint is anticipated to revolutionize the way in which companies are building links amongst their knowledge workers, business processes as well as business-related content worldwide. This platform includes novel features such as enhanced document management capabilities with respect to sharing and contributing content, enhanced social features along with a renewed search experience. SharePoint 2013 is speedily positioning itself as one of the much sought after technology for the introduction of crucial organizational initiatives in the areas of social collaboration, enterprise content management and web content management.

SharePoint developers

The advanced features of Sharepoint make it vital for organizations to take certain points into consideration prior to adopting this latest platform. Let us discuss some of the guidelines that should be followed in order to achieve effective migration to SharePoint 2013.

1. Take care of hardware requirements: In case of SharePoint 2013 servers, minimum of 8 GB RAM and four 64-bit cores is needed for small environments while medium environments require 16 GB RAM. For every server operating in SharePoint 2013, location within a single data center is essential.

2. Operating system requisites: The ideal operating system incorporates 64-bit edition, R2 SP1 Windows Server 2008. The 2012 Windows Server operating system can also be utilized. You must consider migration to 64-bit servers before any other upgrade or migration.

3. Decide upon the destination before starting off: Doing this gives you a clear-cut idea of where you are heading to and this allows you to go for proper channelization of the resources at hand. For example, if you are using SQL 2012, use Windows 2012 along with an Office Web Application Server.

4. Divide current customizations into categories: It is advisable to categorize the customizations into three categories. The first category constitutes items such as custom authentication provider that would stop the project. You need to have solutions for this, or else the migration would not be a success. The second category comprises items that would not put a halt to the project but are required to be completed. It is good to address them once the migration is completed. Items that need to be eliminated make up the third category.

5. Realize environmental alterations: When you are deciding to go for Windows 2012, the environmental change that takes place needs to be taken into consideration. The SMTP server role has been deprecated by Windows 2012 and depending on the information, decision needs to be taken as to whether to use a more intricate configuration or go for installation of the deprecated feature.

6. Get every migration step scripted: This task involves restructuring site hierarchy, mounting content databases.

7. Conduct dry runs: While performing dry runs, you must follow a sequential guide. Through the dry runs, it is quite convenient to identify the disk space and timing requirements.

8. Go for proper space and time planning: Once the disk space and the upgrade time required are identified depending upon the dry runs, you can take necessary action. For instance, by adjusting the SQL server memory, the time for mounting as well as upgrading SharePoint can be decreased.

9. Follow dry runs with test: The only thing that separates a live run from a dry run is that the data is not updated, hence the end result should simulate the live migration. Taking this into account, through utilization of an alternate access mapping, it can be opened up to selected end users for testing, in order to validate the overall usability and the basic functionality.

10. Set up destination environment: It is advisable to configure and prepare to the maximum extent prior to migration. Once the configuration of the environment is done, the same will ensure smoother migration.

The above mentioned tips would go a long way in helping you plan your SharePoint 2013 migration. They will definitely help you enhance the overall efficiency of your SharePoint application development team.

We provide custom SharePoint development services. If you would like to know more about the expertise of our expert SharePoint developers, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

Integrating ColdFusion Applications with Microsoft SharePoint

While ColdFusion is recognized as a much preferred programming platform, the recent trend is that of integrating it with Microsoft SharePoint. Why? Because SharePoint bespoke development helps create most personalized web products which greatly enhance the efficiency of operations in an enterprise. The latest version of the former platform, that is ColdFusion 9, will feature this integration. However, before going into the details of how this integration can be executed or the possible benefits of the process, let us understand few basics about SharePoint.

SharePoint bespoke developmentBasically a content management system at its best, SharePoint is an application that helps in accessing data stored in the MSSQL database. The integrated search services facilitated by it help in adding team collaboration context to the management of the data files, generated by the Microsoft Office Suite. When it comes to SharePoint, the site hierarchy and the permission- based roles become important. The key permission levels allow users to read, contribute, design as well as take full control of the SharePoint sites along with data after a certain stage.

With regards to the integration, the most important requirement is to understand the precise needs of the users. ColdFusion 9 incorporates the integration feature to solve most of the problems of a majority of users and not to satisfy only a handful of them.

Single-Sign-On Support
The demand for a single-sign-on (SSO) support is the most common of all requirements. This support would allow the ColdFusion applications working under SharePoint increase the level of the platform’s authenticity as well as security by means of removing the necessity of logins and authentication of the ColdFusion applications. Now, with ColdFusion 9, the task becomes easier as a result of an inclusion of the SharePoint integration files in ColdFusion. The installation and configuration of these files paves the way for the platform to invoke applications offering SSO support.

ColdFusion Applications
The concept of the platform applications running the Microsoft SharePoint platform might appear to be a little confusing. Web Parts and ASP.Net server controls are used to build the applications. The Web Parts can actually be pre- written in the controls provided by Microsoft, 3rd party controls as well as the individual controls. With ColdFusion 9 applications and the SSO support, necessary grounds for the perfect integration are ready.

Web Parts
Users might simply want to access data in the platform and may not be looking for running application as a Web Part. There are many who use the platform with the intention of deriving benefits out of user lists, views and groups, use the platform search option or work with the stored images and document workspaces. All these activities can be done with the help of exposed web services. However, a new tag is made available for maximum control as well as higher level of performance.

The Cfsharepoint Tag
The cfsharepoint tag is a powerful one, enabling manipulation of SharePoint by virtue of its several attributes. It facilitates around 50 actions. The tag can actually make the platform do anything. All that one needs to do is pass the credentials in a structured manner or supply the values individually in the form of domain, password and username values. The credentials must be stored in the Application.cfcfile.

An integration of ColdFusion with Microsoft SharePoint encompasses SSO, platform applications, Web Parts, SharePoint services along with the cfsharepoint tag. With these, the requirements of the users are catered in an effective manner while the incorporation of ColdFusion as an important part of an enterprise is also realized. The integration increases the power and productivity of the platform to great heights. Thus, seen from all respects, the merging of the two popular and prominent web application development platforms is of immense use for the experienced developers as well as that for the enterprises.

We provide Coldfusion Sharepoint Integration services. If you would like to know more about the expertise of our expert certified sharepoint developers, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.

Converting an ASP.NET site into a SharePoint site – Top 7 Issues faced and their solutions

SharePoint has become increasingly popular nowadays. A plethora of web projects are directly started in SharePoint. But still there are a lot many projects which remain out of the SharePoint scope and exist purely in the form of ASP.NET application.

SharePoint application developmentA common task that becomes applicable during migration of an existing ASP site to a SharePoint site is transforming the landing page of the site to SharePoint page. That is where the problem starts. So far as .NET applications are concerned, they incorporate diverse modern technologies and tools such as URL Rewriting, SilverLight, MVC and so on. These tools are extremely common when it comes to .NET development. However, they can pose potential problems in the world of SharePoint. Let us discuss some of the issues faced in conversion of a .NET site into a SharePoint site.

1. Master.page: SP does not support the AutoEventWireup=”true” attribute on every page. So it is good to remove the same. Moreover, there is no support for user controls on master.page, so they can be moved to CONTROLTEMPLATES folder and references need to be changed. All classes from where inheritance takes place should have namespaces.

2. CSS: SP does not render 100% CSS validation. In this case, it is good to go for CSS customization and debugging, wherein you would be getting a clean CSS file. In this all the customization would be reset. Resetting reduces browser inconsistencies especially with respect to margins, default line heights, font sizes of headings, and the like.

3. Web.config: It is to be ensured that the correct sitemap defaultProvider from the ASP.NET web.config is being used. If the same is not done, all the sitemap elements would be recognized as SharePoint Publishing class elements, which is considerably different from asp.net SiteMap classes.

4. URL Rewriting: In case URL rewriting or any other specific modules are required, the < system.webServer > section needs to be created in the SharePoint config file and added accordingly. Moreover, all the DLLS need to be added to the list of SafeControls.

5. Code: So far as the DLLs are concerned, [assembly: AllowPartiallyTrustedCallers()] is a must. Again it is advisable to ensure that all the DLLs are signed. Namespaces are a must for every class.

6. Autodiscover service: It is seen that once an ascx control is created for use in SP which has access to Exchange 2010 through its web services. Everything is okay when the same is executed in the .NET test site. However, whenever the control is utilized in SP an error occurs and the following message is shown: “The Autodiscover service couldn’t be located”. This problem can be warded off by adding the domain root certificate utilized by the exchange server in the form of “Manage Trust”.

7. Deployment of ASP.Net web application: In case you have a SP Portal where deployment of .Net Web application is required, the main goal is the integration of all the asp.net application created so that every application has a single access point within SharePoint. For this, initially a SP site collection needs to be created in the web application following which sub site creation is required for each application. In this way, separation of each application can be achieved.

SharePoint application development is a popular choice when it comes to developing web based projects. However, the above mentioned issues are often faced during migration of an ASP.NET site into a SharePoint site. Following the requisite solutions can do away or mitigate these issues and help individuals or organizations to go for successful migration. So, plan accordingly, utilize the proper strategies and you will definitely achieve the right migration solution that will ensure that you have complete control over your data.

We provide ASP.NET SharePoint migration services. If you would like to know more about the expertise of our expert SharePoint programmers, please get in touch with us at Mindfire Solutions.